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Shih tzu vs. Havanese - Which Breed is Right For You

By mawoo · 12 Apr · 5 mins read
Shih tzu vs. Havanese - Which Breed is Right For You

Shih tzu vs. Havanese

Both the Shih Tzu and the Havanese breeds are delightful companions with distinct features that make them uniquely charming. When comparing Shih Tzu vs. Havanese features, we'll delve into their distinctive characteristics, from temperament to grooming needs, to give you a comprehensive view of each breed. We'll highlight their similarities and differences, and provide you information needed to decide which breed suits you best.

Understanding the Breed

A Quick Overview of Shih tzu

Shih Tzus are small, sociable toy dogs that stand 9-10.5 inches tall and typically weigh between 9-16 lbs. Recognized for their distinctive long, flowing double coat which comes in various colors, these charming dogs are known for their friendly, playful, and adaptable characteristics. As excellent companion dogs, they mix well with families, children, and other pets, although they can exhibit separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods. Shih Tzus require moderate exercise including daily walking and playtime, but their lengthy coats necessitate substantial grooming. They also have a predisposition to certain health issues like respiratory troubles and joint disorders. Despite these potential challenges, their affectionate nature and captivating personality make them a popular toy breed.

A Quick Overview of Havanese

The Havanese, a petite toy breed, is admired for its flowing, silky coat and its spirited and sociable nature. Originating from the vibrant island of Cuba, these usually endearing pups carry a weight of 7 to 13 lbs and boast a height of 8.5 to

The beautiful coat of a Havanese, which can be straight or wavy, comes in various colors. Noted for their intelligence and desire to please, Havanese are generally easy to train. Nonetheless, they are quite sociable creatures that could suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long. Despite their moderate exercise needs being met through daily walks and playtime, their long fur demands regular brushing. The Havanese could also be prone to health issues such as patellar luxation and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. However, they're seen as wonderful companion dogs for families and apartment dwellers, especially due to their hypoallergenic coats.

Shih tzu and Havanese Similarities

Let's delve into the remarkable similarities between Shih Tzus and Havanese. These affable breeds share certain defining features that set them apart in the world of toy dogs. Let's find out! 

Size and build 

Compact, small, and delightfully cuddly, right? You've got it! Both Shih Tzus and Havanese fit right into this description. With the Shih Tzu typically weighing 9-16 lbs and standing 9-10.5 inches tall, and the Havanese weighing a graceful 7-13 lbs and standing 8.5-11.5 inches high, they are the epitome of adorable compactness. 


Imagine fluffy clouds. Now picture them in a variety of colors. You've just visualized the Shih Tzu and Havanese breeds! With long, luxurious, silky coats in an array of colors, these dogs are a sight for sore eyes. However, the Havanese coat tends to be softer and carry a slight wave compared to the denser coat of the Shih Tzu. 


Call it a buddy movie in the making – because Shih Tzus and Havanese are both known for their friendly, affectionate, and playful temperaments. They're companion dogs in the truest sense, thriving on human interaction and loyal to a fault. However, their closeness to their humans means they can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long. 

Exercise needs 

When it comes to burning off some energy, both breeds don't require a marathon. Having moderate exercise needs, daily walks and indoor playtime suffice for these playful characters. What this means for you, potential owner, is that they're perfectly suited to apartment living without the need for extensive outdoor exercise. 

Grooming Requirements 

Both the Shih Tzus and Havanese are not without their diva moments - they require regular and extensive grooming. To maintain their signature long, silky coats, daily brushing and regular professional grooming are vital.

In conclusion, the Shih Tzu and Havanese, with their shared features and characteristics, make a compelling case as top contenders for anyone seeking a friendly, compact, and adorable companion dog with a touch of high-maintenance glamour. 

Shih tzu and Havanese Differences

Facial Structure 

One of the first things you'll notice in the difference between Shih Tzus and Havanese is their facial structure. Shih Tzus, part of the brachycephalic breed, have a flat or 'smushed' face with a shorter muzzle. Havanese, on the other hand, have a normally-shaped snout which gives them a slightly different appearance. 


When it comes to grooming, Shih Tzus have a denser, more coarse coat compared to the softer, wavy textures seen in Havanese. And though both breeds require a fair amount of grooming, the demands of a Havanese are generally considered to be less intense.


While Shih Tzu and Havanese share similarities as toy breeds, differences reside in their grooming needs and their origin stories. Both breeds display great trainability and a yearning to please, with positive reinforcement being essential for effective training. Despite, good health, breed-specific issues can occur, indicating that regular checks at the vet are necessary. Overall, it's clear that both breeds have their unique features that make them popular as companion dogs globally.


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