How Much Should a Shih Tzu Weigh? [Both Puppies & Adults]

A cute brown-and-white Shih Tzu with a long coat, blue bow in her hair, and tongue panting.

If you’re looking for the perfect cuddly lap dog, a Shih Tzu is an ideal choice. They are mischievous, outgoing dogs with show-stopping looks.

These charming dogs are well-loved for their small size and are known for being good with children. 

How much should a Shih Tzu weigh? According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the standard weight for Shih Tzus should be 9-16 pounds. However, other factors, such as genetics, diet, activity and exercise level, and health can affect a Shih Tzu’s weight, and it is common for these dogs to fall outside of breed standards.

Now, if you want to estimate how big a Shih Tzu puppy will get once it reaches adulthood, the puppy weight chart below will be helpful.

You’ll also learn more about average weight gain for puppies month by month, factors that influence weight, and how to discover if your dog is maintaining a healthy weight or not, so let’s get started.

Shih Tzu Weight

Maintaining a good, healthy weight for Shih Tzus is best. Any extra weight puts a considerable strain on their internal organs, particularly their heart and lungs.

As they get older, too much weight in Shih Tzus can also make them prone to health issues like arthritis and other chronic diseases. 

Similarly, undernourishment is not good as it can also create a host of health issues.

Like other dogs, Shih Tzus need proper nutrition to stay healthy, and a healthy dog easily maintains a healthy, ideal weight. 

Weight Range for Adult Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus make a great lap dog because of their small size.

Both female and male Shih Tzus obtain their adult weight between 9 and 12 months, and ideally, they should weigh anywhere between 9 and 16 pounds. 

However, the growth rate is different from one puppy to another, so if your pup falls outside the expected ranges, don’t fret yet.

The actual weight of pet Shih Tzus could (and often does) fall below or over the breed standards.

How Much Should a Shih Tzu Puppy Gain Per Month?

For small breeds like Shih Tzus, the simple rule of thumb is to expect the puppy to gain around 5 ounces per week. 

However, the growth rate for dogs isn’t often the same every month.

For instance, Shih Tzu puppies have their most rapid growth rate from birth to 2 weeks old, where they can gain weight nearly every day.

Their growth will still be moderately fast from 2 to 8 weeks, strong but a bit slower from 2 to 4 months, and so on.

AGE AVERAGE WEIGHT
Birth 6 ounces
4 weeks 20 ounces
8 weeks 40 ounces
3 months 4 pounds
4 months 6 pounds
5 months 8 pounds
6 months 10 pounds
7 months 12 pounds
8 months 12.5 pounds (100% adult weight)
9 months 12.5 pounds
10 months 12.5 pounds
11 months 12.5 pounds
12 months 12.5 pounds

How To Estimate Your Shih Tzu Puppy’s Adult Weight

A puppy weight chart is generally accurate and helpful in estimating how big your puppy will get, especially for small dog breeds like the Shih Tzu, but not so for medium, large, and giant breeds.

If you want to have an idea of a Shih Tzu puppy’s adult weight, here’s a quick method of estimating Shih Tzu weights:

Weight at ADULT WEIGHT
  Multiply by Add
birth 20
8 weeks 3 2-3 pounds
12 weeks 2 1 pound
16 weeks 2

If you want the “most accurate” prediction, future size is much more predictable when the puppy hits 4 months (16 weeks).

Factors That Affect Shih Tzu Weight

While you can estimate the adult weight of a Shih Tzu puppy, its growth is still affected by many factors, such as: 

Genetics

Perhaps the major indicator of a Shih Tzu puppy’s weight and size is the parents and both maternal and paternal grandparents since genetics is always carried forward.

If a Shih Tzu puppy comes from a bloodline that is consistently in a certain weight range, with reliability seen in around five or so generations, then expect the puppy to be in that size range once he matures. 

Diet

Nutrition is another deciding factor in whether a Shih Tzu puppy will grow to his expected size or weight. A puppy who gets a healthy and well-balanced diet will put on weight as expected.

Feeding a Shih Tzu puppy with cheap and unhealthy foods will set him up to be either underweight or overweight with a host of health problems later on. 

Exercise

Shih Tzus are a naturally active breed. They like to be always on the move and will need exercise to strengthen their muscles and bones.

If they don’t get much exercise, a Shih Tzu will most likely put on too much weight and may not grow and develop properly. 

Overall Health

To reach ideal weight, the puppy should be in ideal health. Any underlying health issue could cause a Shih Tzu not to gain weight properly.

These health problems can be worms, parasites, or gastrointestinal problems, to name a few. 

A tiny mostly white Shih Tzu with brown markings standing against a white background.

When Do Shih Tzus Stop Growing?

Shih Tzu puppies stop growing once they mature or reach adulthood, which is within a year from birth.

However, some puppies are known to have stopped growing long before that, like when they reach 9, 10, or 11 months. 

Usually, Shih Tzu puppies will reach their full adult height at about 6-8 months, although some can continue growing until they reach 15 months. 

Shih Tzus who are fed a healthy diet and take regular exercise will generally stop gaining weight once they reach 12 to 15 months, while some will continue putting on weight until they are 2 years old.

But on average, it’s safe to say that a vast majority of Shih Tzus will reach their final adult weight and stop growing once they reach the 1-year mark. 

How To Tell If Your Shih Tzu Is Overweight

Because their bodies are hidden under a thick layer of hair, any visual inspection of a Shih Tzu to ascertain their shape is not accurate.

The tell-tale signs below will help you know when a Shih Tzu needs to shed a few pounds.

  • Poorly Defined Body Shape: Examine a Shih Tzu physically, feeling their body, particularly their ribs underneath the coat. If you can’t feel any ribs, it’s a good sign that the Shih Tzu may be overweight. 
  • Can’t Tolerate Exercise: If a Shih Tzu is overweight, that’s a few extra pounds of burden that make it hard for the dog to tolerate any daily exercises. An overweight Shih Tzu will get exhausted pretty early and frequently while going for walks. 
  • Excessive Panting: The last tell-tale sign of an overweight Shih Tzu is the tendency to pant even during a mild exercise. 

How To Tell If Your Shih Tzu Is Underweight

Monitor the activity levels of a Shih Tzu pup as well as the overall condition of the dog. You’ll know a Shih Tzu is underweight or undernourished through these signs:

  • You can easily feel their ribs underneath the coat.
  • There’s a dramatic tuck-in below its ribcage.

If an adult Shih Tzu weighs under 9 pounds, that is another sign that the dog may be underweight. 

If you’re new to the breed, I highly recommend picking up the AllShihTzu’s Giant Book of Shih Tzu Care. You’ll find answers to all your questions – even about quirky behaviors, health issues, training, and history. This book’s got it all covered!

Related Questions:

What Is a Teacup Shih Tzu?

The term “teacup” implies that a Shih Tzu is smaller than the average Shih Tzu as per AKC standard. These dogs are informally referred to as imperial Shih Tzus.

These smaller-than-average Shih Tzus have adult weights of around 4 to 9 pounds. 

At What Age Do Shih Tzu Puppies Calm Down?

Shih Tzu puppies often become calmer at the beginning of their adolescent stage or at around 6 months old.

Teething may also be winding down at this stage, so the once-hyper Shih Tzus becomes less chaotic and more manageable. 

Closing Thoughts

With the Shih Tzu size chart above, you can quickly learn the size and weight range of this delightful dog breed once they become adults.

If you’re thinking of getting one, it will help you know what to expect in the first year of your pup’s life.