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10 Dogs That Are Similar to Shih Tzus: Pictures, Facts & History

Hanh Duong

By Hanh Duong

happy havanese dog

Who doesn’t love a Shih Tzu? They are adorable, but that’s just one of the many reasons why they are adored by so many. These canines are friendly, small, and adaptable to many living conditions, making them the perfect pet for any family. However, did you know that there are other breeds that look very similar to Shih Tzus?

So, if you’re searching for a dog that looks like a Shih Tzu but is not necessarily a Shih Tzu, you have plenty of other options to choose from.


The 10 Dogs That Are Similar to Shih Tzus

1. Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso
Image Credit: Chad Zuber, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Height: 10 to 11 inches
Weight: 12 to 18 pounds

The Lhasa Apso is a fascinating breed that has been around for a thousand years. Originally from the Himalayas, these dogs were trained to be sentinels for palaces and monasteries. Despite their small stature, Lhasas are known for their confidence, intelligence, and complex personalities.

What’s really unique about Lhasas is their luxurious coat. It’s long, thick, and hangs flat on either side of their body, parted in the middle. They also have a curly, feathery tail that adds to their distinctiveness. When you look into their dark, oval-shaped eyes, it’s like you’re gazing into their merry soul.

Although they are playful and comedic with their families, Lhasas have some aloofness when it comes to strangers. With their exotic elegance, it’s no wonder they’re so beloved.

2. Maltese

happy adult maltese running outdoor
Image Credit: Kimrawicz, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Height: 7 to 9 inches
Weight: 4 to 7 pounds

The Maltese, sometimes known as “Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta,” has been pampered since ancient times! These delightful tiny pups have a stunningly beautiful, sweeping coat. But they’re not just a pretty face. The Maltese are full of energy and are great companions for anyone looking for a loyal furry friend.

With their silky, straight, and all-white coat, Maltese weigh less than 7 pounds and have a compact body that moves gracefully and quickly. Their big, dark eyes and black gumdrop nose make them irresistible.

Maltese are low-shedding, long-lived, and happy to make new friends of all ages. They can sometimes be stubborn and willful, but they will respond well to reward-based training. So, if you are looking for a loving and loyal companion, the Maltese is the perfect breed for you!

3. Biewer Terrier

Biewer terrier dog standing on grass
Image Credit: Eve Photography, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 14 to 16 years
Height: 7 to 11 inches
Weight: 4 to 8 pounds

Do you love a dog that is charming, whimsical, and playful? Then you’ll like the Biewer Terrier! This elegant and longhaired toy terrier is tri-colored and adorable. One thing you’ll notice about the Biewer Terrier is their happy-go-lucky attitude. They’re always smiling and wagging their tails, and they love nothing more than to carry around their favorite toys. They’re also very loyal and friendly with strangers.

And here’s a bonus: the Biewer Terrier is a great alert system for your home. But they’re not a constant barker, so you won’t have to worry about unnecessary noise.

4. Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka is crouching and crowling
Image Credit: Hanicka1982, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 14 to 20 years
Height: 9 to 11 inches
Weight: 6 to 9 pounds

Are you familiar with the Russkaya Tsvetnaya Bolonka? This special dog breed is worth getting to know. Translating to “Russian Colored Lapdog,” these little pups were originally bred to be great house pets for apartment living.

Despite almost going extinct after the Cold War, the Bolonka has made a comeback and is now a cherished member of the Bichon family. They’re funny, clever beyond words, and intensely loyal to their families.

These spirited pups are easy-going and friendly, making them great with children. And with early training, they won’t be constant barkers. They’re also fairly independent for a toy breed and require early socialization with people. In addition, they get along well with other animals, making them the perfect addition to multi-pet houses. If you’re looking for an eager-to-please furry friend, the Russkaya Tsvetnaya Bolonka might be just what you need.

5. Yorkshire Terrier

yorkshire terrier dog standing on a wooden table
Image Credit: Mr. SUTTIPON YAKHAM, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 11 to 15 years
Height: 7 to 8 inches
Weight: 3 to 7 pounds

Underneath the charming, glossy, floor-length coat of a Yorkshire Terrier is the heart of a spirited, old-fashioned terrier. These little pups worked as rat catchers in mines and mills long before they became the pampered lapdogs of high-class women.

Their most striking feature is a floor-length, silky coat of rich golden tan and steel blue. They are brave, determined, spirited, and sometimes bossy, displaying all the characteristics of a true terrier. Often deemed the most beloved dog breed in many American cities, Yorkies embody a big-city attitude in a small but assertive package. They are long-living and hypoallergenic, and they make excellent little watchdogs. This genuine “personality breed” will offer years of joy, affection, and close companionship.

6. Pekingese

pekingese smiling
Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Height: 6 to 9 inches
Weight: up to 14 pounds

The Pekingese were created in ancient China as companions for the ruling class. These canines are small and stocky, weighing up to 14 pounds, and they’ve got a long coat that’s thickest around their neck and shoulders, giving them that famous “lion’s mane.” Their coats come in shades of red, from golden red to darker hues.

Pekes are charming little dogs that love to be around their favorite humans. They’re pretty independent, too, probably because they were bred to live in palaces. They make excellent watchdogs because they’re always alert and on the lookout for anything unusual. They’re also super loyal to their humans and will bond quickly with them. They’re not huge fans of rough play, so there might be better fits for little kids who like to get rowdy. But once you meet a Pekingese, you’ll fall in love with their subtle delights and undying loyalty.

7. Havanese

cream havanese dog in the forest
Image Credit: Dorottya Mathe, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 14 to 16 years
Height: 5 to 11.5 inches
Weight: 7 to 13 pounds

These cheerful little pups steal hearts all over America, especially among city dwellers. With their energetic personalities and pleasant nature, Havanese make the perfect companions for those living in urban areas.

One of the most distinctive features of the Havanese is their gorgeous, silky coat that comes in a variety of colors. Some owners even get creative and cord their coats like a Puli, while others opt for a shorter, low-maintenance cut. No matter how you style their hair, these pups will always be cute and charming.

Havanese are small but sturdy, making them adaptable to any living situation. They love being the center of attention and have a natural talent for performing tricks. With their clown-like instincts and quick wit, Havanese are sure to keep you entertained.

Not only are Havanese great companions, but they also make excellent watchdogs. They take their job seriously and will alert you if they sense any danger, but they won’t overdo it with the barking. These intelligent and trainable extroverts are perfect for families of any age, as they love to be around people of all ages.

8. Bolognese

Image Credit: islavicek, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Height: 10 to 12 inches
Weight: 6 to 10 pounds

The Bolognese is an adorable little furball. This small, white companion dog has a sturdy and compact body. They are not high-energy but intelligent and have a great sense of humor.

Originally from Italy, the Bolognese is a loyal and easygoing breed that loves to play and hang out with people. Their gorgeous, fluffy, pure-white coat makes them even more huggable. Although they may be a bit shy around strangers, they warm up quickly if appropriately introduced. Remember that these dogs tend to get anxious when left alone for long periods, so they might not be the best fit for someone who works long hours.

9. Japanese Chin

japanese chin in grass
Image Credit: Rudy Umans, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
Height: 10 to 12 years
Weight: 7 to 11 pounds

The Japanese Chin is a cute little companion with a silky, fluffy coat and a regal appearance. They’re often compared to cats because of their graceful and fastidious nature. They’re great lapdogs and tend to be pretty quiet.

Chin dogs are like little nobles in the world of Japanese breeds, perfect for indoor living and with a distinct Eastern look. They have big heads, short muzzles, and adorable, round, dark eyes that always look surprised. The mane of long hair around their necks and shoulders, the plumed tail that arches over their backs, and the “pants” on their hind legs give them a fancy, exotic appearance typical of royalty in Asia.

10. Bearded Collie

cute bearded collie
Image Credit: Melounix, Shutterstock
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Height: 20 to 22 inches
Weight: 44 to 55 pounds

This charismatic and energetic dog from Scotland is always up for a good time, no matter the weather. With a shaggy coat and a dreamy gaze, the Bearded Collie is a unique-looking breed that will turn everybody’s heads. But don’t be fooled by their good looks. They’re friendly and loving but can be a bit stubborn at times.

Despite their willful nature, well-socialized Beardies get along great with other animals and kids. They love to explore and enjoy an upbeat lifestyle, making them the perfect companion for active families who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. So, what are you waiting for? If you’re looking for a loyal, affectionate, and amusing sidekick to share your adventures with, the Bearded Collie might just be the perfect fit for you.

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Finding a suitable Shih Tzu look alike breed for your lifestyle and preferences requires careful consideration of several factors. If you prefer low-maintenance grooming, consider breeds with shorter hair or those that don’t shed as much. On the other hand, if you are okay with spending more time grooming your furry friend, breeds with longer hair could be a good fit for you.

Secondly, energy levels can vary significantly among breeds. Some breeds may be more active and require more exercise to stay healthy and happy, while others may be content with shorter walks. So, it’s essential to evaluate your lifestyle and activity level to find a dog that matches your needs.

Lastly, temperament is a crucial factor to consider when choosing a pet. While Shih Tzu look alike breeds can share some personality traits, each dog is an individual with their own unique personality. So, take your time, do your research, and soon you’ll have a new furry friend by your side!

Featured Image Credit: Sandra Huber, Shutterstock

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