Shih Tzu vs. Lhasa Apso

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.


Mars is covered- in BBQs!
Barked: Wed Dec 26, '07 1:42pm PST 
What are the major differences between the two? I've looked on www.dogbreedinfo.com and searched a bit, but I'm still having difficulty telling them apart. I'm looking for things I could see with pet quality... It's easier to tell with dog shows. laugh out loud (So, short hair, too.)

I can notice a difference, but can't quite grasp it. With mixes and puppy millers, it's kinda hard out on the street. shrug This is just for personal knowledge.

Stuff I've read, but find hard to notice:
--Snout lengh
--Round head vs. Flat
--Harsher coat?

Much appreciated. smile

I'm not a boy,- I'm a real dog!
Barked: Wed Dec 26, '07 1:58pm PST 
you actually really won't notice it much on the pictures... especially puppy pictures!

but we've seen lhasas and shih tzus up close.

the snout difference is huge. shih tzus really have a short snout. (they "almost" look like a pug if shaved down - except they don't have folds on their faces.) and lhasas only look like a normal small dog. normal, long snout.

not sure about the coat though.

when mommy was obsessing about getting a puppy (me!) she told daddy she doesn't much care if it's a lhasa or shih tzu since we look alike.

laugh out loud bol! *whispers* of course i'm biased! us shih tzus are better! big laugh

*snort* rub my- belly! *snort*
Barked: Wed Dec 26, '07 2:41pm PST 
Personalities are supposed to be one of the major differences. Tzus are said to be more friendly and playful, while lhasas are more protective and barky laugh out loud Tzus are also smaller.

Also another thing to remember is there really aren't anymore truely pure lhasas or tzus in the states anymore. Almost every lhasa has tzu somewhere in the lineage, and almost every tzu has lhasa somewhere in the lineage.

My family has always had lhasas, and I can't imagine not having one. They have a spot in my heart big grin I've never spent more than a few minutes with a tzu (but I bet I would love them too!), though I hear they are "nicer" and less nippy.

Yea...that's just my 2 cents...I'm definately no expert.

-Abby's mom

barky lhasa --> dog
(did I stress barky enough?)

Edited by author Wed Dec 26, '07 2:45pm PST



Teeth kisses for- everyone!
Barked: Wed Dec 26, '07 4:28pm PST 
"Personalities are supposed to be one of the major differences. Tzus are said to be more friendly and playful, while lhasas are more protective and barky Tzus are also smaller. "

My sister had a Lhasa, and I had a Shih Tzu mix and have known quite a few purebreds. I would agree with Addy in that Shih Tzus are less wary of strangers and more friendly. Lhasas tend to be protective and are by standard a larger breed. Lhasas also have a good bit of length to their muzzle, and a less pronounced eye, while the Shih Tzu has a very, very short muzzle and a round, large eye. Both breeds are incredibly devoted to their family members. I would say the Lhasa is a hardier breed than the Shih Tzu, as it is without the breathing problems.

The Shih Tzu was developed by breeding Lhasas and Pekingese type dogs together in Tibet (some say Tibetan Spaniel ancestors). I read once an old reprinted article. It remarked that visitors to Tibet in the 1800s noted pups born from the same litters had non-shedding coats, shedding coats, and a lot of variance in size. The monks considered all the small lap dogs the same, (they were all called lion dogs and temple dogs) and did not regulate the interbreeding. It was those who brought the dogs to China and others to England that divided the small Tibetan dogs into different breeds by their physical features.

In the more formal kennel club beginnings of the breed, in England, tracing pedigree, you can still find registered Pekingese females were used in the foundation of the Shih Tzu breed. This was when the Pekingese were a breed with a much shorter spaniel type coat, and a slightly longer muzzle than they have now. Here are some paintings from that time.

Pekingese - Maud Earl 1913

John Munns Pekingese 1913

Gabriel Blair Pekingese 1918

The newly separated Lhasa and Shih Tzu breeds were also intermixed when they first came to the USA, so I do believe you will find that there are a lot of dogs in each breed with very similar temperaments.

Mars is covered- in BBQs!
Barked: Thu Dec 27, '07 7:33am PST 
Wow! Thanks for the great posts! big grin

People mostly have Shih Tzus around here, so next time I actually see a Lhasa I'll try to note the differences you guys pointed out. Much appreciated. smile

PS--Keep it coming if you have more!
Aina- Aloysius de- LeMaitre

work hard, play- hard
Barked: Thu Dec 27, '07 9:20pm PST 
When one of my people was a kid, they had a few Shih Tzus and Lhasas. They were directly from China and Taiwan because that was where my person lived for a while back then.

The shih tzus there were always smaller than the lhasas and definitely smaller than shih tzus found in the US. They were the same multicolor as those found in the US. It was especially obvious since their coats were not cut but fully grown out and groomed.

The lhasas there were great teddy bears. A large number of lhasas in China and Taiwan were brown, the most desirable color. It really made them seem like the little temple lion statues seen everywhere there. Their coats weren't always quite as long as the shih tzus.

As for temperment, they seemed equal. They were all very loving family dogs. The ones my person's family brought to the US seemed more exotic to many Americans simply because their coats were kept long and groomed. They all lived long, healthy lives. Great dogs.
Daisy-REHOMED :)

Shih Tzu Girl!
Barked: Fri Dec 28, '07 6:45am PST 
Well we got both with Daisy!laugh out loud

Good Luck on finding good info!wishes

Can I sit on- your lap?
Barked: Fri Dec 28, '07 5:55pm PST 
Shih Tzu's look like they ran into a parked car ... Lhasa's have a long muzzle. The Lhasa's I've met have always been slighly more reserved than the Shih Tzu's, but that could be the way they were raised. I believe there is a size difference as well.