Shih Tzu Size Guide: How Big Do Shih Tzus Get?

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If you’ve ever encountered a Shih Tzu, you know that its small exterior hides a great personality! So how big do Shih Tzus get once they reach adulthood? Even though there’s no one size fits all formula, there are quite a few ways how you can predict and track your Shih Tzu’s size and weight as they grow. What’s even better, in this Shih Tzu size guide you’ll also find our interactive Shih Tzu growth chart and calculator. Let’s get started! 

Shih Tzu
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Our handy interactive puppy growth chart and calculator takes all the hard work out of predicting your puppy’s potential adult size. This helps you to know exactly what you are in for.

Shih Tzu Size By Age Predictions 

Shih Tzus are well known for being the perfect lap dogs. They’re small, fluffy, chubby, and absolutely adorable. Generally, the Shih Tzu full grown size can vary anywhere between 9 and 16 pounds. Usually, they stand at 8 to 11 inches from the shoulder blades. The perfect cuddly companion!

The easiest way to estimate how big your Shih Tzu puppy will get once grown up is to look at their parents. Of course, this is not an option if you’ve adopted your pup from a shelter. However, any responsible breeder will be able to tell you more about your future family member’s parents and advise you on their adult size. In addition, the grandparents will also affect your Shih Tzu’s adult size. 

But when will your Shih Tzu stop growing and reach their full size? Generally, this happens around the time they’re 10-12 months old. A useful guideline is that the smaller your Shih Tzu will be once adults, the quicker they will reach their full size. We’ll cover Shih Tzu puppy development week by week a bit later on in this guide.

Shih Tzu
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Are there different sizes of Shih Tzu? 

Indeed, as the average Shih Tzu size is 9 to 16 pounds, some pups are naturally bigger, some smaller. This usually depends on their genetics, breeding, nutrition and training. 

In addition, as with any other dog breed, keep in mind that the average size of a Shih Tzu male tends to be a bit larger than a female. However, usually the difference isn’t as big as with some other large and giant dog breeds. 

If you’ve done a little bit of research in the Shih Tzu world, you probably have heard about the Imperial Shih Tzu, a.k.a. toy, miniature, or teacup Shih Tzu. Even though it’s not a separate breed, the name is commonly used when referring to Shih Tzus weighing less than 9 pounds. Imperial Shih Tzu size is usually smaller than a standard Shih Tzu, weighing around 4-9 pounds. 

Shih Tzu
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However, please keep in mind that usually it is not recommended to breed Shih Tzus weighing less than 4 or even 6 pounds. Furthermore, many breeders are against breeding Shih Tzus smaller than 9 pounds. 

Of course, the toy Shih Tzu’s size is an appealing feature for many pup owners. However, smaller Shih Tzus are more prone to different types of health concerns and chronic diseases.  

Shih Tzu Size Charts & Growth Patterns

Like all other dog breeds, Shih Tzus go through rapid growth phases before turning 12 months old. They usually reach their adult size around the age of 10 to 12 months. Although, some pups finish growing at 9 months, some at 15 months of age. 

Zooming in on the first 12 months of your Shih Tzu’s life, these are the puppy phases of Shih Tzu puppies:

  • Newborn – from birth to 3 weeks old
  • Young Puppy – 4 weeks to 4 months old
  • Older puppy – 5 to 11 months of age

Naturally, your Shih Tzu puppy will have the most rapid growth rate from birth until around 6 months of age. After that, the growth rate will slow down and will usually plateau when they’re about 10 to 12 months old. 

Age1-2 months3-4 months5-9 months10-12 months
Height2-5 inches3-7 inches5-9 inches8-11 inches
Weight1-3 lbs3.9-9 lbs7-14 lbs9-16 lbs

*When looking at these measurements, keep in mind that a dog’s height is not measured from the top of its head but from its withers. This is the point between their shoulder blades.

Additionally, this is why it’s particularly important that your Shih Tzu puppy gets the correct nourishment he needs to grow that adorable little body into a healthy adult one. Check out these guides on best dog food for puppies here.

To make things even easier for you, here’s our interactive Shih Tzu size chart and growth calculator that you can use to predict how much your pup will weigh at full grown size. Keep in mind that your pup’s nutrition requirements are dictated by their adult size. Being overweight or underweight can seriously damage your furball’s health. 

Additionally, you can try out a few different formulas to calculate your puppy’s future size. One of the easiest methods is to weigh your Shih Tzu pup at 8 weeks and multiply it with 4. For example: weight at 8 weeks is 3 lbs, 3 x 4 = 12 lbs. 

Here are a few more quick ‘guesstimate’ formulas:

  • Weight at 2 months x 3 + 2 to 3 pounds
  • Weight at 3 months x 2 + 1 pound 
  • Weight at 4 months x 2

Is a Shih Tzu a small or medium dog? 

Shih Tzus are generally considered as small or even toy dogs. Their small size makes them perfect for people who live in apartments or don’t have the luxury of a huge backyard. Shih Tzus are the perfect companions and love spending their time in their owner’s lap. 

Nevertheless, even though Shih Tzus don’t require lots of exercise, they still need to go on regular walks and have playtime. 

How big is a full grown Shih Tzu? 

A full grown standard Shih Tzu can weigh anywhere from 9 to 16 pounds, and stand at 8 to 11 inches from the shoulder. However, Imperial aka toy teacup Shih Tzus are even smaller, as they usually weigh about 4 to 9 pounds. 

Shih Tzu
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You can calculate their potential adult weight at 23 weeks by taking what they weigh at that age and multiplying it by two.

A different formula you could use is:

  1. Growth = current weight / current age in weeks
  2. Adult weight = Growth x 52 (number of weeks in one year)

So, for example, if your 12-week old pup weighs 18 pounds. You simply divide the current weight by their age in weeks and multiply the result with 52:

18/ 12 = 1.5
1.5 x 52= 78 pounds

78 pounds would be the expected weight of your adult-sized Shih Tzu.

Make sure to try out our Shih Tzu growth chart and calculator, which is a handy tool for all Shih Tzu pup owners who need a little bit of help. 

What size should a Shih Tzu be? 

The American Kennel Club has stated that ideally, a Shih Tzu should weigh around 9 to 16 pounds. Please keep in mind that every puppy needs proper nutrition to develop into a healthy, full-grown dog. 

We recommend you consult with your vet about the exact dietary requirements your Shih Tzu puppy has, and provide them the highest quality food. A good diet makes such a difference in keeping your pup healthy and happy. 


Additionally, puppies need more energy and nutrients as they grow. It’s always recommended to feed them puppy formulas until they’ve reached their full size.

To conclude, although we can never exactly estimate how big a puppy will get once they grow up, there are a few ways to predict your Shih Tzu’s future size. We hope you found this guide and our puppy growth calculator useful!