Shih Tzu Dog insurance

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Shih Tzu dog insurance

Small and playful, Shih Tzus make truly devoted companions. They love spending time with their owners, enjoying human company as much as the company of other dogs and quickly slotting into family life.

And what they lack in size, they make up for in sass. Shih Tzus are confident and far bolder than they might look. In fact, their name comes from a Mandarin phrase meaning ‘little lion’. Of course, they are more affectionate than fierce, however they can be a little stubborn at times. 

If you’re thinking of buying or adopting a Shih Tzu dog, this guide is full of useful information about looking after your new pet – from common health problems and whether a Shih Tzu is classed as a small dog to find the best Shih Tzu pet insurance policy for you and your pooch.

Looking for your perfect pet? Perhaps a Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus might be small in stature, but they have big hearts. The Shih Tzu temperament is recognised as being sweet but perky. Here are some facts about this fun-loving little breed of dog.

Vital stats

Size: Small; height – 22cm to 27 cm

Weight: 4.5 to 7.5 kg

Coat: Long, straight hair which comes in a range of colours; high grooming needs

Colours: White; brindle and white

Exercise: 20+ minutes per day

Shih Tzu life span: 10 to 16 years

Tendency to bark: High

Social/ attention needs: High

Breed category: Toy/ utility

Features: Brachycephalic (squashed face), floppy ears (naturally)

Bred for: Lapdog

Price: £300-£1,300

Interesting facts

  • The breed is more than 1,000 years old and is more closely related to wolves that you’d imagine
  • The Shih Tzu breed nearly became extinct. In fact, all today’s pooches can be traced back to just 14 dogs (seven males and seven females) that were used to rebuild the breed in the 1930s
  • Celebrity Shih Tzu owners include: Beyoncé; Bill Gates, Nicole Richie, and the Queen
  • Shih Tzus are classed as adults by the time they are one year old
  • The Shih Tzu breed is originally from Tibet, not from China as people often assume

Personality traits


Naturally docile and friendly, the purpose of the Shih Tzu was to be a companion- and that’s exactly what they want to be. Affection is their dominant characteristic, and your lap is their favorite destination. They’re happiest when they’re with their family, giving and receiving attention.


They enjoy learning and like to please, but while intelligent, they can sometimes give the impression that they think training is simply beneath them. With patience and consistency, they will enjoy learning and can become surprisingly obedient. 


Given their loving and sociable nature, this breed will make friends with anyone whether they are human or hound. Renowned for their perky, happy temperament they’re a great breed to have around the family.

Top care tips

  • This breed is not suitable to long periods of time alone, and are prone to developing separation anxiety.
  • These dogs can be difficult to ‘housebreak’, so consistent training is needed.
  • With a high maintenance coat, daily grooming is required.
  • This breed is generally good with other pets.

Common health problems in Shih Tzu dogs

As with many purebred dogs, there are health conditions that Shih Tzus are more prone to than other dog breeds. If you are thinking of buying a Shih Tzu puppy, be sure to go to a reputable breeder.

Before you take the plunge and invest in your new pup, it’s good to know about any medical concerns related to the breed. That way you can make an informed decision about the type of dog insurance policy you take out.

Here are some of the Shih Tzu health conditions you need to be aware of:

Breathing difficulties

Shih Tzus are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have short noses. This can cause quite severe breathing difficulties and a condition known as brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). This results in heavy panting, noisy breathing and loud snoring, as well as difficulty regulating body temperature.

Dental problems

Dogs with shortened skulls often have shortened jaws – as is the case with Shih Tzus. Despite a smaller jaw, they still have the same size and number of teeth. This can lead to overcrowding as well as dental and gum problems.

Eye disorders

Because Shih Tzus have flat faces, their eyes are fairly prominent and are more vulnerable to damage. Some common eye conditions include dry eye (which can cause ulcers and infections), cataracts (clouding of the lens affecting vision), generalised progressive retinal atrophy (gradual sight loss), and retinal detachment (when the retina separates from the back of the eyeball, leading to blindness).

Renal dysplasia

An inherited condition where parts of the kidney don't develop properly, resulting in kidney failure at a young age.

Skin issues

Some brachycephalic dogs have an excess of skin creating folds around the face. These folds create a warm, moist environment – the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. When this happens, it can lead to redness, itchiness, dermatitis and infections on the skin. Regular shampooing and dietary changes can help keep any skin issues under control.

Spinal problems

Because Shih Tzus have long backs and short legs, they can suffer from things like slipped discs. Spinal discs can become damaged over time or due to wear and tear, which makes them prone to rupturing or rubbing against the spinal cord. There will be medication that can help, but you might find surgery is the only way to reduce the pain and improve their quality of life.

Is it worth getting your dog insured? You should definitely consider it. A Shih Tzu dog makes a great addition to any household, but they can be vulnerable to a range of health conditions.

Having dog insurance that starts as soon as you welcome your new four-legged friend into your home can provide peace of mind.

Brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome (BAOS)

BAOS is a condition only found in brachycephalic breeds. These are breeds that have particularly short noses, making breathing difficult. It’s a congenital condition which means dogs are born with it. Surgery is possible, but your vet will be able to advise you of the best treatment for your dog.


The shih tzu originated in Tibet, probably back around the 7th century, and they may have simply been the smallest of the Lhasa Apsos there. Given as gifts to the Chinese emperors, the breed developed into the dog we recognize today.

Fanciers speculate about crosses with Pekingese to shorten the face as well as selection for the smaller Lhasa-type dogs. The name shih tzu means "lion dog" in Chinese, which further confuses the ancestry because lion dog usually denotes the Pekingese.

The Chinese royalty kept and bred shih tzu and, when the British arrived, the breed made its way to England and then on to the United States.

No one disputes that these charming little dogs were intended as companion dogs. Their primary function right from the start appears to be acting as delightful company.

Want to find out more about our Shih Tzu Insurance/Dog Insurance Product? 

We’ve listed our key benefits below and you can also take a look at our cover levels, customer reviews and awards.

Ready to get started? Get a quote on our website.

Why choose Purely Pets

Free 24 hour Vet Helpline for all customers

Free 24 hour Vet Helpline for all customers

There’s no upper age limit

There’s no upper age limit

Easy online claims process

Easy online claims process

Payments made direct to vet

Payments made direct to vet

15 levels of Lifetime cover

15 levels of Lifetime cover

Lifetime Cover up to £15,000

Lifetime Cover up to £15,000

Flexible Excess Options

Flexible Excess Options

Manage your policy online

Manage your policy online

Award winning Pet Insurance

Award winning Pet Insurance

Tips on caring for your Shih Tzu dog

Shih Tzus don’t need a huge amount of space and can be just as happy in a flat in the city as a house in the countryside.

As long as they have enough space to play and you give them plenty of TLC, they’ll be happy. Here’s what you need to know to keep your pooch in tip top condition.

Feeding your dog

How much you feed your dog depends on their age, size and weight. If you have a puppy, you’ll need to feed them three or four times a day for the first six months. As they get older, this will reduce to just twice a day. If you’re unsure about what food to give your pet, speak with your vet who can advise on their dietary requirements.

Shih Tzu’s are prone to spinal problems and heart disorders – both of which can be made worse if a dog is overweight. With this in mind, it’s important to feed your Shih Tzu a healthy diet, sticking to recommended portion sizes and not going overboard with treats.

In fact, treats should make up less than 10% of their daily calorie intake, so adjust their daily food intake when using these goodies for training purposes.

Grooming your dog

Shih Tzus have what is known as a double coat (made up of a short, dense undercoat and longer topcoat). These two layers require plenty of grooming to stay free of knots and tangles. Meanwhile, the fur on a Shih Tzu’s face grows in every direction, and it doesn’t take long for it to grow up in front of their eyes.

Shih Tzu’s hair can grow quite long, and many owners choose to keep their dog’s coats clipped. This will need to be done every six to eight weeks. And if you want to make the process as stress-free as possible, have this done by a professional groomer.

While they’re having a haircut and face trim, you might want to have their nails clipped, too.

Exercising your dog

Shih Tzus might not need to go on long hikes, but they do need shorter walks every day to keep them fit and healthy. They can be pretty energetic when they want, so split your daily walk into two or three shorter ones, allowing them plenty of time off the lead to explore and play.

Shih Tzus are known for being quite agile, and are more than happy to tackle any obstacles you set up.

Training your dog

Shih Tzus are smart dogs and eager to learn. Starting reward-based training from a young age can produce great results. Shih Tzus often have a real independent streak, so you might find you have to dedicate more time to training than you planned.

But however much training you do, keep it consistent. And if you need additional support, there are plenty of accredited training classes out there.

It’s good to keep Shih Tzus stimulated – puzzle games and toys will help keep them occupied. And because they are such sociable creatures, you shouldn’t leave them alone for more than four hours at a time.

When it comes to training your Shih Tzu, remember, they were bred to alert their owners to visitors so have a tendency to bark.

The frequency and volume of that barking will depend on an individual dog’s personality. If excessive barking becomes an issue, you might want to take them to see a canine behaviourist.

The Purely Pet Promise

At Purely, we’re here to support you. That’s why we offer a 24 Hour Vet Helpline free of charge to all of our customers. Our easy to use online portal ‘Manage My Policy’, enables you to access to your policy 24hrs a day. This provides greater flexibility, allowing you to manage your policy at a time that suits you, so that you can spend more time with your furry friends, and less time managing your insurance. Get a quote

Select your level of cover

As award winning pet insurance specialists we’ve designed 15 cover levels to give you the freedom to choose the right level of cover for you and your dog. Just click the options below to find out more.

How much does it cost to own a Shih Tzu?

There are all sorts of costs you need to think about when welcoming a new dog into your home. Here are some of the outlays associated with owning a pet Shih Tzu.

Buying your dog

Adoption is the most cost-effective way to obtain a dog, but you may find it easier to buy a puppy from a reputable breeder. Figures from pet information site Pets4Homes reveals that the average cost of a Shih Tzu puppy is around £1,000.

If you see a pup advertised for much cheaper: beware! When Shih Tzu puppies are sold for unusually low prices, it often means they have come from a puppy farm. Always best avoided.

Preparing for your dog’s arrival

There are lots of things you will need to buy in advance of bringing your new pooch home. These include items such as a bed, lead and collar, food and water bowls, toys, grooming equipment, and a car restraint.

You’ll also have to pay for veterinary treatments such as vaccinations, wormers and possibly neutering. These routine procedures are generally not covered by pet insurance so you’ll need the funds to cover those costs yourself.

Continuing costs

As you settle into dog ownership, you’ll need to make sure you have a supply of food and accessories. These ongoing costs include replacing any items that get damaged and stocking up on things like poo bags and doggy toothpaste.

And then there are the healthcare costs. Preventative healthcare (i.e. regular visits to the vet) can help catch problems early and prevent your pooch from falling ill.

However, if your dog is involved in an accident or develops a health condition, the cost of treatment can soon add up. This is where insurance for your dog comes in, covering those veterinary costs so you don’t have to.

And if you’re wondering if Shih Tzu’s make the list of ‘Which dog breeds cost the most to insure?’, do not fear. A Shih Tzu is  more likely to appear on a ‘what are the cheapest dogs to insure’ list!

When taking out pet insurance for a Shih Tzu, just make sure you read the small print, checking what is covered – and what’s not.

Additional costs

Other costs you may have to cover include training, boarding kennels if you go on holiday, and doggy day care if you are out of the house a lot during the day or struggle to give them the exercise they need. You might even decide to splash out on a few pet gadgets along the way.

Shih Tzu Insurance

When you introduce a new dog to your home, it doesn’t take long for them to feel like part of the family. As a responsible dog owner, you’ll want to give them the protection they deserve.

When comparing pet insurance quotes, research is key. Here are some questions to think about before signing on the dotted line.

Does your dog have any pre-existing health conditions?

Generally speaking, insurance providers don’t cover pre-existing health conditions as part of a new insurance policy for your dog. However, they will cover the cost of treatment for a new condition, so it’s never too late to take out a pet insurance policy.

How much excess are you willing (and able) to pay?

The excess on pet insurance policies is the amount of money you have to pay towards the cost of veterinary treatment before your insurance provider will pay out.

As a rule of thumb, the higher the excess, the lower your premiums. However, it is really important you can cover the full excess amount. If not, the insurance company may refuse to pay out, leaving you with potentially very hefty vet bills.

Do you really need all the added extras?

The world of pet insurance can be complex. Not only are there different types of dog insurance (e.g. accident only, time limited, maximum benefit and lifetime), there are also different benefits attached to individual policies. If anything, there may be more than you need.

Make sure you fully understand what is covered under the pet insurance policy (as well as what is not). Some added extras you might want to look out for include:

Holiday cancellation: If you have to cancel a trip because your pet is unwell

Overseas travel: If your dog becomes ill while on holiday outside the UK

Dental fees: Covers the cost of any dental treatment your dog may require

Third party liability: Covers compensation and costs arising from accidental injury or damage caused by your dog

Would a multi-pet insurance policy make more financial sense?

You might have more than one pet. You might have more than one Shih Tzu – after all, they love the company of other dogs as much as that of humans. In which case, it might be worth getting multi-pet insurance. This could save you money compared to insuring each pet individually.

Insuring your dog with confidence

At Purely Pets, we think every dog deserves the right protection and every owner deserves peace of mind. It’s not so much: what is the cheapest insurance for a dog? (Although we know owners want value for money on their pet insurance policies.) Instead, we focus on providing specialist dog insurance policies that aim to meet your needs and those of your Shih Tzu.

Get in touch with the team to find out what we can offer you. Get your free quote today.

Customer reviews

We’re committed to improving our Pet Insurance products wherever possible, which is why feedback from our customers is so important to us. We’re incredibly proud of our Excellent Trustpilot rating and you can read the latest reviews from our fantastic customers below.

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Our Pet Insurance awards

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British Claims
Insurance Choice Awards
Moneyfacts Consumer
Uk Brooker Awards
British Claims
Insurance Choice Awards
Moneyfacts Consumer
Uk Brooker Awards
British Claims
Insurance Choice Awards
Moneyfacts Consumer
Uk Brooker Awards

Find out more

You can find out more about our Dog Insurance product below and there’s more help available on our FAQs page.

According to the Association of British Insurers report, the average cost of Pet Insurance in 2019 has gone down £8 to £271 annually whilst the average claim has gone up by £29 to £822.

Depending on the type of pet cover you choose, you can be covered for vets bills for accidents, illness, or both up to a fixed monetary amount. Many policies will give you added benefits such as cover for dentistry, loss of pet, third party liability and overseas travel.

We provide dog insurance & cat insurance - at a variety of different levels to suit yours & your pets needs. 

Pet insurance doesn’t normally cover you for any conditions that already exist before you purchase, so always check this if are looking to move to a new provider or if you are taking out insurance for the first time but your pet has pre-existing medical conditions.

They may also not cover spaying or neutering.

There will also generally be an excess (a fixed amount that you contribute to any claim) or a co-payment excess (normally a percentage of the total claimed amount that you will contribute to any claim) on your policy that you will have to pay.

Other common exclusions for pet insurance are breeds listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, cover for elective, routine or cosmetic treatment and cover for illness or accidents within a specified waiting period.

So you have decided to get your pet insured, but now you are faced with a number of policies to choose from! Here at Purely Pets we offer 15 levels of Lifetime Cover - allowing you to choose the policy that suits your budget and requirements.

These policies offer cover for accidents and illnesses for the pet’s lifetime. This is dependent upon you renewing the policy each year and keeping up to date with premiums. These are usually the most expensive policies, because they provide the most comprehensive cover.

All of our Lifetime policies offer you a pot of money per year that will cover all accidents and illnesses. We only offer Lifetime cover to our customers as we believe it is the most comprehensive cover available.

Like humans, our pets are more likely to be affected by illness as they get older. This means that every year your insurance premium will increase even if you haven’t made a claim. This increase will be significant if you have claimed.

Purely Pets can provide you with an online quote for your pet in minutes.

With a range of lifetime options available offering vets fees cover from £1,000-£15,000 and the option to choose your excess we can help you find the right cover for you and your pet at a price that suits you.

We also have a specialist Pet Insurance team that you can call to get a quote or discuss your options in more detail.