According to the United Kingdom Kennel Club, the median life span of a Shih Tzu is 13 years. The breed is prone to health issues, including spinal problems, slipped stifles, ear infections, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, respiratory problems and early tooth loss.
The Shih Tzu is a toy dog usually kept as a household companion. It can stay active indoors, but needs daily walks and proper nutrition to avoid becoming overweight. It is sensitive to heat. Its long coat needs daily brushing, and the eyes and ears need to be kept clean to avoid infections. Buy from a reputable breeder to minimize the risk of health problems.