How Much Does a Shih Tzu Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

According to the AKC, the Shih Tzu is of the imperial variety and has a baby doll face with straight legs and a button nose.  These dogs come in an array of colors, including exotic colors such as chocolate, red and blue.

Paco, Shih Tzu Dog by gurdonark, on Flickr
Paco, Shih Tzu Dog” (CC BY 2.0) by  gurdonark

How much does a Shih Tzu cost?

The cost of Shih Tzu puppies will depend on the gender, age, quality, parents, geographical location, its inclusions and breeder selling the dog.  On average, this breed can cost anywhere from $300 without papers to as much as $1,550.  However, it’s not uncommon to find older dogs for less than $200 at a local shelter since this breed tends to be very common, but a high-quality show breed could easily cost more than $1,000.  Price matters when purchasing any dog, and if the price falls outside of this range, you should question the seller selling the dog.   Free or lower priced dogs are often susceptible to health problems, such as hip dysplasia, and often don’t meet the breed standards.

You will often find AKC dogs will cost more than CKC (Continental Kennel Club)  dogs.  Why?  The AKC is the strictest registry in the United States since they keep a close eye on all breeders; if these breeders don’t meet its standards, the breeder will be taken out of the program.  The CKC, on the other hand, is often known to allow any breeder with two “witness” signatures to be considered certified.

According to AllShihTzu.com, the average price commonly seen on the market will be between $500 to $900 and will greatly vary across the United States.  The website goes on to say that the price will matter 99 percent of the time, but there will be that rare instance where an owner may have to give up their dog due to personal health concerns.

At the time of this writing, for instance, we found close to 800 classified listings on the website, PuppyFind.com.  Here, breeders listed their puppies, commonly ages five to 12 weeks old, for $600 to more than $1,500.  The average breeder here, at least most of them, included the registration paperwork, up-to-date vaccinations, a vet exam and some sort of health guarantee.

Glancing at the official AKC Marketplace, we had found most breeders list their puppies for anywhere from $900 to $1,600, with females often costing $200 to $400 more.

What is going to be included in the adoption fee?

A reputable breeder should include a health guarantee, health examination from a licensed vet, up-to-date vaccinations and a travel crate if being shipped.  Also, breeders and/or rescue centers should also include a microchip, spay/neutering and small starter kit with valuable necessities to get you started.

What are the extra costs?

If having the dog shipped via an airline or ground transportation company, the cost of shipments can start at $200 and go up from there, depending on how far the dog has to be shipped.

Ongoing costs, as with any dog breed should be considered.  This will include the high-quality dog food, grooming sessions, accessories, toys, shelter and surprise/routine vet visits.  When getting started, you also have to purchase first-time items if you don’t have them such as a dog leash, food bowls, dog bed, harness, toys and blankets.

Tips to know

The dog is known to be very playful, affectionate, outgoing and extremely charming.  It tends to good well with children who are able to hand pets accordingly and other dogs as well.

Both males and females measure nine to 11 inches tall and can weigh nine to 17 pounds.

Common coat colors include eight solid colors: black, gold, white, red, gold, brindle, liver and blue.  You may also find a mixture of the two, include white with a mix of black, blue, brindle, gold, liver, red or silver.

If healthy, the breed can live 10 to 17 years.

Always try to purchase from a local registered breeder you can visit in person.  This will give you the chance to see how the dogs are raised and even give you the opportunity to visit the parents if they are on site.  If a breeder doesn’t let you visit their location, this is a red flag and is often considered a “backyard breeder.”

The Imperial Shih Tzu, which commonly refers to as a tiny teacup Shih Tzu, should be regarded as what they are, according to the American Shih Tzu Club — a myth.  Unethical breeders who create this breed often do not conform to a breed standard and won’t be similar to a standard Shih Tzu

How can I save money?

Check local rescue groups or the Humane Society to see if an older dog is available for adoption.  Even if you can’t find a purebred, you may be able to find a popular mix such as a Shih Tzu Yorkie mix or Shih Tzu Pomeranian mix.  Before adopting, however, be sure to look into the dog’s past to see what you’re getting yourself into as some dogs could have behavioral issues.


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Average Reported Cost: $1250

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0 %
Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. James (canton,  ohio) paid $1500 and said:

    9 month old with papers

    Was it worth it? Yes

  2. Karen (Ft Worth,  Texas) paid $1000 and said:

    5 month old Show quality puppy. The breeder kept him back to show, but couldn’t because one testicle failed to descend. With papers AKC

    Was it worth it? Yes

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