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Shih Tzu vs. Pomeranian: Which One Is Right for You? (With Pictures)

Cheryl Regan

By Cheryl Regan

Shih Tzu vs Pomeranian

Shih Tzus and Pomeranians are two of the most popular toy dog breeds around, and with how adorable they are, it can be difficult to choose one over the other.

As descendants of arctic sled dogs, Pomeranians are fierce yet tiny, with a majestically fluffy body perched on short legs—weighing no more than seven pounds! 

Shih Tzus, on the other hand, are gentle and affectionate, wanting nothing more than to be close to their human. 

In this article, we’ll cover the physical differences between these popular toy dog breeds, and discuss their personalities—so you can figure out which one suits you best.

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Visual Differences

Shih Tzu vs Pomeranian side by side
Image Credit: Jumpstory

At a Glance

Shih Tzu
  • Average height (adult): 9–10.5 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 9–16 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–18 years
  • Exercise: 40–60 minutes per day
  • Grooming needs: High maintenance
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: Eager to please, sometimes stubborn
  • Average height (adult): 6–7 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 3–7 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–16 years
  • Exercise: 30 minutes per day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Intelligent, sometimes stubborn

Divider 8Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are happy little companion dogs, with beautiful, long flowing coats and tiny, stocky bodies. From noble origins as companions to the monks of Tibet, to gracing the imperial palaces of China before finally making their way to the west in the 1930s, these “little lions” make a big impact on most people who have the pleasure of meeting one.

white and brown Shih tzu standing on the grass
Image Credit: Radosław Zmudziński, Pixabay


If you’re looking for a good-natured lap dog, you may have found it in the Shih Tzu. This breed is known for contently following their humans from room to room and all over the house, wagging their tails and looking up at their parents in adoration. The moment they get the opportunity, they’ll curl up on your lap, or right next to you.

Shih Tzus will happily play with kids, and—providing they’ve been socialized as puppies—they get along with other pets without complaint.


Although Shih Tzus can sometimes be stubborn when it comes to training, they’re intelligent dogs who love to please their owners. With persistence, patience, and positive reinforcement, a Shih Tzu can be trained to follow various commands.

House training can sometimes be a challenge for Shih Tzus, but that’s less to do with obedience, and more to do with the fact that they have tiny bladders and can get a little anxious. With enough time and training, Shih Tzus will learn.

brindle shih tzu dog outdoors
Image Credit: Murat Yelkenli, Shutterstock


Shih Tzus are known for their beautiful double-coated fur that can be styled in many creative ways. But even if you keep their fur trimmed, you’ll still need to brush them regularly. For Shih Tzus with long fur, you’ll probably need to brush them every day, or once every two days. Shih Tzus should be bathed at least once every three weeks.

When it comes to exercise, Shih Tzus only need around 40 minutes to an hour of exercise, split over two sessions each day. These dogs don’t handle heat too well, though, so make sure you provide them with plenty of water, keep them in the shade, and watch out for signs of heatstroke.

Suitable for:

Shih Tzus are house dogs that don’t need a lot of space. If you live in an apartment or a small house, a Shih Tzu will fit in without taking up too much space. As companion dogs, they like to be near their humans all the time, but most Shih Tzus can handle being left on their own for a few hours.

Shih Tzus make great pets for children, and older children can even help to train them.

If you’re looking for an active companion to take with you on long walks, a Shih Tzu probably isn’t the right pet for you. Similarly, Shih Tzus need regular grooming, so you should be prepared to provide this for them.

two children walking their shih tzu puppies on leashes
Image Credit: Magicovice516, Shutterstock

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Pomeranians, or Poms, as they are affectionately known by their human companions, are tiny dogs with large personalities. The vulpine-faced Poms are miniaturized versions of Spitz-type arctic sled dogs, bred as companion dogs. They have a thick, luxurious double coat that comes in a variety of coat colors, but the most popular are light, bright, or dark orange.

pomeranian dog lying on grass
Image Credit: Nick Stafford, Pixabay


Despite their toy-like size, Poms are intelligent and curious dogs that demand attention. They are playful, energetic, and very loving towards their humans.

Poms are a vocal breed, but they can be trained to bark less using a “quiet” command. In some ways, these dogs can mimic their environment—a Pom that grows up in a calm, quiet environment, will probably behave in a calm, quiet way.

Although Poms are fine with older children, they’re not a good choice for younger children. Poms are alert and on the lookout for trouble, and sudden movements or noises may cause them to react. However, if a child is old enough to know how to play with a Pom in a quiet and gentle way, they’re sure to form a life-long bond.


Pomeranians are highly intelligent and, therefore, very trainable. They love to please their humans and are often enthusiastic about learning new tricks.

With a little persistence and some tasty treats, you can teach your Pom to “sit,” “stay,” “down,” “quiet,” and “come.”

As with all smaller breeds, Poms have a smaller bladder, which can make them more of a challenge to house train. As long as you’re taking them out regularly, they should quickly understand what they’re supposed to do.

Pomeranian standing on grass
Image Credit: Nick Stafford, Pixabay


All that fluffy fur needs taking care of! Poms require regular brushing—at least once every two to three days, and bathing at least once every three weeks. Not doing this can result in their beautiful fur becoming matted and tangled.

Poms are tiny, so when it comes to exercise, 30 minutes each day is enough. The exercise should be split over two sessions, so an easy 15-minute stroll in the morning and evening should be enough. Excessive exercise can be harmful to a Pom’s joints.

Suitable for:

Pomeranians can make a joyful companion for pretty much anyone, though they may be happier in a quiet, calm environment. These little dogs are happy to play with kids, as long as the kids play in a gentle and quiet way.

They would be suitable for someone willing to invest time into training them, playing with them, and regularly grooming them.

owner cuddling and hugging her pet pomeranian dog
Image Credit: Alina Kruk, Shutterstock

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Both Shih Tzus and Pomeranians would be happy in an apartment, as well as in a large house. If you have a garden, make sure it is secured as both dogs are small enough to slip through gaps. For first-time dog owners, both breeds would make excellent first dogs.

If you have children in your house, you’re probably better off going with a Shih Tzu. But either way, the important thing is to teach your children to approach your new dog quietly, and gently.

Whichever breed you go for in the end, either a Shih Tzu or a Pomeranian would make a great new companion.

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

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