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Shih Tzu Rescue: 14 Best Places to Look for a Shih Tzu

There are many great reasons to want to share your life with a Shih Tzu (pronounced SHEED-zoo). Not only are they non-shedding and hypoallergenic, they are also a lot of fun to be around. But before you go out to buy one, there are hundreds of Shih Tzu and Shih Tzu mixes in need of rescue every day.

Not only are there many Shih Tzus that need a home, it’s also hard to find a Shih Tzu puppy from a quality breeder. This means you are either looking at a long wait or buying your puppy from a puppy mill.

And no one should ever get their puppy from a puppy mill. So why not look for a Shih Tzu that is ready for a new life now.

Finding a Shih Tzu rescue is easy if you know the right places to look. Plus a Shih Tzu rescue generally costs a fraction of the cost to buy from a quality breeder or even a puppy mill.

Join us as we look at the 14 best Shih Tzu Rescue organizations to look for a Shih Tzu.

Shih Tzu Rescue: 10 Best Places to Adopt a Shih Tzu

6 Facts about a Shih Tzu Rescue

1. The Shih Tzu breed has been around for more than 1,000 years

That’s right. Records of the Shih Tzu go back at least 1,000 years. With evidence of this breed’s ancestors going back to as early as 1,000 B.C. But not too much is known about the early Shih Tzu and historians disagree on a lot of what is said about the breed.

2. They originate from Tibet

Although Shih Tzus are often associated with China, they are believed to have originated in Tibet. The common theory is that Tibet travelers brought the dogs with them on their journey and gave them as gifts to the emperors of China.

However, the modern day Shih Tzu is probably a mix between the original Tibet dog and the Chinese Pekingese or Pug.

3. Known as the “little loin”

While the Shih Tzu may originate from Tibet, their name comes from the Chinese words for “little lion”. It’s believed that the name came from the legend of the Tibetan Buddhist God of Learning, who is said to have traveled with a small lion type dog that could transform into a full-sized lion when needed. It fits the small dog’s looks but the big dog’s attitude.

shih Tzu on a path outside.

4. Shih Tzu Rescues are sometimes mix breeds

While it is possible to get a Shih Tzu that is not a mixed breed from a rescue, many of the available dogs are not purebreds. But they are just as cute if not cuter than a purebred Shih Tzu.

5. Shih Tzus live a long life

The average Shih Tzu lifespan is between 10 and 16 years old, with most living until about 13 years old. But the oldest known Shih Tzu lived to be 23-years-old. The Shih Tzu’s long lifespan is part of the reason they end up in a rescue. They tend to outlive their elderly owners.

If you are looking for a small, low shed dog breed to rescue you may want to look at our posts on the Mini Goldendoodle Rescue, Cavapoo Rescue, Cockapoo Rescue, Poodle Rescue and Maltipoo Rescue.

6. Adoption Fees

Be prepared to buy an adoption fee when getting a Shih Tzu. Most rescue groups charge an adoption fee to cover the cost of vetting and taking care of a rescue dog while they wait to be adopted. Some also charge an application fee to cover the administrative costs.

14 Best Places to Look for a Shih Tzu Rescue by Region

Beat Places to Look for a Shih Tzu Rescue by Region 0 Black and White Shih Tzu

For your convenience we have provided you a short overview of the adoption process for each rescue listed here. This is only a quick overview. It does not contain all the information needed to make an informed decision. Make sure you review their website to get all the details on what they require to adopt a dog from them.

Southeast Region

1. Shih Tzu Rescue Inc.

Adoption Area: South Florida

Location: Davie, Florida

The Shih Tzu Rescue, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that operates a no kill shelter and sanctuary on 3 acres in Davie, Fl. Since 1995 they have been dedicated to the rescue of Shih Tzus and other companion dogs in South Florida. You can find them on GuideStar where they received a gold star for their financial transparency.

Adoption Process Overview:

  • Complete the online adoption application.
  • Once you have submitted the application it will be reviewed by volunteers
  • If you are the right match for a dog in the rescue they will contact you
  • The next step is to meet the dog
  • They require a home check before the adoption is completed.

You can learn more about them on their website and Facebook pages.

Beat Places to Look for a Shih Tzu Rescue by Region - Happyoodles.com White Shih Tzu lying down

2. Bluegrass Shih Tzu Rescue Inc.

Adoption Area: Kentucky

Location: No Physical location

The Bluegrass Shih Tzu Rescue Inc. is a small 501c3 non-profit rescue organization that finds homes for dogs in need. Their primary focus is on the Shih-Tzu breed and other small non-shedding breeds. According to their website they have been in operation for over 15 years.

Adoption Process Overview:

  • The adoption process starts with an on-line application.
  • Required references includes one from a veterinarian, and two personal references
  • Possible home visit
  • You can find their available dogs on their website.

You can learn more about them on their Website

Beat Places to Look for a Shih Tzu Rescue by Region - Close up of Shih Tzu

3. Shih Tzus & Furbabies Rescue

Adoption Area:United States

Location: Saint Marys, Ga

Shih Tzus & Furbabies is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization that was started back in 1997. They are dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of small purebred and mixed breed dogs. Shih Tzu and Furbabies rescue all types of small breeds, including shih tzus, lhasa apso, poodles, and many more breeds and mix breeds that need care and a new home.

They started as a Shih Tzu rescue but then found that they couldn’t leave the others behind, so the Furbabies part of the name was added.

You can find their adoptable dogs on their website.

Adoption Process Overview:

  • Complete the online application.
  • They ask for personal references as well as one from your veterinarian
  • Next is a phone interview where you will be able to ask questions
  • Then a home visit is scheduled.

You can learn more about them on their Website.

Midwest Region

Beat Places to Look for a Shih Tzu Rescue by Region Black and white Shh Tzu sitting.

4. Lend a Helping Paw Shih Tzu Rescue

Adoption Area: Continental US

Location: Canton, Mi

Lend A Helping Paw® Shih Tzu Rescue (LAHPSTR) is an all-volunteer, Michigan-based 501(c)(3) organization. They have earned the platinum award from Guidestar for their transparency.

Lend a Helping Paw focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of fuffy, small-breed dogs, with their primary focus on the Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apsos breeds. Dogs are fostered in volunteer’s homes across the United States. You can find their dogs that are ready for adoption on their Facebook page and also on Petfinder.com

They also operate a Forever Foster “sanctuary” program where dogs can live out their lives, if adoption is not possible due to age, health, or behavior.

Adoption Process Overview:

  • Potential adopters are required to submit an online application
  • Submit at least two (2) years of full medical records for each pet owned in the past five (5) years.
  • Provide three (3) personal references
  • Home Visit
  • Applications are reviewed. Additional information may be requested.
  • Approval or Denial
  • If approved, they will look for a match.

This above adoption process is just a broad overview of what they require. Their adoption process is extensive and is listed on their website.

You can learn more about them on their Website and Facebook pages.

White and cream Shih Twu

5. Shih Tzu Rescue, Adoption and Education Safe House (STRAES)

Adoption Area: Chicago and its suburbans

Shih Tzu Rescue, Adoption and Education Safe House is a 501(c)3 non-profit volunteer organization that was established in 1999. Their goal is to help adoptable Shih Tzu with injuries or health issues so that they may find their forever home. They also take in neglected and abused dogs with behavior issues that have the potential to be adopted after enrollment in a remedial program with a professional trainer/behaviorist.

STRAES also provides breed-specific and general educational materials for Shih Tzu owners, or potential owners, as well as consultation and training services.

Location: Homer Glen, IL

Adoption Process Overview:

  • Find a dog you are interested in on their site
  • Contact rescue via email to request an application
  • Email must include: name of the dog and why you are interested in adopting that particular dog.
  • If your request is approved, you will receive an adoption application along with the rest of the adoption process.
  • They accept multiple application requests for the same dog.
  • Three local references required (only one relative is allowed)

You can learn more about them, and see their available dogs on their Website and Facebook pages.

Shih Tzu close up

6. NorthStar Shih Tzu Rescue

Adoption Area: Minnesota

Location: Excelsior, MN

Northstar Shih Tzu Rescue (NSSTR) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that offers rescue and re-home services for Shih Tzu and Shih Tzu mix breed dogs.

As with many of the rescues, they are an all volunteer organization that uses foster homes to house available dogs until they are ready to go to their new home. Rescued dogs are vaccinated, micro-chipped, spayed or neutered and provided with the medical care and rehabilitation services they need to become adoptable.

Adoption Process Overview:

  • Complete an Adoption form – Link to download the form on their website.
  • Provide references
  • If you are determined to be a good fit for a dog they will call your references
  • A home visit is scheduled
  • There is a 24 hour thinking period – this gives everyone a chance to decide if it’s a good fit.

You can learn more about them, and see their available dogs on their Website and Facebook pages.

Young shih Tzu

7. Shih Tzu Rescue of Minnesota (STRMN)

Adoption Area: Minnesota

Location: Minniesota

The Shih Tzu Rescue of Minnesota ( STRMN) is a volunteer organization, whose mission is to rehabilitate and rehome Shih Tzus and Shih Tzu mixes who are in need of a home. While they focus on Shih Tzus in need in Minnesota, they also reach across their borders to help Shih Tzu in other states when they have the space to help. STRMN is a 501(c)3 charitable, non-profit organization that relies on donations to care for their dogs in need.

Adoption Process Overview:

  • Complete the online application
  • Next you will have a phone interview where you can ask questions about the dog you are interested in.
  • Home visits are required
  • Meet and greet

You can learn more about them on their Website and Facebook pages.

Shih Tzu with long hair

8. Ohio Fuzzy Pawz Shih Tzu Rescue

Adoption Area: Central Ohio and the surrounding areas

Location: Pataskala, OH

Ohio Fuzzy Pawz Shih Tzu’s mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome Shih Tzus and other small breed dogs. While they are located in central Ohio, they do adopt outside Ohio on occasion. However you must be able to pick up the dog in Ohio and they must be able to schedule a home visit from a partnering rescue in your area. They do not ship dogs.

You can find their available dogs on the website.

Adoption Process Overview:

  • Applicants must be at least 21 years of age.
  • First Step is to submit an online application
  • Additional information may be requested after the review.
  • Home visits are required.
  • Veterinarian reference for past pets.
  • If deemed a match to a dog in need, a meet and greet is scheduled.

You can learn more about them on their Website and Facebook pages.

Beat Places to Look for a Shih Tzu Rescue by Region Gray and white Shih Tzu

9. Save a Shelter Shih Tzu

Adoption Area: Ohio

Location: Urbana, Ohio

Established in 2011 Save A Shelter Shih Tzu is run by a group of dedicated individuals that find and rescue Shih Tzus and Shih Tzu mixes in need of a new home. They take in Shih Tzus from all over the USA with the goal of finding them a suitable home.

Adoption Process:

  • Complete the online application.
  • If determined to be a good fit, a home visit and interview will be conducted.

You can learn more about them on their Website and Facebook pages.

Southwest Region

Beat Places to Look for a Shih Tzu Rescue by Region - Brown Shih Tzu

10. Arizona Shih Tzu and Small Breed Rescue Phoenix, AZ

Adoption Area: Arizona

The ​Arizona Shih Tzu and Small Breed Group is an all volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. They are dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of Shih Tzus and other small breed dogs including mix breed dogs.

They do not showcase available dogs on their site. Instead you can find available dogs on Petfinder.com, or Adopt a pet. The links shown here will bring you to their pages.

Adoption Process Overview:

  • First complete their online application
  • Applications are reviewed
  • If approved and they have a good match they will set up a meet and greet.
  • Mandatory home checks are required.
  • If there are other dogs at home you must also have a meet and greet with the other dogs.

The online application can be found on Petfinder.com or Adopt a pet in an available dog’s bio.

At the time of this writing the adoption fee includes at least one health exam, altering, all vaccinations including rabies (as permitted by age), a pre-adoption professional grooming (if needed) and a microchip.

They also provide you with a new collar and/or harness and leash as a starter bag of the quality kibble that is being fed at the rescue.

You can learn more about them on their Website and Facebook pages.

11. Lone Star Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apso Rescue

Adoption Area: Texas

Location: Houston, Texas

The Lone Star Shih Tzu & Lhasa Apso Rescue is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. They specialize in the rescue and re-homing of Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apsos.

They are an all volunteer rescue group that does not have a physical shelter. Instead dogs are located in several areas of Texas including Houston, Austin, San Antonio and the Dallas/Fort Worth area. All dogs are placed in foster homes until they are ready for adoption.

Applications must be 21 years old and head of their own household. They also do not allow adoptions to families with children under 8 years old. Please visit their website to see all their policies and considerations.

Adoption Process Overview:

  • The adoption process begins with an on-line application. You can also request an emailed application if you prefer.
  • Two years of veterinarian records are requested for anyone that has a current dog.
  • You must have 3 references that are checked.
  • They require a home visit.

You can learn more about them on their Website and Facebook pages.

12. Tzu Zoo Rescue

Adoption Area: Mainly in the Dallas/Fort Worth area

Location: Dallas Fort Worth Area of TX

Tzu Zoo Rescue is a volunteer based non-profit 501(c)(3) rescue and foster care organization. Their goal is to pair homeless Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apsos dogs that are found in local shelters with their forever home.

Dogs are provided with immediate medical and dental care, vaccinations, heartworm testing and are spayed or neutered. While in foster care dogs are also evaluated for temperament and provided with behavioral modification if needed.

They also provide public education on issues related to the Shih Tzu like the need to spay/neuter, vaccinations, heartworm prevention, regular vet care, good nutrition, and regular grooming.

Adoption Process Overview:

  • Fill out an online application
  • Application preliminary review
  • Review of veterinary records for the last five years if you own a pet. You will need to request this from your veterinarian.
  • Landlord approval if you rent
  • Personal References are checked.
  • Home visit and applicant interview
  • Meet and greet

You can learn more about them on their Website and Facebook pages.

West Region

13. New Beginnings Shih Tzu Rescue Inc.

Adoption Area: Wisconsin and Illinois

Location: Oak Creek, WI

New Beginnings Shih Tzu Rescue is a  501(c)(3) non-profit dog rescue that has been in operation since 2005. Dogs are housed in foster homes located in Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois.

New Beginnings specializes in the rescue and rehoming of Shih Tzus but they will also rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home any small breed dog in need. You can find their available dogs on their website and Facebook pages.

Adoption Process Overview:

  • There is a $10 Application Donation
  • Complete the on-line application
  • Reference Check
  • Home visit
  • Current cats or dogs must be spayed or neutered, up to date on vaccinations, tested for heartworm and on preventative medication

You can learn more about them on their Website and Facebook pages.

Older Shih Tzu close up

14. FurBaby Rescue of Washington State Shih Tzu/Lhasa Rescue

Adoption Area: Washington State and the surrounding areas

Location: Washington State

Furbaby of Washington is a small rescue that is dedicated to the rescue of Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apsos. If space is available they will also rescue and rehome other small dogs. Dogs are kept in foster homes until they are adopted.

Adoption Process Overview:

  • To start the process you need to complete the adoption application
  • You can get the application by emailing the rescue.
  • Home checks are required
  • References are also required.
  • You must be willing to meet the dog prior to adoption
  • They do not adopt to families with children under 12 years old.

You can learn more about them on their Website and Facebook pages.

Looking for a small dog but not sure which one? Check out our post on Maltipoo vs Shih Tzu Comparison: 8 Key Differences

Thank you for visiting

If you know of a rescue group that rescues Shih Tzus please add them to the comments.

Check out our other rescue posts:

Maureen

Tuesday 6th of February 2024

Got any suggestions for the NorthEast? I have a 4.5 yr old spayed female, looking for a playmate.