Havanese vs. Shih Tzu: Unveiling the Differences

Are you torn between getting a Havanese or a Shih Tzu? These popular little dogs, hailing from Cuba and China, have unique charms and characteristics. The Havanese is known for its delightful double coat in various colors, while the Shih Tzu boasts an adorable folded head with expressive eyes.

Both bichon frise and toy dogs offer fun and loving companionship. Whether you’re looking for a lap dog or an energetic playmate, these Chinese small dogs have you covered. If done right, house training can be a breeze for bichon frise and toy dog owners.

While some dog owners may prefer the purebred elegance of the American Kennel Club-recognized Shih Tzus, others find mixed breeds like the Malshi (a mix of Maltese and Shih Tzu) equally appealing. Choosing between these two lovable Chinese dogs depends on your preferences and what you seek in a furry companion.

So, let’s dive into Havanese vs. Shih Tzu and explore which breed will make your home complete for dog owners looking for a companion dog. Whether you prefer the Havanese or the Shih Tzu, both breeds are popular choices among dog owners.

Key Differences: Havanese vs. Shih Tzu breeds

Havanese and Shih Tzu are two popular dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club, including the Maltese and Malshi. They have several notable differences.

  1. Lifespan: Havanese tend to live longer than Shih Tzu, making them great companions for many years.
  2. Facial Appearance: Shih Tzu have a distinctive facial appearance with a pushed-in nose, giving them an adorable and unique look.
  3. Coat Texture: Havanese has a soft and luxurious silky coat texture. On the other hand, Shih Tzu has a denser double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best.
  4. Weight: Adult Havanese is slightly heavier compared to Shih Tzu. Havanese Puppies in NC

Temperament Comparison: Havanese vs. Shih Tzu

Havanese and Shih Tzu, both popular mixed-breed dogs, have distinct temperaments that set them apart. Let’s look at their personalities and see how these traits appeal to different people.

  • Havanese are known for being friendly and outgoing, making them great companions. They are often described as people-oriented dogs with a warm and affectionate nature. Havanese are a mixed breed, combining Maltese and Shih Tzu traits.
  • On the other hand, Maltese and mixed-breed dogs sometimes tend to be more independent and aloof. While they can still form strong bonds with their owners, they may not always seek constant attention or affection. This independent streak adds a unique charm to their personality. Additionally, the average Havanese also exhibits this independent nature.
  • Both the Maltese and the average Shih Tzu can be good with children, but it is important to note that socialization plays a crucial role. Properly introducing them to kids and teaching children how to interact with dogs will ensure a harmonious relationship. The average Havanese is also known for being good with children.

Maltese, Havanese, and Shih Tzu can learn commands and tricks. However, the intelligence level may vary between individuals of each breed. It’s essential to use positive reinforcement techniques while training these Maltese dogs. Shih Tzu Breed Info

Size Comparison: Havanese vs. Shih Tzu

The Havanese, Maltese, and Shih Tzu are all small-sized dog breeds, but their size has some differences.

  • Regarding height, adult Havanese dogs tend to be slightly taller than Shih Tzus. While the average height may vary, Havanese dogs generally stand slightly taller than their Shih Tzu counterparts. This is true for both Maltese and mixed-breed Havanese dogs.

Male Havanese dogs typically weigh more than male Shih Tzus. On average, the male Havanese is heavier than the male Shih Tzu. This holds for both Maltese and mixed-breed Havanese dogs.

  • However, it’s important to note that female individuals in Maltese and dog breeds generally weigh less than their male counterparts. Female Maltese and dogs are usually lighter in weight compared to males.

Health & Care: Havanese vs. Shih Tzu

  • Maltese dogs, known for their health, are generally healthier than the prone-to-health-problems Shih Tzu. They have a longer average lifespan and fewer genetic health issues.
  • Maltese dogs, like Shihtzus, need regular grooming due to their dense coats, which can easily become matted if not properly maintained. This requires brushing and professional grooming to keep their coat healthy.
  • Maltese dogs, known for their small size and playful nature, require moderate exercise, such as daily walks and playtime, to keep them physically fit and mentally stimulated. On the other hand, Shihtzus, another breed of dog, need minimal exercise and are content with short walks or indoor play.
  • Maltese dogs, like Shihtzus, are prone to eye problems such as corneal ulcers and progressive retinal atrophy. They also commonly suffer from breathing difficulties due to their flat faces, known as brachycephalic syndrome.
  • Taking care of a Havanese, Maltese, or Shih Tzu breed involves regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, proper dental care, and keeping them up-to-date on vaccinations. It’s important to address any health concerns promptly for their overall well-being. Shih Tzu Puppies in NC

Family Pet Comparison: Havanese vs. Shih Tzu

Havanese, Shih Tzus, and Maltese are popular toy breeds among dog owners. They make wonderful family pets, but there are differences when choosing between these Chinese dogs.

  • Adaptability: Havanese are known for their adaptability to various living situations. They can easily adjust to their surroundings in an apartment or a house. On the other hand, Shih Tzus may struggle with housebreaking and may experience separation anxiety.
  • Training and Socialization: Both breeds can be great family pets with proper training and socialization. Investing time in teaching them basic commands and providing positive reinforcement is important. This will help them become well-behaved companions.
  • Energy Levels: Havanese tend to be more playful and energetic, making them ideal for families who enjoy an active lifestyle. On the contrary, Shih Tzus prefer a calm environment and may not require as much exercise as their Havanese counterparts.
  • Size: Both Havanese and Shih Tzus fall under the category of small dogs. Their compact size makes them suitable for families living in smaller spaces or apartments. They are lap dogs that love being close to their owners.

When considering a new addition to your family, evaluating your lifestyle and preferences is essential before deciding between a Havanese or a Shih Tzu. While both breeds offer companionship and loyalty, they have distinct characteristics that may align better with certain households’ needs.

Conclusion: Choosing between Havanese and Shih Tzu

In conclusion, choosing between a Havanese and a Shih Tzu depends on your preferences and lifestyle. Both breeds have unique characteristics and qualities that make them wonderful companions.

The Havanese is known for its friendly nature and adaptability, while the Shih Tzu is renowned for its regal appearance and affectionate personality.

Regarding temperament, the Havanese tend to be more outgoing and friendly, whereas the Shih Tzu can be more independent and reserved.

The Havanese is slightly larger than the Shih Tzu, making it a better choice for those who prefer a slightly bigger dog.

Health-wise, both breeds require regular grooming and attention to dental care. However, the Shih Tzu may be prone to certain health issues, such as eye problems or respiratory conditions.

As family pets, both the Havanese and Shih Tzu are great choices as they are generally good with children and other pets. They thrive on human companionship and enjoy being part of a loving household.

To decide which breed, such as the shih tzu, suits you best, consider factors such as your activity level, living situation, grooming preferences, and desired energy level in a dog.

When looking for your new furry friend, research reputable shih tzu breeders or consider adoption from shih tzu shelters.

Whether you choose a Havanese or a Shih Tzu, you’ll add joy and love to your life with these delightful canine companions.


Are Havanese hypoallergenic?

Yes! The Havanese breed, like the shih tzu, is considered hypoallergenic due to its minimal shedding coat.

Does Shih Tzus get along well with children?

Generally yes! Shih Tzus are known for their gentle and affectionate nature, making them great companions for children.

How much exercise do Havanese and Shih Tzus need?

The Shih Tzu and Havanese breeds require regular exercise, but the Shih Tzu may need slightly less activity to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

Are Havanese and Shih Tzus easy to train?

Yes! With consistent training and positive reinforcement, both breeds can be trained effectively. However, the Havanese tend to be more eager to please than the independent-minded Shih Tzu.

Can I leave my Havanese or Shih Tzu alone for long periods?

It is not recommended to leave a shih tzu alone for extended periods as they thrive on human companionship. If you have a busy schedule, consider hiring a shih tzu walker or providing interactive toys to entertain them during your absence.