What Amount Of Puppies Can a Shih Tzu Give Birth To?
If you are planning on breeding your Shih Tzu you might be wondering how many puppies your Shih Tzu is likely to give birth to in a litter.
So to answer your question, Shih Tzu's can give birth between 1-10 puppies and on average have 3 or 6 in a litter. However, this number will depend on the age of the Shih Tzu and its genes.
Shih Tzu's do have very small bodies, so breeding in these types of dogs has to be done very carefully.
Facts About Breeding Shih Tzu Puppies
When breeding Shih Tzu's, apart from knowing the expected litter amount there are some other tips and tricks which can be useful to think about before starting the breeding process.
For example, you must wait until your female Shih Tzu gets into heat once beforehand and always ensure they are of a full adult size before breeding.
We have listed out a couple of more facts below.
Never Breed Two Small Shih Tzu's Together
The male you choose for Shih Tzu should never be more than 2kg larger than the female and should not be of a small size if your female is already very small, breeding two small Shih Tzu's together can give problems to how the litter will form.
You should also make sure your Shih Tzu is of adult size and has been in heat once before which happens twice a year for around 10-20 days.
Check For Any Diseases
It's important to never breed your Shih Tzu if its carrying diseases that could be passed down from the mother to the children. You should also never mate two Shi Tzu's together that carry a similar bloodline to avoid issues.
Check With The Vet
Take your Shih Tzu and get advice from the vet to see if your dog is suitable for childbirth before making any decisions, the family history of your dog or age could be putting it at risk for complications during pregnancy if not checked.
How To Breed Shih Tzu's
Now we have got the background information and breeding tips out the way, you might be wondering how you breed Shih Tzu's and what the correct steps are for producing a healthy litter.
Choose Two Healthy Shih Tzu's
Before you make a pair for breeding you will want to ensure both Shih Tzu's are of optimum health.
Some common tests for Shih Tzu's are hip dysplasia and thyroid tests, both of which can be passed down to a litter if not found out beforehand.
Make Sure Your Shih Tzu Is Ready For Breeding
Your female Shih Tzu, as mentioned in our tips above, should go through at least one heat cycle before getting pregnant and should ideally be before the age of 4 years old.
You will want to breed your Shih Tzu when it's in heat which is for around 16 days twice a year, the first day however she will not be receptive to pregnancy and will stay far from the male dog if she is not ready.
Establish The Stud Contract
A stud contract is a contract that will be formed between you and the other breeder who has the male Shih Tzu.
This is a type of agreement outlining the details of the two dogs being bred and the payment for the male dog to be bred with, some stud contacts don't take money but instead, the other breeder might get the first pick of the litter.
Pair & Confirm Preganancy
Once you have sorted out contacts and found a suitable match for your Shih Tzu it's time to start the breeding process.
This will be done by leaving the two dogs paired together during the female's heat and can be confirmed from 59-65 days.
It's best to take your Shih Tzu to the vet to confirm pregnancy as they will be able to have a result after just 28 days.
Make a Nesting Box
Your pregnant female Shih Tzu will want a place to nest for when it gives birth to its puppies. You can use a cutout cardboard box for this and fill it with some towels to make it even more comfortable for your pregnant Shih Tzu.
Best Tips For Taking Care Of Your Shih Tzu's Puppies
After your Shih Tzu gives birth to its litter you will likely be raising these puppies first hand.
Taking care of puppies can be a little overwhelming, especially when there is a whole litter but we have put some of the most essential tips together to help you out.
Socialise Your Puppies
You should let your puppies explore and be curious while getting used to being human handled and hearing different sounds.
This early socialisation process will help them develop later on and be less scared of the unknown.
Weigh Them Everyday
It's important to weigh your Shih Tzu's new litter every day to make sure that they are growing healthy and not losing any weight, which can be a sign of poor health early on.
In the early stages, you can start to general train these puppies such as teaching them wrong and right behaviours and using positive reinforcement to help them learn how to behave in the right way.
Clapping and distracting these puppies with toys can be a good way to stop them from partaking in destructive behaviours.
Every hour or so till your puppies grow you will need to take them to a potty spot so as they can relieve themselves, you should also make sure to do this at least 30 minutes after a meal and when they wake up from a nap.
Keep Them Warm
Young Shih Tzu pups lose heat very quickly and could benefit from additional heating to keep them extra warm. This could be in the form of heating mats or lamps that you can place on them.
Care For There Coat
When your Shih Tzu's are puppies they will start with a single layer of the fluffy coat before they develop there second. This first layer of coat will need to be brushed and maintained at least once a week till the age of 7 months.
Around 7 months is where your puppies second layer of coat will start to grow in, this stage will need extra brushing as the growing process can cause the fur to matt slightly.
Take Care Of The Mum
After giving birth, your female adult Shih Tzu will need to be fed four times more than usual so as she can provide adequate nutrition to her pups and have enough energy herself during feeding.
Prepare For The Teething Process
Once your Shih Tzu puppies reach the teething process of around 3 to 4 months they will need rubber toys and things to gnaw on, rather than your fingers and furniture.
Be prepared to stop your pups from developing bad behaviours at this point such as teething on shoes or clothes.
Feed Them The Right Amount
Your Shih Tzu puppies will need to eat around 3-4 times a day as they are growing till the age of 6 months. You should be able to feel their ribs through there stomach but not see them.
Frequently Asked Questions About Shih Tzu's Puppies & Breeding
At what age should I breed my Shih Tzu?
There is no best specific age for breeding your Shih Tzu but you should aim to breed them before they turn 7 and after there first heat cycle.
Should I register my puppies after breeding?
Yes, registering your puppies after breeding can give them more credibility and improve their chances of being sold. You can do this through the UK or American Kennel Club.
Is it common for Shih Tzu to have a small litter?
It is not unusual for a Shih Tzu to give birth to only one pup and is nothing to worry about, many factors can affect the litter size of your dog.
How long does a Shih Tzu stay pregnant before giving birth?
A Shih Tzu is only pregnant for 9 weeks before giving birth, this means you need to keep an eye for pregnancy signs or regularly take your dog to the vets for check-ups during this time.
We hope you've enjoyed our Shih Tzu breeding guide and found out that Shih Tzu's on average give birth to 3-6 litters in a variation of 1-10 depending on the dog.
Just remember to make sure you always breed two healthy dogs together and keep an eye out for pregnancy signs during the breeding period.