Lhasa Apso Vs Shih Tzu: Their Difference Explained

Lhasa apso vs shih tzu ? Even though these two dogs have very similar appearances, they are two different breeds. It is easy to confuse one of these dogs with the other, based on their looks.

Many people wonder what the main differences between these two dogs are. It is not surprising that even owners of these dogs will be wondering what breed is their lovely pet.

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However, there are differences between these two dogs that stand out.

This article will highlight the main differences between Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu.

lhasa apso vs shih tzu


Hair and Coat

One of the similarities that confuse people about these two dogs is the fluffiness of their hair. This is due to the long coat of hair all over their bodies. You will note that these bleeds will demand a lot of grooming to maintain their long hair coat.

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Even though the fluffiness of their hair coating is one of their main similarities, it is also the same way by which you can tell them apart. The Lhasa Apsos has straight hair that has black tips on ears and muzzle. You will notice that the straight hair of Lhasa Apsos has a noticeable side parting with the coat.

The Lhasa Apso also has a heavy coat, whereas their hair falls over the dog’s eyes. Whereas when it comes to the Shih Tzu breed, you will notice that it has a double coat, with slightly wavy and long hair. Thereby one can effortlessly be able to tell them apart.

Facial Features

This is another area whereby you can easily point out the differences between these two breeds of dogs. You will note that the Lhasa Apso has smaller eyes, a longer nose, and their heads are narrower.

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The Shih Tzu’s dog breed has a much broad skull that is dome-shaped. You will also notice that they have eyes that are larger than those of their counterparts, they are also set wider apart, and are rounder than those of Lhasa Apso.

You will also notice that when it comes to the Lhasa Apso breed, they are more likely to have a fuller face. You will note this fuller face when you look at their beard and muzzle. Once you are keen enough when checking their face, you will immediately note these differences an be able to tell the dog breeds apart.

At a glance, one may think that these dogs look similar. But with the knowledge of where to look, the differences are apparent. Their faces are different for anyone keen enough.

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Weight and Size

This is an important way to tell the difference between these two dog breeds, and it is easy to notice. You will most likely note that Lhasa Apso is of a bigger stature than the Shih Tzu breed. But it is crucial to point out that Lhasa Apsos will look more delicate and slimmer due to their smaller skeletal structure.

Lhasa Apso’s skull is not domed, but it is narrower. This dog breed also has hairy ears and a longer snout. The Shih Tzu, which is the smaller breed, has a more sturdy and strong body with its skull having a dome shape. The face of the Shih Tzu is also round as opposed to Lhasa Apso’s narrow face.

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These evident variations in the two dog breeds sizes will be a good differentiator, whereby one can easily point out such differences. Armed with this knowledge, it should no longer be confusing for one to tell them apart.

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Unlike the above differences where we have concentrated on physical differences, here we look at the difference in their character and temperament. It is easy to distinguish these two dog breeds as they have varied personalities, and many owners would be able to point this out easily.

When it comes to the Lhasa Apsos, they are always suspicious situations or even people, owing to their heritage as Tibetan watchdogs. It is hard to ignore this dog when it barks loudly despite its size, especially when strangers are nearby. This dog breed is also devoted and loyal to its masters.

These dogs portray a happy demeanor, but will become slightly aggressive when they are challenged. You will also notice that they are reluctant at following commands, mainly due to their inherently stubborn nature.

On the other hand, Shih Tzu’s are affectionate, friendly, and playful dogs. You will notice the weaknesses of this dog to be an efficient guard dog as it will be accepting of strangers.

But it is an excellent dog for your company as you will have great fun with it. You will notice that it will easily trust people, and engage them playfully.

These key differences in the dogs temperament is key for respective owners to tell them apart.


Regardless of the striking resemblance of the Shih Tzu and the Lhasa Apso, it is still possible to tell their differences. They will not only have noticeable physical differences, but one can still tell the difference between them based on their personalities.

You will now know to dispel people’s doubts when you tell them the names of your dog breed. You will be able to point out to them the apparent differences and even educate others who may be confused.