Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Papastzu (Papillon & Shih Tzu Mix) Dog Breed: Info, Pictures & Care Guide

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

A cute Papastzu sitting in grass

Papastzu (Papillon & Shih Tzu Mix) Dog Breed: Info, Pictures & Care Guide

The Papastzu is a hybrid breed, a cross between two fairly similar breeds: the Papillon and the Shih Tzu. Both breeds are small, affectionate, and sweet dogs that make ideal lapdogs for owners who don’t have much space or live in an apartment building. The Papastzu combines the best traits of both these good-natured dogs.

Breed Overview


8–11 inches


4–16 pounds


13–15 years


Brown, white, black

Suitable for:

Families, couples, singles, apartment living


Affectionate, gentle, energetic, playful, intelligent, sweet

The Papastzu is a designer breed, developed in the United States in the 2010s with the intent of creating an adorable, small dog that is easy to care for. These dogs are fairly active, considering their small size, but are true companion dogs that love nothing more than to be close to their owners. They differ from many other small breeds in that while they do have an abundance of personality, they are not yappy or overly protective dogs and don’t have the bold and fearless nature associated with similar small breeds.

If you live in an apartment or small home and are looking for a companion dog that doesn’t need a ton of exercise or space, the Papastzu is a great choice. Read on to find out more about this adorable pooch!

Papastzu Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

Dogster divider_v2_NEW_MAY_24_

Papastzu Puppies

Papastzus are highly social dogs and get along well with just about everybody they meet, including other dogs! They have become a popular designer breed in recent times due to the lack of overprotectiveness and aggression often associated with smaller breeds. That said, these dogs need attention—plenty of it—and they do not enjoy being left at home alone, even for short periods.

Before bringing home a Papastzu, it’s important to understand their deep need for attention and companionship. If you are away from home frequently, this breed is unfortunately not the right one for you. If, however, you’re looking for a companion pooch to have by your side as much as possible, the Papastzu will make a wonderful companion!

Image Credit: Left-  Photohunter, Shutterstock | Right – Michael Mong, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Papastzu 🧠

Papastzus are lovable, affectionate, and sweet-natured pooches that are lapdogs through and through. These dogs are full of personality despite their small size, but even so, they are highly obedient and easy to train. Thankfully, they are not prone to yapping or barking and are quiet dogs overall. This and their laidback character and their small size make them ideal for apartment living.

Although these dogs are generally laidback, they are still highly playful and love interactive activities with their owners. They can be extremely active in small bursts at times—known as the “zoomies”—and they are exceedingly curious and inquisitive about their surroundings, though they tend to stay close to their owners at all times.

Indeed, this is one of the most distinctive aspects of the breed: These dogs love to be near their owners and will suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for long periods, causing anxious and possibly even aggressive behavior at times.

Papillons are known for their active nature and small bursts of excitement, while Shih Tzus are famously laidback and relaxed dogs, so Papastzus are typically somewhere in between. Still, these dogs don’t require that much daily exercise and are certainly less maintenance than either of their parent breeds. Papastzus are also highly intelligent dogs that are obedient and easy to train, making them ideal for novice owners.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Papastzus are great family dogs because they get along well with everyone they meet, including small children. They are generally gentle and calm with kids, although young children should still be taught how to treat them with respect, as these little pooches will snap if provoked too much. That said, they are rarely aggressive and make great playmates for kids of all ages.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽 

Papastzus do not have the classic “small dog syndrome” of many small purebreds, a fearless trait that can often get these dogs into sticky situations. Papastzus are generally laidback pooches that make fast friends with other dogs, large or small.

While they may be tempted to chase the family cat sometimes, this is usually harmless play, and your cat will certainly have the upper hand!

Dogster divider_v3_NEW_MAY_24_

Things to Know When Owning a Papastzu

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Papastzus are small pooches with small appetites and only need around 1 cup of food per day, ideally split into two meals. Splitting their meals into breakfast and dinner will help with their digestion and prevent bloat and indigestion. They can be fed good-quality dry or wet food, but try to give them food specially formulated for toy-sized breeds.

The food should have an animal protein as the first listed ingredient and be as free as possible from filler ingredients like wheat, corn, and soy.

We highly recommend adding lean meats into their diet too or at least occasional canned food if they eat mostly kibble. This will give them welcome variety and a good protein boost that they’ll benefit greatly from. As with any dog, make sure they have access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Exercise 🐕

Papastzus are not overly energetic dogs and do not need much daily exercise to stay healthy and happy, certainly not as much as their Papillon parents. Of course, exercise is still a vital part of their health, and they’ll need at least 30–60 minutes per day, along with interactive play sessions.

It’s important to remember that they are small dogs, though, and their short legs can tire quickly, so try to avoid taking them for walks that are too long—or be prepared to carry them!

Since these dogs don’t need much exercise or even a large backyard, they are ideal pooches if you live in an apartment. An hour or two of walking and playing followed by a cuddle on the sofa will suit them just fine!

Training 🎾

Papastzus are intelligent dogs that are a breeze to train, making them ideal for novice owners. That said, they are highly sensitive pooches that don’t do well with harsh training methods and are highly eager to please their owners. We recommend positive reinforcement training methods, as this will forge a strong bond of trust with your pooch.

Since these dogs are so eager to please, praise works just as well as treats during training, though you can try a bit of both in the beginning. Socialization is an often overlooked but vital part of training, so make sure your pup is exposed to other dogs regularly.

Basic command training can begin on the day that you bring your Papastzu puppy home and will save you frustration when you finally begin training in earnest.

Grooming ✂️

Most Papastzus have a medium to long coat, although are not heavy shedders. They’ll need daily brushing to avoid knots and matting and to get rid of any loose, dead hair. Chances are high that your Papastzu will adore the process, though, so grooming is usually an enjoyable activity with these dogs.

They most likely will not need much bathing, but if they do, be sure to use specially-made dog shampoo or even just warm water to prevent their natural oils from being disturbed.

Other than daily brushing, you’ll need to keep their nails short and trim to prevent injury and brush their teeth two to three times per week.

Health and Conditions 🏥

While Papastzus benefit from hybrid vigor, the health benefits that result from the breeding of two purebreds, they are still prone to a few of the diseases common to their parent breeds. That said, they are fairly healthy and robust pooches overall.

Minor Conditions
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
  • Cataracts, and other eye issues
Serious Conditions
  • Patellar luxation
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Collapsed trachea
  • Brachycephalic syndrome
  • Mitral valve dysplasia


Male vs. Female

There are almost no differences between male and female Papastzus, even when it comes to size, and choosing a male or female is largely just down to personal preference. Since these dogs are so laidback, they are not usually territorial, aggressive, or overly protective, and so you can easily bring home a male or female no matter what dogs you have at home, as long as they are laidback and friendly too.

It’s important to remember that your Papastzu’s personality will be largely affected by their training and upbringing, rather than their sex.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Papastzu

1. They have ancient origins

The Shih Tzu is an ancient breed that can be traced back more than 1,000 years. These dogs were prized among Tibetan and Chinese royalty and were frequently given as gifts, where they lived a luxurious life among emperors.

The Papillon’s history and origins are a bit more mysterious, although they are also an ancient breed that can be traced back to the Dwarf Spaniel, a dog that lived among elite royalty for over 700 years.

2. They are expert ratters

Despite their gentle name—“Papillon” is French for butterfly—these dogs are expert ratters and may even have been initially bred specifically for this purpose. They were known for toying with rats until they were too tired out to fight back, and then they’d make their move!

While Shih Tzus are not well known for their ratting skills, many owners claim that they are experts too, and with parents like this, your Papastzu will likely be much the same.

3. Shih Tzus almost went extinct

If it wasn’t for the hard work of a few dedicated breeders, the little designer dog that we know today as the Papastzu would not exist. At one point, there were said to be only 14 Shih Tzus (seven males and seven females) left on the planet! This means that all Shih Tzus can be traced back to those 14 dogs!


Final Thoughts

The Papastzu is a laidback, friendly, and adorable pooch that is an ideal choice for novice owners. They are great family pooches and perfect for owners who live in homes with small yards or in apartments. These little dogs don’t need much exercise, are a breeze to train, and are friendly to just about everyone they meet, making fast friends wherever they go.

The only potential issue to be aware of with these dogs is separation anxiety, and if you’re not at home much, this is unfortunately not the right breed for you.

That said, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance pooch, the Papastzu is a wonderful choice!

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Kristy Viera, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.