How Many Puppies Can a Shih Tzu Have?

Shih Tzus, known for their adorable appearance and friendly demeanor, make them a popular family dog. When you're considering breeding Shih Tzus or have a pregnant dog, you might wonder how many puppies can a Shih Tzu have. Let's talk about what affects a Shih Tzu litter's size, the average litter size, and what to expect during pregnancy and whelping.

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Factors Affecting Shih Tzu Litter Size

Age of the Female Shih Tzu

  • Younger dogs may have smaller litters.
  • Litter size often increases with age, reaching a peak around 3-4 years.

Health and Genetics

  • Healthy Shih Tzus from good bloodlines tend to have larger litters.
  • Genetic factors can play a role in litter size.

Previous Litters

  • Shih Tzus that have had previous litters may have smaller ones later in life.
  • Frequent breeding can impact litter size.

Environmental Factors

  • Stress or a poor living environment can affect pregnancy and litter size.
  • Proper care and a stress-free atmosphere are essential.

Average Shih Tzu Litter Size

While the exact number can vary, the average Shih Tzu litter size typically ranges from 3 to 5 puppies. However, some Shih Tzus may have smaller or larger litters. Each Shih Tzu is different though and is influenced by factors such as age and health. It's essential to keep in mind that while these numbers offer a general guideline, individual cases may differ.

Shih Tzu Pregnancy

Duration of Pregnancy

  • A Shih Tzu's pregnancy typically lasts around 63 days.
  • Keep track of her due date for proper preparation.

Signs of Pregnancy

  • Look for signs like increased appetite, changes in behavior, and weight gain.
  • Consult your veterinarian to confirm pregnancy.

Care During Pregnancy

  • Provide a balanced diet with extra nutrients for the mother.
  • Regular check-ups are crucial to monitor her health.

Whelping Process

Preparing for Whelping

  • Create a comfortable whelping area for the mother and puppies.
  • Gather necessary supplies like clean towels, a heating pad, and a whelping box.

Stages of Labor

  • The whelping process has three stages, including the birth of puppies.
  • Monitor the mother for any complications and be prepared to seek veterinary assistance if necessary.

Caring for Shih Tzu Puppies


  • Ensure puppies receive adequate nutrition through the mother's milk or a suitable puppy formula.
  • Gradually introduce solid food as they grow.


  • Early socialization is vital for Shih Tzu puppies.
  • Expose them to various experiences and people.

Health Checks

  • Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor the puppies' health.
  • Keep up with vaccinations and deworming.

Breeding Best Practices

Responsible Breeding

  • Only breed healthy Shih Tzus with good temperaments.
  • Avoid excessive breeding and consider the welfare of the mother and puppies.

Breeding Guidelines

  • Follow ethical breeding practices and breed standards.
  • Ensure proper care and nutrition for pregnant and nursing mothers.

Finding a Reputable Breeder

  • If you're not breeding by yourself, choose a reputable breeder when getting a Shih Tzu puppy.
  • Research and ask for recommendations to find a responsible breeder.


Understanding how many puppies a Shih Tzu can have is essential for responsible breeding and proper care during pregnancy and whelping. While the average litter size is 3 to 5 puppies, various factors can influence the final number. Remember to prioritize the health and well-being of both the mother and her puppies throughout the process.


1. How many puppies can a shih tzu have?

A. Different factors can affect the final number of puppies in a litter, though the average is 3 to 5 puppies.

2. How many puppies can a shih tzu have for the first time?

A. Generally, litter size increases with the age of the mother dog. For the first time, we've seen puppies ranging in size from 1 to 3.

3. How many puppies can a Shih Tzu have in their first litter?

A. While it's uncommon, some Shih Tzus may have larger litters, but the average size is usually between 3 to 5 puppies.

4. How long does a Shih Tzu's pregnancy last?

A. Shih Tzu's pregnancy typically lasts for approximately 63 days.

5. What should I feed a pregnant Shih Tzu?

A. Provide a balanced diet with additional nutrients suitable for pregnant dogs. Consult your vet for specific recommendations.

6. Are there any common health issues during Shih Tzu pregnancy?

A. Common issues may include morning sickness, weight gain, and changes in behavior. Regular vet check-ups can help address any concerns.

7. How can I find a reputable Shih Tzu breeder?

A. Research breeders carefully, ask for referrals, and ensure they follow responsible breeding practices and prioritize the dogs' well-being.

8. What is the lifespan of a Shih Tzu puppy?

A. The lifespan of a Shih Tzu is 10 to 16 years.


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