Pet Insurance for Shih Tzus

Find out all about the Shih Tzu and their common health conditions, then compare pet insurance options from some of Australia’s leading insurers.

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, updated on October 4th, 2023       

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Price range

$1,250 – $3,000






Affectionate, friendly, alert

Coat length

Long, double coat

Exercise needs

Low to moderate



Life expectancy

10–16 years

Shih Tzu


Originating in Tibet, Shih Tzus were bred as devoted companions for Tibetan monks and esteemed members of royalty. Since their introduction to Australia in the 1950s, they have gained popularity as cherished household companions, bringing joy and affection to families.

These endearing dogs are recognised for their elegant, flowing coats, available in a range of delightful colours. They have flat faces, short noses and dark eyes, and are known to be affectionate and playful companions.

Shih Tzus prove to be wonderful additions to families of all ages, with their endearing nature and unwavering loyalty make them treasured members of the household.

Common diseases and conditions of Shih Tzus

  • Brachycephalic syndrome: due to their flat faces, Shih Tzus can be prone to respiratory issues. This condition encompasses various airway abnormalities.
  • Patellar luxation: a dislocation of the kneecap, this condition can cause lameness and discomfort, and may require surgery.
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD): this is a spinal condition where the discs between the vertebrae can herniate or rupture, potentially causing pain and paralysis.
  • Eye problems: Shih Tzus are prone to a number of eye problems, including cataracts, glaucoma and dry eye. Symptoms of eye problems include redness, discharge and cloudiness of the cornea.
  • Allergies: Shih Tzus can be prone to skin allergies, which can be triggered by various factors including food, pollen or environmental irritants.

Breed-specific issues:  

Shih Tzus are gentle and affectionate dogs, but they can also be stubborn and independent. They can be challenging to train, so it is important to be patient and consistent. Shih Tzus are also known for being barkers, so early socialisation and training are essential to teach them to bark only when necessary. In addition to these general issues, there are a few other breed-specific concerns to be aware of with Shih Tzus. One common issue is separation anxiety, so it is important to gradually acclimate them to being left alone.

How much does pet insurance cost for a Shih Tzu?

There are many factors that can influence the cost of pet insurance for your Shih Tzu, including the following: 

  • Age: the older your dog is, the more pet insurance is likely to cost. This is because older dogs tend to have more physical health conditions and illnesses due to age, and so present a higher insurance risk.   
  • Type of insurance you choose:  there are three basic types of pet insurance for dogs available in Australia; accident-only, accident and illness, and comprehensive insurance. An accident-only policy is the cheapest type available, with comprehensive coverage costing the most. 
  • The policy annual limit: each pet insurance policy has an annual limit, which is the maximum amount that will be paid out on the policy in one financial year. Annual limits range from around $10,000 up to $25,000 or more.  
  • Sub limits: in addition to an annual limit, there may also be sub limits that apply to the policy, for example a $300 sub limit for consultation fees, or a $5,000 limit for cruciate ligament conditions.  
  • Benefit percentage: pet insurance may not cover 100% of the cost of your vet bill. Instead, it may pay a percentage of the total bill. This can range from 50% for cheaper policies up to 90% for top-of-the-range cover. 
  • Excess amount: this is the amount you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket each time you make a claim on your policy. Some pet insurance policies do not come with an excess amount, while others do. 
  • Any add-ons you choose: it’s possible to add on more cover options to a basic policy, such as emergency boarding fees, routine care and dental care. These add-ons extend the scope of your pet insurance, but do increase the overall cost of the policy.
  • Discounts: some insurers offer discounts of between 5% and 15% if you have multiple pets insured together, if you pay your premium annually, or if you bundle your pet insurance with other forms of insurance with the same company.  

Types of pet insurance you can choose from

Why compare pet insurance with Savvy?

Common questions about Shih Tzus

Are Shih Tzus good with children?

Yes – Shih Tzus are generally known to be good with children. They have a gentle and affectionate nature, making them great companions for kids. However, it's important to supervise interactions between Shih Tzus and young children to ensure both parties are comfortable and safe. Additionally, early socialisation and teaching children how to properly handle and interact with the dog is essential.

Do Shih Tzus require a lot of grooming?

Yes – Shih Tzus do require a considerable amount of grooming. They have long, flowing coats that can easily become tangled and matted if not properly cared for. Daily brushing is recommended to prevent knots and maintain the health of their coat. Regular baths, nail trimming and ear cleaning are also part of the grooming routine. Some owners choose to keep their Shih Tzus in a shorter “puppy cut” to reduce the amount of maintenance required, but regardless of the style, consistent grooming is essential to keep them looking and feeling their best.

Are Shih Tzus good apartment dogs?

Yes – Shih Tzus can be excellent apartment dogs. They are small in size and have relatively low exercise needs, which makes them well-suited for living in smaller spaces. However, it’s important to provide them with daily walks and playtime to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Additionally, regular socialisation with other dogs and exposure to different environments is important to ensure they are comfortable and well-adjusted in various settings.

Are Shih Tzus prone to separation anxiety?

Yes – Shih Tzus can be prone to separation anxiety. They are known for forming strong bonds with their owners and can become distressed when left alone for extended periods of time. To prevent separation anxiety, it's recommended to gradually acclimate them to being alone, starting with short durations and gradually increasing. Providing mental stimulation, interactive toys and a consistent routine can also help alleviate separation anxiety in Shih Tzus. Additionally, having a designated, comfortable space for them while alone can provide a sense of security.

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Shih Tzu

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