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While the main focus for many people is "how much does a Shih Tzu cost," there are several additional expenditures that we'll go through in this post.
The cost of a Shih Tzu puppy varies depending on where you live and which breeder you choose, but in the United States, potential owners could anticipate paying between $500 and $1,000 on average. In certain situations, people can even end up paying thousands of dollars for show-ready Shih Tzus.
In this article, we’ll be covering the various factors that govern the price of a Shih Tzu. This includes whether or not you buy your pup from a shelter or a breeder, whether your pup is show-ready, and we’ll even look into the health issues that Shih Tzus are known to have.
Our team of experts has used both their own personal knowledge and experience as well as information gathered from the internet to bring you this article on the costs involved when you’re looking to buy a Shih Tzu.
What is the Price of a Shih Tzu?
The price of a Shih Tzu puppy mainly depends on its parents. Of course, if you choose a very uncommon Shih Tzu breed, like the Teacup Shih Tzu, be prepared to pay a lot of money!
You could expect to spend double the amount listed in a classified ad when purchasing a puppy from a registered breeder. That's because, more often than not, breeders organize pairings and title the parents in conformation shows for months. Rescues will sell you a puppy at a cheaper price, which will largely cover the expense of the puppies' veterinary care.
Many breeders are enrolled with the American Kennel Club since Shih Tzus are such a popular breed. While this does not ensure a healthy puppy, it is far more likely that you will be dealing with a reputable breeder that is concerned about your puppy's health and socialization before you take her home. After all, keeping their dogs healthy and their buyers pleased is crucial to their reputation as breeders.
Opt for a Rescue Dog
If you don't think going the breeder route is appropriate for you, you should consider adopting a rescue dog. While most rescues will not have many purebred Shih Tzu pups available, they may have an older dog or a Shih Tzu-mixed crossbreed. This is a wonderful choice, and you'll feel great about giving an unloved dog a permanent loving home.
It is also important to note that Shih Tzus are known to have various health issues, such as eye and respiratory disorders, that will necessitate visits to the veterinarian on a regular basis throughout their lives. There are also the initial vaccines and annual check-ups that all puppies require. Some of this could be covered by insurance, but the amount of coverage depends on how much you're prepared to spend, and prices will rise as the dog gets older.
A Shih Tzu puppy from a shelter can set you back around $350. However, it is important to keep in mind that this price is inclusive of health insurance. Almost all rescues require that pups be vaccinated, dewormed, and, of course, microchipped before being placed in their permanent homes. Some are also spayed and neutered before being given for adoption, while others provide a free voucher to the new owners.
Rescuers may only make educated guesses about a dog's breed and cannot say if it is purebred or not. A rescue Shih Tzu puppy is a fantastic choice if you're okay with the possibility of getting a mixed breed like a Shorkie or Shichon.
The Price of a Shih Tzu Puppy from a Breeder
Breeders who pair parents often charge approximately $1,200 per puppy. Remember that a puppy from a recognized breeding program will always come from parents who have been health-tested.
They will also be aware of the temperament and features of the parents (and grandparents). This information is especially useful if you want to bring a Shih Tzu into a household with other pets. The breeder can also tell you about the pup's temperament, which will help you when it's time to socialize your new pup.
Puppies are often sent to their new homes with vaccinations, dewormings, and a microchip. They are usually unaltered, and the new owners will be responsible for the cost of spaying or neutering.
Shih Tzus from highly renowned champion lines or those with very unusual colors and patterns can cost tens of thousands of dollars. For a very well-bred Shih Tzu with a distinguished lineage, you can expect to pay three thousand dollars (or perhaps more).
Free vs. Paid
Sure, there are instances where the owner of a Shih Tzu might want to give up their pet for free, in which case, congratulations! However, that seldom, if ever happens, and you usually end up having to pay for your Shih Tzu. But let's take a closer look at free or cheap pups as compared to those that cost top dollar.
First off, it goes without saying that a Shih Tzu pup that's going cheap is probably not a thoroughbred, or carefully bred, for that matter. This could result in many health issues that these small pups are known for – something that pet owners soon find out. While some of the health defects in Shih Tzus are apparent at birth, others show up later on, so it is best to pay more when you are certain that you're getting one that meets all of the breed standards.
What About Buying From a Puppy Mill?
The good news is that the public is now well aware of puppy mills and how bad they are. While puppy mills are continuing to be phased out, they're still out there, which means that in all likelihood, there are pet stores out there selling puppies that came from these mills.
If you buy a Shih Tzu puppy that's come from one of these mills, you're probably not only going to get a puppy that's not a thoroughbred Shih Tzu and will probably have health issues later on, but you are also supporting those puppy mills. It is important to note that professional breeders would never keep their pups in a pet store of all places, so if the pet shop owner tells you that, they are clearly lying.
Pet Quality vs. Show Quality
Let's face it; the real reason why many folks choose the cute and cuddly Shih Tzu is to show them off and probably even enter the show ring (nothing wrong with that!). However, you will need to choose between a show quality and a pet quality Shih Tzu, and here's the reason why.
Show quality pups meet AKC standards, so they could enter in the show ring as well. On the other hand, pet quality pups come with well-documented flaws and health issues that could prevent them from entering any competition. It is safe to say the majority of Shih Tzus that are sold do not fit in either category exactly. This is because no one can deem a pup as unworthy of being a show quality pup. So, there's really no need to fork up a lot of money just because the advertisement reads "Show Quality" because it probably isn't.
Of course, you're not done with the cost of owning a Shih Tzu once you've bought your four-legged friend home. However, there are some advantages of owning a really small dog. For instance, it won't require a large budget for training, food, and chew toys because tiny dogs are generally pleasant and non-destructible.
The Shih Tzu's coat upkeep should begin early, and most Shih Tzu owners should anticipate paying for professional grooming services at some point. Shih Tzus also have a tough coat that must be combed and shampooed on a regular basis. Many owners get their Shih Tzus groomed by a professional groomer. The groomer gives them a cute haircut, which is also going to cost you. Also, as mentioned earlier, this breed tends to come with a few known health issues, so medical bills may quickly mount up, which is another factor to consider. Expect to spend a lot of money at the veterinarian, especially as they age.
Then, there's the ongoing costs of food and toys, not to mention all of the other accessories that come with owning a dog. While all of this adds up, and prudent owners will include the additional expenditures into their budgets, most Shih Tzu owners will agree that the money spent is well worth it to have these beautiful furry friends in their life.