Are Shih Tzus Lazy? (The Truth Might Shock You!)

are Shih Tzus lazy - shih tzu sleeping with tongue out
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Anyone that has seen a Shih Tzu or spent any time with one knows that they are super cute and cuddly, but are Shih Tzus lazy? Actually, the quick answer is no. They are not lazy, but that doesn’t mean they are as active as other dog breeds.

Exercise and Shih Tzus

If you’re looking for a furry companion to take long walks with, runs on the beach, or hikes in the mountains, then you need to look for another breed of dogs.

Shih Tzus have very short legs and can get tired quickly. Also, because of how their face is shaped, it is difficult for them to pant fast enough to cool themselves off.

That means when it is hot out, they have difficulty exercising for any length of time.

A 20-minute walk each day for an adult Shih Tzu is really all the exercise they need. If you try to take them on a much longer walk, don’t be surprised if they sit down on the sidewalk or trail and refuse to move.

You will have to carry them from that point on.

For example, I used to take Truman and Sammy (learn more about them here) for a walk around the lake at Furman University when we lived in Greenville, South Carolina. It was a pretty spot with a nice paved walking trail around the lake.

I would say it was about 1 and a quarter miles around. Truman didn’t have any issues walking it and we would stop halfway around so they could get a drink of water, but Sammy never made it the whole way.

Fairly close to the end, she would stop and refuse to move. I would usually have to carry her the rest of the way or at the very least find a bench to sit for a few minutes so she could catch her breath. 

brown and white shih tzu sleeping on its side
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Shih Tzu Puppies and Excercise

Like any other dog breed, puppies have a lot of energy. Sure, they sleep a lot too, but they will have more energy to burn for walks and especially play around the house.

Adult Shih Tzus and Exercise

Adult Shih Tzus are good for a short daily walk and then any extra energy will be used during playtime at home. 

If you can’t get a walk in, just some running around the house will be good enough for them.

Senior Shih Tzus and Exercise

Once your Shih Tzu gets up in years, say over ten years old, they are not going to want to take walks at all. In fact, they may not even play much anymore especially if they are closing in on 15 years old.

There will be exceptions, but the older your Shih Tzu is the less active they will be.

That’s true for Truman. He always loved playing with toys and taking walks, but now that he is 15 he pretty much just wants to sleep. He also has arthritis, so walking too far becomes painful for him.

Shih Tzus are Great Lap Dogs

Shih Tzus are really friendly dogs and they are loyal. They love their owners and just being with or near them makes them happy.

If you have always wanted a lap dog, then you will find a good one in a Shih Tzu. 

Just be careful. If you don’t encourage your dog to be active, they can end up being a bit of a couch potato. 

shih tzu puppy sleeping on a hardwood floor
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Are Shih Tzus Active?

Shih Tzus are active little dogs. They like to play with toys and run around the house. Beyond that, they are the happiest just hanging out with their owner. 

Being close to their owner is just about their favorite thing to do.

As long as they get a little playtime each day and have a healthy diet, your Shih Tzu should stay active until very late in life. 

I know that Truman was playing and having fun until about the time he turned 14 years old. Since then he has slowed down a lot.

Related Questions:

Do Shih Tzus Sleep a Lot?

How much a Shih Tzu sleeps will depend on their age. Puppies typically sleep around 14 hours each day while an adult Shih Tzu will sleep around 12 hours each day.

Once a Shih Tzu reaches old age, they make sleep up to 20 hours a day.

brown and white shih tzu sleeping on the floor
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Why is My Shih Tzu so Tired?

Shih Tzus can have a condition called A -Hypoglycemia. This condition causes your Shih Tzu’s blood sugar levels to drop quickly.

Of course, after a Shih Tzu has been awake and playing and running around for a period of time, it is normal for them to get sleepy.

If in doubt, be sure to talk to your vet about your Shih Tzu’s sleeping habits.

To Sum it All Up:

Shih Tzus are not lazy dogs. In fact, they are quite active and playful. However, due to their size and breeding, they are not dogs that require or want a lot of exercise. Don’t plan on taking them hiking or for a run on the beach. About 20 minutes of exercise a day is all they need to stay healthy and trim.


Please Note:

This article is informational only and does not substitute for veterinary advice. Always check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your Shih Tzu’s behavior. This article should not be considered in any way as veterinarian advice.


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