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Havanese vs. Shih Tzu: Comparing Two Popular Toy Breeds

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By LITTLE PUPPY PAWS | May 18, 2023
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If you’re considering getting a toy breed dog, you may be torn between the Havanese and Shih Tzu. Both breeds are popular choices for their small size and adorable appearance. But how do these two breeds compare in terms of temperament, health, and overall care?

The Havanese and Shih Tzu are both toy breeds that are popular among dog lovers for their small size, friendly personalities, and cute appearance. However, they differ in various aspects, such as temperament, grooming, exercise needs, and health concerns. By comparing the two breeds, you can better understand which one may be the best fit for your lifestyle and preferences.

History and Origin of Havanese and Shih Tzu Breeds

The Havanese breed originated in Cuba and was developed as a companion dog for wealthy families. They were eventually brought to Europe and became popular among aristocrats and royalty. The Shih Tzu, on the other hand, has a long history in China and was originally bred as a palace dog for Chinese royalty. They were eventually brought to Europe and became popular in the West.

Appearance and Size

The Havanese and Shih Tzu have distinct appearances, with the former having a more curly, flowing coat and the latter having a more straight, silky coat. The Havanese also tends to have more color variations, while the Shih Tzu is often seen in solid colors. In terms of size, the Havanese generally weighs between 7-14 pounds and stands 8-11 inches tall, while the Shih Tzu usually weighs between 9-16 pounds and stands 9-10.5 inches tall.

Temperament

Both breeds are known for being friendly, affectionate, and great with children, making them excellent family pets. However, the Havanese is generally considered to be more outgoing and lively, while the Shih Tzu is more relaxed and laid-back. The Havanese may be a better fit for active families who want a dog that can keep up with them, while the Shih Tzu may be a better fit for those who want a calm and cuddly lap dog.

Grooming and Maintenance

Both breeds require regular grooming to keep their coats in good condition. However, the Havanese has a longer, more flowing coat that requires more attention and maintenance. They need to be brushed daily to prevent matting and tangling, and their coats may need to be trimmed regularly. The Shih Tzu’s coat is easier to maintain, but still requires regular brushing to prevent matting. Both breeds also need to have their ears cleaned regularly to prevent infection.

Exercise Needs

Both breeds are small and do not require a lot of exercise, but they still need daily activity to keep them healthy and happy. The Havanese may be more active and require more exercise, such as daily walks or playtime in the yard, while the Shih Tzu is more content with short walks and indoor playtime.

Health Concerns

Like all breeds, both the Havanese and Shih Tzu are prone to certain health concerns. Havanese are prone to hip dysplasia, heart disease, and luxating patellas. Shih Tzus may be prone to eye problems, such as cataracts and corneal ulcers, as well as dental issues. Both breeds may also be prone to allergies and skin irritations. Choosing a reputable breeder like Little Puppy Paws and taking your dog for regular vet check-ups is important to catch any potential health issues early on.

Training and Intelligence

Both the Havanese and Shih Tzu are intelligent breeds that are easy to train with positive reinforcement techniques. However, the Havanese may be more eager to please and may learn new commands and tricks more quickly. The Shih Tzu may require more patience and consistency in training, but they can still be well-behaved and obedient with proper training.

Adaptability

Both breeds are highly adaptable and can do well in a variety of living situations, from apartments to larger homes. However, the Havanese may be better suited for those with more space and a yard to play in, while the Shih Tzu can thrive in smaller spaces.

Socialization

Both breeds require socialization to prevent shyness or aggression towards strangers and other animals. The Havanese may be more outgoing and social by nature, but it is still important to expose them to a variety of people, places, and situations from a young age. The Shih Tzu may be more reserved and may need extra socialization to become comfortable around new people and animals.

Lifespan of the Two Breeds

The Havanese and Shih Tzu have similar lifespans, with both breeds living between 12-16 years on average. However, genetics, lifestyle, and proper care can all play a role in determining how long your dog will live.

Suitability for Families

Both the Havanese and Shih Tzu can make great family pets, but it is important to consider your family’s lifestyle and needs when choosing a breed. The Havanese may be a better fit for active families who want a dog that can keep up with them, while the Shih Tzu may be better suited for those who want a more low-key, cuddly companion.

Care and Maintenance Tips

To keep your Havanese or Shih Tzu healthy and happy, providing them with proper care and maintenance is important. This includes regular grooming, exercise, socialization, and veterinary care.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both the Havanese and Shih Tzu are popular toy breeds with distinct personalities, appearances, and care needs. By comparing the two breeds, you can better understand which one may be the right fit for your lifestyle and preferences. Whether you choose a Havanese or Shih Tzu, both breeds can make great companions and loving additions to your family.