Havanese vs Shih Tzu – Breed Comparison

Havanese vs Shih Tzu Breed Comparison What are the Similarities Between Havanese and Shih Tzu? Yes, Havanese dogs and Shih …

Havanese vs Shih Tzu Breed Comparison

What are the Similarities Between Havanese and Shih Tzu?

Yes, Havanese dogs and Shih Tzu dogs look relatively similar. These are both adorable, fun-loving dog breeds that share a lot of similarities. Both breeds of dog have silky coats and loving dispositions. They are some of the best companions for children and the elderly. Their temperament is extremely affectionate, and they make some of the best family dogs because of their extreme devotion to their owners. 

Find other Havanese Mixes

Both dogs need to be brushed on a daily basis because of their hair, as a neglected coat can get matted and tangled and lead to problematic skin issues and discomfort for the animal. Also, if you are a person who loves to groom their dog, both Shih Tzus and Havanese have malleable coats so you can give your dog different hairdos.

Both types of dogs are great family pets. They are great for those who have oodles of time to dedicate to their animal, and it is important for both animals to get loads of attention because they are dependent on companionship. These are not dogs that you can dismiss or leave home alone for the entire day while you are at work. Shih Tzus and Havanese are at their best when they are showered with attention from their owners. 

Anyone looking for a cute fuzzy friend, I highly recommend adopting either a Shih Tzu or a Havanese.

What are the Differences Between Havanese and Shih Tzus?

Now it is time for the comparison. There are a lot of differences between the two breeds, because no matter how similar two dogs are each breed is different. From size to price, shedding to longevity, there are subtle differences between the two dog breeds that we can now discuss. Keep in mind that there are also a lot of similarities where the two dogs are basically identical. 

ComparisonHavaneseShih Tzu
Weight7-13 lbs. (3-6kg)8.8-16lbs. (4-7kg)
Height8.5-11.5” (22-28cm)7.9-11” (20-28cm)
CostAbout $850Roughly $500
AvailabilitySpecial breedersLocal pet stores or shelters
TemperamentSlightly friendlier, open to socializationPlayful; great companion
Relationship with ChildrenGood with kids; teach children proper handlingGood with kids; caution with handling by young children
Easy to TrainEasier to train; enjoys positive reinforcementMore stubborn; requires consistency and patience
BarkingQuiet with proper trainingBarks more; difficult to stop barking
Cause for BarkingBoredomBoredom

Havanese vs Shih Tzu Comparison: Size

These two dog breeds are just about the exact same size. The biggest difference is that Havanese dogs can grow to be slightly taller than Shih Tzu dogs. On the other hand, Shih Tzus can get a bit heavier than Havanese. Think about Havanese as tall and slim and Shih tzus as shorter and plumper.

Here is a chart of average height and weight for male dogs:

Havanese Weight: 7-13 lbs. (3-6kg) 

Shih Tzu Weight: 8.8-16lbs. (4-7kg)

Havanese Height: 8.5-11.5” (22-28cm)

Shih Tzu Height: 7.9-11” (20-28cm)

Havanese vs Shih Tzu Comparison: Cost

As much as nobody likes putting a price on a dog, the unfortunate truth is that adopting a dog costs money, and some dog breeds are insanely expensive while others are more affordable. When it comes to Havanese and Shih Tzu dogs, you can expect to pay roughly $500 for a Shih Tzu puppy and about $850 for a Havanese puppy.

The reason for this is that Shih Tzus are much more popular and much more widely available. If you want to adopt a pure Havanese dog, you probably need to find a special breeder. Shih Tzus are often available at your local pet store or shelter. 

Havanese vs Shih Tzu Comparison: Temperament

Both dogs are social, they enjoy the company of people, and they make great companions. However, there is a slight difference in temperament. Havanese dogs are slightly friendlier and therefore more open to socialization.

That said, both animals are super playful and have some of the best temperaments of any small dog types.

Havanese vs Shih Tzu Comparison: Relationship with Children

If you have small children, you are probably worried about the situation between a new dog and a young child. Even with small dogs, some are more prone to biting or to inciting small accidents. In the case of Havanese and Shih Tzus, they operate about the same when it comes to kids. Neither is more inclined to get into an accident than the other. 

The big thing to worry about here is with your children. Because both dogs are extremely small, young kids need to be taught how to properly handle them. While both kinds of dogs will revel in the attention of an exuberant young child, they should not be picked up and dragged around by their necks, as these tiny dogs can easily be injured if dropped by a young child who gets distracted. Always teach proper dog care to your children.

Havanese vs Shih Tzu Comparison: Easy to Train

Oddly enough, Havanese dogs can be easier to train than Shih Tzu dogs. This is in part because Havanese are one of the easiest small dogs to house train. They are extremely smart and enjoy positive reinforcement and pleasing their owners. 

On the flip side, Shih Tzus can be extremely difficult to house train. To train your Shih Tzu, I recommend a rigid schedule and consistent training. Shih Tzus can be more stubborn than Havanese, and therefore they can be less obedient in the beginning. 

However, both types of dog breed can eventually be trained very well. It is all about patience and consistency.

Havanese vs Shih Tzu Comparison: Barking

This is the big one, and it might actually be the only question you really want answered. Which dog barks more, Havanese or Shih Tzu? The answer is probably not going to surprise you. While all small dog have a stigma attached to them about incessant barking, Havanese dogs are actually very quiet. With proper training, your Havanese dog can be taught to bark almost never. 

Shih Tzu dogs are another story entirely. Similar to them being more difficult to train, it is more difficult to get them to stop their barking. This can be problematic if you live in an apartment building or if you are surrounded by active neighbors. As with any dog, a Shih Tzu can still be taught to be quiet, though this may not stop them from initiating a barking session. 

It may surprise you to learn that one of the biggest causes for barking in both breeds is boredom. If your dog, whether Havanese or Shih Tzu, is experiencing an outlandishly boring day, they will vocally tell you about it. 


Do Shih Tzus and/or Havanese Dogs Shed?

The great thing about the Havanese Dog is that they are hypoallergenic and do not shed. This makes them a great companion for people with allergies, or people who just want a cleaner house.

Shih Tzu’s are also typically known to be more allergenic than other dogs, and some people think they don’t shed either. Shih Tzu’s, like Havanese, have hair instead of true fur, and it is the hair that changes the shedding pattern. Havanese dogs have a longer growth cycle when it comes to their hair, and because of that really do not shed at all. Even longer haired Havanese are typically low shedders.

Shih Tzus on the other hand, although very low shedding, do shed a little. They shed more than the Havanese.

How Do you Tell the Difference Between a Shih Tzu and a Havanese

Distinguishing between a Shih Tzu and a Havanese can sometimes be challenging due to their similarities, especially if they have similar grooming styles. However, there are several characteristics you can look at to differentiate between the two breeds:

  1. Appearance and Size:
  • Shih Tzu: Typically has a sturdier, slightly more extended build with a broader face. They usually weigh between 9-16 pounds and stand around 9-10.5 inches tall at the shoulder.
  • Havanese: This breed is often slightly taller and more slender, weighing between 7-13 pounds and standing around 8.5-11.5 inches tall.
  1. Coat Texture and Length:
  • Shih Tzu: Their coat is long, dense, and straight with a luxurious feel. It’s not uncommon to see Shih Tzus with a “top knot” or bow in their hair to keep it out of their eyes.
  • Havanese: The Havanese coat is soft and can be wavy or curly. They often have a slightly longer coat around their neck, creating a “mane” appearance.
  1. Facial Features:
  • Shih Tzu: They have a distinct short, upturned snout, which is a hallmark of the breed. Their eyes are large, round, and set wide apart.
  • Havanese: Havanese have a longer muzzle compared to the Shih Tzu, and their eyes are almond-shaped.
  1. Tail:
  • Shih Tzu: The tail curls over the back and is heavily feathered.
  • Havanese: Their tail also curls over the back, but it’s carried more loosely, often forming a plume.
  1. Temperament:
  • Shih Tzu: They are known to be affectionate but can be a bit stubborn or aloof at times.
  • Havanese: They are generally friendly, outgoing, and eager to please, making them slightly more approachable to strangers than the Shih Tzu.
  1. Origins:
  • Shih Tzu: Originated in Tibet and was bred for Chinese royalty.
  • Havanese: The national dog of Cuba and part of the Bichon family of breeds.

While these are general characteristics to help distinguish between the two breeds, individual dogs can vary. It’s also essential to consider that grooming can significantly alter a dog’s appearance, so a Shih Tzu with a puppy cut might resemble a Havanese even more. Knowing the dog’s pedigree or consulting with a veterinarian or dog expert can provide further clarity.

Are They High Maintenance?

Both the Havanese and Shih Tzu breeds are popular small breeds cherished for their role as companion dogs. However, when it comes to maintenance, there are some differences to consider. The Havanese, like the Shih Tzu, requires regular attention, especially concerning their coat.

Their soft, wavy to curly coat can become tangled and matted if not regularly brushed. This extensive grooming requirement can be seen as high maintenance by some dog owners, especially when compared to short-haired small breeds. Regular grooming sessions not only keep their coat in top condition but also provide an opportunity to check for any skin issues or parasites.

On the other hand, their temperament and adaptability to various living situations, from apartments to houses, can be considered low maintenance. They are generally easygoing, sociable, and eager to please, making them relatively easier to train and socialize than some other breeds.

Leave a Comment