How Long Are Shih Tzus Pregnant For? + Shih Tzu Pregnancy Calendar

how long are shih tzus pregnant

Breeding Chihuahua is no easy feat, and some owners will even have to resort to artificial insemination. However, once your Chihuahua is pregnant, how long will they be pregnant for in months and days?

How long is a Shih Tzu pregnant for? Shih Tzus have the same gestation period as other dog breeds. Your Shih Tzu will be pregnant for 58 to 68 days, with the average pregnancy length usually being around day 63 from the point of conceiving to the delivery.

If you do have a pregnant Shih Tzu and don’t know to expect, please check out the following Shih Tzu pregnancy calendar. It’s a step by step guide through the days of your Shih Tzu’s pregnancy.

Shih Tzu pregnancy calendar

Week 1 (days 0 to 7)

The female Shih Tzu will have conceived, and the owner or breeder should continue as normal in regard to things like feeding and walks. There’s no need at this point to change her routine.

You might see a little sickness though related to motion sickness. There could also be a small pinky-colored discharge coming from the Shih Tzu, which is entirely normal and not a miscarriage.

Week 2 (days 7 to 14)

At this point in your Shih Tzu’s pregnancy calendar, there’s so much more going on. The cells are developing, and the puppy embryos will transfer into the Shih Tzu’s uterus.

This is the time during the French Bulldog pregnancy calendar when the cells will start to grow, and the embryos move into the uterus area.

Just like the first 7 days of your Shih Tzu’s pregnancy, there’s no need to make any changes to her routine. You can keep her exercise and diet as it normally is.

how many days is a shih tzu pregnant for
A Shih Tzu is pregnant for 9 weeks, and in the second week you won’t notice any changes and won’t need to change her routine. (Image via

Week 3 (days 14 to 21)

Little Shih Tzu foetuses are now developing into shapes. They are very tiny still, possibly being about 1 centimetre long!

There is still no need to change your pregnant Shih Tzu’s diet and exercise routines yet at this point in the pregnancy calendar. However, you might find that she’s hungrier than usual and wants to take more calories on.

Week 4 (days 21 to 28)

Things are now starting to take shape. Your vet may even be able to feel the puppies in your Shih Tzu’s belly with some soft, manual manipulation on the outsides of the stomach.

The tiny foetuses now look like little doggies. If scanned, it would be possible to see spinal and facial areas developing despite the fact the puppies are only 1.5 centimetres in length!

This is considered to be the most important times during the Shih Tzu pregnancy calendar as it’s when the developing puppies are most at risk from miscarriage.

It’s essential to start changing her routine now, making sure to limit any over-exertion and intense activities. Your vet might also recommend a change in diet, with possible nutritional supplements added.

Pregnancy signs to look out for include swelling of the nipples and clear discharge; neither are unusual or a reason to be concerned.

Week 5 (days 28 to 35)

The Shih Tzu foetuses do really look like little puppies now with paws, claws, and whiskers starting to grow through. Scans could also reveal what genders the Shih Tzu puppies are too, as their genital areas can sometimes be seen.

Your pregnant Shih Tzu will start to put weight on and will demand more and more food to feed the growing pups. You will need to increase her calorie intake to help the foetuses develop healthily.

If you do pay for a scan, your vet will also be able to tell you how many puppies your Shih Tzu is expecting. On average, Shih Tzus will have litters of 3 to 4 puppies. You can find out more about litter sizes in this guide.

Week 6 (days 35 to 42)

At this point during your Shih Tzu’s pregnancy she will be starting to show, and it will be obvious that she’s expecting! In fact, many breeders report that the female Shih Tzu visibly gets bigger with each day that passes in the pregnancy calendar.

Other things to look out for include the color of the nipples getting darker. Inside the womb there will also be changes afoot, as the Shih Tzu puppies start to develop their own unique markings and patterns.

Her nipples will also become darker, and there will also be color changes to the growing puppies too as they start to develop their unique markings.

As for mum, she will be getting hungrier as each day of the pregnancy passes. Some breeders will start to add puppy food into her diet, and nutritional supplements if not already.

I also recommend you help your Shih Tzu start with her nesting. This is where she finds a warm, quiet, safe, and comfortable place to give birth. It’s something that you can help her prepare for, so she is as calm as possible.

how long is a shih Tzus dog pregnant for
Shih Tzus will start trying to nest as their pregnancy progresses (Image via

Week 7 (days 42 to 49)

Your Shih Tzu will now have been pregnant for 42 days and could be experiencing hair loss. This is entirely natural, as is fur coming away from her belly in order to prepare for birth and feeding puppies.

You will also need to increase the mother’s food intake again as the puppies are now almost developed into the classic Shih Tzu shape known the world over.

Calcium is very important in her diet now, as it will help to strengthen and develop the growing Shih Tzu puppies before birth.

Week 8 (days 49 to 57)

Some Shih Tzus will give birth prematurely, despite the length of pregnancy typically being around 63 days – so this week is critical as it’s when it could happen. Be prepared just in case you get an early surprise.

The best thing you can do for your Shih Tzu is to keep them relaxed and calm, with almost zero physical activity. If she does over-exert herself, she could give birth earlier than expected.

She will be showing nesting behavior, and you could even see signs of the puppies moving around under the surface of her belly. They will be more active than usual during this 8th week.

Week 9 (days 57 to 65)

Now is the time most Shih Tzus will give birth. A sign she is ready will be a slowing down, quietness, and a loss of appetite.

And then the Shih Tzu puppies will arrive!

And that’s that… and there’s going to be so much more for you to now do to help the mother. I will save that all for another blog post though; but here are some related questions.

How do Shih Tzus get pregnant?

It is possible for Shih Tzus to breed naturally, but some breeders will artificially inseminate the female (dam), and in many cases the two parents won’t even meet each other.

How many puppies do Shih Tzus have?

Shih Tzus have smaller litters than other dogs due to their size. On average Shih Tzus have between 3 to 4 puppies in each litter.

Compare this to a dog like a rottweiler who has 8 puppies on average, and you can see why the smaller Shih Tzu litter sizes will often be reflected in their price.

Here are some common dog breeds, and how many puppies they have on average compared to Shih Tzus.

  • Basset Hound – 5 puppies
  • Beagle – 6 puppies
  • Bernese Mountain Dog – 8 puppies
  • Boston Terrier – 4 puppies
  • British Bulldog – 4 puppies
  • Chihuahua – 3 puppies
  • Corgi – 7 puppies
  • Dachshund – 3 puppies
  • French Bulldog – 3 puppies
  • German Shepherd Dog – 8 puppies
  • Golden Retriever – 8 puppies
  • Great Dane – 8 puppies
  • Labrador – 7 puppies
  • Miniature Schnauzer – 4 puppies
  • Poodle – 5 puppies
  • Shih Tzu – 5 puppies
  • Rottweiler – 8 puppies
  • Springer Spaniel – 7 puppies
  • Yorkshire Terrier – 3 puppies

Small Shih Tzus just don’t have the room to hold more puppies than they do. When they do have larger litter sizes, it can actually lead to fatalities in some of the pups. Others can also be underweight, and there will be more stress on the mother to produce milk.

Do Shih Tzus need C-sections?

It’s said that around 20% of Shih Tzu pregnancies are delivered via a Caesarean sections. Most Shih Tzus will have natural births.

C-sections will be performed for a number of reasons. The main reason being that the female Shih Tzu might have a narrow birth canal and hips making it hard for a natural birth to occur without complications. The large heads of the puppies further complicate matters.

These complications can result in the puppies becoming stuck. This can lead to fatalities with puppies, and sometimes the mother.

Shih Tzu C-sections costs will vary depending on where you live and the complexity. Prices can vary from the cheap side of $400 to over $2,000. Emergency Caesareans can cost even more.


If you are thinking about breeding your own Shih Tzu, please do reconsider if it’s a pure money-making exercise.

Many owners will breed and breed their Shih Tzus which can take a terrible toll on their bodies and mental health.

Whilst you might think that the length of time a Shih Tzu is pregnant for makes this look like a great way to make some regular cash on the side, do think again.

If you are on the other side of the fence and want to buy a Shih Tzu puppy, please do your research and make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder.

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Image in header via

Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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