The Shih Tzu's average life span is 15 or 16 years, but it can range from 10 to 18 years. Females usually live longer than males. Regular veterinary care, good weight control and spaying or neutering improve a Shih Tzu's chances of living a long and healthy life.
The Shih Tzu is vulnerable to dental problems, respiratory illnesses, heat stress and eye injuries and inherited diseases. The breed is also subject to inherited kidney disease and kidney infections and is too small and fragile to be suitable for families with young children. A Shih Tzu benefits from daily tooth brushing, regular exercise and daily grooming.