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Shih Tzu Price: How Much Do They Cost? (2024 Update)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on July 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

A very cute Shih Tzu puppy posing on a warm summer day

Shih Tzu Price: How Much Do They Cost? (2024 Update)

The Shih Tzu is a small breed that can live in an apartment, doesn’t need too much exercise each day, and makes a loving and loyal pet for its family. However, despite being a relatively small breed, owning a Shih Tzu still comes with certain costs.

As well as the approximate $1,200 that a puppy will cost, there are initial costs for all the equipment and items needed, as well as monthly ongoing costs.

Although the actual costs can vary greatly according to what items you deem necessary, whether you choose crate training or not, and whether you take out pet insurance, we have provided a guide below to help you budget accordingly before buying one of these happy and loving little dogs.


Bringing Home a New Shih Tzu: One-Time Costs

Shih Tzus are a popular breed, which means that there are breeders across the country.

Some breeders offer pet-grade Shih Tzus, which may not have the same championship lineage as an exhibition or show Shih Tzu but should have started their socialization and can make wonderful pets. Pet Shih Tzus also tend to cost less than those with medal-winning parents.

The breed can also be found in shelters and rescues—adopting a dog costs less than buying from a breeder, but there are still costs, and you do need to make sure you have some idea of the dog’s background and temperament.

I love my fluffy dog. Beautiful young woman feeling
Image Credit: antoniodiaz, Shutterstock


Typically, free dogs come from friends and family, neighbors, or somebody you know. Alternatively, you may be able to find a Shih Tzu that needs a new home and the owner doesn’t want any payment for the dog, but just wants to make sure they have a good home.


  • $200–$500

Adoption costs vary according to location, shelter policy, and even the age and adoptability of the dog itself. Puppies typically cost more to adopt than adult dogs, and some shelters may give senior dogs away to free up space in their center because fewer people want to adopt senior pets.

When adopting, it can be difficult to get the background of the dog, but at the very least you need to make sure that you meet the dog a couple of times before taking it home so that you can judge its character and get to know it a little.


  • $200–$2,500

Breeder costs vary dramatically from one breeder to the next and are typically based on the background of the puppy’s parents. If you want to show or compete with your Shih Tzu, you will want a puppy with good lineage, and these will cost more than those that are bred and sold as pets.

In any case, always speak to and research the breeder, meet at least the mother, and determine what you are paying for. The dog should be microchipped by the time you take delivery, but will it be spayed or neutered? Do you get a few months of free insurance?

Initial Setup and Supplies

  • $500–$1,000

How much you have to pay for initial supplies will depend on whether you have had a dog before and kept any of its stuff, or whether you already have dogs. It may also depend on your current living conditions—you might need to dog-proof the yard, for example. You will need items like bowls and beds, although these can last years before they need replacing, and you will need enough food to last at least the first few weeks.

You will need toys, brushes, and nail clippers, and you can choose whether to pay for a year’s insurance premium in one or pay monthly over the year.

List of Shih Tzu Care Supplies and Costs

Collar and Leash $50
Spay/Neuter $150
Microchip $45–$55
Bed and Bedding $50–$100
Crate $0–$250
Toys $10–$100
Miscellaneous $0–$100
Happy Shih tzu dog sitting on green grass.
Image Credit: Orawan Pattarawimonchai, Shutterstock

How Much Does a Shih Tzu Cost Per Month?

  • $100–$300 per month

Monthly costs include food and medication, as well as pet insurance if you choose it. And because the Shih Tzu’s coat can be difficult to manage, you may need to budget for regular grooming sessions, unless you are handy with a brush and clippers. Dog training may be another monthly cost for you and your dog.

Health Care

  • $50–$300 per month

Healthcare costs really do vary from one month to the next. For a lot of months, you hopefully won’t have to pay a cent in healthcare costs. Some months you will have to pay for preventive care treatments like flea and deworming treatments, too.

And if your dog develops an illness or is involved in an accident, the costs can be very high indeed. Averaged throughout a dog’s life, you should budget $50 or more per month, although pet insurance will help you manage the costs more accurately.


  • $20–$50 per month 

Shih Tzus are small dogs, which means they have small appetites, so food costs are relatively minimal for this breed. However, you do need to buy decent quality food to meet your dog’s nutritional requirements and if you feed any treats or if you use treats to help as a training aid, these will cost money and add to your monthly budget, too.


  • $5–$50 per month

If you are good with a pair of clippers, nail trimmers, toothbrush, and dog brush, you can groom your Shih Tzu yourself, but most benefit from at least an occasional visit to the professional groomer. Grooming costs vary, but you can find reasonable rates in most areas.

Medications and Vet Visits

  • $30–$75

How much you have to pay for vet visits and medications will depend on the general health and well-being of your dog, although there are some costs you can’t avoid, such as the cost of annual jabs. Wellness or preventive care plans can save you a little money here.

Black and white shih tzu puppy playing on the green grass
Image Credit: Druzhnieva Veronika, Shutterstock

Pet Insurance

  • $15–$50 per month

Not all dog owners pay for pet insurance, but it can be very beneficial if your dog gets ill or is involved in an accident and you are hit with a hefty vet bill.

At the very least, if you have pet insurance when this happens, you can base your treatment decision on what is best for the dog and not have to worry about the implications it will have on your bank balance.

Environment Maintenance

  • $10–$50 per month

Because dogs don’t live in a hutch, don’t require bedding, and don’t even need litter top-ups, there aren’t too many environmental maintenance costs to consider. You may need to buy crate liners, if you use a crate, and will need items like poop bags, however.


  • $10–$50 per month

Shih Tzus might be small and may not need too much exercise, but they do need regular walks and they can also benefit from the physical and mental stimulation of agility classes or other canine sports. Entertainment costs will include, at least, the occasional new toy, but they could also include agility class costs and more.

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Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Shih Tzu

  • $100–$300 per month

Owning a Shih Tzu can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but you do need to ensure that you meet the dog’s needs in terms of food, entertainment, and other factors.

Additional Costs to Factor In

There will always be some unexpected costs that might arise when owning a dog, as well as occasional costs that you won’t need to pay every month or even every year.

For example, if you go away and you don’t have a family member or friend to look after your dog, you may have to pay for boarding or a pet sitter. And a dog walking service is a good idea if you are unable to walk your dog every day.

Owning a Shih Tzu on a Budget

There are some areas where you can make savings on Shih Tzu ownership. Adopting typically costs less than buying, and while pet insurance might seem like an unnecessary cost, it can protect you against substantial veterinary bills later down the line.

See if you can combine pet insurance for multiple pets, if you have them, or with other insurance policies, to save money each month. Buy food when it is on offer, but make sure it won’t go bad while sitting on the shelf. Consider wellness or preventive care plans that can save money on things like flea treatments and deworming.

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Shih Tzus are a popular white or black dog breed. They are relatively low maintenance, although their coat does require some regular grooming. They don’t eat much, and they don’t need much exercise. But like any dog, they do have certain requirements that need to be met. You will have to buy food, pay for treatments like worming and flea treatments, and if they get ill, you will have to cover vet bills.

The smaller size of the Shih Tzu means that it has lower ongoing care costs than a lot of other breeds, but you can still expect to pay around $100 a month, on average.

Featured Image Credit to: Duncan Woodhouse, Shutterstock

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