Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso are two long coated miniature dog breeds which are usually confused with one another. Well, it is just understandable because when one looks at these dogs together, it is not easy to tell the difference.
All that is obvious is their long mane and fluffy faces. Their many physical similarities can be stemmed from their genetic ancestry. The Shih Tzu is actually a descendant of the Lhasa Apso. It is actually a Lhasa Apso with contributions from the Pekingese. Want to know how to differentiate these two established breeds? Here is your mini checklist.
The most obvious thing to check when faced with these two related canines is the size. Generally, Shih Tzu are smaller than the Lhasa Apso. The smaller of the two is most probably the Shih Tzu since they only grow to 8-11 inches based on the breed standards. The Lhasa Apso, however, reaches 10-11 inches from the ground to the shoulder and usually weighs heavier at 12-18 pounds. Shih Tzu are a bit lighter at 9-16 pounds.
Second thing to inspect is the coat. Both breeds normally have a wide range of colors and their shade is not a reliable trait to base on. Look at the back of the dog. If there is an obvious side parting of the coat and the hair is straight with black tips on muzzle and ears, it is a Lhasa Apso. If it doesn’t have the division line and the hair is wavier, it is the Shih Tzu.Shih Tzu are also higher maintenance than Lhasa’s because they are a double coated breed – with thicker hair and higher volume of coat.
Furthermore, examine the face of these dogs. One will have a longer muzzle and hairier ears– the Lhasa Apso. Shih Tzu faces are more flat and flower-looking and the hairs on their muzzles are projected upwards.
Lastly, get to know the dog. Shih Tzu are usually the friendlier ones compared to the more independent Lhasa Apso. Lhasa’s are not generally good with strangers. They make better guard dogs than Shih Tzu which just usually prefer to sit down, rest or play with people.