Knowing how old a Shih Tzu can keep breeding up to is important for both their own safety and the puppies.
As our Shih Tzu readership grows this becomes a question I receive almost daily!
After thorough research consulting with Shih Tzu breeders as well as veterinarians, heres’ everything you need to know about appropriate Shih Tzu breeding ages.
The Age of Sexual Maturity
The first thing to consider is the age at which a Shih Tzu reaches sexual maturity.
This typically happens when the dog is between 6 to 9 months old.
However, just because a Shih Tzu can reproduce at this age doesn’t mean they should! In fact, most experts strongly discourage breeding a Shih Tzu before they are fully grown, which usually happens around the age of two.
Breeding a dog too young can cause health issues for both the mother and her puppies.
For more detailed insights, check out this VCA Hospitals guide on dog breeding.
What’s The Best Age to Breed a Shih Tzu?
This is often considered the “sweet spot” for breeding Shih Tzus.
➡️ The perfect time to breed a Shih Tzu is between 2-5 years old. This is considered the best time to breed a Shih Tzu for the health and safety of both the mother and the litter.
During this age range, a Shih Tzu is typically at peak health, making it easier for them to carry and deliver healthy puppies.
However, there are some factors to bear in mind:
- Regular vet check-ups: Even though this is the ideal breeding age, you should still schedule regular vet check-ups to ensure your Shih Tzu is healthy.
- Healthy diet: Providing a balanced diet will help keep your dog in good shape and ensure a healthier pregnancy.
Here’s an informative article from PetMD on the importance of a healthy diet during pregnancy.
➡️ Related: Complete Shih Tzu Pregnancy Guide
Can Shih Tzus Have Puppies Over 6 Years Old
As a Shih Tzu gets older, their ability to bear puppies begins to decrease.
So, from ages 6 and 7 to 8, it’s still possible to breed a Shih Tzu, but owners must be very cautious.
This doesn’t mean they can’t have puppies, but it does mean there may be more risks involved. Some things to consider:
- Increased health risks: The risks of complications during pregnancy and birth increase with age.
- Regular vet visits: Frequent vet visits become even more important to monitor your dog’s health.
For more on the potential health risks of breeding older dogs, refer to this RSPCA guide.
Can a Shih Tzu Have Puppies at 9 Years Old?
Most experts agree that it’s best for a Shih Tzu to retire from breeding around the age of 9 years old.
The risks associated with pregnancy and birth can increase significantly at this age.
Remember, your dog’s health should always come first. Retiring from breeding doesn’t mean your Shih Tzu can’t continue to lead a healthy, happy life.
If you want to understand more about the risks associated with breeding older dogs, this AVMA article provides comprehensive information on caring for your senior dog.
➡️ Related: When Do Shih Tzus Go Into Heat? (Complete Heat Guide)
Breeding Shih Tzus, like any other breed, requires careful consideration and knowledge about the dog’s health and age.
While Shih Tzus can technically continue to have puppies well into their senior years, it’s important to prioritize their health and well-being over the potential to produce more litters.
The general consensus among pet experts is that Shih Tzus should retire from breeding around the age of 9.
However, it’s worth noting that every dog is different. Some may continue to be healthy and fit for breeding into their later years, while others may need to retire earlier. It’s always best to consult with your vet to determine what’s best for your individual dog.
Here are some additional points to keep in mind when considering breeding your Shih Tzu:
- Quality of life: Breeding should never compromise the quality of life of your dog. Always ensure your Shih Tzu is healthy and happy before considering breeding.
- Genetic screening: Shih Tzus, like all purebred dogs, have certain breed-specific health issues. It’s important to perform genetic screening before breeding to reduce the risk of these conditions being passed on to the puppies.
- Expert advice: Always seek advice from a reputable vet or breeder before deciding to breed your Shih Tzu. They can provide guidance and help you understand what to expect.
In conclusion, while a Shih Tzu can continue to have puppies until around the age of 9, it’s essential to prioritize their health and well-being above all else.