Before getting a puppy, you should be sure that the breed you're doing to buy or rescue is a good fit for your lifestyle and home.
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Both Chihuahua and Shih Tzu are members of the Companion Group.
Although these breeds are members of the same breed group, they have some differences and not only similarities so keep reading to learn more.
Chihuahua vs Shih Tzu Size Comparison
Shih Tzus are larger, with a typical height of 9 to 10 inches and weight of 9 to 16 pounds, while the typical height of Chihuahua is 6 to 9 inches and they usually weigh 3 to 6 pounds.
We know that these numbers might be too abstract, so we made a tool to help you visualize these numbers.
The following chart compares the average breeds height with the average height of an American man and woman.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, the average height of a man is 69 inches, and the height of a woman is 63.5 inches.
Dog size comparison to a human. From left, average heights of Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, American female, and American male.
Chihuahua vs Shih Tzu lifespan
No doubt, the quality of care provided to the dog is one of the main factors when it comes to canines life longevity, however, there are also other factors, especially the dog's breed.
With a life expectancy of 10 to 18 years, Chihuahuas usually live longer than Shih Tzus.
Shih Tzus' lifespan is 10 to 16 years.
Read on to the following sections to better understand in detail how Chihuahua and Shih Tzu compare and hopefully end up with enough arguments to decide which one is better for you.
|Breed Name||Chihuahua||Shih Tzu|
|Breed Group||Companion Dogs||Companion Dogs|
|Height||6 to 9 inches||9 to 10 inches|
|Weight||3 to 6 pounds||9 to 16 pounds|
|Life Span||10 to 18 years||10 to 16 years|
Chihuahua vs Shih Tzu adaptability
When we say "dog adaptability", most people think about apartment living adaptability, so let's start with that.
All dogs are great — but not all dogs are great for or geared toward apartment living. A dog may be considered the worst dog breed for apartments for a few reasons including size, energy level, noise, smell, shedding...
Luckily, Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus are considered to be good apartment living dogs.
While most dogs can be left home alone for 6 to 8 hours, some will do better. Check the table below to see how Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus tolerate being left alone.
To learn more, read our list of dogs that can be left alone.
Hot weather tolerance
Depending on where you live, you should choose a dog that tolerates hot or cold weather well.
Speaking of Chihuahua and Shih Tzu, these breeds don't tolerate hot weather well, so you need to be very cautious, especially when it's really hot.
Be sure to provide shade and water and head out in the morning or late evening when it's cooler. During warm weather, Also, avoid pavements - if the ground is too hot to touch for your hand for a few seconds, it's too hot for paws.
Check our heatstroke article on prevention and symptoms to learn more.
What about cold weather?
Cold temperatures are not a problem for most dogs until they fall below 45° F, at which point some cold-averse dogs might begin to feel uncomfortable. When temperatures fall below 32° F, owners of small breed dogs, dogs with thin coats, and/or very young, old, or sick dogs should pay close attention to their pet’s well-being.
Once temperatures drop under 20° F, all owners need to be aware that their dogs could potentially develop cold-associated health problems like hypothermia and frostbite.
Shih Tzu tolerates cold weather better than Chihuahua.
Chihuahuas' fur is simply not designed for low temperatures, so you might consider getting them some kind of dog wear coat.
The best way to monitor dogs when it’s cold is to keep a close eye on their behavior. If you notice your dog shivering, acting anxious, whining, slowing down, searching out warm locations, or holding up one or more paws, it’s time to head inside.
Our "How Cold Is Too Cold For Dogs?" article has more information on this topic.
|Adapts Well To Apartment Living|
|Good For Novice Owners|
|Tolerates Being Alone|
|Tolerates Cold Weather|
|Tolerates Hot Weather|
Chihuahua vs Shih Tzu temperament
It's always hard to make a general statement about the whole breed's temperament. Each dog has a different temperament, and there are a lot of factors that affect its behavior.
Looking for a perfect family dog?
If you're looking for a companion dog, you won't go wrong with Chihuahua and Shih Tzu. Their outgoing and friendly personality makes them a great choice for families. Both are highly affectionate with family, they will immediately become a family member.
When it comes to behavior around children, Chihuahua simply tends to do better.
Both Chihuahua and Shih Tzu love children - they are usually gentle and patient with kids, but as we mentioned, temperaments can vary based on the individual dog.
We've created a list of the 15 best dogs for kids and family, so read it next if this is important for you.
Dog guarding behavior is welcome for some owners, while others prefer a dog that's friendly towards strangers.
Speaking of friendliness toward strangers, Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus are the complete opposite.
While Shih Tzus are super friendly toward strangers, Chihuahuas are naturally suspicious toward strangers, so you can expect they will act protective.
|All-Around Friendliness||Chihuahua||Shih Tzu|
|Affectionate With Family|
|Friendly Toward Strangers|
Health And Grooming Needs
The best way to optimize your pup’s health is to research reputable breeders, and then when you meet them ask to see the parents and their health certificates as described above and to see the conditions in which all the dogs are living.
Check the table below to see the general health rating for these two canines, and read full breed profile articles to read in-depth information on their health.
Also, some breeds are prone to obesity, which could cause other health conditions. Be sure to check that information as well, if the breed is prone to obesity, keep a close eye on labels and feed your dog according to the food labels.
For example, hip dysplasia is hereditary and is especially common in larger dogs. Factors such as excessive growth rate, types of exercise, and improper weight and nutrition can magnify this genetic predisposition.
What about shedding?
One of the bad parts of having a dog is definitely shedding. So be sure to take this into your consideration when choosing the right breed for you. Click here to learn how to minimize the shedding.
Shih Tzu shed less than Chihuahua do, but don't forget - preventing shedding is impossible, but regular brushing is necessary.
Recommended article: 30 Small Hypoallergenic Dogs That Don’t Shed.
Well, we have good news. These breeds have low drooling potential.
|Health And Grooming Needs||Chihuahua||Shih Tzu|
|Amount Of Shedding|
|Easy To Groom|
|Potential For Weight Gain|
Chihuahua vs Shih Tzu trainability
Each dog needs some kind of obedience training, but some of them are easier to train, while others are more stubborn.
Chihuahuas are usually easier to train than Shih Tzus.
If you choose one of these dogs, remember three pillars of dog training - Patience, persistence, and consistency play a huge role in successfully training your dog.
Finally, if you think you aren't capable of training your dog on your own, you might also consider getting professional help.
|Easy To Train|
|Potential For Mouthiness|
|Tendency To Bark Or Howl|
Do Chihuahua and Shih Tzu need a lot of physical activity?
To keep your dog healthy, calm, and happy, you have to provide it with enough physical activities. Not only your dog will be healthier and happier when it's active, but you'll also reduce or completely eliminate destructive behavior.
Some people don't think about this when selecting a breed, so we have dedicated a whole chapter to physical needs.
Both Chihuahua and Shih Tzu have a low exercise needs. It means they will probably require only light to moderate excercises to keep these breeds healthy and prevent them from becoming overweight and bored.
Keep in mind that most breeds will benefit from aerobic exercises - think of aerobic exercise as anything that makes your dog pant.
|Physical Needs||Chihuahua||Shih Tzu|
|Potential For Playfulness|
Chihuahua or Shih Tzu: The bottom line
In this article, we tried to give you an idea of what you can expect from Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus.
To further explore their personality, overall health, temperament, and much more, read their full breed profile.
Or, use the tool below to read the next comparison.