Lhasa Apso vs Shih Tzu — Small Hypoallergenic Dogs Comparison

If you’re thinking about bringing home a small, long-haired dog, Lhasa Apso vs Shih Tzu are two breeds worth considering. While appearance-wise they may look extremely similar, there are key differences between these two dogs 

Both pooches have gorgeous, long flowing hair, but they have contrasting personalities. So, to help you decide whether either breed is the one for you, we’ve weighed up the Lhasa Apso compared to Shih Tzu.

Lhasa or Shih Tzu Quick Comparison Chart

Lhasa Apso

Shih Tzu






Eager to please


Laid back


Family Dog

Yes — but care needs to be taken with young children



10-11 inches

9-10.5 inches


12-18 pounds

9-16 pounds


$500 - $1200

$500 - $1600





12-15 years

10-18 years

Coat Colors

White, Black, Tan, Brown, Gray, Golden, Combination

White, Black, Brindle, Gold, Blue, Silver, Combination


Can be easily trained with consistency and patience.

Has an independent and stubborn side that can make training challenging at times.

Easy to train with positive reinforcement and rewards.

Does not respond well to shouting.

do lhasa apsos shed.

Lhasa Apso dogs originated from Tibet and were traditionally used as monastery guardians. Over the years, the Lhasa has become a popular pet dog, but their watchdog genes often remain. 

The Lhasa has an independent side, which means they’re often happy when playing with their puppy toys alone. This breed is known for barking at strangers and can become overprotective of its humans and home if not socialized early on.

Is the Lhasa Apso for Me?

These small pooches are the ideal size for apartment living and don’t need to spend hours a day outside. This breed is perfect for anyone wanting a loving and loyal lapdog. 

Lhasas are well suited to single people, couples, elderly citizens, and families with older and gentle children. 

Lhasa Apso Pros

  • Loyal and affectionate nature. 
  • Hypoallergenic coat.
  • Good watchdog.

Lhasa Apso Cons

  • Can bark and yap at strangers. 
  • Has a stubborn streak. 
  • Not the most kid-friendly breed.
shih tzu hypoallergenic.

When people are thinking of a small dog with a long coat, often the Shih Tzu will come to mind. Shih Tzus were traditionally bred in Tibet but were often sent to Chinese Royalty, leading many people to believe they originated from China. 

Shih Tzus are sleepy lap dogs and won’t be dragging you out of the house for a walk multiple times a day. A Shih Tzu will love their owner more than anyone else in the world. They also get on well with other people and animals when socialized from a young age.

Is the Shih Tzu for Me?

These toy dogs love the company of their owners. However, this breed is known to suffer from separation anxiety and may not be the best pet if you spend a lot of time out of the home. 

Shih Tzus get on well with children and other animals when they have been well socialized from a young age. While these dogs can slot in well to family life, it has been found that they don’t always cohabit well with very young children, especially those who are yet to learn the meaning of “be gentle with the dog.” 

Shih Tzu Pros

  • Loving and friendly nature. 
  • Undemanding exercise requirements. 
  • Easy to train.

Shih Tzu Cons

  • High maintenance grooming needs. 
  • Can suffer from separation anxiety. 
  • Prone to obesity.

Lhasa Apso vs Shih Tzu Size

Both the Lhasa Apso and the Shih Tzu are classified as small dogs, but is one bigger than the other? 


These two breeds are very similar in size, but the Lhasa Apso is slightly taller. An adult Lhasa will grow to around 10 to 11 inches. The Shih Tzu can be as small as 9 inches and grow up to 10.5 inches. 


Shih Tzus are lighter, they tend to only weigh between 9 to 16 pounds, whereas Lhasas weigh around 12 to 18 pounds. 

To sum it up.Both breeds feel sturdy for their small frame and at a glance, often look the same size. However, Lhasa Apsos are generally a touch larger.

lhasa apso vs shih tzu temperament.

Lhasa Apso vs Shih Tzu Temperament

Their appearance may be similar, but these dogs have very different temperaments. 

Shih Tzu

If you want a laid-back dog, the Shih Tzu is the better choice for you. Shih Tzus are playful and fun little dogs, but need lots of sleep. A Shih Tzu will make a very chilled out pet and is the true definition of a lap dog. They love to cuddle their owners and grab plenty of z’s. 

Shih Tzus are fiercely loyal to their owners but can be happy and relaxed in the company of others when socialized early on. However, the Shih Tzu isn’t particularly tolerant of young kids.

Lhasa Apso

Due to their watchdog heritage, Lhasa Apso dogs are known to be suspicious and wary of strangers. This breed will bark and even snap at people who make them feel uneasy and can take a long time to warm to people they don’t know. 

The Lhasa won’t need as much sleep as the Shih Tzu and their more independent nature means they can cope well when left to their own devices. 

Lhasa Apsos can get on well with older children, yet can take a little longer to adapt to new people and routines than a Shih Tzu. However, both dogs will make loyal and loving companions.

Shih Tzu or Lhasa Apso Training

When it comes to training both of these breeds, the key is starting when they’re young and being consistent with your methods. 

Lhasa Apso 

While you may want to teach your Lhasa fun tricks and skills, this breed has a stubborn streak and needs to be trained in good and respectful behavior first. Plus, even though they’re super intelligent, their strong-willed character may hamper training.

However, these dogs respond well to treats, treats, and more treats. Use lots of praise and rewards, and you should be able to train your pooch to behave and overcome their tail-wagger tenacity.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus can be quite easy to train when you use plenty of positive reinforcement. These dogs aren’t the smartest but can pick up new skills, tricks, and commands quite swiftly. Shih Tzus are eager to please their owners and are ace at adapting to new routines and situations. 

Using a more aggressive form of training won’t work with a Shih Tzu. This breed is known to have difficulty with obedience, especially when they’re frightened or stressed. Instead of shouting, be consistent and patient with your pooch. 

To sum it up.

Thanks to their more laid-back and adaptable personality, Shih Tzus are easier to train. That said, with the correct methods, a Lhasa Apso can be trained by a first-time pet parent.

lhasa apso vs shih tzu price.

Lhasa Apso vs Shih Tzu Price

On average, Shih Tzu puppies cost anywhere between $500 and $1600. Prices vary between breeders. However, for champion bloodline pups, you may need to spend up to $6000. 

Lhasa Apso puppies can be sold for a little less than Shih Tzus, ranging from around $500 to $1200. However, again the prices can vary significantly between breeders. 

Whether you choose a Shih Tzu or Lhasa Apso, it’s worthwhile checking with your local dog adoption centers before looking to purchase from a private breeder.

Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso Coat and Shedding

They may have long coats, but the Lhasa Apso and the Shih Tzu are considered to be small hypoallergenic dogs. While they’re both low-shedders, their coats vary. 

The Shih Tzu has a long, double coat, their fur is luxurious and long, and many pet parents style it in various ways. It’s not uncommon to see a Shih Tzu with a bow in its hair. 

Lhasa Apso dogs also have long coats, but their fur is more dense than the Shih Tzu’s. This breed can also have their fur styled in unique ways, but a Lhasa Apso with its fur left long and flowing is a beautiful creature indeed.

Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso Grooming Requirements

As you may have guessed, those beautiful coats need a lot of grooming to stay in top condition.


You will need to brush your Lhasa Apso every day, yet remember never to brush their coat when it’s dry. To give your dog the best brushing experience, use a misting spray to dampen their fur. And, use a coated metal pin brush. 

Shih Tzus are also high-maintenance dogs and will need their coat to be diligently cared for and well maintained. Like the Lhasa, if your Shih Tzu has a long coat, they will need to be brushed daily to remove any tangled fur. However, if your Shih Tzu has a shorter coat, they will only need brushing every few days.


How often you clip your Lhasa Apso’s hair will depend on what style you want their coat to be. You can trim your dog’s coat when it becomes too long for them to see, or when it’s dragging on the ground and becoming dirty and knotted. However, for professional grooming, an appointment every six weeks or so is the standard. 

Just like the Lhasa Apso, the frequency between coat trims will depend on the style of your Shih Tzu’s fur. If your Shih Tzu has a long coat, you’ll only need to trim it when it starts covering the eyes or becomes tangled and dirty at the bottom. However, for a more styled doggy hairdo, you may need to make monthly visits to the groomers to maintain the desired result.

Teeth and Nails

To keep their nails at a comfortable length, your Shih Tzu or Lhasa will need them to be clipped approximately every 6 weeks. 

Both Shih Tzus and Lhasa Apsos should have their teeth brushed 2 or 3 times a week. This is a grooming task that is neglected by many dog owners, but regular brushing can keep your dog’s teeth healthier for longer and reduces the risks of dental diseases.

lhasa apso and shih tzu.

Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso Exercise/Activity Levels

Both these breeds are small, which you may think implies they don’t need much exercise. While it’s true that these lap dogs often spend most of their time inside, they do enjoy daily walks and need regular exercise to stay healthy. 

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus will often give up and refuse to move if you walk them for too long, but they require around 40 minutes of daily exercise. Many pet parents split their dog’s exercise time up into two or three shorter walks. 

Taking your Shih Tzu out for a few 15-minute walks a day is a good way to keep them active and burn off energy, without overwalking and making them too tired to get back home.

Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso dogs enjoy lazing around, just like the Shih Tzu. However, like the other breed, Lhasas needs to be encouraged to get off your lap and get outside to enjoy around 30 to 40 minutes of exercise every day.

Many pet parents walk them once in the morning and again later on in the day. Giving your Lhasa Apso two 15-20 minute walks a day is more than enough to keep them happy and healthy. 

Having lots of dog toys also helps your pup to stay mentally stimulated and burn off any excess energy. Lhasa Apsos and Shih Tzus can be lively and playful and will enjoy playing games with you when at home.


At first glance, these two breeds may look similar, but there are more differences between a Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu than meets the eye. 

When choosing between a Lhasa Apso vs Shih Tzu, it can be tricky to decide which breed is best. These dogs are both affectionate, playful, and unwaveringly loyal. However, you’ll need a lot of patience to successfully train a Lhasa Apso and plenty of time to cuddle a Shih Tzu. The best breed will depend on your circumstances, but the good news for allergy sufferers is that both are hypoallergenic.

Lhasa Apso vs Shih Tzu FAQs

Do Shih Tzus Like To Be Hugged?

Shih Tzus are loving and affectionate dogs, and they adore cuddles. These dogs were originally bred for companionship and love nothing more than spending quality time with their owners. 

Will Shih Tzus Shed Hair?

Shih Tzus are hypoallergenic dogs and don’t shed much at all. In fact, it’s rare to find dog hair around your home. Usually, hairs are only spotted during brushing and bathtime. 

Is a Lhasa Apso a Good Family Dog?

Lhasa Apso dogs are loving and affectionate but are known to have issues living with young children. This breed can have a suspicious and independent streak, thanks to their watchdog heritage. Therefore may not always be best suited to life with young children, especially if they haven’t responded well to obedience training. 

Is Lhasa Apso High Maintenance?

Yes, a Lhasa Apso is very high maintenance when it comes to grooming. These dogs require daily brushing if their coat is left long and will also need regular baths and trips to the groomers to have their nails clipped. 

Is a Lhasa Apso Bigger Than a Shih Tzu?

Yes, Lhasa Apso dogs tend to grow larger than Shih Tzus. The difference is minimal, but Lhasas can grow an inch or so taller, and they can weigh more.