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Differences Between Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu

lhasa-apso-dog-pdLhasa Apso vs Shih Tzu

The Lhasa Apso is bigger than the Shih Tzu. This is the most obvious physical difference between the two breeds. Although bigger, a Lhasa normally has a smaller bone structure, therefore, it will look slimmer than a Shih Tzu, which has a more solid body structure.

Apart from their sizes, a Lhasa Apso has a longer nose, narrower skull, and smaller almond-shaped eyes. Meanwhile, a Shih Tzu has a broader skull with large, round eyes. The coat of the Lhasa is heavy, dense, thick, and hard. The Shih Tzu has a more regal, luxurious double coat, with flowing tresses.

The Lhasa Apso has cat-like feet; round in shape and heavily feathered. On the other hand, a Shih Tzu has padded feet and firm, well muscled legs. The tail of the Lhasa Apso flows towards the back, mimicking the shape of a screw, and is heavily feathered. The Shih Tzu, on the other hand, has a plumed and slightly curved tail that also flows towards the back.

The characters of the Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu are very different. A Lhasa is a happy dog; assertive, a bit aggressive, and more stubborn and wary of strangers. It can display extreme devotion and over protectiveness for its master. A Shih Tzu, on the other hand, is a very friendly, bouncy and happy-go-lucky dog, and loves to play. This breed is not aggressive, and is not wary of strangers.

To summarize:

1. A Lhasa Apso is bigger than a Shih Tzu.

2. A Lhasa Apso has a smaller skeletal structure, causing it to be slimmer than the Shih Tzu, which is longer and well built for its size.

3. A Lhasa Apso has a heavy and hard coat, while the Shih Tzu has luxurious and flowing locks and tresses.

4. A Lhasa is assertive, wary of strangers, and deeply devoted, while a Shih Tzu is so friendly and playful that it will not recognize a stranger as a stranger.

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  1. I think the Lhasa apso is portraid as been not a nice dog, where as the Shih Tzu is made to look the better of the two and that is simply not true.

    Niether dog is better than the other. I myself have a Lhasa apso called Jello who is a wonderful little dog, who is happy, energetic, completely devoted to his family and loves children. He is very assertive and is a wonderful gaurd dog as he is aloof with strangers but is NOT aggresive one bit and is certainly not stubborn.

    His coat is not dence, thick or hard. He has a soft fluffy under coat and long, silky and smooth, elegant top coat which is lovely and feathered round his face and eyes.

    His paws are soft, feathered and cat like and his tail is heavily feathered and carried proudly over his back.

    He’s slightly longer than he is tall but is very solid and quite muscular for a small dog and I would say more solid and muscular than a Shih Tzu.

    But his most wonderful traits are his temprement which is as i’ve said, very loving and affectionate towards his family and friends. Completely devoted to his family. He’s very happy, energetic and very playful and absolutly adores children. As I’ve said he can be aloof with strangers, but only barks, and is not aggressive one bit.

    My mum on the other hand has a Shih Tzu called Barkley who has all the same traits and temprement as Jello my Lhasa apso, but Barkley is not aloof with strangers at all and is slightly smaller than Jello. Barkleys eyes are slightly narrower than Jello’s. But apart from those few things and maybe a couple I havn’t mentioned they are very alike and both make wonderful pets.

    • I totally agree with you Alexandra! I have a female Lhasa-Apso and she is the most sweet lovely breed I ever had. I have a daughter and always kids around and she loves kids always so friendly. Everything else it is just as you descrived yours, body, coat everything. And she is already 13 still full of energy and a very happy wee dog. All the best for you and your sweet Lhasa-Apso

    • THANK YOU! I thought the exact same thing about the article! Poor Lhasa got the short end of this stick. I have 1 of each, and found this article to be odd.

    • I agree, I had a Lhasa apso named Katu when I was a kid, he was so loving and devoted, quite energetic and playful and was an excellent guard dog. He used to bark at strangers but was not aggressive at all. He was very protective. His coat was soft and fluffy, and hia paws were feathered. He lived with us for 14 years.

  2. Thank you for your article. It’s extremely helpful, due to the fact that I cannot locate a lhasa apso to adopt, therefore I was hoping a shih tsunami would be appropriate for my life as a companion. They are both fabulous breeds…as all canines are! Our lives are lucky that canines only and always give…, wish I could say the same for the human race! …♡~

  3. I have a lhasa apso Puppy and at the moment he is very playful, happy and loves strangers and children and other dogs, he stops to listen to sounds when out on walks, sits, lays down and comes when when he is called. Only a little stubborn on walks sitting down, but he is improving on this too.

  4. I have a 13 year old Lhasa and with the personality just as described. I had a girl shihtzu also as described. I lost my little girl 2 years ago at age 13. Not a day goes by I dont think of her but God bless ed me with my Lhasa who has been by my side. God Bless for the love given by dogs

  5. I had a Lhasa & I loved that dog. A large dog got him by the neck so I had to put him down!but he had a son that is part pug/Lhasa & he got the traits of the Lhasa & the hair but has the pug eyes! Great dog! He obeys great! Love my Jax!

  6. I had a Lhasa when I was a kid, and I have two shitzu’s now. They do have different temperaments but both breeds are a joy to have. I have also had whippets, and a Irish wolfhound. As everyone knows all dogs if given love never stop giving love back.

  7. Hi guyzz..read all the articles and happy to hear about both Lhasa and Shih Tzu however I’m still confused for which one I should go for as I’m planning to give gift to my sister on her bday as she love smal puppies. Need ur advice…many thanks

  8. I have a shih tzu he play is absoloutly brilliant !!
    Loves children, fussing,runs,walks,in facto everything.hes calm and always greets other dogs or people with a wag of his tail and cries for them to play.
    He barks if someone knocks the door but when he sees the person he’s fine and just thinks they’ve come to fuss him.

  9. I have a Lhasa Apso/Shih Tzu mix. She is perfect in every way, and her parents weren’t related. 🙂

  10. Found this description of the Lhasa apsos th be extremely unfair and very biased. I have a one year old Lhasa called Dougal and he’s so playful and loving to everyone who comes to my home.He will bark the first time but once you pet him or talk to him he’s won over….didn’t like this review and didn’t find it helpful.

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