How much exercise does a shih tzu need

How much exercise does a shih tzu need

Shih tzu is a small breed dog or toy dog that weighs between 9 and 16 lb. This is a very unique dog breed that originated from Tibetan plateau and it is believed it was developed in China. In Chinese, the word Shih tzu is pronounced as Xi Shi dog which means a lion dog. Just like pugs, Shih Tzu is indoor dogs. One of the hardest question people ask themselves is how much exercise does a Shih Tzu need . Before looking at shih tzu exercise let first learn some facts about these lovely pet dogs.


Shih tzu appearance is characterized by a sturdy small body, short muzzle and very big dark eyes. They have a double long coat that feels so soft. They normally don’t have long hair like it is the case with Pekingese. It is also the choice of the owner to choose if the Shih tzu should have long or short hair by trimming it using  clippers.

If you have to let your Shih tzu to have a long silky coat that is capable of reaching on the floor then you have more grooming work. You have to brush the pet dog on a daily basis in order to avoid it making tangles. It is even quite expensive especially if you are not capable of doing the grooming yourself. You should not be asking about how much  shih tzu costs because it may be cheap but maintaining and taking care is more expensive than any other dog breed even more than French bulldogs that require right grooming shampoo.

Shih Tzu life span and food intake

Average Shih tzu life span is around 11 years according to a Uk Study. These dogs can barely go behold 13 years. Comparing Shih tzu with other dog breeds, it is believed that they live longer than other average dog breeds.

It is quite clear that dogs that have small bodies like pugs, French bulldogs and shih Tzu have a longer life compared with large dogs like pit bulls.

The food that your puppy or senior Shih tzu takes is very important in determining how healthy he/she will grow. Feeding your dog food that contains many additives, fats and other chemicals can have an advance health effect on their coat and digestive system, which is not complex like for human beings. Most Shih tzu owners don’t know that not all food that we human beings take can be eaten by dogs.

Two common types of dog foods are either wet or dry. Mostly wet food is the more appealing to most of the dogs however it is not the best especially for puppies that have developing teeth. Wet dog food is also very expensive and cannot be used with interactive toys that can help an overweight shih tzu in exercising.

Dry food has several benefits over wet food. For example, it is perfect for dogs especially the ones in the teething stage. They can be filled in food dispensing toys and easily digestible on the stomach. Considering the above health benefits you should always go for dry food. In case your Shih tzu loves wet dog food, you can mix it with a small amount of dry kibbles.

Health problems faced by Shih tzu

Most of the health problems that affect Shih tzu dogs are related to poor feeding habits, lack of exercise and lack of good grooming. Below are some of the diseases Shih tzu suffers from.

  • Obesity- Obese small dogs can barely run. It is a common problem in small dogs especially pugs. The only way of avoiding obesity in dogs is minimizing the food intake and having a feeding schedule that you follow.
  • Ear infections-Shih tzu are prone to ear infections because of how their ears hang. Regular and proper grooming can help in preventing ear infections.
  • Heat Stroke-All small dogs with short flat noses are prone to heatstroke especially if you live in a warm climate. These types of dogs like Shih tzu, which have difficulty in breathing, tend to overheat therefore you need to protect him in such conditions.

Other health problems include-

  • Vomiting
  • Renal Dysplasia.
  • Intestinal Worms.

Ideas for exercise for my shih tzus

A study shows that idle and dull Shih tzus dogs that do not release any energy on a daily basis tend to have behavioural and health issues. It is very important to note that Shih tzu exercise does not only involve physically stimulation but also mental. You can exercise your Shih tzu dog in three ways,i.e

  • Daily walks.
  • Toys and play.
  • Mental stimulation.

Daily walks

Most dog owners also ask the following questions regarding walking Shih tzu dogs.

How far can i walk my Shih tzu?

We cannot actually determine how far Shih tzu should walk but you should take between 20 to 25 minutes walking him on daily basis if it is possible. The pace should be comfortable for the dog and you. For example, a puppy Shih Tzu is likely to walk at a slow pace compared with a senior dog. You should have the right gear like best training collar for Shih Tzu   and leash for his safety while talking the walk, especially at night.

How often should i walk my Shih Tzu?

You should walk your dog on daily basis. However, you should not only be limited to only backyard walking, but you can also have a wide range of activities like beach walks, mountain climbing and even swimming during hot summer to keep him also cooled.

Toys and play

During unfavorable weather conditions, you can still remain indoors and play games with your dog or let him enjoy playing with interactive toys. You can play hide and seek game on the couch or hide a toy and let him look for it.

There are different types of toys that you can buy for your Shih tzu dog. For example, chew toys are very helpful. They do not only keep your dog engaged and happy but also help in teething stage.

Puzzle toys can be used in testing your dog intelligent. If you leave to work and your dog is left home alone, puzzle toy can keep him engaged and busy throughout the day. It will help in preventing the dog from getting lonely, which leads to excess barking.

Mental stimulation

We cannot determine how much exercise should a Shih tzu get because it is not measurable. All we can conclude is that the Shih tzu dog needs daily exercise. Walks around the yard and playing games with your dog will help in stimulating your dog mentally. Boredom in dogs comes along with several behavioral problems that can even affect how you relate.


Shih tzu are very lovely pet dogs because of their small size. Their health is very important and one determinant how they grow is good exercise. If you own this rare type of dog breed then you should make sure he gets enough exercise on a daily basis. Purchase the right toys that can keep him happy and engaged when indoors.

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