You may not consider the differences between the Poodle vs Shih Tzu would have a huge bearing on which breed you choose. But the differences go beyond their size — both offer a challenging range of personality features, making them suited to a particular type of home.
Deciding between the Poodle and Shih Tzu is tough — they both have a lot of love to give. And, while their coat types contrast completely, the two breeds share a high-maintenance grooming routine.
We’ll compare the two side by side — highlighting their similarities and where they differ.
Yes — but better suited to older children and other pets
10 inches (Toy)
10-15 inches (Miniature)
4-6 pounds (Toy)
10-15 pounds (Miniature)
45-70 pounds (Standard)
Poodle vs Shih Tzu — The Breeds
Believed to have originated in Germany or France, Poodles were used to retrieve game from the water. In contrast, the smaller versions were companions or circus performers.
Their high intelligence and obedient nature led to them becoming highly sought after. Thus, in 1907 the Miniature Poodle was bred. You can now find Poodles in Miniature, Standard, and Toy sizes.
Is the Poodle for Me?
With so many varieties, you may think the Poodle is universally adaptable and will fit nicely into any family dynamic, but this breed isn’t for everyone. They’re often better suited to a home with plenty of space and a fenced yard, so they don’t become too loud and energetic if you leave them alone during the day.
That said, due to the different sizes available in the breed, they’re adaptable and are amazing with children, both young and old. The Toy and Mini would be a great alternative to the Standard if you have a super busy lifestyle and can’t commit to the exercise needs of a large dog.
- Size variety.
- High intelligence.
- Easy to train.
- Frequent grooming.
- High energy — plenty of exercise.
The Shih Tzu originated in Tibet and was the Chinese Emperor’s preferred breed. They became exclusive to royalty — forbidden to be owned by anyone other than the Emperor’s family. They almost became extinct, with a mere 14 of them left in the 1930s. Today, the Shih Tzu is one of the most popular small dog breeds.
Companion dogs that love to follow you everywhere, but their small size doesn’t mean they’re fragile. The Shih Tzu is a confident and sturdy breed that’s curious and playful.
Is the Shih Tzu for Me?
Due to their small size, the Shih Tzu fits in well with apartment living, and as a companion for retirees who spend plenty of time at home. They’re a friendly breed well-loved by so many.
However, they wouldn’t be our first choice for first-time owners. These dogs are very good at getting their own way when they want to, so they need an experienced hand to keep them on track.
The Shih Tzu is also a Toy breed, so not the best choice for families with young children who may not be gentle with such a small cutie.
- Small and sturdy.
- Playful nature.
- Great companion animals.
- Requires extra work to housetrain.
Poodle vs Shih Tzu — Size and Appearance
When comparing a full grown Poodle vs Shih Tzu, you’ll notice it depends on the former’s size — Toy, Standard, or Miniature. The latter is more straightforward — one size.
Part of the Toy group, they stand between nine to 10.5 inches, so of similar height to the Toy Poodle. These dogs have little legs and are low to the ground. And, their unique faces have short snouts, but the flowing hair on each side and their big eyes make them full of character and elegance.
With an athletic build, regardless of size, the Poodle looks the same apart from the longer legs!
Toy, Miniature, and Standard Poodles vary in weight, from 6 pounds to 70 pounds, so they can fit into almost any family or household regardless of space.
- Toy — height 10 inches / weight 4 to 6 pounds.
- Miniature — height 15 inches / weight 10 to 15 pounds.
- Standard — height 15+ inches /weight 45 to 70 pounds.
If you have plenty of outside space and enjoy the outdoors, you’ll prefer a Standard Poodle that has enough energy to keep up with you. But for those favoring a smaller cuddly lap dog, the Toy and Miniature Poodle is closest to the Shih Tzu in size.
Poodle vs Shih Tzu — Temperament
Both the Shih Tzu and Poodle are highly intelligent breeds that love affection and spending time with their humans, so would work well in a family home setting, with single residents, and even the elderly.
The Standard Poodle was originally used as a hunting dog, but they’re exceptionally open to strangers and want everyone to be their friend. And, surprisingly, no matter what size Poodle you decide on, they’re all the same personality-wise.
They’re playful and loving as a breed, and even the Toy Poodle excels at canine sports. However, Poodles can be quite vocal, so be sure to keep them occupied.
The same can be said for the Shih Tzu as they’re also very playful and perky pooches who love a cuddle. These dogs are great with people, kids, and even other dogs.
Yet, their energy needs to be redirected through exercise and mental stimulation. Don’t be fooled by this small breed, they do love digging and may start excavating your flower beds or damaging furniture if boredom kicks in.
Poodle vs Shih Tzu — Training
Both these breeds are intelligent and relatively easy to train, with the Poodle taking the edge.
No matter the size of your Poodle, these dogs are eager to please and so are easy to train and teach new tricks. They often excel in a wide range of sports, such as obedience, agility, and even tracking. As with any dog, you’ll need to use suitable training methods to get the best results.
The Shih Tzu is also straightforward to train, although they aren’t quite so eager to please their owners as the Poodle. Shih Tzus are very clever in getting their own way, but this can lead to a difficult dog to handle. These tail-waggers are also real people pooches, and so require a gentle approach to training — rewarding good behavior works best.
Poodle vs Shih Tzu — Price
If you can’t decide between the Poodle or Shih Tzu breeds, the price could be your deal breaker. However, you could save money and save a life — by adopting. Enquire at your local animal shelters and rescues for any Shih Tzus or Poodles that need a loving home.
You can find Poodle puppies for sale starting at around $600, but some of the most premium pooches can cost you upwards of $1,500. In contrast, rescues might charge you only $150 for a Poodle.
The Shih Tzu also has a large variation in price depending on their pedigree. You can find some starting from around $400, and rescues charge a little less — around $300 for Shih Tzu puppies. Yet, for a higher pedigree, you can expect to pay upwards of $3,000 for a pup.
Poodle vs Shih Tzu — Shedding
Both of these dogs are hypoallergenic and shed very minimally. So, if you have allergies, either of these breeds may be the perfect choice for you. However, their coats are different.
The Poodle has a curly coat that continually grows, very much like human hair. This is why many owners decide to cut their coats short. This curly coat also traps dead hair and what helps them be good dogs for those with allergies.
The Shih Tzu has a long double coat that doesn’t shed much at all. While many owners decide to keep their coats long, others opt for the more manageable puppy cut.
Poodle vs Shih Tzu Grooming Requirements
If you’re looking for a breed with a low or average maintenance coat, the Shih Tzu and Poodle aren’t going to be the best breed for you. For more ideas, check out our small hypoallergenic breeds.
Here’s what you can expect:
Both breeds have a high-maintenance coat requiring regular attention to prevent knots and tangles. Fortunately, thanks to their non-shedding coat and minimal dander, they make excellent hypoallergenic friendly companions.
Both breeds have constantly growing fur that will need daily brushing unless you decide to clip it short.
The Poodle’s curly coat is prone to trapping dirt, which is another reason why they benefit from frequent grooms and even being clipped short. This helps to prevent matting and irritation to their delicate skin.
Unlike the Shih Tzu, Poodles have very curly/wavy hair that can be trimmed in numerous ways. Most owners opt for the shorter trim that needs to be maintained every four to 6 weeks.
The Shih Tzu is also in need of heavy work to keep them in good condition — their hair grows long and straight. They also need the fur on the top of their head trimmed or tied up to prevent eye irritation.
If you would prefer to keep their fur short, it can be cut into a puppy trim, but this will have to be regularly maintained.
The Poodle requires a bath around every six to 8 weeks, depending on how dirty your pooch likes to get.
As the Shih Tzu has long hair, they will need a bath roughly every three to 4 weeks. This will help to keep their coat clean and in its best condition.
Both the Poodle and Shih Tzu will need their nails cut regularly if they aren’t naturally wearing them down while out walking. And, their teeth should be brushed twice a week to keep them pearly white!
Poodle vs Shih Tzu Exercise
While both dogs are relatively active — but which one tops the scale?
No matter which size Poodle you get, they’re high-energy dogs that love to play but this is also why they excel at a variety of canine sports. So, if you’re looking for a couch potato, this is not the dog for you. These dogs thrive on any kind of physical activity, from swimming to retrieving, or even as a running companion.
The Shih Tzu is a different dog altogether, and was bred as a lap dog. This means that they require very little exercise. In fact, a short walk, plus some playtime around the house, and your Shih Tzu will be perfectly happy.
Both these hypoallergenic friendly pups are incredibly intelligent animals that are friendly and loving for any family. If you want a furry friend with more energy, the Standard Poodle is a great choice, but the Toy Poodle and Shih Tzu are perfect for families, couples, or those looking for company.
So, will you be won over by the high energy and playfulness of the Poodle or the Shih Tzu that requires little exercise, but is a devoted companion? So what will it be — Poodle vs Shih Tzu?
Poodle vs Shih Tzu FAQs
Which Is Better Shih Tzu or Poodle?
Both the Poodle and Shih Tzu are known for being affectionate breeds that are playful and good with children. But Poodles tend to be less stubborn and slightly easier to train.
Is a Toy Poodle Smaller Than Shih Tzu?
The Poodle comes in Toy, Miniature, and Standard size. The Shih Tzu is comparable in size to the smaller two Poodles.
Is Shih Tzu a Lazy Dog?
Due to their small size, the Shih Tzu is a ‘lazier’ breed that requires less exercise as they have limited energy.
Is The Poodle a Smart Dog?
Poodles are one of the smartest dog breeds. They’re also eager to please their owners, which makes them excellent assistance and therapy dogs.
What Is the Easiest Breed of Dog To Own?
Out of the Poodle and Shih Tzu — besides their high-maintenance grooming regime, the Poodle is one of the easiest breeds for first-time dog owners. They’re highly intelligent and easier to train.
Is a Shih Tzu a Good First Dog?
Although these dogs are super affectionate and get on with almost anyone, they can be very good at getting their own way. Hence, they may not be great for first-time owners.