Difference Between a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso

I know my dog breeds fairly well. But I often get confused over the difference between a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso. At a glance, the Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso look like twins. But there are some subtle differences in both personality and looks.

After doing some research, I discovered that even kennel breed clubs used to have a difficult time determining the difference between a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso. The breed club in England had the Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso grouped as one-in-the-same breed. It wasn’t until after 1934 that they separated into two separate breeds. The American Kennel Club (AKC) has always kept them separate. They recognized the Lhasa Apso in 1935 but didn’t recognize the Shih Tzu until 1969. Another thing I discovered is that while the Shih Tzu is a dog breed by itself, it originated from a mix of the Lhasa Apso and Pekingese dog breeds.

Book on the Shih Tzu Dog BreedΒ Book on the Lhasa Apso Dog Breed

Both the Shih Tzu and the Lhasa Apso originated in the monasteries of Tibet. Both were kept as companions and both were referred to as ‘lion dogs’. The Lhasa Apso, however, was also kept as a guard dog and was referred to as the ‘bark lion sentinel dog”. In personality, the Lhasa Apso differs from the Shih Tzu in that he is bolder and a bit more standoffish with strangers. Shih Tzus tend to be a little more playful and affectionate.

According to the AKC standards, a Shih Tzu and a Lhasa Apso can be a variety of any color. A Shih Tzu should stand between 8-11 inches tall while a Lhasa Apso should stand between 10-11 inches tall. And a Shih Tzu should weigh between 9-16 pounds while a Lhasa Apso should weigh between 13-15 pounds. Based on this info, a Shih Tzu can be smaller, but they can also be about the same size as a Lhasa Apso.

So if the Lhasa Apso and the Shih Tzu can be any color and about the same size, then how can you tell the difference between a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso by looking at them? One major difference is the coat type. The hair of a Shih Tzu is much softer than the hair of a Lhasa Apso. The hair of a Lhasa Apso tends to be harder and holds up better in cold weather. Another observable difference is the shape of their heads. The skull of a Shih Tzu is broad and domed. The Lhasa Apso has a flatter head, but it is still a bit rounded. And it is narrower than that of a Shih Tzu.

One good give-away regarding the difference between a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso is the owners of a Shih Tzu tend to put the hair on their dog’s head up in a single pony-tail (see Shih Tzu figurine below). This is not as easy to do on a Lhasa Apso since their head is broader and their hair is rougher. If the owner didn’t put the hair in a pony-tail, however, ask them if you can pet the dog. While patting his head, feel his fur and the shape of his skull. See if you can correctly guess the difference between a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso.

Lhasa Apso Dog Breed Gift Tote Shih Tzu Dog Breed Gift Mug and Mouse Pad


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112 Responses to “Difference Between a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso”

  1. Fetesha Downs Says:

    I’m always trying to explain this to people when they see my dog. The instant reaction is both that he’s a) a female and b) a Shih Tzu. Though I can forgive both, I know that Lhasa Apsos are less heard of where I’m at. I often just default to saying, “they’re similar to a Shih Tzu”.

    • ILoveDogs Says:

      People often thought the same thing about my parent’s Lhasa Apso named Killer! :0)

    • yvoismybabydog Says:

      same here.. i also have a lhasa apso and it seems so unknown to my country.. every time they see my dog they always tell 1) “what a cute baby girl” 2) “oh its a shih tzu”..

      what i always tell them “it’s not a shih tzu, my dog is braver than that” ^_^

    • pam Says:

      Same here. Everyone calls him “she”. I don’t think he minds though, he’s pretty camp but oh-so-chilled! And I love him like my life because he’s the best dog ever there was! πŸ™‚

  2. theonlyavailableusername Says:

    I have Lhasa Apso’s, they’re my first dog and I wouldn’t go back, they’re beautiful, kind, loving and loyal.
    The differences that I have noticed I’d that the Shih Tzu seems to look more fragile and ‘toy’ like.. Though in saying that, one of my Lhasa girls is quite mini and fragile for her breed.
    The paragraph about the styling of the fringe is spot on, the Lhasa seems to have a dent in their heads, that makes the hair fall in a parting.

  3. Judy Pape Says:

    No one mentioned the grooming that needs to be done. We have two Shih Tzu Both are female. The hair on a Shih Tzu is actually so it keeps getting longer and doesn’t stop grooming. They should be groomed about once every six weeks and brushed every day. Their hair is thin and gets matted easily if left. I don’t know about a Lhasa Apso.

  4. jimmy cricket Says:

    the previous owner I got my pup from told me hes a shih tzu. but then I’m starting to think otherwise. groomers and other dog owners cannot even identify what breed he is because they say he doesn’t look shih tzu. im starting to think hes a lhasa laso. can anyone help?

  5. peggy reeser Says:

    I have a Lhasa Apso and she weighs between 11 and 12 lbs.. Also she has an underbite that makes her look like a bulldog with a longer tooth on either side. I have been told it is a characteristic. She has a longer snout than a Shih Tzu and her daddy weighs 15 plus lbs.. The males are bigger I am told. People always think she is a Shih Tzu. She loves people but she does let us know when she hears something strange…as they were used for in Tibet. She lets us know who is boss..,another characteristic. I also keep her hair short.

  6. Cheryl Wilson Says:

    We have a rescue pup as of October 2012, we were told that he is a shih tzu, not sure on the age, the vet says 8 months as is not sure on the exact breed. my husband and I are thinking possibly Lhasa Apso he is tiny about 6 lbs now – he only weighed 2 1/2 lbs in October. We also have 2 shih-poos that are poodle and shih tzu mix. We are not seeing the same characteristics, our groomer says possible maltese?

    • Cheryl Wilson Says:

      Turns out that our rescue is part shih Tzu, 1/2 Lhasa Apso and part Yorkshire terrior

      • ILoveDogs Says:

        Cool mix! Did you have a DNA test done to determine it? Since Lhasas and Shih Tzus used to be lumped together as one breed, I wonder if it could be possible that a lot of purebred Shih Tzus are part Lhasa and lots of Lhasas are part Shih Tzu. There is a trend for ‘designer dogs’ that fit in purses so I wonder if the Yorkie mix in your rescue dog is from a breeder trying to breed a smaller version. This trend could explain why Sharon and Richard’s dogs are bigger while others they find today are so small.

      • Cheryl Wilson Says:

        Yes, we had the dna testing done and that’s what the results were. He is now 7 pounds very active healthly little guy. I see all three breeds in him, but I would say mostly the yorkie. He came from a hoarder situation that he was with 40 dogs and was very underweight for his age at the time all the dogs were taken and placed in shelters around Illinois. He is about 1 year 2 months now according to our vet. He came from southern Illinois and has 2 other litter mates that we know of that live close by. We keep close touch with the rescue. His litter mates both live close by, we are in the process of meeting up with the one that lives in town.

  7. Judy Vancleave Says:

    I had a Lhasa Apso for 13 years. He was all Black and weighed 10 to 12 Lbs. I now have a shih tzu who is 5 years old. The main characteristic I have noticed is that the Lhasa was much more serious about protecting an object he selected to guard. He showed some agression at times. The shih tzu is never agressive and loves everyone. She is layed back or playful in almost all circumstances and seems to trust everyone. Both dogs have been such wonderful pets.

  8. Idontknowwhatusernametouse._. Says:

    So.. is a shihtzu/lhasa apso <–or however you spell it) mix and an original shihtzu's puppies would be what??? Im having trouble with this , I was guessing they would be shihtzu since the actual shihtzu comes from the lhasa apso but would they be??

  9. Eric Ordas Says:

    I have both, and now I am confused, the only thing that keeps me from confusion is their color πŸ™‚

  10. Reny Nix Says:

    Two years ago we too adopted and older and unusual Lhasa mix (with a Jack Russel) (she’s now 10)
    As result her muzzle is tad longer than a pure bread, but her tongue still does not fit into her mouth. We affectionately relate to her as a ‘Pez-Depenser’. She is a bit taller than the usual Lhasa and has many traits of both breeds with relation to behaviors.
    She too is loving and affectionate up to a point, and she will let you know when that limit has been crossed.
    She seems to have been socialized well in her past, and thankfully is good with young children.
    We also have two Airedales that she must contend with, and amazingly she handles all with ease…
    now if we could just get some excess weight off her!!

  11. Victoria Says:

    A year ago I rescued what I was told was a ‘shitzu/yorkie’ mix…well, I had owned a shitzu and an old roommate had 4 yorkies; and while there was some physical similarities (my dog was blond like the york ihad a shorter snout, but not as short as the shitzu) the personality was completely different. He was very protective of me from the start; if sormeone had broken in our house I’m sure they wouled’ve received a bite…whereas my shitzu would have licked them to deathh once they got in and showed them to the safe!! I realized after some reading that this dog was a Lhasa…he had the temperment, right down to the middle part all the way down his body and the)’big dog’ bark. Just do your research, you;ll figure it out:)

  12. Courtney Says:

    We adopted a Lhasa, he looks like one with a curly grey and white coat, cheerful personality, king of the world for the moment ( he’s in obedience training), bright and serious, in perfect proportion but weighs in at 27 lbs! So when people ask what he is, I tell them Lhasa Plus.

  13. Richard Says:

    I ha be owned five Lhasas in my life and all of the males were between twenty and twenty five pounds. My current female is eighteen pounds. The vet says none of them are fat.

    My three current Lhasas are all the offspring of champions, so I feel they are typical.

    My ex-I laws had a shitzu and it was remarkably smaller. I also noticed their dog tended to be yippy in terms of behavior.

    • Sharon Says:

      Richard, you are the first person (other than me) who has had mentioned having a Llhasa over 20lbs. Our Llhasa, Gizz, who we lost at 15 last October was a big girl, weighing 23 lbs- but was not fat. We respectfully referred to her as “not the dainty type” LOL. I LOVED her. I have always had bigger dogs and would like to get another Llhasa but they all seem small – any suggestions on what I might look for when searching for a larger one?

      • ILoveDogs Says:

        Try finding a Lhasa rescue group. Sometimes when breeders breed dogs that do not fit into the AKC specifications, they give them up for adoption rather than sell them.

      • Disneynut Says:

        I have two Lhasa/Shih Tzu mix brothers a year apart. Both blonde, one weighs 11pounds and has the Lhasatude! Big dog bark in a little body. Very Alert especially at night. Only family can pet him. The other brother is 22pounds and looks more shih tzu. Bigger nose,friendly with everyone. Has a bark but nowhere near as ear piercing as his little brother.

      • Christine Says:

        Wow this is so nice to hear ! I just bought a Lhasa that is big 10 pounds at 14 weeks.. But is akc registered and champion blood lines. I was worried. I’m glad to hear other people have had larger dogs.

      • Paul, W3FIS Says:

        My Lhasa/ShihTzu mix (male) is 24#, and could drop a few, perhaps. This is his normal adult weight.

    • vickie Says:

      i have a male who is about 17 lbs,what amazes me is that he rarely barks,only if a stranger is at the door,he never barks for family or friends,just jumps on the door waiting to lick them and play! is not barking normal?

      • vickie gregory Says:

        my Lhasa never barks and I too have wondered about this,some articles I’ve read talk about excessive barking,but it’s very rare with mime

      • Paul Says:

        My Lhasa/Shih Tzu mix backs at delivery men, but isn’t aggessive toward strangers. Once he is convinced that they aren’t going to take out stuff, he is OK. However, he tells me that a Fed Ex delivery guy is worth five Postmen….

      • Barbara Mongillo Says:

        Have 2 lhasa one barks to go out otherwise never the other one doesnt bark to go out but barks for any noise

      • Sarah Says:

        Lhasas are known for this! They are not yappy dogs, they bark if there’s something to bark at but not at every single noise, they’re excellent little dogs.

    • Eileen Says:

      I owned a Lhasa, Tobi, who weighed around 20 pounds. She was not overweight…the vet said she was a little large for her breed and very healthy. Lhasa are definitely bigger than Shih Tzus.

  14. Sharon Says:

    Ok,great idea Thank you πŸ™‚

  15. Kim Says:

    I go through this all the time. Even when at the vet! People always seem to take my Lhasa for either a Maltese or Shi Tzu. I’ve had situations where I’ve met people who does have a Lhasa and was misinformed and told was a Maltese or Shih Tzu! They are quite similar tho, especially for those without knowledge of their differences.

  16. kOBE Says:

    It’s easy to distinguish these two similar breed, just have a closer look if you see the dog that have a snub nose, that’s SHIH TZU 100%

  17. Mary Says:

    Lhasa apsos have almond shaped eyes. Shi zu’s have round eyes. Lhasa apsos have a longer nose and narrower head. Lhasa apso owners wouls say that shi zu’s are sillier than lhasa apsos.

  18. Jakey&joey Says:

    We have a Lhasa Jakey purchased directly from a breeder we picked him out weeks prior to receiving him, originally for my 10 yr old son, Jakey, had other ideas and stuck to me. Although he is our household guard, I am queen bee ! If I’m sick he will not leave my side until he feels I am on the mend. No one can raise their voice or get too close. He is a wonderful pet, loyal , friendly but reserved, butas I mentioned a mind of his own and can be stubborn – even stomping his feet. Either likes you or doesn’t and is very intelligent. He is a quiet dog but if he hears something out the ordinary, his large bark is evident and he gets right in there. He is 12 lbs. and prefers his coat short. If it gets too long he chews it off. We rescued a dog that was thought to be a Shih Tzu Joey very nervous, skittish, but playful , Jakey has been wonderful with this animal somewhat like a cat with its kittens showing him the ropes, climbing in with Joey when he was scared and whimpering , since he has settled these two are partners in crime and have since found that he is not a Shih Tzu but rather a Havanese. Where one is very serious the other is playful and puppy like. A great combination.

  19. Brenda Says:

    I got a puppy 3 years ago. I bought him from a mill, so I really feel I rescued him from potential rough life. He is my baby, his name is Bandit. I was told that he was six weeks and actually he was 4 weeks. I was also told that he is Shih Tzu/ Maltese Mix. I feel he isn’t a mix. After lots of research and reading descriptions, I really feel he is actually a Lasa Apso. I also took him to a vet and the vet said he didn’t see Shih Tzu in him at all. Just as Jakey&Joey says….as Jakey prefers short hair, so does my Bandit. Bandit has a longer nose, just a small underbite, not really noticeable. His hair parts instantly after bath and has a dent in his head that lines up with his spine. While in the house if there is any odd noise outside Bandit will immediately bark and tell us. He will incessantly bark at noise. His bark is a big bark, not the yappy/ yippy bark. While playing with my grandchildren if they are running he will attempt to nip at them. We have a cat and if Bandit has a bone or food, he gets aggitated if the cat gets near. He is not mean, but has a little aggressiveness just once in awhile. Since I have had him from age 4 weeks…he follows me everywhere, If I’m in the kitchen he is right there. If i’m in the shower he is in there. When we are outside he has learned to stay close. Such a good boy !!!

    • aimee Says:

      We havr a 12 week old lhasa apso called lolly. She is the most amazing little pup i have seen in my life. Shes is small in stature but big in personality. Lhasa apsos suffer from a thing called small dog syndrome in which they think.and feel that they are bigger than what they really are i.e the big bark. Also i have heard that the difference between lhasas and shitz’s its that a lhasas tail curls upwards and a.shitz’s downwards. By be free to correct me if i am misinforming people.

  20. tobinians12 Says:

    how tall is the average ht’ of a lhasa apso?

    • ILoveDogs Says:

      The AKC standard states 10-11 inches, but this is an ideal and does not necessarily reflect reality. I imagine that some are a little taller and some a little shorter, but 10-11 inches could be considered an average.

      • tobinians12 Says:

        thanks for the info ..i have a 2 months old puppy, his father is a lhasa apso and his mother is a shih tzu. can his hair long and straight like a shih tzu?

      • ILoveDogs Says:

        Possibly. Like any mixed breed, he could have the dominate traits of one or the other or both. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

      • tobinians12 Says:

        when i search a lhasa apso photos in google some lhasas has a straight hair and some has a curly hair..what is the natural for a lhasa apso? straight or curly? thanks for ur response it’s a big help.

      • ILoveDogs Says:

        The AKC says they are supposed to have straight hair. They can probably have wavy hair too, but this is not the breed standard ideal.

  21. tobinians12 Says:

    thanks.im just really excited to see my puppy grow and bloom… thanks again

  22. Poseygirl Says:

    I have an extra large shih-tzu with perfect markings except he weighs 25 lbs! My bro in-law thinks he might be a Shih-Bernard mix!!

  23. John lamarre Says:

    It don’t matter what they are they are both beautiful dogs
    I have a Lhasa he sleeps in my bed with me till he gets to hot and moves to the foot of the bed,

  24. Jean Says:

    My Lhasa is 8 years old. He’s beautiful but he’s not a small dog. He weighs about 30 pounds and had big paws. He’s my husband’s emotional support dog. He gives me unconditional love.

  25. Connie Says:

    I have a Shih Tzu/Lhasa Apso mix. I had him DNA tested because he has these tremendously long legs, but there was no other breed identified but these two. He weighs in at 19 lbs, but is quite thin and muscular. He runs like the wind. He is very protective, but also very timid with guests and hides from loud voices, new people. He also howls when one of us comes home. His name is Liam and he is a rescue dog, so that may be where his fear/timidity comes from. At first, he wouldn’t let us touch him or hold him. After 2 1/2 yrs, he is as cuddly as he can be (when he’s in the mood).

  26. Karen J Says:

    I have a rescue that is about 3 years old. The county shelter called her a Shih Tzu but when I started looking at the AKC breed standards and other articles, I am convinced she is a Lhasa Apso. She weighs about 12-13 pounds and has long, slightly coarser hair. The main thing though, is the muzzle. The Shih Tze was crossbred with a Peke and has the short slightly flattened muzzle of the Peke. The Lhasa has a slightly longer muzzle, not flattened, but the biggie is the underbite. That is part of the breed standard (AKC) for the Lhasa Apso

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Which do you prefer a Lhasa apso or Maltese? Thanks! πŸ˜€

    • Shayna Says:

      Lhasa. Only because they’re little/big dogs if you know what I mean. I don’t really like petite ones. I want a dog that can take/like rough playing but can still curl up in my lap.

  28. Michelle Says:

    I have a Lhasa Apso female and she is petite around 10.5 lbs. and she is definitley a great guard dog and sounds like a big dog and very protective. The Shih Tzu is a breed created from the original breed Lhasa Apso when they mixed them with a Pekingese so therefore, the muzzle and face is more flat on a Shih Tzu normally and the hair silkier and longer more like a Pekingese. The Lhasa Apso is shy at first and protective with Visitors that I never saw with my Poodle or other breeds before.

  29. paul Says:

    We adopted what we thought was a Shih Tzu 5 years ago. About a month in our vet told us we had a Lhasa due to temperament and size. Our guy’s 17-18 lbs and lean. Our friends have 2 Shih Tzus (male and female) and once the dogs are all together the differences become noticeable. Our Lhasa is simply bigger, like a size up, from the Shih Tzus. His head is shaped differently, his bark is deeper, chest broader, and the coat is coarse. The coat is the most telling, I didn’t get it until I felt him compared to a shih tzu. The coats look similar but touching them you can tell. Every shih tzu I’ve pet has a silky coat while the lhasas don’t. Temperament is different too; our dog “guards” the house and does not take to strangers or perceived intruders.

  30. My Info Says:

    I have two Lhasas a male at 26 lbs and a female at 16 great little dogs, but lots of haircuts!

    • joyce Ullery Says:

      I have a large male , he is 22lbs, The vet says he is a llhasa shih tzus mix he is very stubborn, but a wonderful dog, rarlely barks, only when the doorbell rings. Yesterday it was warm, he was in the sun for 4 hours, I found him sitting at the back door waiting for me to let him in. My neighborhood is full of shih tzus, he looks just like them except is face is longer and eyes are smaller, and he is large.

  31. Michael Campbell Says:

    we thought our dog was lhasa but now i am convinced he must be a shih tsu…have only heard him barking a total of less than one minute all told in last 3 months we’ve had him.. i thought someone cut his vocal chords.he weighs 15 lbs. is gray and white and cream.. the sweetest dog i have ever seen. his tail is upturned all the time and his tongue never droops. either in his mouth.. straight out just a but or mostly up toward his nose when he pants..very very soft hair that easily mats.. he is also a rescue dog. they say his was 2.. we have had him since november 2013. such a blessing.. his name is quincy but i think his name should be fluffy.. can’t help but wonder what his name used to be.

  32. Shayna Says:

    I hate when people say my Lhasa is fat when he’s furry because they think he’s a shih tzu. They go “omg what are you feeding him!” My Snowie is a healthy size and weight.

    It’s also sad to see people who clearly have Lhasa’s but are clueless and think they have a shih tzu. I see it all the time!

    • Tita Anderson Says:

      I have adopted a Lhasa from an elderly friend. The owner said she is a shih-tzu. Not until I took her to the vet and I was told she is a Lhasa. If you don’t know much about dogs then you can be clueless. I know can tell between Shih-tzu and Lhasa because Lhasa has an underbite. No matter what breed they are, they are adorable/

  33. Renee Whitman Says:

    We got a Shih zuh from a shelter, she is the best pet. She loves to play and is always happy to see us when we come home. Will bark at people she doesn’t know, but warms up to them quickly. Very picky eater. The vet says about 1yr 6mos. By the teeth. Best dog ever, loves kids and most people.

    • Renee Whitman Says:

      Also her hair is long on the body, but her legs a furry type long

      • elaine taddeo Says:

        They are the best dogs ever! My little lhasa is so irresistable.i hug him daily. He even snuggles with the vet every time he goes in. Just the best dog i ever owned.awesome pesonality and loves to run and play.

  34. Paul Says:

    I have a Shih Tzu/Lhasa Apso cross. I think the dog is a trifle confused as well. He sits in your lap and guards your stuff.

  35. Bella Says:

    I have a Lhasa/maltese mix. She weighs 15 lbs @ 2years old. Very protective of me as well as the toy/bone of the day. She has nipped at people who have reached out at her, not letting her a chance to check them out. I have no small children, she plays good with them if they are well behaved! and have let her come to them first. She does not like being around large amount of people at once (party). She has to greet one on one, in order to allow that person to be welcome in our home. Once she knows you/dog she does not forget. Plays rough!! as if she is a BIG dog,with us and other dogs small and large. She is a very well built small dog!! She can jump as high as my hip while playing. She looks sooo cute and cuddly “puppy like” but she is very weary of strangers. I always warned people not to reach at her,let her check you out first! She is well trained to word command. pee-pad trained. Has run of the house all day while we work. She does not tear up her toys. She LOVES the large dog white femur bones with no fillings to chew. She is almost all white.She has very little tear staining about 2mm.from her tear duct. (only feed her all natural food & snacks) no grain! wipe her face morn./night warm cloth. trim hair away from her eyes so nothing is poking into her eyes, as well as the hair that some dogs grow out of the tear duct. Bella does have this hair. I trim it as close as I can.I have tried every product nothing worked for the staining. Not even Angel eyes. waste of money. Let me say, If I were to have a child this day & age, with all the abuse & abductions, No one would get close to harming or taking a child with a Lhasa as thier pet. No one would dare reach thier hand toward me, without her lounging at them. My husband can not even rub my shoulders she thinks he is going to hurt me.When I go to bed before my husband, she protects it like its her Island running from end to end barking, until she realizes its him. Its really funny in a way.Once she is sleeping, if you move the blankets or pet her, she growels/moans not to be aggresive but to say “stop bothering me” I swear thier is a human in her. She has never even seen any one be voilent to anyone. Its her breed. She is there to protect. She only barks when she should. Or she wants something. “to play” Hates when I get home and get on the phone before we play, she will bark until I hang up!! We have thought of getting her a playmate, but we realized that she loves being the one and only! She does not like when other dogs come near me & my husband, she will jump onto or lap pushing the other animal cat/dog off and takeover your lap and gaurd us. When she has a play date she will play for a bit then wants to only play with us, and ignore the other dog. Loves to go for rides. Love her so much!

  36. puppymomtoo Says:

    I have a 3 yr. old Lt. Gray ShiApso. Her mother was a Lhasa and her father a ShihTzu. She has all of the best traits of both breeds! She is very weary of strangers, but will warm up almost immediately if she senses that we are ok with them. She does alert us to anything that is not normal by barking until we check it out and that includes anything out of place in the whole neighborhood! If someone leaves their lawnmower on the sidewalk, she will bark at it like it is a big scary monster and I mean so loud that her bark turns into a scream! She is very cuddly, great with otter animals if any size. We have a cat and two border collies. She rules the dogs, but the cat and her play and wrestle as if neither realize that the other is different! One of the Borders is a 65 lb mix with a lab puppy. He wants to play constantly and usually Chewy is up to the challenge. But when she’s had enough or he gets too rough, she can hold her own and we’ll jump at him and growl as if scolding to let him know. She always gets her point across! She is my shadow and will play fetch with her favorite ball all day long if you can keep up with her! She carries that ball around the house dropping it and rolling it with her nose at anyone and everyone she thinks may play fetch with her! She also has one stuffed toy which she chose as a puppy. She sucks on its head like a pacifier every night and kneads it in a rocking motion until she falls asleep (usually within a minute) but it is so cute because she is still so puppy like when she’s tired. She sleeps at our feet as if on the look out and always on guard protecting the bed like her kingdom! She won’t let any of the other dogs on the bed, and the cat better be ready for a romp if she decides to try and join in the cuddling! During the daytime nap you will find her sleeping back to back with one or the other boarders. Always with a watchful eye on me. I am the one who hung the moon in her eyes and she wants to go with me everywhere! She is a great traveler! You almost forget she is in the car because she usually sleeps the entire trip! When we are in public she doesn’t know a stranger and welcomes everyone’s pats on the head with a wagging tail (very ShihTzu like), but she always has a careful eye on me to be sure we don’t get separated! Might have taken her to Lowes on the weekends since she was a puppy to acclimate her to people and children – which she also likes! She is so human like and the joy of our whole family! Her worst trait is her picky eating! I feed her only the best food from the pet store, but I have to mix dry with a bit of canned or she’ll boycott it! I’ve had to change brands altogether a few times already. She is a BIG dog in a cuddly teddy bear body! She also lays her head down every morning for her daily pony tail and brushing and she lifts one paw at a time for me when I put on her winter sweaters. She is our sweet baby girl (I have 3 sons) and the whole family adores her!

  37. Sarah Edwards Says:

    I have a Lhasa x shih tzu girl, she’s the best of both breeds. She’s very happy & friendly. She isn’t a lap dog but has to be leaning against me.
    She loves people but she makes a terrible fuss if I leave her with anyon, even to nip to the shops.
    She’s very funny & comical & If I was getting another dog id definitely look for the same mix breed again.

  38. phuntsok Says:

    I am a Tibetan, in my experience Lhasa Apso eyes are little smaller and not at all circular like shitzu. Lhasa apso face do not have that wrinkles below eyes and above nose. Shitzu also don’t have wrinkles but it feels there are some “seudo” wrinkles. Both are very cute dogs. But since, i always had apso I can’t even think of other kind just because lhasa apso are so obedient and very clingy.

    • Jacqueline Stubner Rogne Says:

      We have a TIbetan Terrier — which is actually a Tsang apso. I’m told he’s basically a bigger version of a Lhasa apso. Do you find this to be true? Ours is about 27 or 28 pounds. I’m wondering if some people with giant Lhasas actually have Tibetan Terriers? They are even less common in the States than a Lhasa…..he is delightful and we love him to death. I don’t think I’ll ever have another breed….

  39. joyce ullery Says:

    II have a rescue dog that looks like a lhaso apso shihtzu, he weigs 23 lbs which is large for that breed, and his snout is longer, He is very friendly, only barks when someone rings the door bell, will not bark to go to the bathroom, I walk him four times a day. very obiedent, but also very stubborn, likes to play keep away, and grawls if I try to take it away, he looks like all the pictures of that breed,the vet says he is a lhaso apso because he is husky and longer than taller. I wish I knew what other breed is mixed in him because of thelong snout and bigger size.

  40. Red Pandemic Says:

    I have a muscular 19lb shih tzu who becomes very defensive of his home where he will growl if someone passes on the road, protective of myself or my sister when he’s on leash to the point of snarling at people who get close, and then mingles well at a dog park just trying to ignore and avoid the people while exploring for good rolling spots and dogs he cares to wrestle with. He meets everything for a shih tzu down to the coat type, he just has a completely different personality. Haha.

  41. Barbara Mongillo Says:

    I have 2 lhasa but one is 23lbs and brushing doesnt take much hair out , but other one is 14lbs and brushing brings lots of hair.fur is different.why so different?

    • Paul Says:

      Well, mine is a Lhasa – Shih Tzu mix. The only place I can get hair out is the tail and the ears. If he scratches some he will pull little clumps of undercoat out. The breeds are NOT completely non-shedding — not like my Goldens. When they blew a coat, I had enough fur for a spare litter of puppies!

      • Barbara Mongillo Says:

        Why are my 2 lapso’s so different.one from a breeder..14lbs. The other 23lbs and different …fur is completely different..23lb. Has a part down his whole body.why so different…

  42. Patricia Correnti Says:

    I just got my first lhas apso one way to tell is that some have a link in the end of their tail I thought this was a defect but upon looking it up it is a specific trait says not all lhasa apso have it

  43. Nom Zain Says:

    This article first says “The skull of a Shih Tzu is broad and domed. The Lhasa Apso has a flatter head…” Then in the next paragraph it says “One good give-away regarding the difference between a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso is the owners of a Shih Tzu tend to put the hair on their dog’s head up in a single pony-tail (see Shih Tzu figurine below). This is not as easy to do on a Lhasa Apso since their head is broader and their hair is rougher.”

    Why the contradiction?

  44. Jaime Says:

    just hat a “shihtzu” given to me however I am 100% unsure if she is one, her coat is rough, and her head is flat on top, she hates strangers, and seems to be a 1 person dog, I was told she came from the breeder as a shihtzu I have no clue though

    • Paul Says:

      I would say “Lhasa.” I have a Lhasa Apso/Shih Tzu mix, and he is somewhat conflicted about strangers. He yells at them until he is convinced that they aren’t going to take his stuff, then becomes quite friendly. He tells me that a FedEx delivery person is worth six Postmen….

  45. Bob Marley Says:

    I have an 8 month Lhasa. Petting his coat feels like touching Bob Marleys hair.

  46. Hot Lips Says:

    Shih tzus are smaller, their noses are slightly more squashed but their tails are longer than a lhapsa apso. Oh and I forgot to mention shih tzus are far more cuter!!!πŸ‘πŸ’•β€οΈ

  47. Beth Says:

    Do both of them, when running have their back legs to seem like “charlie Chaplin” walk? I have just recently got a puppy that was abandon, and can’t tell which one he is.

  48. Kassy Says:

    Doesn’t one have an over bite and one an under bite

  49. Pam Says:

    Oh yes I forgot to mention my 8 year old boy’s little quirks. Obviously be rolls over on his back if he wants a jelly run and he usually gets it. I don’t know about “stand offish” because he is widely regarded as an attention-seeking trllop by many of the strangers he flips in front of for the first time. Inevitably they weaken and then when they stop he does “reverse doggie paddle”, I.a. He lies on his back and paddles the air with all fours. It is incredibly endearing.

    When he wants another dog to pay him attention he turns his back on them and swiped them with his butt.

    He lives with an 11 month old Staff puppy. Whilst walking the other day we met another Staff of similar age. The pups immediately commenced vigorous and happy rough play, covering a lot of ground and getting very muddy.

    As they rolled over and over up and down, the Lhasa bounced up and down a couple of feet away from them so he could keep an eye on them and bark the occasional admonishment at them like some overexcited football referee. He was enjoying it just as much as them and was being very fair too. He would bark at either one of he felt they had stepped out of line. I and the other owner were nearly in years at them all.

    He is just THE best! Of course the Staff puppy is also the best.

  50. Rozanne Says:

    I just say one or the other because my boy is both 😊

    • Pau Says:

      Yes, I have a 1/2 Lhasa, 1/2 Shih Tzu as well. Best of both breeds. Sits in my lap and guards me stuff.

  51. John Says:

    Our baby girl is 1/2 Shih Tzu and 1/2 Golden Retriever and looks like a giant Lhasa!

  52. Monty's mom Says:

    My Lhasa is just 2 this month. He’s the best dog I’ve ever owned. Playful, smart and just loves kids. He’s weighing in at 21 lbs. but the vet didn’t seem concerned. He hardly ever barks (except at strange noises at night) which is a plus. Lhasa do not shed because of no undercoat. He’s registered with AKC so I’m confident he’s not a mix. The only drawback I find is that he’s very stubborn. Love this pup

    • Paul Says:

      Slightly stubborn goes with the breed — I have a Lhasa/Shih Tzu mix. Mine is a male and weights about 25#, and could stand to drop a few, of course. Ours does the watch dog thing — only barks at stuff that is strange to him. He says a FedEx delivery person is worth five postmen… He is a little stand offish with people outside of the family, so I decided not to try him for pet therapy work, like I did with my last Golden. I get some shedding on the ears and tail, and maybe a little of the undercoat. Mine is 12, and doing pretty good — some arthritis, but that is all.

  53. beckie Says:

    Also, the Lhasa Apso’s tip of ears and tail are always black even if you cut the hair it will turn black again. No matter what color the rest of their hair is.

  54. beckie Says:

    My Shinese weighs 19 pounds and looks more like a pekingnese.

  55. John Says:

    I’m bit confused about in between 2 of them.. i have a shihtzu but i’m not sure he is pure breed or not !! Can i send some pictures of him so that u can clarify me

  56. Marlene Says:

    I have two Lhasa Apso dogs. They are 3 1/2 years old. We flew them in from a breeder when they were 8 weeks old. One is male and the other is a female from different parents. They are AKC registered Lhasa Apsos. From early puppyhood the female looked more like a Shih Zsu. Her face and head are all Shih Zsu. She’s 37 pounds and zoftig. He is 27 pounds and they are happy and very sweet. Our vet seems to think she is a Shih Zsu or at the very least has a lot of Shih Zsu in her DNA. She has started to get the medical issues of a short snout dog with the bulging eyes. I want to get a DNA test to see exactly what she is since we wanted to breed them. Frankly I’m a little annoyed with the breeder who sold us the pups. I feel an experienced breeder would be able to know what a puppy is, and not sell a mixed pup as pure bred. Especially since she knew we wanted an AKC breeding pair. mramby

    • Nature by Dawn Says:

      Unfortunately, you really have to watch out for breeders. AKC doesn’t regulate the quality of the dogs that are bred. Unscrupulous breeders often breed the same pair over and over and sometimes the pair are close-cousins or even brother-sister or mom-son. This leads to a lot of genetic issues. So if you want dogs for quality breeding, you really have to do your homework to find a quality breeder. Generally, the better breeders charge a lot more since a lot more work goes into breeding quality dogs.

      • Marlene Says:

        Thank you for your response. We researched breeders for over a year, and we honestly thought we found a great one. We paid a lot of money for the two pups plus airfair. I started to doubt thee breeders honesty after I sent them a picture of the two pups at 6months showing how well they were doing. I never got a response. I thought that was strange.

        I bred Keeshonds in the ’70’s in Long Island and I always appreciated and responded when my buyers sent me updates and photos of my pups. I was proud of them.

        Lexi’s meds will be about $100 per month 3x a day for the rest of her life and the vet says she will most likely develop more issues requiring more daily meds.

        They are like children to us so we will just have to pay for whatever they need. We’re not wealthy so it won’t be easy.

        I’ve owned Lhasas for 20 years, 5 in total, and none of them ever had any medical issues, including Max my 3 year old Lhasa.

        We’re just frustrated since we did try to get the best pups available.

      • Nature by Dawn Says:

        I agree that a good breeder would appreciate updates from their buyers. I’m so sorry for your experience with the breeders. With the internet, you’d think it would be easier to research the breeders. But in some ways it’s harder. You can’t change anything now other than to continue to do the best you can and love the dogs you have. After all, it’s not their fault. And if in the future you choose to go this route again, perhaps take a look at the AKC breeding history and see if any of the dogs have ever actually been show dogs and have won ribbons. Good breeders will generally have a dog within a generation or two that have won shows. More than a generation or two and I would be skeptical. This means you will have to research which shows and what the ribbons mean as well. Unfortunately, there are so many unscrupulous breeders out there that you really have to do a lot of homework. Visit the breeder’s breeding site, ask for contact information on previous buyers, make sure you meet the mother of the pups, and the father too, if possible, find out which genetic traits can be tested for and find out if the breeder has had their dogs tested for them, get all certifications, not just AKC certifications, because good breeders will likely also be registered with other kennel clubs or breed specific organizations.

      • Marlene Says:

        Thank, I do agree. Buyer beware….

        My Keeshond bitch was the granddaughter of a Ruttkay champion. She was a magnificent dog. She’s been gone 35 years and I can still cry when I think of her. She passed at 13. The male we bred her with also had an AKC champion bloodline. The litters were small (3-4 pups) but fabulous.

        I’m annoyed with myself, I know better when it comes to selecting a breeder. We had a very had time locating a Lhasa breeder, so when we finally found one, we were thrilled. We had just lost two old Lhasas and we were anxious to have pups again.

        My babies are so sweet and smart, we’d do anything for them.

        Take care.

  57. Katherine Sartin Says:

    My malw Lhasa Apsof is much heavier at 23lbs. He has softer fur but definitely have the temperament and tail of a pure breed Lhasa.

  58. Pauline Says:

    I believe the Shih Tzu has a shorter muzzle than the Lhasa Apso. Also the Shih Tzu’s nose is more on level with the bottom of their eyes whereas the Lhasa Apso’s is slightly lower.

  59. Winona Says:

    I had a Lhasa and now have a Shih Tsu. My Lhasa was aggressive, i.e. biting, as a puppy with my teen daughter and had to be trained, but it only took about 3 incidents. She was very laid back, a real couch potato, didn’t know what to do with a ball, loved to cuddle, loved to lay in my arms on her back like a human baby and be petted to sleep. A true lap dog, on your lap, ,and her head next to mine on the pillow. She did have bladder/kidney stones and had to be put to sleep, so I wonder if her lack of energy and playfulness was related to pain she may have had unbeknownst to us. She was a great alarm/alert dog. She would not give kisses. But if you wanted a cuddle Buttons was The One. Cooperative for home scissor trims. My Shid Tsu is very attentive to everything I say and do. She has an astounding vocabulary. Seems more intelligent than the Lhasa. She had never been aggressive, she is hysterical to watch when she kills-the-toy when her inner clock-alarm goes off at 8 pm. She is a very good alarm dog and has a different bark for different situations, and keeps tabs on the neighborhood. She is reserved and shy around people outside family/neighbors; doesn’t like to be petted on the head, and even though we’ve socialized her she is a bit fearful of other dogs and wants to be picked up. She is overwhelmingly affectionate, freely and persistantly giving kisses, and pushing her head into your neck. She
    is not a lap dog, but will lay on the opposite end of the couch or bed. Loves car trips. She hates the scissors close to her eyes, and jerks every time, so we do just a little at a time.

  60. Elan Gee Says:

    I have one of each. Milly is a 10yr old Shih Tzu very friendly and Poppy is a 12 yr old Lhasa Apsos and very reserved.
    I have always had at least one of each Breed since 1975, sometimes several. I love both Breeds. There are a lot of likeness’s between these Breeds. I am very aware they are Guard Dogs.
    Milly is a yapper but Poppy rarely barks. Milly loves toys especially ones that make a lot of noise.
    These two have me laughing so much everyday.
    They both lie beside me or on the bed always facing away from me. I think they are guarding me?
    The Shih tzu has definitely got a shorter muzzle than the Lhasa Apsos but as puppy’s I cannot tell the difference.

  61. Sally Ellis Says:

    Molly is an ahlasa Apso. She weighs 38 lbs. very smart. She is 15 years old and almost deaf. But she still learns quickly. She sets me up any way she can think of to get treats. I taught her to sneeze using head movement. Now she thinks if she comes to me and sneezes , she should get a treat. I love that dog with all my heart and soul. She is our third one.

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