Havanese vs. Shih Tzu (All You Need to Know)

Both the Havanese and Shih Tzu are cute and adorable lapdogs. Since both pets overload with cuteness, it makes deciding which to get a challenging thing. Moreover, likely, you’ll only want to pick one. If you ever felt torn between these two, don’t worry. We’ll help you decide which one suits your preference.

In this article, we’ll compare both dog breeds in all aspects you’d possibly want and need to know. This way, you can narrow down and see which pet suits your preference better.

Without further ado, let’s get into it! 

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu General Information

HavaneseShih Tzu
Breed TypePurebredPurebred
Lifespan12-15 Years10-15 Years
Weight8-11 Inches9-10 Inches
Height7-13 Pounds9-16 Pounds
FriendlinessVery GoodVery Good
Living EnvironmentApartment/IndoorApartment/Indoor
BarksBelow AverageBelow Average
Required ExerciseMediumLow
AggressionBelow AverageBelow Average

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Now, let’s get into it more.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu Lifespan

Both the Havanese and Shih Tzu are small and hardy dogs that live for quite a long time. Both pets have an average lifespan of 11-16 years. 

Of course, like all other pets, many factors affect their lifespan. They need constant care and protection. Moreover, you’ll need to aid them whenever they are sick.

As long as you give your pet proper care and attention, you’ll have an excellent and adorable companion for years.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu Appearance and Size

Both dog breeds also share many similar traits when it comes to appearance and size. 

Kennel Clubs recognize both pets as lap dogs. Thus, they are both small in size. 

There is a slight difference in height since the Havanese may be a bit taller. However, Shih Tzus are a bit heavier and shorter.

For this reason, it depends on your size preference. This difference is so small that it seems not even noticeable at a glance.

However, if you’re into details, you might as well consider this aspect into account.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu Diet

Like all other breeds, both the Havanese and Shih Tzu need a balanced and nutritious diet. They’ll need both protein, carbohydrates, and a balance of fruits and vegetables.

The first thing you’ll need is to get high-quality dry food for either of these two. Other foods should come only as a second option.

As always, it would be best to consult a vet and ask for recommendations on what food to offer. This way, you can ensure you’re giving your pet the proper nutrition it needs.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu Grooming

Both the Havanese and Shih Tzu need maximum grooming. Their coats need regular maintenance. Thus, you should prepare at least 30 minutes a day to brush them.

It’s essential to be constant when it comes to grooming. Neglecting such a duty can lead to a disastrous mess. Moreover, it may cause discomfort to your pet.

Aside from brushing, your pet also needs some nail trimming, teeth brushing, and eye cleaning. To ensure your pet is comfortable, always keep it properly groomed and clean.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu Shedding

Both breeds are non-shedding dogs. For this reason, you don’t have to worry about lose coats in your furniture.

Still, it doesn’t mean they don’t need constant grooming. While both dogs don’t shed, their coats continue to grow. If left unchecked, these hairs may cause mats and tangles. Thus, they need regular trim and brush.

The Havanese may shed a little bit. However, Shih Tzus have coats that grow like human hair. It depends on your preference which one would suit you better.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu Temperament

Both dogs are friendly and perfect companion dogs enjoying everyone’s company. 

Still, the Havanese may find it easier to socialize since they have quite a friendly temperament. 

Both pets are playful and enjoy playing with children. While you can entrust your kids to them, your kids may hurt them by accident.

Both lapdogs are fragile and delicate. Thus, you’ll need someone to watch over them when they are playing with your kids.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu Intelligence

These two dogs are both intelligent. In the past, the Havanese was famous for being circus dogs, as they enjoy learning and showing off.

Both Shih Tzus and Havanese would do well with interactive toys. Such items would help their minds get stimulated. It will also aid them in improving their intelligence.

Like all other breeds, the level of intelligence varies from every dog. Thus, they need their intelligence tested if you wish to know how your pet does in this aspect.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu Environment and Family

Both the Havanese breeds and Shih Tzus share similar preferences when it comes to the living environment. 

Since they are both lap dogs, they prefer to stay indoors, and they aren’t the type to run in the yard. For this reason, they are ideal pets if you live in an apartment or the city. Moreover, they don’t need large yards to play. A small room would be plenty enough for both dogs.

The Havanese prefers the company of families and friends. They are at their most affectionate state with their owners. Thus, they would always love to play and spend time with you.

The same attitude gets expressed by Shih Tzus. However, unlike the Havanese, they can be a bit stubborn and jealous. Thus, they may show a bit of aggressiveness.

Still, they remain the cute and adorable lap dogs as long as they receive the attention and love they need.

Both pets can also play well with kids and adults. However, they are too delicate pets. While kids are safe with them, they aren’t safe with kids. 

Thus, always make sure that your pet and kid have someone watching them as they play together.

havanese and shih tzu compared

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu Training

Both the Havanese and Shih Tzu breeds can do well when it comes to training. 

Since they are intelligent little dogs, they can learn the basic commands you can give. Of course, this only applies when they receive consistent and patient training.

As I said, Shih Tzus can be a bit stubborn. Thus, the Havanese remains to be easier to train. 

When training either of these two dogs, it would be best to start at an early age. It would also take a long time to potty train both pets. 

In general, you may need a few weeks or more to train your pet around the house thoroughly.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu Exercise

These two dogs are quite active. Thus, they need daily walks to stay in their best physical health. 

Moreover, both the Havanese and Shih Tzu need playtime to stimulate their bodies and minds and maintain high and used intelligence.

Since both dogs are small, they can get tired quickly after long walks. If your pet shows signs of tiredness and unwillingness to walk anymore, it would be best to carry it home.

Getting a carrying tool for your pet can come in handy during such situations.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu Barking

The Havanese breed is famous for being quiet, which means they don’t bark that much. On the other hand, Shih Tzus may bark due to some things.

Since they are lap dogs, they may bark out to ask for attention. Being alone for a while may cause them to bark as if calling out to you.

For this reason, the only way to keep them quiet is to give them the attention they need. If you need to do something, you can keep them occupied by giving them a toy.

Some experts advise teaching your dog the barking command. Once it learns, it would be easier to teach them to stop when they do.

Since both pets are quiet dogs, they are suitable pets if you live in an apartment or peaceful environment.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu Health

Both breeds are healthy dogs. Still, like the others, they come as prone to particular health complications.

In simple terms, some diseases and complications get associated with each breed. Thus, it would be best to prepare and prevent such from happening.

For instance, both pets are prone to eye problems. In most cases, the issue comes from the unruly facial hair getting into their eyes.

To prevent such, always keep their facial hair trimmed and away from the eyes.

Besides eye problems, Shih Tzus is prone to heart conditions, blood disorders, kidney problems, etc.

On the other hand, the Havanese are prone to issues like lack of thyroid hormone, liver shunt, and even kneecap dislocation.

For this reason, it would be best always to be observant and check if your pet is alright.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu Price

The average price for a Shih Tzu puppy starts at about $500, while a Havanese dog can be $850. 

The price difference is a bit lower. Since Shih Tzus are more popular, they are more in demand than the Havanese.

Moreover, since Shih Tzus are more comfortable to acquire, they may cost cheaper. Shih Tzus are also larger, and they are easier to breed due to such a factor.

If you’re going for a less pricey option, a Shih Tzu is ideal for you.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu FAQ

Here are some of the frequently asked questions regarding Shih Tzus and Havanese. Take a look and see if you can find something handy and useful.

What is a Shih Tzu mixed with Havanese?

A Shih Tzu mixed with a Havanese is a Havashu. It’s the term used for dogs that came from crossbreeding these two lapdogs.

A Havashu dog inherits many features from both parents. Thus, these puppies are a combination of two of the most famous lap dogs.

If you like both breeds, a Havashu stands as an excellent option for you to take home.

These dogs are famous for being friendly and affectionate. They inherited many of the best qualities of both parents.

Thus, you can’t go wrong with choosing this crossbreed.

Which is cuter – Havanese or Shih Tzu?

The question of which dog is cuter and adorable depends on the preference of the owner. Of course, both pets are cute and adorable lapdogs. Still, some people prefer one over the other.

Both dogs have cute and hairy faces. Further, they are also tiny and fall nothing short of toy dogs. Thus, when it comes to cuteness, you can’t go wrong with either of these two.

How to tell a Shih Tzu from a Havanese?

The best way to tell the difference between these two is through their size.

A Havanese may be a bit taller than Shih Tzu. It’s unnoticeable at a single glance since it’s only half an inch.

Another thing is through their weight. Shih Tzus tend to be a bit heavier than the Havanese for a few pounds.

Havanese vs. Shih Tzu – What breed is right for you?

Choosing between a Shih Tzu and a Havanese can be a difficult decision. Since both breeds have their unique and adorable qualities, it is indeed something you need to think through.

Of course, choosing the breed depends on your preference. Thus, my advice is to list down your preferences before comparing both species. This way, you’ll narrow down the choices.

Here are some pros and cons of taking both pets.



  • Sturdier than other toy dogs
  • Deals well with all people
  • Doesn’t need much exercise


  • Prone to anxiety issues
  • Barks quite loud
  • Can be timid and shy

Shih Tzu


  • Little to no shedding
  • Peaceful with other pets
  • Excellent companions and perfect indoors


  • Challenging to housetrain
  • Needs extensive grooming
  • Prone to some health issues

The Havanese are best for pet owners who don’t mind a lively companion that’s a bit timid with strangers. Moreover, they are lighter, making them ideal lapdogs for people who don’t want a heavy pet.

Shih Tzus are ideal for pet lovers who don’t want too much noise and prefer a quiet pet. Further, Shih Tzus can be a bit heavier than the Havanese. Thus, it’s perfect for those who want a bigger pet. Still, there are Shih Tzu types with small sizes so that you can go for such puppies nonetheless.

If you’re still torn between the two breeds, going for a mix of both is your best option. A Havashu puppy shares many features from both species. Thus, taking home such would be like taking both dogs in a single body.

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