Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso: What Are 8 Key Differences?

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Published: March 19, 2022
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Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso are both small, purebred companion dogs native to East Asia. The Shih Tzu, on the other hand, is of Chinese ancestry, and the Lhasa Apso, or Lhasa for short, is Tibetan in origin. While the Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso are similar in appearance, they are two separate breeds. We’ll look at eight key distinctions between them in this article.

Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso: A Comparison 

Lhasa Apso on a white background.
The Shih Tzu and the Lhasa Apso are both small, lapdogs of Asian descent. However, although they appear quite similar, they are very different in terms of disposition.
Key DifferencesShih TzuLhasa Apso
Height8 – 11 inches10 – 11 inches
Weight9 to 16 lbs.13 to 15 lbs.
Coat typeDense, Long, FlowyDense, Thick, Hard
ColorsBlack, Blue, Brindle, Brown, Double- Colored, Red, Silver, Tri-Colored, WhiteRed, Yellow, Brown, White, Black
TemperamentLively, Courageous, OutgoingIndependent, Assertive, Devoted
Social NeedsHighAverage
Energy LevelsLower than AverageHigher than Average
Health ProblemsAllergies, Hip Dysplasia, and InfectionsCherry Eye, Inherited Renal Dysplasia
Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso: A Comparison

Key Differences Between Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso

Dog Shih Tzu Shih Tzu is one of the oldest breeds of dogs. Its roots come from China.

Galina Savina/

Although both Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu are small, long-haired dogs, they are not identical. For instance, a Lhasa Apso’s nose is longer, the skull is narrower, and the almond-shaped eyes are smaller. Shih Tzus, on the other hand, has a wider cranium and large, round eyes. Let’s continue our examination of the breed distinctions.

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Lhasa Apso walking around outside
Lhasa Apsos get along well with others, but have a tendency to snap or yip at people it doesn’t recognize or if it feels uncomfortable towards someone.

Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso: Height

A mature Lhasa, male or female, stands approximately 10 and 11 inches tall at the shoulders. On the other hand, the Shih Tzu stands between 8 and 11 inches tall, coming in slightly shorter on average.

Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso: Weight

While the Lhasa is slightly taller than the Shih Tzu on average, they weigh between 13 and 15 pounds. The weight of a Shih Tzu is between 9 and 16 pounds. As a result, the Shih Tzu may weigh slightly more than the Lhasa.

Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso: Coat Type

Lhasa’s coat is dense and thick, while the Shih Tzus have a more lavish double coat with flowing tresses. Both are low shedders and are considered good choices for those with Allergies.

Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso: Colors

The official colors of the Lhasa Apso are red, yellow/golden, brown, white, and black, though they can change with age and are not always consistent.

The Shih Tzu is distinguished from other dog breeds by its unique and varied coloration. Black, blue, brindle, brown, double-colored, red, silver, tri-colored, and white are just some of the colors available.


Shih Tzu (Canis familiaris) - standing against white background
The Shih Tzu is a laid-back dog with low energy, but enjoys affection and being with family.

Eric Isselee/

Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso: Temperament

Lhasa Apsos are more independent and require less sleep than Shih Tzus. Additionally, they are more sensitive to changes in their routine than the Shih Tzu. However, they do better than the Shih Tzu when left alone and do better among youngsters. They are most kind and loyal to their masters.

The Shih Tzu is a sociable, cheerful, and fearless breed that is a little suspicious of strangers and small children. They are, nevertheless, easily trained and extremely devoted to their families. Additionally, they are more relaxed in general than the Lhasa, necessitating additional sleep to feel renewed.

Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso: Social Needs

In comparison to the Shih Tzu, the Lhasa Apso’s social demands are average. They are more tolerant of others, including children, but can become yippy or mean when they are uncomfortable or their routine is disrupted. They can relax on their own and be quite independent as well, but they do like affection and being around family.

The Shih Tzu is a low-energy breed that requires regular stimulation to stay lively. While their activity requirements are limited, you should allow them time to run around and play each day. Although they are not the most child-friendly dog, they do appear to get along with other cats and dogs. They are generally accepting of newcomers and are not aggressive or snappy. They have a typical emotional capacity and love social interaction, however, is not uncommon for Shih Tzu’s to prefer their owner over other people.

Health Factors

Lhasa Apso dog playing at the sea.
Lhasa Apso dog have higher than average energy and need a healthy balance of playtime, independence, and affection.


Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso: Energy Levels

Although Lhasa’s have greater than usual energy levels, their activity requirements are modest. They tend to do well with a healthy balance of attention and being on their own with some toys.

Shih Tzu’s do not have extremely high energy levels and are not the most lively of dogs. They do like to socialize a lot with their loved ones, but they also adore their sleep.

Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso: Health Problems

The Lhasa Apso is known to require frequent veterinarian visits due to its susceptibility to specific health problems such as cherry eye and hereditary renal dysplasia.

Regardless of how healthy your Shih Tzu is, you should contact your veterinarian periodically as they are prone to allergies, bladder stones, ear infections, hip dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy. Both breeds live an average of 13 years when properly cared for.

Wrapping up Shih Tzu vs Lhasa Apso

Prettiest / Cutest Dogs - Shih Tzu - running through grassy field near lake
Bred solely to be companions, Shih Tzus are affectionate, happy, outgoing house dogs who love nothing more than to follow their people from room to room.


Lapdogs such as the Lhasa Apso and the Shih Tzu are both incredibly beautiful, long-living dogs. The disposition and health of these two breeds, on the other hand, are unique. Consider the Shih Tzu, which is more laid-back in nature, while the Lhasa Apso is more energetic and kid-friendly in temperament. However, their personalities do complement each other well as they are both friendly, trainable, and joyful young pups who can make good friends/mates for one another or good companions for their owner.

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About the Author

A substantial part of my life has been spent as a writer and artist, with great respect to observing nature with an analytical and metaphysical eye. Upon close investigation, the natural world exposes truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of all that we are is embodied in our planet; and the process of writing and creating art around this topic is an attempt to communicate its wonders.

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