How Much Does a Shih Tzu Cost?

Are you considering getting the beloved Shih Tzu? Find out if this little lion dog is as expensive as it looks!

The average price of a Shih Tzu puppy is $850, but prices range from $500 to $1600. The cost to take care of a Shih Tzu is $300 to $1000 the first year, and about $150 to $650 for succeeding years. The total cost is on average $18,000.

Reading on, you’ll get to see the breakdowns of each of the costs to expect in purchasing and taking care of a Shih Tzu. First, you’ll see your options for acquiring a Shih Tzu puppy and how that affects the pricing. Next, this piece will discuss the different things you’ll need to buy to welcome a Shih Tzu into your home. Finally, it’ll cover the different veterinary costs that Shih Tzus need every year.

Buying a Shih Tzu Puppy

The first and probably the most expensive cost will, of course, be buying your Shih Tzu puppy. Based on postings from reputable websites and breeders, the average cost of a Shih Tzu that 6 months old or younger is $850. Some puppies can be found for as cheap as $500 but around 80% of the market will lean towards $1600.

There are also even more expensive Shih Tzu puppies that come from pedigree bloodlines. These puppies go beyond the average cost of Shih Tzus because they’re bred to be show dogs. Shih Tzu Puppies that come from show dog parents can cost up to a whopping $3000. This can go even higher if you purchase a female puppy with the intent to breed her later on.

When purchasing a Shih Tzu puppy, make sure that you only buy them from reputable breeders. Never get a puppy from a pet store because these puppies come from puppy mills. Puppies that are bred in puppy mills are forced to live in harsh conditions and are taken away from their mother too early. This leads to the puppy having multiple health issues and an aggressive personality.

Another option is to adopt or rescue a Shih Tzu. This is a cheaper option with adoption fees costing just about $50 to $100. Although this won’t guarantee that you’ll have a young puppy, it’ll give you the chance to give a loving home to a Shih Tzu in need.

Costs of Welcoming a Shih Tzu Puppy

The next cost that you’ll be reading about is welcoming your Shih Tzu into your home. This covers the supplies your Shih Tzu will need such as food, toys, accessories, and grooming tools. On average, the supplies that you’ll need to keep your Shih Tzu healthy and happy will cost about $345. For every year after that, it’ll cost around $140.

Cost to Feed

For the first year of life, a Shih Tzu puppy will consume about 70 pounds of food. Below is a table that compares the price of the brands of dry puppy food that you can feed your Shih Tzu puppy:

Puppy food brandQuantity per bagBags per yearUnit pricePrice per year
Royal Canin2 lbs35$21.38$750
Wellness Core12 lbs6$42.99$516
Nutro15 lbs5$29.99$150
Hill’s Science15.5 lbs5$32.99$165
Blue Buffalo11 lbs6$34.98$210

Once your Shih Tzu puppy is an adult, the prices stay relatively the same but their consumption goes higher. On average, adult Shih Tzus eat about 90 lbs of food a year. Below is a table that compares the price of the brands of dry dog food that you can feed your Shih Tzu dog:

Dog food brandQuantity per bagBags per yearUnit pricePrice per year
Royal Canin2.5 lbs36$19.52$703
Wellness Core12 lbs7.5$42.99$322
Nutro15 lbs6$39.99$240
Hill’s Science15.5 lbs6$32.99$198
Blue Buffalo11 lbs6$34.98$287

Toy Prices

Shih Tzus are dogs that love to play with toys. They especially love to play when they’re puppies so the majority of your spending on toys will occur during your puppy’s first year living in your home.

It’s always a good idea to have a wide variety of toys so that your Shih Tzu is never bored. These dogs aren’t particularly fond of walking so you’ll have to give them their daily exercise through playtime.

Here are some good toys to start paying with your Shih Tzu:

Overall, how much you spend on your Shih Tzu’s toys is up to you. On average, you’ll be spending $30 to $40 on their first few toys. If you choose higher-quality toys, they should last for a long time and you won’t have to waste money replacing them. Low-quality toys might be cheaper but a persistent Shih Tzu can destroy them in no time.

Cost to Buy Accessories

Based on Amazon’s best sellers, the total for the accessories you buy for your Shih Tzu puppy will amount to around $150 to $650. Below are the accessories you’ll need to keep your Shih Tzu happy:

Grooming Supplies

The next most common expense in welcoming a Shih Tzu to your home is grooming. If you intend to have all your Shih Tzu’s grooming done by a professional, expect to be spending around $30 to $90 for each trip.

Since Shih Tzus need to be groomed often and regularly, taking them to a groomer every time can be impractical. Instead, you can lessen this cost by purchasing some grooming supplies yourself.

It’s always a good idea to have a brush, nail clippers, shampoo, conditioner, and blow dryer for your Shih Tzu’s grooming needs. In total, these supplies will cost around $55 to $100, depending on the brands that you choose. This way your Shih Tzu will only need to go to a groomer when it’s time for a trim.

Veterinary Costs

Last but not least are the medical costs for taking care of a Shih Tzu. As your Shih Tzu grows, it’ll need at least 1 trip to the vet a year. Depending on the clinic that you choose and the services they offer, a trip to the vet will cost about $150 to $300. Regular trips are important because they’ll help you detect any health issues early on rather than when they appear.

Shih Tzus are prone to a few medical issues and the treatment for those issues can be quite expensive. To give you an idea, below are some of the common health issues Shih Tzus face and the estimated costs of treatment.

  • Brachycephalic Syndrome – $250 to $3,000
  • Collapsing Trachea – $250 to $4,500
  • Dental Disease – $400 to $800
  • Eye Problems – $100 to $1,200
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (Dry Eye) – $55 to $150 per month
  • Patellar Luxation – $300 to $2,000

If you’re able to detect your Shih Tzu’s health issues earlier, then the treatment should be on the lower end of the cost. Waiting longer to treat your Shih Tzu’s health issues will not only hurt your Shih Tzu but your annual veterinary budget as well.

Final Thoughts

Shih Tzus are some of the most lovable but also the most expensive dogs to have and take care of. Even just buying a Shih Tzu alone can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. These little pups come with huge expenses that might be shocking to some pet havers.

Feeding your Shih Tzu alone will cost around $200 to $700 a year. Keeping them comfortable and entertained at home is worth around $100 to $600 a year. Grooming tools will cost you around $100 along with $90 trips to the groomers every month for a haircut. Finally, veterinary costs can quickly become a real problem if you don’t take your Shih Tzu to the vet regularly.

Keeping these costs in mind is a great reminder that Shih Tzus, and all dogs, are a lifetime responsibility. Always do your research and keep your money in check so that you’ll be ready for anything.