Poodle vs Shih Tzu: Which Breed is Right for You?


Adding a new dog to your home can be a very exciting but also an intimidating time in your life. Two great breeds of dogs that are widely available today are the poodle and Shih Tzu. While both of these breeds are great, you will want to compare the two to see which breed is right for you.

Shih Tzus tend to be quiet, stubborn, difficult to train, and friendly with strangers. Poodles are less stubborn, bark more, are aloof towards strangers, and are easier to train than Shih Tzus. While both breeds make great family pets, Shih Tzus are more sociable and get along better with other pets in the home.

To make the decision between Shih Tzus and Poodles easier, I will break down the pros and cons of each breed. Continue reading to see how each breed compares, and which is best for you and your family. 

Poodle Vs. Shih Tzu Attributes at a Glance

This chart provides a quick comparison of the Poodle and Shih Tzu breeds:

PoodleShih Tzu
IntelligenceHighAverage to High
Health IssuesAddison’s Disease, Bloat, Epilepsy,
Hip Dysplasia
Allergies, Bladder Stones, Distichiasis, Dry Eye, Ear Infections, Ectopic Cilia, Hip Dysplasia, Juvenile Renal Dysplasia, Keratitis, retinal atrophy (PRA)
Pet FriendlyFriendlyVery Friendly
Kids FriendlyVery FriendlyFriendly
GroomingHigh maintenanceHigh maintenance
HypoallergenicYesYes
Train-abilityEasyModerately Easy
TemperamentAffectionate, Alert, Energetic, Intelligent, Instinctual, Loving, Loyal, Playful, TrainableCourageous, Gentile, Affectionate, Active, Cheerful, Friendly, Loving, Playful, Social, Instinctual, outgoing
Coat ColorsBlack. Sable, Silver, White, Black and White, Brown, Apricot, Red, Cream, GreyBrindle, Liver, Silver, Black, Gold, Red, Blue
SheddingLowLow
Life Span12 – 19 Years10-16 years
Energy LevelMedium-HighLow-Medium
Breed Avg. Height/WeightToy Poodle
Height: 10 inches
Weight: 6-9 pounds
Miniature Poodle
Height: 11-15 inches
Weight: 15-17 pounds
Standard Poodle
Height: 15-22 inches
Weight: 45-70 pounds
Shih Tzu
Weight – Between 9 and 16 pounds
Height – Between 8 and 11 inches

Which is Better a Poodle or Shih Tzu? 

Choosing a new pup for your home can be very challenging and deciding between a Shih Tzu or a Poodle can be just as tricky. Both are breeds are loved by millions the world over. However, there are a few key differences that you will want to keep in mind when determining which is best for your family. 

Poodles are a better choice for families with small children and other pets in the home. Shih Tzus are the best choice for families with older children and for owners willing to devote more time and patience to train their dogs.

Both breeds have positives and negatives that need to be taken into consideration. Poodles and Shih Tzus are both equally great dogs that any potential owner would almost certainly fall in love with. By comparing these two breeds, I hope to give you the information you need to help make your decision a little easier.  

Differences between Poodles and Shih Tzus

While the two breeds are similar in many ways, there are a few differences that you may want to keep in mind. These differences can help you decide which dog will work best for you and your family.

Some key differences between the poodle and Shih Tzu breeds Include:

1. Breed Size

Size: Height and Weight
PoodleToy Poodle
Height: 10 inches
Weight: 6-9 pounds
Miniature Poodle
Height: 11-15 inches
Weight: 15-17 pounds
Standard Poodle
Height: 15-22 inches
Weight: 45-70 pounds
Shih TzuWeight – Between 9 and 16 pounds
Height – Between 8 and 11 inches

Shih Tzu Size

Shih Tzus are only really available in one size, which is fairly small. Due to their small size, Shih Tzus may not be the best choice for homes that have smaller children or toddlers that can easily hurt them. However, a home with older children can be a great choice for this smaller breed. 

A Shih Tzu’s height and weight is typically:

  • Weight – Between 9 and 16 pounds
  • Height – Between 8 and 11 inches

Poodle Size


On the other hand, poodles come in three varieties, enabling you to pick the right size for your home. If you have young children, you may want to opt for a larger breed of poodle while for a senior owner, a toy-sized poodle may be a better fit.

A poodle’s height and weight is typically:

  • Toy PoodleWeight: 6 and 9 pounds Height: under 10 inches
  • Miniature PoodleWeight: 15 to 17 pounds Height: 11 to 15 inches
  • Standard PoodleWeight: 45 and 70 pounds Height: over 15 inches

in summary, which breed you choose will likely rely heavily on the age of those in your household. 

2. Purchase Price

AverageHigh End
Poodle$700-$1,200$2,500- $5,000
Shih Tzu$500-$850$1000- $1600

Another key metric you will want to consider when choosing your new dog is the price. Both Poodles and Shih Tzus will vary in price depending on where you live and the quality of dog you purchase. If you want a dog that is AKC registered, or one that derives from a more expensive bloodline, you should expect to pay more. 

Shih Tzus often cost less than Poodles, starting at around $500. However, these dogs can get still get quite pricey. Comparatively, it will be difficult to find a Poodle puppy for less than $700, as they are more in demand and include many more expensive designer varieties. 

3. Temperament

Temperament
PoodleAffectionate, Alert, Energetic, Intelligent, Instinctual, Loving, Loyal, Playful, Trainable
Shih TzuCourageous, Gentile, Affectionate, Active, Cheerful, Friendly, Loving, Playful, Social, Instinctual, outgoing

One of the biggest differences between the Poodle and Shih Tzu Breeds is temperament. A dog’s temperament is one of the most important factors to consider when determining which breed is the right fit for you.

Temperament differences between the Poodle and Shih Tzu include :

  • Poodles – Poodles are louder and tend to bark more. This breed is affectionate but more aloof towards new people or strangers. Poodles are Less stubborn and a bit easier to train. 
  • Shih Tzus – Shih Tzus are quieter and less yappy than the Poodle. These dogs tend to be a bit more friendly with newcomers and more sociable. Shih Tzus can be stubborn and harder to train. 

If you live in a more crowded home or apartment, it may be best to opt for a Shih Tzu that will be a bit quieter. However, Poodles can be great in a home where extensive training is essential

4. Amiability Towards Other Pets

Pet Friendly
PoodleFriendly
Shih TzuVery Friendly

If you already have a dog or cat in your home, you should consider their wellbeing before adding another pet into the mix. If this reflects your situation, the Shih Tzu maybe your best option.

Owners with existing pets often find Shih Tzus to get along well with other animals as a result of their friendliness and sociability. Additionally, Shih Tzus tend to be less aggressive than a Poodle may be. 

Poodles on the other hand can be more aggressive towards new dogs or cats. They can also tend to chase smaller animals which can be challenging if you have a cat. However, if properly socialized at a young age, poodles can mesh well with other pets. 

5. Intelligence

Intelligence
PoodleHigh
Shih TzuAverage to High

Comparatively, Poodles and Shih Tzus are both pretty intelligent breeds. In fact, Poodles rank in the top five in most lists of intelligent canine breeds worldwide. However, the main difference is the stubbornness that comes with Shih Tzus, which can make them more difficult to train. 

Both of these breeds will need to be mentally stimulated throughout the day and provided regular interaction. However, when it comes to training and teaching your pup, a Poodle might be an easier option. Of course, Shih Tzus are able to learn it may just need a bit more work. 

Similarities Between Poodles and Shih Tzus

As there are clearly some differences between the Poodle and Shih Tzu breeds, there are also many similarities. These similarities can make it more challenging for you to decide between the two breeds but can, ultimately, help to lead you to your decision.

Similarities between the Poodle and Shih Tzu breeds include:

1. Grooming

Grooming
PoodleHigh Maintenence
Shih TzuHigh Maintenance

Both the poodle and Shih Tzu breeds are very high maintenance and will require regular grooming. Poodles and Shih Tzus have coats that will continue growing without proper grooming. 

While regular grooming does require serious time and money, proper grooming to essential to the overall health of any dog.

In addition to regular grooming either at home or by a professional, you will also need to brush these breeds daily as hair can become matted or tangled easily without proper brushing.

Additionally, a well-developed grooming routine will also include:

  • Nail clipping
  • Tooth brushing
  • Bathing

2. Lifespan

Average Lifespan
Poodle12-19 Years
Shih Tzu10-16 Years

Both the Poodle and Shih Tzu have very similar lifespans, which average between 11 and 16 years.

Larger poodles will have a shorter lifespan than toy poodle breeds. However, you can expect a long lifespan out of both breeds when provided the proper care. 

3. Kid Friendliness

Kids Friendly
PoodleVery Friendly
Shih TzuFriendly

Both the Poodle and Shih Tzu are great family dogs and can mesh well in a variety of different homes. As previously mentioned, it can be a bit more challenging to bring a smaller breed into a home with babies or toddlers. As a result, it may work best to adopt a larger breed or wait until your children are old enough to treat a smaller dog properly. 

As for overall companionship, both of these dogs love their owners and will be very loyal. With a bit of training and quality care, both Shih Tzus and Poodles can be amazing dogs. Of course, as with any breed, they will require regular care and attention. 

4. Health Concerns

Common Health Issues
PoodleAddison’s Disease
Bloat
Epilepsy
Hip Dysplasia
Shih TzuAllergies
Bladder Stones
Distichiasis
Dry Eye
Ear Infections
Ectopic Cilia
Hip Dysplasia
Juvenile Renal Dysplasia
Keratitis
retinal atrophy (PRA)

A lot of health issues can be avoided if you provide your dog with regular vet visits and preventive care. However, both of these breeds are prone to a few health issues that you will want to keep in mind.

Some common health issues that Shih Tzus and Poodles face include:

  • Eye Issues – Both dog breeds can have eye issues that you should be proactive when dealing with. The best way to avoid eye troubles is to keep the hair away from the dog’s eyes.
  • Joint Issues – This can be an issue for both breeds as they get older. Hip dysplasia is a serious condition and is common in both breeds as they age. Offering a high-quality diet can help prevent these issues and ensure a good quality of life for many years to come. 

Regular vet visits are a must to keep both breeds healthy. The best way to ensure the health of both the Poodle and Shih Tzu breeds is to provide high-quality food and be proactive with your dog’s health care. By doing so, you may be able to spot potential medical issues that could affect your dog’s quality of life.

Choosing Your Dog Breed

As you can see, both Shih Tzus and Poodles have positive and negative attributes that you will want to take into consideration. You will likely want to choose the breed that will work best in your home and is the best fit for your family’s needs. At the end of the day, it is truly your decision but both breeds are quality pets. 

Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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