Shih Tzus are some of the cutest dogs out there. Many people would love for their Shih Tzu to have a litter of puppies. How many puppies can a Shih Tzu have?
Shih Tzus have an average of three to four puppies per litter. First-time mothers will have a smaller litter of one to three puppies. As the Shih Tzu ages and has more litters of puppies, the litters may become larger, up to five or six puppies each time.
In this piece, we will discuss the number of puppies that a Shih Tzu can have. We will talk about how many they can have in one litter, as well as how many they can have in one year and their lifetime. There are some dangers associated with having too many puppies, so we will discuss those as well so that you can keep your Shih Tzu safe and healthy if you decide to breed her.
I have owned and loved dogs for my entire life. Apart from learning a lot from experience with my own dogs, I have conducted a lot of research about them over the years as well. It is my goal that I can disseminate information from a variety of sources into one place here in this article. That way, you can learn everything that you need to know about Shih Tzus and their puppies from one source.
How Many Puppies Can a Shih Tzu Have in One Litter?
Shih Tzus are a breed of dog in the toy group. This means that they are small in size and are generally known to be lapdogs. Shih Tzus are outgoing, affectionate, and playful. They make excellent pets for anyone, especially people living in a small city apartment. They love to accompany you on outings and do well in small living spaces.
Because Shih Tzus are so small, they usually have fewer puppies in each litter, at least compared to larger dogs. On average, Shih Tzus have about three puppies per litter. Sometimes, if the dog has given birth before, she can have more puppies in her litter, up to five or six. First-time Shih Tzu mothers usually have smaller litters. They can even be as small as one puppy. As dogs age, they usually have more puppies in their litters.
The limited number of Sih Tzu puppies is one of the reasons that they are so expensive. Their scarcity makes them more valuable and therefore breeders can charge more money for them.
How Many Puppies Can a Shih Tzu Have in One Year?
If you are thinking about becoming a Shih Tzu breeder, then it might be helpful to know how many puppies a Shih Tzu can have per year. This can help you estimate the number of supplies that you will need for the first few weeks of the puppies’ life. It can also help you estimate how many people you will need to line up for adoptions, and therefore help you budget.
The gestation period, AKA the length of the pregnancy, for Shih Tzus is about two months. This, however, does not mean that your Shih Tzu can have a litter of puppies six times per year. It is generally recommended that a Shih Tzu only have a litter of puppies once every other year. Pregnancy and birth are hard and dangerous. Shih Tzus need time to rest and recover from birth and maintain their health to prepare for having another litter in two years.
If you are getting a Shih Tzu puppy from a breeder, you should inquire about the last litter that your puppy’s mother had. If it was within the last year, consider looking for a different breeder. Any breeder forcing their dog to have more than one litter every two years is not taking proper care of their dog.
Dangers Associated With Having Too Many Puppies
Most of the reasons that Shih Tzus shouldn’t have more than one litter every two years is that it can be dangerous. About 20% of Shih Tzu pregnancies end in a c-section. This is because having a natural birth can be dangerous for the mother. Although it is a common procedure, it is still a surgery and there can be complications.
C-sections are often required when the Shih Tzu has a larger litter, which tends to happen later in life once they have given birth to one or two litters. This means that the dangers and the likelihood of needing a c-section increases as the Shih Tzu ages and has more litters of puppies.
How Many Puppies Can a Shih Tzu Have in a Lifetime?
Technically, most female Shih Tzus can go into heat, or puberty, as early as four months old. Once this happens, they can start having puppies. However, this age is considered by many to be too young for a Shih Tzu to have her first litter. At four months old Shih Tzus are still in the puppy phase. Their teeth are coming in and they are learning to chew on toys for the first time. They are just barely able to comprehend house training and walking on a leash. A dog at this age should not be having puppies.
Some people recommend waiting until the dog is eight months old to have her first litter, while others recommend waiting until she is two years old. This will ensure that the dog is physically grown enough to handle the wear and tear on the body that pregnancy will put her through. Technically, Shih Tzus are not considered fully grown until they are about ten to twelve months old.
Technically, the American Kennel Club will recognize puppies that are born to mothers until they are twelve years old, though many people will say that twelve is much too old to have puppies. Most responsible breeders will stop breeding a dog when she is around eight years old.
Finally, Shih Tzus can technically have up to two litters per year. However, we have already discussed the fact that many experts and responsible breeders will breed their Shih Tzus once every other year.
With all of this information, we can determine the maximum number of puppies that a Shih Tzu can have in her life as well as the recommended number that a Shih Tzu owned by a responsible breeder might have.
An irresponsible breeder might start breeding their Shih Tzu when they are under a year old and stop breeding her when she is around twelve. They might also force her to have two litters of puppies per year. Following this, a Shih Tzu could technically have up to 90 puppies in her lifetime. This is certainly not recommended. To have this many puppies, the mother would have to be pregnant or caring for puppies for basically all of her life. Any dog that has this many puppies in her lifetime is owned by an abuser and irresponsible breeder.
A responsible breeder would instead have their dog start breeding when they are around two years old and have one litter of puppies every other year until she is eight years old. This means that Shih Tzus owned by a responsible breeder will have about 16 puppies in her lifetime. This gives the mother plenty of time to rest and recover between pregnancies. It also gives her time to enjoy being a dog.
Where to Adopt a Shih Tzu Puppy
If you are looking to adopt a Shih Tzu puppy, then you should look for a responsible breeder in your area. Now that you know some of the dangers associated with a mother having too many puppies in her lifetime, you understand the importance of finding a breeder that treats their mothers and puppies right.
When you find a potential breeder, make sure to ask them questions about the mother. When did she have her first litter? When did she have her last litter? How old is she? How many litters has she had in her lifetime? Gathering this type of information will help you determine whether that breeder is responsible. You do not want to give your money or energy to a breeder that abuses their dog to get paid.
Another way to fight unethical breeding practices is to adopt a Shih Tzu or a Shih Tzu mixed dog from an animal shelter. By adopting from a shelter or a rescue group, you are reducing the demand for breeders in general. This gives more opportunity for ethical and responsible breeders to win out over irresponsible breeders.
How to Raise a Shih Tzu Puppy
Once you have found a reputable and responsible breeder, you can buy a puppy from their next litter. When you adopt a Shih Tzu puppy from a breeder, you will likely be able to take them home once they are eight to twelve weeks old. At this point, they are weaned from their mother and they are starting to get curious about the world around them. Their mobility is getting better and they can get around much easier than they could just a few weeks ago.
When you bring a Shih Tzu puppy home from a breeder, you should know that they probably won’t be trained. Your breeder might have started to train them, but they are still so young that the training might not have stuck well. You will need to be diligent about training your new puppy. Be sure to crate train and house train them. Then, you should focus on teaching them how to walk politely on a leash and get along with other dogs.
Your breeder will likely give you information about recommended puppy food brands and the amount to give your puppy. Puppies often require special puppy food that is high in calories to support all of their growth. If you are unsure of what to feed to your puppy, consult with your vet.
Once your puppy reaches adulthood at about ten months to a year old, you will need to switch them over to adult dog food. The high calorie content of puppy food can cause Shih Tzus to gain unnecessary weight once they reach adulthood. You can estimate the healthy weight of your adult Shih Tzu by tracking their weight on a growth chart from the time that they are a puppy.
Can I Breed My Shih Tzu?
Now that you have raised your Shih Tzu puppy into adulthood, you might be thinking about breeding her yourself. This is something that you should take a lot of time and consideration to decide. Keep in mind that there are a lot of costs associated with breeding a Shih Tzu, and it is not necessarily profitable. Remember that about 20% of Shih Tzu pregnancies end in a c-section which can be expensive and traumatizing for your dog.
Before you breed your Shih-Tzu, make sure you have all of her genetic and lineage information available. You might need to have her genetically tested for certain traits. You will need to prove that by breeding your Shih Tzu, you are contributing to the betterment of the breed, as per the American Kennel Club standards. You should carefully choose who you will breed your Shih Tzu with. The male should be smaller than the female so that the puppies are small enough to be birthed.
You will also need to put in work to find buyers for your puppies. When they are born, you need to spend time with the puppies, taking care of them and training them. Young puppies take a lot of work and dedication. While the mother usually does a great job at caring for her puppies, human intervention is often needed. Before they get adopted by buyers, the puppies should be familiar with humans, so you need to spend a lot of time playing with them and being around them.
Finally, you need to prepare for the unexpected when you breed your Shih Tzu. You need to consider that you might lose a puppy, or that a puppy is born with health defects, making them unadoptable. In this case, you are left with a long-term commitment to raising that puppy if they cannot find a home of their own.
Above all, if you plan to breed your Shih Tzu, make sure you follow all of the recommendations laid out in this article. Don’t overbreed your dog. Let her enjoy her life rather than working and being pregnant for her entire adult life.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright