Discovering the perfect companion dog breed can be a delightful yet challenging endeavor. If you are torn between choosing a Shih Tzu or a Skye Terrier, this blog post about dog breeds is here to assist you. Both breeds possess unique characteristics that make them popular choices among dog lovers. By examining these factors closely, you will gain valuable insights into which breed aligns best with your lifestyle and preferences.

Key Takeaways

  • Shih Tzus and Skye Terriers are both small dog breeds, but they have distinct differences in appearance and temperament.
  • When choosing between the two breeds, consider your lifestyle and preferences, as Shih Tzus are more suitable for families and Skye Terriers may be better for experienced dog owners.
  • Shih Tzus require regular grooming due to their long, flowing coats, while Skye Terriers have a dense double coat that needs frequent brushing to prevent matting.
  • Both breeds are prone to certain health issues, such as allergies and eye problems, so regular vet check-ups are crucial.
  • Shih Tzus are generally more adaptable to various living situations, including apartments, while Skye Terriers may prefer a home with a yard.
  • Training a Shih Tzu can be challenging due to their independent nature, while Skye Terriers are known for their intelligence and trainability.
  • Both breeds have moderate exercise needs, but Shih Tzus may require more mental stimulation to prevent boredom.
  • Shih Tzus have an average lifespan of 10-16 years, while Skye Terriers typically live for 12-14 years. Providing proper care and nutrition can help extend their lifespan.

Breed Overview


The Shih Tzu breed originated in China and was specifically bred to be companion dogs for Chinese royalty. They were highly regarded and pampered companion dogs, often living luxurious lives within the palace walls. On the other hand, Skye Terriers have a rich history in Scotland. These dogs were primarily used for hunting small game like otters and foxes. The Skye Terrier’s tenacious nature made them excellent hunters.


The Shih Tzu is a small yet sturdy dog with a distinctive appearance. They have a long, flowing coat that requires regular grooming to maintain its beauty and prevent matting. Shih Tzus also possess a pushed-in face with large round eyes that give them an adorable expression.

In contrast, the Skye Terrier, a dog breed, is slightly larger than the Shih Tzu in comparison and has a unique physique. With their long, low body shape, erect ears, and luxurious double coat that comes in various colors including black, gray, or cream; they are quite eye-catching.

Both breeds have distinct features that set them apart from each other visually – whether it’s the Shih Tzu’s flowing coat or the Skye Terrier’s low body shape.

Size and Weight

Shih Tzu

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Shih Tzus are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They have a playful and outgoing personality that makes them great companions for families of all sizes. In terms of size, Shih Tzus are small dogs. On average, they stand about 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 9 to 16 pounds. These compact dimensions make average terrier suitable for apartment living or homes with limited space.

Skye Terrier

Skye Terriers, on the other hand, are loyal and devoted to their families. While they can be reserved with strangers, dog breeds generally have a good-natured temperament. They typically measure around 10 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh between 25 to 40 pounds.

Comparing the average size of the two breeds reveals that Shih Tzus are smaller than Skye Terriers. The average height of a Shih Tzu is significantly shorter than that of a Skye Terrier by about two inches or more depending on individual variation within each breed.

Temperament and Behavior


Shih Tzus are known for their high level of playfulness. They absolutely love engaging in interactive games with their owners, especially terrier dog breeds. Whether it’s a game of fetch or chasing toys, Shih Tzus are always up for some fun and entertainment. Their playful nature makes them great companions for families who enjoy an active lifestyle.

On the other hand, Skye Terriers, like other dog breeds, also have an energetic disposition and thoroughly enjoy playtime. They too love playing fetch and chasing after toys. The Skye Terrier’s energy levels make them a perfect match for individuals or families who can provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Guarding Behavior

Shih Tzus aren’t typically known for being protective or exhibiting strong guarding behavior. While terrier dog breeds may alert their owners to strangers approaching the house, they tend to be more friendly than territorial.

In contrast, Skye Terriers, like other dog breeds, have a strong guarding instinct ingrained in their nature. They can be quite protective of their family members and property. Due to this characteristic, Skye Terriers often make excellent watchdogs as they will readily bark at any potential threats.

Family Friendliness

Both Shih Tzus and Skye Terriers are generally good family dogs; however, there might be slight differences in how they interact with children based on age groups. Shih Tzus are well-known for being excellent family pets that get along well with children of all ages due to their gentle nature and patience. Skye Terriers also make good family dogs but may do better in homes with older children who understand how to properly handle small-sized dogs like them. It is important to note that proper socialization from an early age is crucial for both terrier breeds when introducing them to children or other pets.

Health and Grooming


Shih Tzus have hair-like coats that shed minimally, making them a good choice for people with allergies. Their terrier coats are less likely to trigger allergic reactions compared to other breeds. On the other hand, Skye Terriers have a dense double coat that sheds moderately throughout the year. This means that they may not be as hypoallergenic as Shih Tzus and may require more frequent cleaning to manage shedding.

Grooming Needs

Both Shih Tzus and Skye Terriers require regular grooming to keep their coats healthy. However, due to their long, silky coats, Shih Tzus need more intensive grooming than Skye Terriers. Regular brushing is necessary for both terrier breeds to prevent matting and tangles in their fur. Shih Tzus often benefit from professional grooming services such as trimming or styling their hair.

Health Issues

It’s important for both breeds’ owners to stay vigilant and provide proper care for their pets. Shih Tzus are prone to certain health conditions such as brachycephalic syndrome (a respiratory condition) and dental problems like tooth decay or gum disease. It is crucial for owners of this terrier breed to monitor their dogs’ breathing patterns and maintain good oral hygiene through regular teeth brushing or professional cleanings.

Skye Terriers may be susceptible to conditions like hip dysplasia (a joint disorder) and autoimmune diseases (where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells). Regular visits with a veterinary provider, especially for specific dog breeds like terrier, can help detect these issues early on so appropriate treatment plans can be implemented.


Both Shih Tzus and Skye Terriers have their own unique characteristics. Let’s take a closer look at how these two terrier breeds tolerate different weather conditions and living environments.

Weather Tolerance

Hot Weather

Shih Tzus can be sensitive to hot weather due to their short snouts, making them more prone to heatstroke. It is important to provide them with plenty of shade and fresh water during the warmer months. On the other hand, Skye Terriers have a thick coat that can make them uncomfortable in hot weather. They also need proper shade, hydration, and dog breeds like terrier to stay cool.

Cold Weather

In colder climates, Shih Tzus may require extra protection during winter months as they have a low tolerance for cold weather. Providing terrier with warm clothing or limiting their time outdoors in extreme temperatures can help keep them comfortable. In contrast, Skye Terriers are well-suited for colder climates due to their dense double coat which provides insulation against the cold.

Living Conditions

Both breeds are adaptable.

Shih Tzus can adapt well to apartment living as long as they receive regular exercise and mental stimulation. Their small size and exercise needs make terriers suitable for smaller spaces; however, it is important not to overlook their exercise needs.

Skye Terriers are also adaptable but prefer homes with securely fenced yards where they can explore freely. This terrier breed enjoys having space and being able to roam around outside while still being safely contained within a yard.

Trainability and Intelligence

Both Shih Tzus and Skye Terriers are known for their smarts. Shih Tzus are intelligent dogs that can quickly pick up commands with positive reinforcement training methods. They have a good learning ability, making terrier responsive to training efforts.

On the other hand, Skye Terriers are also intelligent but may display an independent streak. This means that terriers might require consistent and patient training techniques. While they can learn new commands, it’s important to approach their training with patience and perseverance.

While Shih Tzus are generally eager to please their owners during training sessions, they can sometimes be stubborn. To overcome this challenge, it is recommended to keep the sessions short and engaging to maintain their interest. By using positive reinforcement techniques like treats or praise, you can motivate your Shih Tzu terrier to follow instructions more willingly.

Skye Terriers may present another challenge in terms of prey drive. Due to their strong instincts as terriers, early socialization and obedience training is crucial for managing this behavior effectively. With proper guidance from an experienced trainer or through puppy classes focused on socialization skills, you can help your Skye Terrier develop good manners around other animals.

Physical Activity Requirements

Shih Tzus and Skye Terriers have different exercise needs. Shih Tzus require moderate exercise, while Skye Terriers need more physical activity to stay happy and healthy.

Shih Tzus enjoy daily walks or playtime in a secure area. They are content with a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood or some fun play sessions indoors. These activities help keep terriers active and prevent them from becoming bored or restless.

On the other hand, Skye Terriers have higher exercise requirements. They benefit from activities that provide mental stimulation along with physical exertion. Brisk walks, jogging, or even agility training can help fulfill their energy needs and keep them mentally engaged.

Shih Tzus enjoy interactive activities that challenge their problem-solving skills. Hide-and-seek games or puzzle toys can be great options for keeping terriers entertained.

Skye Terriers excel in activities like tracking, obedience trials, and even participating in dog sports like flyball. These types of exercises not only provide physical exercise but also allow Skye Terriers to showcase their intelligence and natural abilities.

To summarize, while both Shih Tzus and Skye Terriers require regular exercise, the intensity of their activity needs differs. Shih Tzus are satisfied with moderate exercise such as daily walks or indoor playtime, whereas Skye Terriers thrive on more vigorous activities like brisk walks or engaging in specific dog sports.

Lifespan and Care

Lifespan Comparison

Shih Tzus, a terrier breed, have an average lifespan of 10-16 years, depending on their overall health and care. Skye Terriers have a similar lifespan range of 10-14 years, with proper nutrition and regular veterinary check-ups.

Both Shih Tzus and Skye Terriers can live for many years if they receive the right care. Ensuring they have a balanced diet, regular exercise, and routine visits to the veterinarian are essential for their well-being. By providing terriers with these basic needs, you can help extend their lifespan.

Caring Tips

Shih Tzus require regular attention due to their long coats. Daily brushing is necessary to prevent tangles and matting. This helps keep their terrier’s fur healthy and free from debris or parasites that may cause discomfort or skin issues.

On the other hand, Skye Terriers benefit from early socialization to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded and confident dogs. Exposing terriers to different people, animals, sights, sounds, and environments at a young age will help them develop into friendly companions who are comfortable in various situations.

It’s important for both breeds to receive adequate mental stimulation through interactive toys or puzzles as part of their daily routine. Engaging activities not only provide entertainment but also prevent boredom, which could lead to destructive behavior.

Regular exercise is beneficial for both Shih Tzus and Skye Terriers but should be tailored according to each dog’s needs. A short walk or playtime in the backyard can suffice for some individuals, while others may require more vigorous activities like agility training or longer walks with a terrier.


In summary, the comparison between Shih Tzu and Skye Terrier reveals distinct differences in their size, temperament, health, adaptability, trainability, physical activity requirements, and lifespan. The Shih Tzu is a small breed known for its friendly and affectionate nature, while the Skye Terrier is slightly larger and more independent. Both breeds require regular grooming due to their long coats, but the Skye Terrier may be more prone to certain health issues.

Understanding these differences is crucial for individuals considering either breed as a pet. It is important to assess one’s lifestyle and preferences to determine which breed aligns better with their needs. Potential terrier owners should consider the time and effort required for grooming and training.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you provide an overview of the Shih Tzu breed?

The Shih Tzu is a small dog breed known for its long, flowing coat and friendly demeanor. Originating from China, terriers were bred to be companion dogs and are characterized by their affectionate nature and playful personality.

How does the Skye Terrier differ in size and weight compared to the Shih Tzu?

While both breeds are small, there is a slight difference in size. The average adult Shih Tzu terrier weighs between 9-16 pounds (4-7 kg) and stands about 8-11 inches (20-28 cm) tall at the shoulder. On the other hand, Skye Terriers typically weigh between 25-40 pounds (11-18 kg) and stand around 10 inches (25 cm) tall.

What can you tell me about the temperament and behavior of a Shih Tzu?

Shih Tzus are known for their friendly, outgoing nature. They tend to be affectionate towards their owners as well as strangers. However, they may exhibit stubbornness at times which requires consistent training. They generally get along well with children but terriers should always be supervised during interactions.

How do health and grooming requirements differ between these two breeds?

Both breeds require regular grooming due to their long coats. However, Shih Tzus have more demanding grooming needs due to their luxurious hair that can easily become matted if not properly maintained. In terms of health concerns, both terrier breeds may experience certain conditions such as eye problems or hip dysplasia.

Which breed is more adaptable to different living environments?

Both breeds, including terriers, can adapt well to various living environments including apartments or houses with yards.