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Pomeranian vs Shih Tzu: Differences Explained (With Pictures)

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Pomeranian vs Shih Tzu

Deciding that you want a small dog is one thing, choosing which small dog to bring home is another. The Pomeranian and the Shih Tzu are two of the most popular small breeds of dog that make excellent companions. These two dogs may have small bodies, but they have the personality and confidence of a dog three or even four times their size! They are loving, affectionate, and absolutely crave their family’s attention, so it is unlikely that you will ever be bored with these furballs around.

While the Pomeranian and Shih tzu have many similarities, they do have their differences in personality and grooming needs. Thinking about which dog is right for you? Read on as we compare these two adorable furballs to find out!

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Visual Differences

Pomeranian vs Shih Tzu side by side
Image Credit: (L) skorchanov, Pixabay | (R) Jumpstory

At a Glance

  • Average height (adult): 6–8 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 3–7 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–16 years
  • Exercise: Less than 30 minutes a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate to high
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Intelligent, stubborn, willing to please
Shih Tzu
  • Average height (adult): 10 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 9–16 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–18 years
  • Exercise: Up to one hour a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate to high
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Intelligent, stubborn, manipulative

Pomeranian Overview

Its puffy coat, larger than life attitude, and unmistakable smile all make the Pomeranian a tiny dog with the demeanor of a commanding giant. The Pomeranian is a miniaturized descendant of the Spitz-type sled dogs of the Arctic. Also known as Poms for short, Pomeranians got their name from Pomerania, Germany in the 1800s. Through the years, their large and brawny figures were bred down to the tiny furball breed that we know and love today.

The Pom is known for their elegant and regal appearance, and were favorites among European royalty. Queen Victoria solidified the Pomeranian’s popularity when she saw these dogs during a visit in Florence, Italy, which she then brought home to Britain. Queen Victoria became a serious Pomeranian breeder and is said to be responsible for shrinking down the Pom to their current stature. In 1891, Queen Victoria entered six of her bred Poms into the Crufts Dog Show and won first place!

When Queen Victoria lay dying in 1901, it was said that her favorite Pomeranian, named Turi, stayed at the foot of her bed. Despite her passing, the Pomeranians’ place in the dog world was solidified and the breed remains a popular companion choice to this day. The Pomeranian is truly a dog fit for a queen!

Red pomeranian sitting in the dirt
Image Credit: TATYANA ZAGORNYAK, Shutterstock


The Pomeranian has a characteristic puffy look. The Pom has a fluffy double coat of medium length, and a foxy face with high, standing ears. They have a thick coat giving them their body a square shape extending to their tail, and a thick round ruff around their neck. They have a small round face with a long muzzle to go along with their unmistakable smile!

Personality and Temperament

If there’s one thing that is certain about a Pomeranian’s personality, it’s that they themselves don’t think they’re small! They are friendly, affectionate, and full of energy. They are playful and love being the center of attention. Pomeranians are also sociable dogs that get along with people and other pets.

Pomeranians are famous for their yappy barks. They are loud and may have tendencies for excessive barking. Learning to be quiet should be part of their training at a young age to reduce their natural feisty behavior later on in life.


As small dogs, Pomeranians don’t need much exercise to stay fit. They are energetic and intelligent dogs, so exercise is still required to keep them properly stimulated. Pomeranians only need up to 30 minutes of exercise a day, which may include walks or indoor play to burn their energy.

white pomeranian dog running in a park
Image Credit: Tam and Trace Photography, Shutterstock

Grooming Needs

Pomeranians have a distinguished double coat which requires maintenance to keep healthy. Pomeranians are also known shedders, so brushing is needed once or twice a week to keep their coat nice and puffy and reduce shedding. As active dogs, it is important to keep their nails properly trimmed to avoid pain and discomfort.

Professional grooming is recommended every one to two months to keep their coat, ears, nails, and teeth healthy.


Pomeranians can be feisty and stubborn, which can pose challenges when training. Early training and socialization is required for the best results. Training that Poms typically require includes housebreaking, leash training, and learning how to be quiet on command to reduce their barking. When training a Pom, it is important to immediately correct any unwanted behavior to ensure it doesn’t carry over into habit.

Poms are intelligent dogs and can pick up on a variety of skills quickly if given the proper motivation. So be prepared to give a lot of rewards and praise when training your dog.

Pomeranian giving a treat
Image Credit: ElenaYakimova, Shutterstock

Suitable for:

Pomeranians make great family dogs and are sociable to both people and other pets. They are suitable for rural or city settings, but keep in mind that they may be loud, so their barking tendencies should be considered especially if you’re living in an apartment complex.

Although playful and friendly, they may not be suitable for small children because of their size, which can easily put them at risk of injury.

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Shih Tzu Overview

Just like the Pomeranian, the Shih Tzu is also a dog favored by royalty. The Shih Tzu, or “Lion Dog”, lived as lap dogs for the Chinese Emperors and their families. They were pampered and treated like royalty and were bred by imperial breeders in the palace, remaining behind the walls and unknown to the public.

The Shih Tzu is of Tibetan origin, and they were given as gifts to the Chinese emperors in the 7th century. They are said to be crosses of the Lhasa Apso and the Pekingese—two popular Sino-Tibetan breeds. Chinese emperors favored the Shih Tzu so much that their breeders were given gifts and rewards when they produced the most beautiful and lovable Shih Tzus.

In the 1930s, the breed eventually made its way to England, where they were further bred to become the Shih Tzu we know today. Their long hair, short snout, and charming personality easily made them a favorite choice for companion dogs.

Today, the Shih Tzu still carries themselves as if they never left the Chinese Emperor’s palace. But whether you’re royalty, a celebrity, or just a loving dog parent, the lovable Shih Tzu will still surely treat you as if you were royalty!

Blue_Gray Shih Tzu
Image Credit: Mike Workman, Shutterstock


The Shih Tzu has a long, sturdy body, a rounded head, and big prominent eyes. Shih Tzus have a short muzzle with an underbite, giving them a very expressive facial appearance.

Shih Tzus have long straight hair that can extend all the way to the ground if grown out. They have a double coat that can come in any color and can have a beautiful, silky appearance when properly groomed.

Personality and Temperament

Shih Tzus are known for their happy and cheerful temperament. They are energetic, loving, and extremely sociable. Shih Tzus can easily get along with people and other pets. Compared to Pomeranians, Shih Tzus are generally calmer, but can still indulge in nuisance barking from time to time.

Shih Tzus hate being alone and crave the company of their families, so be prepared to give your Shih Tzu lots of attention!


Shih Tzus are energetic and weigh a little more than Pomeranians, so moderate exercise of up to one hour daily is recommended. Shih Tzus are also highly intelligent, which means they require ample stimulation through exercise and play daily.

While Shih Tzus have high levels of energy and can manage with walks or indoor play, it is important to note that Shih Tzus are brachycephalic. Meaning their short snouts affect their ability to breath, which can lead to exhaustion and overheating if overexerted. To prevent this, it is best to stick to short walks and moderate exercise.

Shih Tzu running
Image Credit: Radosław Zmudziński, Pixabay

Grooming Needs

Shih Tzus can have much longer hair if left to grow. Whether short or long, the Shih Tzu’s double coat requires brushing two to three times a week to keep it healthy and silky. Depending on the weather, Shih Tzus’ coats need to be properly cut to prevent overheating in warmer temperatures, or kept long in colder temperatures.

Shih Tzus’ coats are on the hypoallergenic side of the spectrum, with minimal shedding and dander. This makes the Shih Tzu an excellent choice for people sensitive to allergies.


Shih Tzus are intelligent dogs and will find ways to manipulate their trainers with their charm. Shih Tzus are responsive to positive reinforcement and gentle correction. For best results, like any dog, early socialization and training is recommended to ensure that they grow up to be well-behaved, house broken family dogs as they get older.

Schweenie Dog
Image Credit: carlosleucipo, Pixabay

Suitable for:

Shih Tzus are suitable for families looking for playful and affectionate lap dogs with older children and other pets. They are also suitable for apartment living, as well as for individuals with allergies due to their hypoallergenic coat.

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Which Breed Is Right for You?

The Pomeranian and Shih Tzu are two of the most popular and loved dogs on the smaller side of the breed scale. The Pomeranian is a better choice for owners who can keep up with their high energy levels and loud personality—literally and figuratively!

The Shih Tzu is energetic, but calmer compared to the Pom. They are also hypoallergenic and suitable for owners with allergy sensitivities. Whether you’re looking for the feisty Pomeranian with a strong personality, or the calmer and regal Shih Tzu, both dogs make excellent family dogs that show incredible loyalty, love, and affection!

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: (L) Ivanova N, Shutterstock | (R) Nynke van Holten, Shutterstock

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