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10 Dogs That Are Similar to Shih Tzus (With Pictures)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

shih tzu

The Shih Tzu is an adorable and fluffy dog, known for its happy, affectionate, and playful nature. The Shih Tzu (which translates to “lion dog”) originated in the palace of the Chinese emperor and was bred to be a lapdog. These tiny, furry dogs are amazing family pets that get along with other dogs and children and love to cuddle. They do very well in either a house or an apartment. They come in a multitude of colors, but their long, silky coat of fur requires extensive grooming.

If you’re looking for a new dog or puppy to add to your family and admire the looks and personality of the Shih Tzu, why not consider dogs with similar traits? This list of 10 dogs shares either a resemblance or specific personality traits to the Shih Tzu. The first 5 dogs look more like the Shih Tzu, but might not have the same behavioral characteristics. The last 5 dogs look nothing like the Shih Tzu, but have similar temperaments (these dogs are all trainable and are great family dogs that do very well with children).

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The 10 Dog Breeds Similar to Shih Tzus

1. Lhasa Apso

lhasa apso
Image Credit: kshitijprakash, Pixabay

The first dog on our list has to be the Lhasa Apso. It takes a discerning eye to tell the difference between the Lhasa Apso and the Shih Tzu. Both breeds have ancient Tibetan heritage, long silky coats, and are small dogs. The Lhasa Apso has a slightly longer nose, and their fur isn’t quite as soft as the Shih Tzu. They are also more energetic compared to the Shih Tzu, who would rather hang out on your lap.

The Lhasa Apso is intelligent and stubborn, which makes training challenging and does better with older children. They are reserved around strangers and need supervision with other dogs but can be comical and affectionate with their family.

2. Maltese

Maltese on beach
Image Credit: suju, Pixabay

The Maltese dog, like the Shih Tzu, is in the Toy Group and is known for its long, silky coat of fur. The primary difference concerning their appearance is that they are white, whereas the Shih Tzu can be a wide variety of colors. Like the Shih Tzu, the Maltese are happy, playful dogs who love spending time with their humans.

The Maltese need to be supervised with other dogs and children but are very intelligent and, therefore, easy to train. They are also known to be gutsy, gentle, playful, and affectionate dogs.

3. Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka dog_Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH_shutterstock
Image Credit: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH, Shutterstock

The Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka (or Russkaya Tsevetnaya Bolonka, which means Russian Colored Lapdog) is a tiny, sweet dog with similar looks and temperament to the Shih Tzu. The Bolonka is a rare breed and belongs to the Bichon family. It sports a long coat that can be straight or wavy and can be black, brown, gray, or red. They should be brushed several times a week.

The Bolonka is excellent with other dogs and children and needs regular exercise. They are trainable, albeit with a streak of independence, which can always make training a little more of a challenge. They are lapdogs that are friendly, clever, sweet, and loving without any aggressive traits.

4. Biewer Terrier

Biewer Terrier
Image Credit: Pxhere

The Biewer Terrier (pronounced ‘Beaver’) is a long-haired dog with black, tan, and white tri-colored markings on its coat. They fall under the Miscellaneous Class Group but are about the same size as the Shih Tzu.

The Biewer is also a loving, loyal, smart dog that makes lovely family pets. They get along very well with other animals as well as children of all ages. Biewer Terriers are calm dogs that require regular exercise and grooming two or three times a week.

5. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier standing on the pavement
Image Credit: Josep Monter Martinez, Pixabay

The Yorkshire Terrier is the 10th most popular dog in North America. The Yorkie belongs in the Toy Group and, like the Shih Tzu, has a long, silky coat. Their coat is closer in texture to human hair and is either a black and gold or black and tan color.

The Yorkie is feisty in nature and needs supervision around children and other dogs. They need frequent and usually professional grooming, and regular exercise (two short walks a day will be sufficient). They are affectionate, bossy, and energetic companions.

The 5 Dogs with Similar Personalities to the Shih Tzu

6. Bichon Frise

bichon frise
Image Credit: saviera, Pixabay

The Bichon Frise is a member of the Non–Sporting Group, but is close to the size and weight of the Shih Tzu. They have a white coat that is curly and hypoallergenic that requires daily brushing and possibly professional grooming on occasion.

The Bichon is easy to train, but might be more of a challenge around housebreaking. They get along well with dogs and children of all ages and will need regular exercise. The Bichon Frise is intelligent, playful, and loving.

7. American Eskimo Dog

american eskimo
Image Credit: carpenter844, Pixabay

Yet another all-white dog for this Shih Tzu list. The American Eskimo Dog, like the Bichon Frise, is in the Non–Sporting Group but is also the size and weight of a toy breed. They are easy to train due to their intelligence and eagerness to please nature and are excellent with children but need some supervision with other dogs.

Eskies require weekly brushing (they tend to be shedders) and are highly energetic and require a fair amount of exercise and mental stimulation. They are friendly, intelligent, and loving dogs that are quite social and need to spend a lot of time with their family.

8. Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog on grass
Image Credit: JackieLou DL, Pixabay

The Shetland Sheepdog resembles a miniature Collie and belongs to the Herding Group. They are a little bigger than the Shih Tzu and have a long coat of fur with a dense undercoat, which requires brushing several times a week.

Shelties are fantastic family dogs that are easy to train and get along with other dogs and children of all ages. They are energetic, active dogs that need regular exercise and are playful, loyal, and affectionate.

9. West Highland White Terrier

west highland white terrier standing on a rock formation
Image Credit: Morten Hjerpsted, Pixabay

The West Highland White Terrier is in the Terrier Group, but could just as easily be in the Toy Group due to their size. Westies are similar in size and coat color to the Maltese and the Eskie but have a shorter coat of fur that requires daily brushing.

They are wonderful pets for children but do require some supervision with other dogs. They are playful, intelligent, and confident dogs that need regular exercise.

10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel standing on a pathway
Image Credit: ErikaWittlieb, Pixabay

While the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel doesn’t resemble the Shih Tzu, they are in the Toy Group and share similar personalities. They are calm, affectionate, gentle dogs that get along very well with children and other dogs.

Unlike the Shih Tzu, the Cavalier doesn’t require as much grooming since their coat, while silky, is medium in length and only needs brushing once a week. The Cavalier needs a moderate amount of exercise and is very easy to train thanks to its intelligence and eager-to-please attitude.

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Conclusion: Shih Tzu Similar Breeds

While some dogs may resemble the Shih Tzu and others might behave or have a similar temperament, the Shih Tzu is a unique dog that would be an amazing part of the family. In fact, any of the dogs that look like Shih Tzus on this list would be great family pets.

Whether you are looking for a dog that has the looks of the Shih Tzu because you love its long, silky fur or are looking for the combination of traits that make up its personality, any of the dogs on this list could be a tremendous addition to your household.

Featured Image Credit: Steshka Willems, Pexels

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