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Shih Tzu Lifespan: How Long Can a Shih Tzu Live?

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shih-tzu-canis-familiaris-puppy-running
The Shih Tzu is a toy dog breed that is said to have originated in China as temple dogs.

© Darz Stock/Shutterstock.com

The Shih Tzu is a utilitarian toy dog thought to have originated from temple dogs in China or Tibet.

The name Shih Tzus or X Sh qun (Xi Shi Dog) comes from the Chinese word for "lion" because the dog was created to look like a "lion in traditional oriental painting". The breed is also known in China as the "lion dog".

This breed is known for its small nose, large round eyes, growing fur, floppy ears, and short, stocky stance. Despite their small stature, they are known for their happy, active, and sociable personalities. So how long do these cubs live? What can we learn about them to help them live longer? Read on to find out!

How long can a Shih Tzu live?

Shih Tzu (Canis familiaris) - Portrait
Shih Tzus live an average of 13 years, but some live even longer.

© Angel LeBlanc/Shutterstock.com

How long does a Shih Tzu live? Shih Tzus have an average lifespan of 13 years, with most between 10 and 16 years old . At 23, the world's oldest living Shih Tzu is still alive.

Shih Tzus are highly independent dogs that can thrive in a variety of environments. However, due to their independent nature, they are not considered the most obedient breed and they require a lot of attention to thrive.

Are Shih Tzus Good Family Dogs?

Prettiest/cutest dog - Shih Tzu - across the grass by the lake
Shih Tzus, bred only as companions, are affectionate, happy, outgoing family dogs who simply love to follow their people from room to room.

©rebeccaashworth/Shutterstock.com

It is recommended that Shih Tzus owners spend most of their time at home, as they do best socially and like to be at your feet or by your side. Puppies of this breed need a lot of socialization as they are distrustful of strangers and prefer to meet people on their own terms.

In general, Shih Tzus are considered to have a positive outlook on life and an infectious sense of humor. They are energetic and friendly. People of all ages can get along with them, and with the right introduction, so can other dogs and animals.

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Be careful with children who play with Shih Tzus, as they do not like to fight and are quick to express their emotions. It's hard to find grumpy shih tzus; most of these dogs are great.

What are the most common health problems for Shih Tzus?

Shih Tzu (Canis familiaris) - standing against white background
The most common health problems in Shih Tzus involve the eyes, ears and skin, including cataracts and infections.

© Eric Isselee/Shutterstock.com

A variety of health problems have been found in Shih Tzus, some of which may run in families. Because of the breed's popularity, people bred them in a terrible way. This can lead to widespread and long-lasting health problems, often starting at a very young age.

The most common health problems with this breed are those involving the eyes, ears, and skin.

Eye

Shih Tzus are more prone to eye problems as they age. Cataracts are common in Shih Tzus as they age, but can be repaired surgically. If cataracts are not treated, dogs may lose vision in the affected eye. If they scratch the unusually large eye, an ulcer can form. Corneal irritation is the most common ailment among Shih Tzus because of the fur on their eyelids.

ear

Because Shih Tzus have long coats and hair growing in their ears, ear infections are common for them. To prevent ear infections from recurring, it is necessary to regularly clean and pull the ears, and use ear cleaners and veterinary medicines. There are several telltale signs of an ear infection, including an unpleasant smell coming from the ear and a tendency to shake your head and scratch your ear.

skin

The Shih Tzu's skin is particularly delicate and prone to allergies. As a precaution, they should be bathed every 2 to 6 months. Many of them suffer from digestive issues, and they're also known for their picky eating habits.

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What's wrong with Shih Tzu sleeping with eyes open?

Shih Tzu (Canis familiaris) - standing on grass
Shih Tzus have been known to sleep with their eyes open, a condition known as exophthalmos.

© Chaos/Shutterstock.com

Some breeds are more likely to sleep with their eyes open than others. Shih Tzu is more susceptible to this condition called laryngophthalmos. If the eyelids cannot maintain muscle control while asleep, the eyelids may be partially opened. This is known to affect their long-term eye health, including vision loss.

What are the signs that a Shih Tzu is dying?

Dying symptoms in a Shih Tzu can include abnormal breathing, loss of appetite, and digestive problems.

© Ltshears – Public Domain

If your dog loses his zest for life later in life, it's a sure sign that their time is running out. End-of-life symptoms in a Shih Tzu can include depression and loss of coordination, abnormal breathing, excessive lethargy, changes in appetite, and digestive problems.

If you notice these signs in your Shih Tzu, take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible. If their time is approaching, your veterinarian can help them and you make the process as comfortable as possible.

What can be done to help Shih Tzu live longer?

Shih Tzu (Canis familiaris) - puppy run
Focus on providing your Shih Tzu with attention, a healthy diet, regular veterinary visits, and physical exercise.

© Darz Stock/Shutterstock.com

stay tuned

Shih Tzus can live long and healthy lives, but they require the same level of care and attention as human toddlers. They're pretty expensive to maintain in this regard, so make sure you're ready to meet their demands.

healthy eating

Pay attention to what your Shih Tzu eats. Nothing should be overlooked. Check the packaging. Make sure the food you serve is healthy, chemical-free and organic whenever possible. Look for foods and snacks that don't contain any preservatives. If there are preservatives, look for preservatives derived from plants or herbs, as well as vitamin blends (often called mixed tocopherols).

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regular vet visits

Regular and up-to-date health checks are necessary. Puppies should be checked for vaccinations every 1 to 3 months. An annual checkup is recommended for adult dogs ages 1 to 7. Adults over the age of eight are seen every two years.

neutered or neutered

Spaying or neutering your Shih Tzu should be done by your veterinarian. If a woman has weight or shape problems, surgery can be delayed until she is at least one year old, but should be done as soon as possible. One-year-old boys should be sterilized to prevent them from developing unhealthy habits.

exercise regularly

The best way to ensure your Shih Tzu puppy or dog lives a long and healthy life is to make sure they get plenty of activity from an early age.

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featured image

Shih Tzu (Canis familiaris) - Portrait
The Shih Tzu was originally bred by Chinese royalty!

© Angel LeBlanc/Shutterstock.com


about the author


I have spent a large part of my life as a writer and artist with great respect for viewing nature analytically and metaphysically. After careful investigation, the natural world reveals truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of everything we have is embodied in our planet; the process of writing and creating art around this subject is an attempt to convey the wonder of it.

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