When Do Shih Tzu Puppies Stop Growing?
There are several distinct stages to a shih tzu puppy’s development, which I’ll come to later in this post, but to get to the point and answer your question, “When do shih tzu puppies stop growing?”, the answer is that although full adult height can be reached between six and eight months, growth usually continues until between nine and eleven months.
In some cases, growth can continue until fifteen months and small weight gains can be made up to age two years.
How Big Is A Fully Grown Shih Tzu Dog?
The American Kennel Club (AKC) affirm that the standard range of sizes and weights for the shih tzu breed of dog are as follows:
Height range, standing, from the floor to the withers:
8 inches to 11 inches. (20.3 cm to 28 cm)
9 pounds to 16 pounds (4 kg to 7.25 kg)
Any fully grown shih tzu that falls outside of these ranges does so because of breeding abnormalities, either deliberate or natural, or because of underlying health issues. Terms such as “teacup shih tzu”. “toy shih tzu” or “imperial shih tzu” refer to undersized dogs and not to a recognized separate breed.
For more information, see “Teacup Shih Tzu – The Cute Dog Facts“.
How Big Will My Shih Tzu Get?
There are several methods that can be used to estimate the size that your shih tzu puppy will grow to, some more accurate than others.
Perhaps the most accurate indicator of your puppy’s likely adult size is to look at the size of the parents if at all possible. Your puppy is likely to grow to somewhere between the height and weight of the father and that of the mother, although this can also be influenced by the size of the grandparents.
If you don’t know the genetic history of your puppy, then there are some formulae that have been devised to estimate a shih tzu puppy’s full-grown adult size.
Shih Tzu Puppy Growth Chart 1 – A Quick “Guesstimate”
|Age Of Puppy||Estimated Adult Weight|
|2 months||3 x present weight + 2 to 3 pounds (0.9 to 1.4 kg)|
|3 months||2 x present weight + 1 pound (0.5 kg)|
|4 months||2 x present weight|
Shih Tzu Puppy Growth Chart 2 – Traditional Shih Tzu Weight Estimating Table
|Age Of Puppy||Estimated Adult Weight|
|1 month||10 x present weight|
|2 months||5 x present weight|
|3 months||3 x present weight|
|4 months||2 x present weight|
|5 months||1.5 x present weight|
|6 months||1.2 x present weight|
|7 months||1.04 x present weight|
|10 months||1 x present weight|
Shih Tzu Puppy Growth Chart 3 – Estimation Based On Actual Puppy To Adult Weights
This table is based on weighing 8-month-old puppies and then weighing the same puppies again when reaching adulthood. As it is calculated with actual weights it probably gives the most accurate estimate of the three tables.
|Weight at 8 months||Estimated adult weight|
|1¼ pounds (0.6 kg)||5½ to 7 pounds (2.5 to 3.2 kg)|
|1½ pounds (0.7 kg)||6 to 7½ pounds (2.7 to 3.4 kg)|
|1¾ pounds (0.8 kg)||7 to 8 pounds (3.2 to 3.6 kg)|
|2 pounds (0.9 kg)||8 to 9½ pounds (3.6 to 4.3 kg)|
|2¼ pounds (1 kg)||9 to 10½ pounds (4.1 to 4.8 kg)|
|2½ pounds (1.1 kg)||9 to 11 pounds (4.1 to 5 kg)|
|2¾ pounds (1.2 kg)||11 to 14 pounds (5 to 6.4 kg)|
|3 pounds (1.4 kg)||12 to 15 pounds (5.4 to 6.8 kg)|
|3¼ pounds (1.5 kg)||13 to 16 pounds (5.9 to 7.3 kg)|
|3½ pounds (1.6 kg)||14 to 16 pounds (6.4 to 7.3 kg)|
|3¾ pounds (1.7 kg)||15 to 17 pounds (6.8 to 7.7 kg)|
|4 pounds (1.8 kg)||16 to 18 pounds (7.3 to 8.2 kg)|
Bear in mind that the adult weight your puppy will reach can also be affected by how much exercise he gets and how active he is, how much he eats and the quality of the food he eats plus his overall state of health. This is in addition to the size of his parents and grandparents as mentioned earlier.
Shih Tzu Growth Stages
Here’s a run through the main phases of a shih tzu puppy’s growth, as promised earlier.
Stage 1 – From Birth Up To 3-Weeks-Old
A newborn shih tzu puppy will weigh around 6 ounces (170g). It will be born unable to see or hear, as both the eyelids and the ear canals will be closed. However, the puppy’s central nervous system will be developing and certain essential survival reflexes will be present. These include suckling to ensure nourishment is taken in, perineal to let it out at the other end in the form of urination and defecation, the instinct to burrow to hide from predators and the instinct to tense up when carried by the scruff of the neck.
At 2-weeks-old the eyelids and the ear canals will be starting to open, though sight and hearing will still be restricted. There may be some tail-wagging and some attempts at crawling. For some early developers, their puppy teeth may be starting to push through.
At 3-weeks-old, sight and hearing will be much improved but still not yet fully developed, despite the eyelids and ear canals being fully opened. The skill of walking will probably be mastered over the course of a three day learning period as the puppy becomes more active and becomes aware of its surroundings, litter siblings, mother and humans. The puppy may also start making squeaking noises as it discovers its vocal cords.
Stage 2 – Young Puppy 4-Weeks-Old To 4-Months-Old
There is a big growth spurt at 4-weeks-old and as a result of this, a lot of rest and sleep is taken. Outside of these rest periods, there is much activity as the puppy interacts more with his litter siblings establishing emotional bonds and boundaries of tolerance and fear. There may even be some venturing outside of the immediate litter area. The remaining milk teeth are coming through as the puppy is introduced to solid food. Though still not fully developed, sight, hearing and vocalization will be stronger.
On reaching 6-weeks of age, the transition from mother’s milk to solid food should be complete. Sight and hearing is now completely established along with the desire to explore their environment. If you have a puppy of this age in your house it is important not to leave any items around that he could injure himself with and to put any items you value out of his reach.
At 2-months the puppy is able to feed himself from a bowl presented to him. At this age, potty training can be started and understood. There is a school of thought that puppies can be taken from the litter and moved to their new home at 2-months, while others say that, because shih tzu mature later than other small dogs, 3-months is the ideal age for this.
3-months sees the puppy trying to find his place in the pack. If left unchecked, he will assume the position of alpha, or pack leader. This is the time to make it clear that you are the alpha and all humans in the household rank above him.
The puppy should be eating three meals per day now. The food should be formulated to provide the nutrition required by a rapidly growing puppy.
Read more about how much food to give your puppy here:
Exercise should be provided through play and through walks during which socialization skills can also be further developed.
Find out more about walking your puppy here:
At 4-months the puppy will still be learning his place in the pack, so keep on asserting your position as pack leader. Potty training continues but is at a more advanced stage. Now is a good time to start teaching some basic commands. The puppy will have high energy levels, so the basic training, along with play and walks, will help expend some of the excess.
The process of replacing milk teeth with adult teeth begins so, to save your footwear and furniture legs, have plenty of chew toys and teething toys available.
From this age, the puppy may develop separation anxiety if left alone or not given enough attention.
Find out more about dealing with separation anxiety here:
Stage 3 – Older Puppy 5-Months-Old To 11-Months-Old
5-months to 6-months sees the puppies of both genders reaching puberty and the adolescent phase. Females not spayed will experience their first heat. However, although puppies of this age are rapidly approaching sexual maturity, if you are considering using your puppy for breeding this should be deferred until the age of 18 months.
Growth will be slowing down, teething will be nearing completion and any previously excitable puppies should be calming down somewhat. Keep on asserting your pack leader position as any lapse will surely be challenged.
By 9-months-old the puppy will probably have reached his full adult height although as he bulks out his weight will continue to increase up to 11-months. Some dogs may even add a little more weight up until 2 years.
The growth rate slows down noticeably and this is the time to take the puppy off of the specially formulated puppy food that assists healthy growth and given adult formulated food in its place.
Most puppies of this age will have their full set of adult teeth.
Stage 4 – Adult 1-Year-Old To 9-Years-Old
Shih tzu are usually fully grown adults by 1-year of age. For standard sizes and weights, see “How Big Is A Fully Grown Shih Tzu Dog?” above. Generally, the male will grow slightly larger than the female.
Stage 5 – Senior 10-Years-Old Plus
10-years-old is the average age that an adult shih tzu will become a senior dog, though there is no official age for this progression.
Shih Tzu Life Expectancy
The average lifespan of a shih tzu is 13 years and 2 months. However, with good health, good care, plenty of exercise and a healthy diet, there is every chance of a shih tzu reaching 16 years plus. I have even heard of exceptional dogs that have reached their 20th birthday.
I hope that your shih tzu has a long and happy life.
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Shih Tzu Steve.