Cutest Dogs in the World: Boston Terrier vs. Shih Tzu

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Written by Katelynn Sobus

Published: April 19, 2023

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Let’s take a close look at the Boston terrier vs. shih tzu. Which is cuter: The long-haired, doe eyed shih tzu or the silly, big-eared Boston terrier?

Both breeds have cute aspects. Shih tzus have a regal appearance with long, flowing coats. Additionally, they’re very small and they have huge eyes! Boston terriers have beautiful short fur and big upright ears. Both are playful, affectionate, and sweet.

In this article, we’ll discuss each breed so that you can decide for yourself which is the cutest!

What Makes Shih Tzus Cute?

Shih Tzu (Canis familiaris) - puppy running

Shih tzus are so fun-loving and playful! However, their poor health can sometimes limit their play.

©Daz Stock/Shutterstock.com

Coat

The sleek coat of a shih tzu is not only gorgeous, but it also doesn’t shed. That’s not to say it’s easy to maintain, as shih tzus need to be brushed daily to prevent their fur from matting. You can also bring them to the groomer for a short trim every four to six weeks.

Their coats come in a wide variety of colors, including black, brindle, gold, red, silver, blue, and liver. These can also all be mixed with white. Brindle coats have a striped pattern. Red coats are a dark orange, while blue coats are a diluted black. Liver is a dark brown.

Shih tzus may also have black mask markings around their eyes and black or tan markings on their bodies.

Stature

Shih tzus are 9-10.5 inches tall and weigh 9-16 pounds. Their small size not only adds to their cuteness but makes them easy to pick up or handle on leash. They’re perfect for people who aren’t strong enough to handle a large breed.

Large Eyes

Shih tzus have large eyes that make them look like baby dolls or teddy bears. Humans are drawn to animals with big eyes, which is why so many toy breeds in particular are bred to have them.

Flat Face

A shih tzu’s flat face is another feature many find cute, though the health problems it causes is decidedly not cute. Unfortunately, shih tzus are one of the breeds that’s purposefully bred to have shorter and shorter snouts over time. Today, shih tzus are very unethically bred.

Fun-Loving

One reason their short snouts and breathing difficulties are so sad is that shih tzus are so fun-loving and playful! Their poor health can sometimes limit their play. Keeping them indoors during hot weather can help, as can playing with them many times a day instead of trying to get all of their energy out at once.

Family Dog

Shih tzus are family dogs. They’re affectionate and great with all sorts of animals and people, including children. Of course, shih tzus still have teeth! These pups are also tiny enough that a child can accidentally hurt them easily. No child and dog should ever be left together unsupervised.

Agreeable

Eager to please, shih tzus are easy to train. They might try to bend the rules with their puppy dog eyes, but for the most part, they will work hard to keep their people happy. Make training a fun, positive experience for them by using force-free methods and avoiding aversive training, which will hurt your relationship with your pup.

Silly, Yet Regal

Shih tzus can look quite silly when they’re running about playfully or when they sit with their tongue poking out of their mouths! At the same time, shih tzus long coats and serious expressions can make them look very regal. After all, these pups once belonged to royalty (and they seem to know it)!

What Makes Boston Terriers Cute?

Boston Terrier - Boston Terrier Teeth

Want a pup with an easy to maintain coat? Boston terriers are a great option!

©Roschetzky Photography/Shutterstock.com

Tiny

Boston terriers are 15-17 inches tall and weigh 12-25 pounds. A little bigger than shih tzus, they strike the perfect balance between a toy breed and a large dog.

Big Ears

Who can resist those large, upright ears? Boston terriers’ ears grow naturally upright as they age, though they’ll be floppy on young pups.

Short Snout

Like shih tzus, Boston terriers have short snouts. This is to their detriment health-wise but is seen as cute by many people.

Short Coat

Want a pup with an easy to maintain coat? Boston terriers are a great option! Their short coats are soft and only need to be brushed around once a week to remove dead fur.

Coat colors accepted by the American Kennel Club breed standards include black and white; black, brindle, and white; brindle and white; seal and white; and seal, brindle, and white. Brindle coats are striped, the same as in shih tzus. Seal Boston terriers appear black and white, but in the sunlight show highlights of a different color such as brown.

Lovable, Yet Clingy

Boston terriers are lovable and like to snuggle and stay close to their owner. This affection is likely to steal your heart! Boston terriers are also clingy and prone to separation anxiety. They aren’t well suited to too much alone time. However, they will steal the show when living with the right family that can give them the time and attention they need.

Friends to All

Boston terriers love just about everybody! While every dog is an individual with their own likes and dislikes, you’re unlikely to have problems with your Boston terrier being unfriendly. That being said, new people and pets should always be introduced to your dog slowly, and they should never be left unattended with kids.

Energetic

These pups are playful and high-energy. They’ll want at least one walk and some playtime each day but will likely require more exercise than this. Of course, you will have to consider the snout length, as it may make it difficult for some pups to tolerate intense exercise and heat. You may need to get up early or stay up late in the summer to give them the walks they need without the sun causing them to overheat.

Quiet

Lastly, these dogs are pretty quiet! Boston terriers don’t tend to bark excessively, though they may do so during play, to alert you to someone near the house, or when frustrated or lonely.

Shih Tzus vs. Boston Terriers: Pulling Back the Curtain

Not everything about dog ownership is cute–let’s talk about caring for these gorgeous pups!

Grooming

Boston terriers should be brushed weekly with a hound glove. This is a quick process and will help their coat stay healthy and shed less.

Shih tzus require daily brushing unless their coat is shaved or trimmed very short. Use a metal comb to brush down to the skin or have their fur trimmed every four to six weeks.

Exercise

Boston terriers need moderate amounts of exercise and may need two or more daily walks alongside playtime at home.

Shih tzus are a bit calmer, though still playful. They can get a lot of their energy out indoors but still require daily walks.

Watch both breeds in the heat or during vigorous exercise, as their short snouts contribute to breathing problems. Brachycephalic, or short-snouted, breeds are prone to heat stroke and exercise intolerance.

Training

Both breeds are people pleasers, but shih tzus might be more likely to test boundaries. Use force-free training methods and avoid aversive and harsh training.

Health

Both breeds are brachycephalic, meaning their short snouts cause a bunch of potential health issues. They’re also poorly bred, so I don’t recommend supporting unethical breeders by buying them–though they make terrific rescue dogs!

Boston terriers may also suffer from eye problems, deafness, or patellar luxation. In shih tzus, watch for patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, and eye issues. Breeders can and should screen for most of the above.

Lastly, both dogs are small. Shih tzus especially can easily be hurt by children and bigger dogs, so make sure to teach everyone how to interact gently. Never leave young children and dogs together unsupervised.

Are Boston Terriers or Shih Tzus Cuter?

Boston Terrier, Sweater, Dog, French Bulldog, Alternative Pose

You can’t go wrong with either of these pups, so long as you’re home often enough to care for them well.

©iStock.com/Karetyna Varhanova

Both breeds are cute! If you’re still in-between and looking to adopt, pick whichever you can easily find in a shelter or the one that suits your lifestyle best. 

We do not recommend adopting these pups from breeders, as they aren’t ethically bred.

Boston terriers are great for people who want to spend more time outdoors with their dog, but don’t want a large or more energetic breed. Shih tzus are great couch companions, though they’ll still need daily walks and play.

Both are affectionate, good with kids and other dogs, and easy to train. However, Boston terriers tend to be friendlier toward strangers.

Either way, you can’t go wrong with either of these pups, so long as you’re home often enough to care for them well. They aren’t suited to single people who work full time outside of the home. They thrive in families in which someone is home most of the day.

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About the Author

Katelynn Sobus is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on pets including dogs, cats, and exotics. She has been writing about pet care for over five years. Katelynn currently lives in Michigan with her seven senior rescue cats.

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