Breed Tips

How Much Does a Shih Tzu Cost in 2024?

Shih Tzu Charastericstics? 

  • Life expectancy: 10 – 16 years 

  • Adult weight: 9 – 16 lbs. 

  • Adult height: 8 – 11 in. 

  • Origin – China

A small-toy dog from the ancient treasuries of China, Shih Tzu are one of the most common and popular Chinese dog breeds in the world. Considered noble by the Chinese, these breeds have existed for centuries, as traces of them can be found in Chinese scriptures which also have mentions of Buddha. There is a famous story about them that goes like this; Buddha owned a small Shih Tzu, and one day when out on his travels, robbers threatened to rob and murder him. To protect his owner, the small dog transformed into a humongous lion and scared them away! This is where they get the name ‘lion dog’ which translates to Shih Tzu.

You probably know how this breed looks, but it can be easy to get confused between a Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, Maltese, or the 8 other breeds that look very similar. It’s not your fault, as some of them actually have similar origins.

Shih Tzu’s are charmers by nature. Their big, dark eyes can make you stare at them for hours, and then their sweet smile will make you smile as well. It is small in size but big in energy. They won’t need much exercise as they have spent years sitting on the couches of royal palaces. They have a long-silky coat that almost touches the floor and can be in a variety of colors. Shih Tzu’s are now being used as show-dogs, given their cute and adorable looks. In fact, owners usually tend to experiment with their grooming by giving them a ‘puppy cut’ or a ‘teddy bear cut’.

What is the price of a Shih Tzu? 

Compared to other dog breeds, Shih Tzu’s is a dog of few needs. We will break down the price by categorizing it by initial buying/adoption costs, vaccinations, diets, healthcare, and grooming. According to My Doh and the OVMA, here are the average costs of puppy ownership in Canada.

Adoption: $100 – $300  

The price of a Shih Tzu will depend on some factors like its age, breeder’s reputation, color, and bloodline. A Shih Tzu dog’s price can range from around $500-$1800 if you buy one from a breeder. Some purebred, show-quality Shih Tzus purchased from reputable breeders can cost around $5000. A teacup or miniature Shih Tzu could cost around $1500-$2000. These ones can literally fit into a teacup. Mixed breeds can cost comparatively lesser at times. Shih Tzu Pomeranian mix, called Shiranian’s price could be around $800. A Maltese Shih Tzu price could be around $800-$1000. A cross between a Bichon Frise and a Shih Tzu – Shichon can cost more at around $1200-$1500.

You can get a Shih Tzu for less at around $100-$300 if you opt to adopt from a rescue shelter. There are plenty of shelters where you can find your lion dog. Some shelters even specialize in Shih Tzus. Most rescue shelters will typically provide care to the dogs before adoption, including up-to-date vaccinations and spaying or neutering. The adoption fee usually covers these costs of care. If you choose an adult dog, there’s a good chance they could cost less!

Monthly costs for a Shih Tzu puppy

Diets: $20-$30

An advantage of having a small dog is that their food requirements are lower than the more giant breeds. The average weight of a Shih Tzu is 13 lbs, which means that around 6-7 lbs of food will suffice for it in a month. There are good quality kibbles available at dollar-per-pound rates, and even if you go on the premium side, the cost to feed this dog could be around $20. And, of course, you’ll want to factor in the cost of treats you’ll want to give them!

Grooming: $60-$80

These dogs will need proper grooming to help maintain their long coats. It is recommended that you take your Shih Tzu to a professional groomer around 6-8 times a year. Each of these visits could cost around $50-$70. If you wish to groom your dog at home, a grooming kit, including brushes, a dental kit, nail clippers, and shampoo, can cost you around $60-$80.

Medical Costs: $700-$1200

During the first years, you should take your pet to the vet about 3-4 times annually. Vet fees can range from $100 to $300 and could include things like annual wellness exams and blood tests, among other recommended preventive care treatments. Other examinations and tests could cost you another $300-$400.

One-time costs for a Shih Tzu

Initial Costs: $500-$600

To help welcome this beautiful dog home, you’ll need an initial setup for their immediate needs. These items can include a bed, crate, collars, leashes, poop bags and scooper, food and water bowls, training pads, toys, and chewies. These could cost you around $400-$500.

Microchipping: $50-$70

The cost can vary depending on where you live, but the average cost is around $50. Along with a dog license, it could cost an additional 10-20 bucks.

Vaccinations: $280-$300

There are certain core vaccinations that a Shih Tzu would need. These include distemper, parvovirus, Adenovirus, type 1, Adenovirus, type 2, and rabies. All of these could cost you around $150-$200.

There are certain non-core vaccinations as well that are recommended by most vets for a Shih Tzu. These include parainfluenza, Lyme disease, and leptospirosis. The cost of these vaccines can be around $130-$150.

Miscellaneous $200-$250

There could be times when you may need a dog sitter or walker throughout your dog’s life. Other times, you may want to take your dog traveling with you. It’s better to keep a small amount of money aside for these miscellaneous expenses. Annually, these expenses could be around $200-$250.

Lifetime Shih Tzu Cost

After adding the expenses, including the buying or adoption cost, initial set-up costs, monthly maintenance costs, and one-time expenses, the price of a Shih Tzu can be estimated at around $15,000-$17,000. This estimated cost does not include the cost of medical emergencies, should they happen to your pet.


Shih Tzu, the lion dog, and the dog of Buddhist Monasteries are beautiful and fun-loving companions. This dog will keep the house lively and playful and love lounging and cuddling with you. The lifetime costs of owning one will feel worth it by seeing their cute faces every day! So go ahead and get your little lion home!

Happy Parenting to you and Lots of Love to your Pup!

  1. “How to Budget for a Family Pet in Canada,” My Doh,, May 17, 2023.

  2. “Annual Cost of Owning a Puppy,” OVMA,, n.d.

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