Do Shih Tzus Sleep a Lot? Understanding the Sleeping Habits of this Popular Breed

Shih Tzus are a popular breed of small dogs that are known for their adorable looks and loving nature. One aspect that many people might not consider when bringing a Shih Tzu into their home is their sleeping habits. Do Shih Tzus sleep a lot? The short answer – they do. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the sleeping habits of Shih Tzus, how much sleep they need, the benefits of good sleep, common sleep issues, and how to create a comfortable sleep environment for your furry friend.

The Sleep Patterns of Shih Tzus

Shih Tzus are a breed that loves to sleep. On average, they tend to sleep for approximately 12-14 hours per day, which is more than what is required for most other breeds. This is because Shih Tzus are naturally laid back and not particularly active, which means they require more time to rest and recover. Additionally, their small size means that they get cold more easily, leading to the need to cuddle up and get cozy for longer periods of time.

How Much Sleep Do Shih Tzus Need?

As mentioned earlier, Shih Tzus need around 12-14 hours of sleep per day, but this may vary depending on the individual dog. Some might need more or less sleep, depending on their age, health, and activity level. It’s important to pay close attention to your dog’s sleeping habits to ensure that they’re getting enough rest, and to recognize any changes in their sleeping patterns that might indicate an underlying health issue.

Factors Affecting Shih Tzu Sleep Duration

Various factors can affect a Shih Tzu’s sleep duration. Besides their age, health, and activity level, other factors include their diet, living environment, and level of comfort. If your Shih Tzu is not getting adequate nutrition, they might feel sluggish, and this could affect their sleep patterns. Similarly, if their living environment is overly noisy or disruptive, they might not get the chance to enter deep sleep stages, which are essential for proper rest and recovery.

Sleep Schedule of a Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus, like most other dogs, sleep in cycles. They usually sleep for a few hours at a time, followed by a brief period of waking up, taking a bathroom break, and then going back to sleep. When left to their own devices, a Shih Tzu might nap throughout the day, with more extended sleep periods at night, mimicking the sleeping patterns of their human companions. However, if their owners keep them on a strict sleep schedule, they will adapt to this, too.

It’s interesting to note that Shih Tzus have been known to have vivid dreams. Just like humans, dogs experience Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which is the stage of sleep where dreaming occurs. During this stage, dogs may twitch, whimper, or even move their paws, indicating that they’re in the midst of a dream. It’s important not to wake your Shih Tzu during this stage, as it’s essential for their mental and emotional well-being.

Another factor that can affect a Shih Tzu’s sleep patterns is their age. Puppies require more sleep than adult dogs, as their bodies are still developing and growing. It’s not uncommon for a Shih Tzu puppy to sleep for up to 20 hours per day. As they get older, their sleep patterns will adjust to match their changing needs.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Shih Tzus are prone to certain health conditions that can affect their sleep patterns. For example, if your Shih Tzu has breathing difficulties, such as brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), they may struggle to breathe while sleeping, leading to disrupted sleep patterns. Similarly, if your Shih Tzu is in pain due to arthritis or another condition, they may find it difficult to get comfortable and fall asleep.

In Conclusion

Overall, Shih Tzus are a breed that requires plenty of rest and sleep to stay healthy and happy. By paying close attention to their sleeping patterns and ensuring that they have a comfortable and quiet sleeping environment, you can help your Shih Tzu get the rest they need to thrive.

The Importance of Sleep for Shih Tzus

Like humans, dogs need proper sleep to maintain good physical and mental health. Shih Tzus are no exception, and adequate sleep duration has some significant health and behavioral benefits.

Did you know that Shih Tzus sleep an average of 12-14 hours per day? That’s right, they spend almost half of their day snoozing! But why is sleep so important for these fluffy pups?

Physical Health Benefits

Shih Tzus that get enough sleep benefit from robust immune systems, well-groomed coats, better digestion, and better metabolism. Proper rest also gives their bodies a chance to recover from any injuries or illnesses and promotes healthy growth and cellular repair.

During sleep, a dog’s body is hard at work repairing and rejuvenating. This is especially important for Shih Tzus, who are known for their long, luxurious coats. Without enough rest, their coats can become dull and matted, leading to uncomfortable skin irritations and even infections.

Mental Health Benefits

Good sleep is also crucial for your Shih Tzu’s mental health. A well-rested dog is generally happier and more alert, and less likely to experience stress and anxiety. It’s also important to note that cognitive decline is a real possibility in older dogs, so restful sleep is essential to help them maintain their mental faculties and keep them sharp.

Have you ever noticed that your Shih Tzu is more irritable or less responsive after a night of poor sleep? This is because sleep deprivation can have a significant impact on a dog’s mood and cognitive function.

Sleep and Behavioral Issues

Dogs that don’t get enough rest are more likely to experience behavioral issues such as anxiety, irritability, and aggression. If your Shih Tzu is experiencing these issues, it might be a good idea to consider how much rest they are getting and what you can do to create a more comfortable sleep environment.

Creating a comfortable sleep environment for your Shih Tzu can be as simple as providing a cozy bed in a quiet, dark room. You can also try playing soft, calming music or using a pheromone diffuser to help your pup relax and drift off to sleep.

Remember, a well-rested Shih Tzu is a happy and healthy Shih Tzu!

Common Sleep Issues in Shih Tzus

While Shih Tzus are generally healthy and hardy dogs, there are a few sleep-related issues that they are prone to experiencing. In this article, we will delve deeper into these issues and provide you with some tips on how to help your Shih Tzu get a good night’s rest.

Sleep Apnea

Snoring is a common occurrence in Shih Tzus, and it’s usually harmless. However, in some cases, it could be a symptom of sleep apnea, which is a respiratory condition. Sleep apnea can cause your Shih Tzu to wake up abruptly while gasping for air, and this can affect their overall sleep quality and leave them feeling tired and lethargic during the day.

If you suspect that your Shih Tzu might have sleep apnea, it’s essential to take them to a veterinarian. The vet will be able to diagnose the condition and recommend appropriate treatment. Treatment options might include weight loss, medication, or surgery.


Although Shih Tzus love to sleep, some might experience insomnia, which is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Insomnia could be caused by many factors, such as anxiety, uncomfortable sleep environments, or an underlying health condition. Insomnia can affect their overall health and wellbeing, so it’s crucial to identify the cause and address it appropriately.

If your Shih Tzu is experiencing insomnia, there are several things you can do to help them. Firstly, ensure that their sleep environment is comfortable and conducive to sleep. This might mean investing in a comfortable dog bed or creating a cozy sleeping area. Secondly, try to establish a consistent sleep routine for your Shih Tzu. This might involve taking them for a walk before bedtime or playing calming music. Lastly, if the insomnia persists, it’s important to take your Shih Tzu to a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health conditions.

Restless Sleep

Some Shih Tzus might be restless sleepers, and this could lead to inadequate sleep patterns. This might be due to the uncomfortable sleep environment, pain, or anxiety. Restless sleep can affect cognitive and physical functions, and it’s essential to identify what’s causing it and take corrective measures.

If your Shih Tzu is experiencing restless sleep, there are several things you can do to help them. Firstly, ensure that their sleep environment is comfortable and free from any distractions. This might mean creating a quiet and dark sleeping area. Secondly, try to establish a consistent sleep routine for your Shih Tzu. This might involve taking them for a walk before bedtime or playing calming music. Lastly, if the restless sleep persists, it’s important to take your Shih Tzu to a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health conditions.

In conclusion, while sleep issues can be frustrating for both you and your Shih Tzu, they are usually treatable. By identifying the underlying cause and taking appropriate measures, you can help your furry friend get the restful sleep they need to stay healthy and happy.

Creating a Comfortable Sleep Environment for Your Shih Tzu

Creating a comfortable sleep environment for your Shih Tzu is critical to ensure that they get adequate rest. Here are a few things you can do to make it happen.

Choosing the Right Bed

Shih Tzus love to snuggle up in a warm, cozy space while they sleep, and choosing the right bed is critical to their comfort. Get a bed that’s soft, supportive, and adequately sized for your dog. Make sure it’s easy to clean, too, as routine cleaning is important to keep your Shih Tzu healthy.

The Ideal Room Temperature

Shih Tzus are sensitive to temperature changes, and the ideal room temperature for them is around 68-75°F. Make sure your bedroom is ventilated well enough to prevent stuffiness that could disrupt your Shih Tzu’s sleep.

Reducing Noise and Distractions

Creating a peaceful environment is excellent for your Shih Tzu’s sleep. If you live in a noisy area, consider getting them earplugs to help them drown out unwanted sounds. Turn off the TV, radio, or any other noise sources, too, so that your furry companion can nap peacefully.


Shih Tzus do indeed sleep a lot, and it’s important to ensure that they get adequate rest to maintain their physical and mental health. Proper restful sleep will ensure that they remain healthy, happy, and full of energy. By creating a comfortable sleep environment for your Shih Tzu and paying close attention to their sleep habits, you can ensure that they remain your loving companions for years to come.