I bet a lot of you new Shih Tzu owners have Googled Shih Tzu growth charts or other puppy growth charts for pups of the same size.
Well, there actually isn’t a completely accurate puppy growth chart for this dog breed.
Dog breeders of the Shih Tzu breed and dog experts do recommend charts that will help you to calculate the future adult weight your puppy will be.
If you ask me, I’d say those charts are perfectly fine. I don’t expect any puppy to fall exactly into the recommended weight and height ranges. That’s kinda impossible, because not every puppy comes from the same parents. Not every puppy even has the same upbringing!
You can use these Shih Tzu growth charts if you’re curious about your dog’s future size, as well as to check if your pup’s current weight suits its age.
Today, we’ll discuss these charts, how a puppy develops through all its puppyhood stages, as well as what to do if your puppy doesn’t grow up nicely, or has some negative factors present that affect their growth.
Shih Tzu Growth Chart For An Eight Week Old Puppy
At eight weeks, most puppies will be ready to head off to their new homes. This is the time when good breeders measure their pups to see if they’re developing correctly.
Also, at this stage, you will be able to calculate your puppy’s predicted weight as an adult Shih Tzu. Isn’t that amazing?
|8 Weeks||Estimated adult weight|
|1.25 lbs||5.5-7 lbs|
|1.5 lbs||6-7.5 lbs|
|1.75 lbs||7-8 lbs|
|2 lbs||8-9.5 lbs|
|2.25 lbs||9-10.5 lbs
|2.5 lbs||9-11 lbs|
|2.75 lbs|| 11-14 lbs
|3 lbs||12-15 lbs
|3.25 lbs||13-16 lbs|
|3.5 lbs||14-16 lbs|
|3.75 lbs||15-17 lbs|
|4 lbs||16-18 lbs
Shih Tzu Growth Chart: From Birth To 12 Months
DISCLAIMER: The following chart you’re about to see doesn’t give precise measurements. Most weight charts that you see online are referring to skinny toy breeds, like Yorkies or Maltese pups. Shih Tzus are bigger than these. They’re bulky and sturdily-built.
Instead, you or the breeder can weigh the puppy and then, following this table, predict its future weight.
|6 months||20% more to grow||-|
|8 months||bones at 100%||-|
|12 months||100% grown||-|
The first year in a puppy’s life is always the most fun one. The little one is finally getting to know the world around him, and it can be overwhelming for him from time to time. Living with his mom and other littermates doesn’t last for long.
Then comes weaning, first dog training lessons, potty training, and adoption. And, even then, things aren’t any less exciting.
But, have you really wondered if the changes inside a dog stop once they’re ready for adoption? Will they experience other major milestones that we don’t see with our bare eyes?
There are several big milestones that happen during a puppy’s first year. On his way to becoming an adult, your puppy will go through the following phases.
We don’t really have much to say about the newborn phase. It’s the period when puppies are getting used to the world outside their mommy’s womb.
Newborn Shih Tzu puppies only weigh about 5-6 ounces. The only thing they do is eat and sleep. They can’t move, hear, or see. Being blind, puppies rely on their scent of smell,it’s the only way to tell if mommy is around.
This phase lasts for around 2 weeks, then the first major changes begin to happen.
Newborn To 3 Months Old
As I said, a lot of important things happen at this phase. This is the period when puppies get their first teeth, open their eyes, and start exploring and interacting with their surroundings.
First, they get their teeth when they turn 4 weeks old. Teeth growth prepares the puppies for weaning, which will happen in the next period.
At the age of 6 weeks, puppies finally get to hear and see. It’s time for them to experience their first games with their mom and siblings. The world around them will finally become interesting enough to explore.
Just 2 weeks later, puppies are able to be put up for adoption. Most reliable breeders will wait until the 8 week milestone, but some even decide to wait until they turn 10-12 weeks of age.
The important thing is not to allow puppies to be separated from their mom too early.
Around 6 Months Of Age
Around their half birthday, puppies are finally clear for spaying and neutering. Well, Shih Tzu puppies are anyway.
Male and female Shih pups enter pubertiy and sexual maturity at this stage. Dog owners are able to get them fixed to prevent further breeding, as well as any potential severe health problems.
The period around their sixth month is especially tricky, since puppies can develop anxiety at this point. It’s important not to leave them alone for too long, or they’ll develop depression and unwanted behaviors will manifest.
This early age is crucial, because puppies need to learn how to behave now or never.
Surprisingly, just after reaching puberty, Shih Tzu puppies will become much calmer. You will notice a significant change in their behavior. This is the time for your puppy to learn how to push your boundaries.
I know, it’s not funny at all. But, you must never drop your guard and let your dog do whatever he wants. Otherwise, he will use this and start behaving like he’s in charge.
By 9 months, Shih’s can be considered adults. Still, some pups will slowly add more weight until they reach 12-24 months of age.
At this stage, puppies are no longer puppies. They’re now adult dogs and can eat dog food designed for adults.
After 12 Months
After their first birthday, Shih Tzus are officially adult dogs. Their puppy weight is now gone and replaced with an adult weight that you should maintain over the following years.
It’s not healthy for dogs of this size to become overweight. This could lead to numerous problems with their hips, joints, and mobility.
How Can I Tell How Big My Shih Tzu Will Be?
There’s no need to guess or bust your head trying to work out how big your little Shih Tzu puppy will be once he’s all grown up. We have a few ways of telling how big a Shih Tzu puppy will be, and all of them are pretty simple.
The most obvious way to tell a puppy’s future size is by looking at its parents. You can’t expect a giant from a tiny dad and a tinier mom. The genetics will be transferred from the parents to the offspring. Females will mostly resemble their mom, while males will be just like their dad.
Another way to tell what a dog’s adult size will be is by looking at the puppy’s paws. Imagine small paws carrying 100 pounds of body weight. It’s impossible! That’s why small paws mean small body weight, and large paws mean a large dog. It’s as simple as that.
When picking a Shih Tzu puppy from a breeder, ask to see the parents. If they are between the height and weight range determined by the breed standard, you can expect a normal-sized Shih Tzu puppy.
Puppies that seem too weak or too tiny are usually the runts of the litter because of a certain illness or malnutrition. In these cases, inspecting the parents and the rest of the litter is a must.
How Can I Tell If My Shih Tzu Is Fully Grown?
The answer to that question is pretty simple.
You can’t expect a train to arrive at noon when it’s scheduled for 12:20, can you? Do you know what I’m getting at?
You can’t expect your Shih Tzu to be fully grown until, let’s say, 7 months. All puppies need their time. For Shih Tzus, it’s usually 12 months before we can call them adult dogs.
Follow the Shih Tzu growth charts from above to give you a clearer picture of how big your puppy will be once he grows up. A Shih Tzu’s weight falls within the range of 9-15 pounds. Anything under 9 pounds is either considered immature or underweight.
Be aware that some Shih Tzu types, such as the Imperial Shih Tzu can slowly grow past the 12 month milestone. They will add teensy tiny bits of weight over the months until they reach 24 months of age.
How Much Do Shih Tzus Weigh?
My first thought when someone mentions Shih Tzus is how small but sturdy they are.
Shih Tzus aren’t your regular toy dog breed. They’re not as fragile as Pomeranians or even Bichons. These pups are small, but still have mighty paws.
An average Shih Tzu should weigh anywhere from 9-16 pounds.
When they’re born, Shih Tzus are only a couple of ounces. That’s really small! However, their weight will significantly increase in the following couple of weeks. From a tiny rat-like baby, to a chubby pupster!
Compared to their 8-11 inches height at the withers, their recommended adult weight is perfectly appropriate. This makes Shih Tzus rather compact dogs, with just enough pounds to stay bouncy.
If you take a good look at the Shih Tzu, you’ll notice that the dog is longer than he is taller. They have a broad chest and a short nose, which makes them instantly recognizable in the canine world. Other significant markings include a Shih’s coat colors, but that’s a whole other story.
Now, we will focus on what makes Shih Tzus so big or small, depending on which angle you observe from. And, let me tell you something, it’s not their coat color.
What Factors Affect A Shih Tzus Weight?
A dog’s genetics aren’t the only factor that determines how big your Shih Tzu will get. There are numerous other factors that could play an even bigger role.
Everything that surrounds us, the way a puppy is being raised, stressful situations, the type of puppy food you use….
These are all factors that play a part in a dog’s future weight and height.
To help you understand these factors a bit better, here they are in depth, followed by ways to prevent unwanted results.
But First, Genetics…
Okay, before we get into the other factors, we simply have to discuss a dog’s genetics. Puppies get traits from their parents and ancestors. As I mentioned before, you can’t expect a large-sized dog from two teacup parents. It’s genetically impossible!
If you ask the breeder to see the puppy’s parents, or even its grandparents, you can get a pretty good picture of how your puppy will look in the future.
Living under constant stress isn’t good for anyone, not to mention our furry buddies. What most people don’t understand though, is that you can’t have a dog if your living conditions aren’t good enough. Dogs can suffer too! Don’t be that guy.
You’ll be surprised to hear that certain situations can be stressful for our little buddy, even though you find them absolutely normal. Meeting new dogs at the park can cause stress for some pups, especially if they aren’t socialized properly.
The last sentence gives you the answer to this problem. Socialize your puppies from an early age, otherwise you’ll have problems with stress, and this can result negatively and result in poor weight gain.
Also, clingy dogs like Shih Tzus that attach easily to one human being can develop separation anxiety. I can’t stress enough how severe this condition is! So, instead of leaving them alone when you go to work, either take them with you or hire a doggy daycare service.
Choice Of Dog Food
Your young puppy doesn’t need food to stop their hunger. He needs food to grow into a well-functioning adult dog. But, that can’t be achieved with generic dog food.
I mean, it’s technically possible, but it isn’t right.
Generic puppy food off the shelf at the supermarket usually doesn’t have any good nutrients in it. And, to grow up properly, your puppy most importantly needs proteins, followed by minerals, vitamins, carbs, amino acids, and all the other goodies.
A poor food choice leads to malnutrition and your dog being underweight. What sounds unbelievable is that poor puppy food can even lead to your puppy putting on too much weight. You see, such dog food brands use only carbs and fillers to pack up the bag and make the dog feel full.
Your dog can’t survive on only carbs and gramins. They need other nutrients too.
Potential Health Issues And Activity Levels
Naturally, health problems can stunt your dog’s growth rate. Health problems don’t only affect old Shih Tzus. Young dogs can experience severe conditions that can obstruct normal growth.
These are usually chronic issues that are either inherited from the parents, or acquired along the way. We’ll get on to those health issues soon.
What I want to emphasize is that every dog, no matter if it’s a giant or is a small size, needs to stay active. Shih Tzus love to spend their days playing around, jumping, and exercising. That’s a good thing because they put on extra weight easily. Keep them fit to prevent obesity.
How To Tell If Your Shih Tzu Is A Correct Weight?
The only way you can tell if your puppy’s growth is going according to plan, is by having the puppy measured. It’s as simple as that!
Well, you don’t need to weigh your puppy all the time. No, not even monthly! Let’s say that twice a year is perfectly fine. It’s either done at home or at your vet’s office during regular check ups.
If your puppy doesn’t fit the puppy scale anymore or you don’t have one, you can easily measure yourself, and then step on the scale again with your puppy. The difference is your Shih’s weight.
There’s no better way to measure a puppy that will be as precise as this. And, honestly, we clearly don’t need another method.
Does Spaying Or Neutering Affect Your Shih Tzu’s Weight?
Spaying and neutering are two simple operations that affect the quality of a dog’s life significantly. Not only will you be able to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but your dog will benefit in terms of its health.
Spaying and neutering reduce the risk of gender-related cancers, such as mammary gland cancer and testicular cancer.
You shouldn’t worry about having your dog fixed. Well, at least not if it’s done at the right time. If a breeder or yourself decides to spay or neuter too early, this may leave a negative impact on the dog.
Early spaying and neutering may affect your pup’s growth. Your puppy will grow slowly, or it may even stop growing at a certain point.
It is ideal to postpone spaying and neutering until dogs reach their 6 month milestone. For Shih Tzus, this is the time when they reach maturity. For example, it’s the time when females go through their first estrous cycle.
Don’t rush into these procedures, or you’ll seriously mess up your dog’s growth.
What Kind Of Health Problems Affect A Dog’s Weight?
Unfortunately, Shih Tzus, like all other dogs, can experience some quite troubling health issues. And trust me, these problems can severely affect a puppy’s growth and the Shih Tzu’s size in the future.
Here, we’ll list the most common health conditions that can affect the quality of your Shih Tzu’s life in general.
Name a dog breed that doesn’t suffer from hip dysplasia! I feel like every other dog breed in the world struggles with this condition. And, truth be told, it’s not pleasant. Hip dysplasia is crippling. It causes mobility issues and affects a dog’s life significantly.
Your poor pooch won’t be able to move properly, not to mention to exercise. Leading a sedentary life will lead to obesity.
All small breeds are affected by this condition. It happens when the kneecap or patella slides and doesn’t fit snugly into its place.
Sadly, the result is the same as with hip dysplasia.
Dogs affected by hypoglycemia or low blood sugar experience fatigue, less energy, a lack of will to exercise, as well as seizures, tremors, and muscle weakness. Simply put, they don’t have the strength for daily tasks.
If not treated, hypoglycemia can lead to malnutrition. Unfortunately, some cases can even be fatal.
What Should I Do If My Shih Tzu’s Growth Is Stunted?
Yes, even this is possible.
Your dog’s growth can be stunted for some reason, and it’s up to you and your vet to figure out why. Believe it or not, there are several reasons that might be hiding behind slow growth or stopped growth.
The most obvious reason is the size of the parents. Small parents, often those who haven’t developed properly, will produce small puppies. That’s a fact.
Other reasons include severe medical conditions, such as liver shunt or internal parasites.
A puppy’s growth being stunted is only one symptom of a condition called liver shunt.
Liver shunt occurs when the dog’s blood returns to the circulatory system. Therefore, the liver is unable to detoxify the blood. Along with their growth being stunted, muscle deformities and abnormal behavior are symptoms of this condition.
Internal parasites cause not only growth stunts, but also lethargy and overall weakness. Parasites feed off anything the dog consumes.
In other words, some parasites are so dangerous that they will take most of the dog’s daily food intake. This way, your puppy won’t receive their much-needed nutrients and will eventually stop growing.
The only way you can prevent these conditions is to take your dog for regular vet checkups. For example, parasites can be detected in the dog’s stool. They’re often white specks in your puppy’s poop.
What Should I Feed My Shih Tzu?
The ideal food for a Shih Tzu breed comes in raw form. Now, I know you’re surprised because you think that other dog breeds are more likely to eat raw meals, for example, Cane Corso and their raw diet.
However, a raw diet contains the most nutrients for proper development.
But, raw food is pretty expensive. Also, it takes a lot of time to prepare such meals. Not everyone has a chance to provide it for their pups.
But, everyone does have the ability to surf online and find some good dog food brands with great formulas. Supermarket brands often carry too many fillers, and too little nutrients.
Look at the back of the bag. If the first few ingredients come from a real meal, along with veggies or fruits. The whole recipe should be great.
I recommend you pick smaller brands. They usually don’t produce massively, and care more about their formulas. More information on the finest kibble for Shih Tzus can be found here.
Since Shih Tzus have a rich, hypoallergenic coat, you should pick recipes with lots of omega acids that will provide lots of shine to their coat.
Poor dog food without these goodies will only bring issues with the dog’s growth and overall health status.
Does Your Dog’s Weight Affect Its Lifespan?
Of course, it does!
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about underweight or overweight Shih Tzus, their weight can affect their life expectancy.
A Shih Tzus life expectancy is usually 10-16 years.
If you let your dog nibble on treats all the time and eat meals that are simply too large, you have a one way ticket to obesity and, sadly, a fatal outcome. Overweight dogs will develop cardiac problems which may lead to heart attacks too.
Also, underweight dogs clearly won’t reach the maximum predicted years of their breed. Shih Tzu dogs are tiny, but they’re not too skinny. You will easily spot an underweight dog, with a big abdominal tuck and protruding ribs.
To Sum Up…
The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes Shih Tzus as lap dogs. But, I’d say there’s more to these small dogs than just being a fluff ball to cuddle.
Every Shih Tzu lover agrees with this statement. Also, every Shih Tzu owner will tell you how important it is to follow accurate Shih Tzu growth charts.
These charts will help you to determine your dog’s adult height and weight. Also, you will be able to see if your pup is growing properly.
Surely, puppy weight charts aren’t something you must follow blindly. Each puppy has a story of its own. Some are bigger than average, while some are smaller. And that’s just how things are.
What you must follow blindly are the guidelines around your dog’s feeding, as well as all the advice you get from your vet.
Only then you can say your Shih Tzu is a completely healthy and happy dog!