Most dog breeds can be expected to live from 12 to 15 years on average. Depending on genetics, the living conditions, and the love that a shih tzu receives the average life span may be just as long as many other dog breeds.
A typical shih tzu will live on average for 13 years. By the time the shih tzu reaches the age of 10, it is considered a senior citizen. This means biannual checks with the vet to help maintain their health. When shih tzus reach this advanced age, they may suffer from arthritis, hearing and vision loss, and other age-related issues.
As with people, older shih tzus may suffer from tooth loss, restless sleep, and decreased mobility and stamina as they grow older.
The oldest dog to ever live was Blue, an Australian Cattle Dog that lived from 1910 to 1939, passing away at the age of 29 years old. The oldest shih tzu ever recorded didn’t live quite that long, but still set a remarkable record.
Oldest Shih Tzu
There was a shih tzu that did make it to the age of 23. His name was Smokey and he lived in St. Petersburg, Florida. His owners were aware of his age but did not believe he was the oldest shih tzu until they saw a news report indicating that a shih tzu two years younger than their own was considered to be the oldest dog.
Smokey’s age was verified by VCA St. Petersburg Animal Hospital which indicated his birth occurred on January 18th, 1986. Smokey was in good health for almost his entire life, even well into his twenties. Even at his advanced age, he still enjoyed walks and maintained good mobility. His owners attributed his long life to a combination of good, nutritious food and plenty of exercise.
Oldest Living Shih Tzu Today
After Smokey passed away, the oldest living shih tzu was Teddy. Unfortunately, Teddy passed away back in December 2019. He was 19 years, four months, and ten days old when he died. Teddy was not quite as healthy in his later years as Smokey, but he was still active and by all accounts quite content with life.
Teddy’s age was verified by the breeder from which they obtained the pup. He lived in Phoenix, Arizona and suffered from the normal age-related decline of hearing and sight. He was quite active until the age of 16 when he began to slow down and stopped taking walks.
As his owners stated, Teddy was quite independent by nature and didn’t like to be cuddled or held much. But Teddy did keep all of his teeth thanks in part to having good dental care provided for him.
Currently, the oldest living Shih Tzu is Tutsy. She was born in September 2003 making her 19 years and 5 month at the time of writing this article. Tutsy was born in Liverpool England and is owned by Luke F.