Shih Tzus are known for their friendly personality and small size, making them popular among pet owners, especially those in apartments or without large yards. Despite their laid-back nature, Shih Tzus, like all dogs, benefit from regular exercise to maintain their health. This article will cover how much exercise Shih Tzus typically need and the best types of activities to keep them healthy and happy.

1. Understanding the Shih Tzu’s Exercise Needs

Shih Tzus do not require extensive exercise routines. Typically, a daily total of 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity is sufficient for this breed. This amount is ideal to keep them fit without putting undue strain on their small frames.

2. The Importance of Regular Activity

Regular exercise is crucial for Shih Tzus to prevent obesity, which they can be prone to due to their size. It also ensures that they have good cardiovascular health and helps to keep their joints supple, reducing the risk of arthritis as they age.

3. Indoor Versus Outdoor Exercise

Shih Tzus can be exercised both indoors and outdoors. Indoor play is often sufficient for this breed, especially in extreme weather conditions. Outdoor activities should be carried out in moderate weather, keeping in mind their sensitivity to heat due to their flat faces.

4. Suitable Outdoor Activities

For outdoor exercise, short walks in the park or around the block are beneficial. Shih Tzus enjoy exploring new environments and smells but do so at a moderate pace due to their short legs and risk of overheating.

5. Indoor Exercises for Shih Tzus

Indoor activities may include playtime with toys, light fetch games, or even hide and seek. These not only provide physical stimulation but also encourage mental engagement, which is important for this intelligent breed.

6. Avoiding Over-exertion

Shih Tzus will often keep playing as long as their owner is willing, but they can quickly become overheated or exhausted. Signs of over-exertion include heavy panting, lethargy, and a reluctance to move. It’s important to watch for these signs and allow your Shih Tzu to rest.

7. Socialization Through Exercise

Exercise sessions are also an opportunity for socialization. While Shih Tzus may be somewhat reserved with strangers, they generally enjoy the company of other dogs, especially if they have been socialized from a young age.

8. Adapting Exercise to Your Shih Tzu’s Age

Puppies and senior Shih Tzus have different exercise requirements. Puppies have lots of energy but need short, frequent play sessions. Senior Shih Tzus still require daily exercise but at a slower pace and for shorter durations.

9. The Role of Diet in Exercise Regimes

A balanced diet plays a crucial role in your Shih Tzu’s exercise regime. Overfeeding can lead to weight gain, making exercise more difficult. It’s important to balance the calories they consume with the amount of exercise they do.

10. Health Considerations and Exercise

Certain health issues common in Shih Tzus, such as respiratory problems and hip dysplasia, can affect their ability to exercise. Always consult with a veterinarian to tailor an exercise program that takes into account any health concerns your Shih Tzu may have.


Exercise is a key component of a healthy lifestyle for a Shih Tzu. While they do not require as much physical activity as larger breeds, daily exercise tailored to their needs is essential. By understanding the appropriate amount and types of activities your Shih Tzu enjoys, you can ensure they stay fit, healthy, and content.


Frequently Asked Questions About Exercising A Shih Tzu

1. How much exercise does a Shih Tzu require daily?

A Shih Tzu typically needs about 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day. This can be broken up into two or three short sessions, which is ideal considering their small size and energy levels. Gentle walks and playful indoor activities are enough to keep them healthy and content.

2. What type of exercise is best for a Shih Tzu?

The best type of exercise for a Shih Tzu is low-impact activities that don’t put too much strain on their backs and joints. This includes leisurely walks, moderate play sessions with toys, and indoor games that encourage movement without the risk of high jumps or rough play.

3. Can Shih Tzus go for long walks?

While Shih Tzus enjoy walks, long walks can be too strenuous for them due to their small stature. It’s better to stick to shorter, more frequent walks to keep them engaged and active without overdoing it. Always watch for signs of tiredness during walks.

4. Are Shih Tzus able to participate in agility training?

Shih Tzus can participate in agility training if the course is modified for their size and ability. Low-impact obstacles that encourage mental stimulation and moderate physical activity are beneficial, but high jumps and sharp turns should be avoided.

5. How can I exercise my Shih Tzu indoors?

Indoor exercise for a Shih Tzu can include playtime with toys, simple fetch games, hide-and-seek, or even setting up a small obstacle course that encourages them to move around. These activities will help them burn energy and stay active even when they can’t go outside.

6. What are the signs of over-exertion in Shih Tzus during exercise?

Signs of over-exertion in Shih Tzus include excessive panting, slowing down or stopping more than usual, coughing, or appearing anxious or stressed. If you notice these signs, it’s time to end the exercise session and let your Shih Tzu rest.

7. Do Shih Tzus need social interaction as part of their exercise?

Social interaction can be an important part of exercise for Shih Tzus, as they are sociable animals. Interacting with other friendly dogs during walks or playdates can provide mental stimulation and fulfill their social needs, contributing to their overall well-being.

8. How should I adapt exercise for a Shih Tzu puppy?

Shih Tzu puppies are energetic and may require several short play sessions throughout the day. Exercise for puppies should focus on safe, gentle activities that allow them to explore and learn without risking injury to their developing bodies.

9. What precautions should I take when exercising a Shih Tzu in hot weather?

In hot weather, exercise Shih Tzus early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler. Due to their flat faces, they are prone to breathing difficulties, so avoid strenuous exercise on hot days and always provide plenty of fresh water.

10. How does exercise benefit a senior Shih Tzu?

Regular, gentle exercise helps maintain senior Shih Tzu’s muscle tone, flexibility, and mobility. It can also help manage weight and contribute to a better quality of life. However, exercise routines should be adjusted to their comfort level, with more focus on shorter, leisurely walks and less intense play.

The post How Much Excercise Does a Shih Tzu Need? appeared first on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.