Shih Tzu vs Swedish Vallhund: Breeds Comparison

Trying to decide between the Shih Tzu and the Swedish Vallhund? Both of these dogs can be similar in some ways but are quite different in many others. Read on and find out which of these popular breeds is the perfect pup for your lifestyle!

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.

Let's get busy...

While Shih Tzu is a member of the Companion Group, Swedish Vallhund belongs to the group of Herding Dogs.

Despite these breeds aren't members of the same breed groups, they have some similarities and not only differences so keep reading to learn more.

Shih Tzu vs Swedish Vallhund Size Comparison

Swedish Vallhunds are larger, with a typical height of 11 to 13 inches and weight of 22 to 35 pounds, while the typical height of Shih Tzu is 9 to 10 inches and they usually weigh 9 to 16 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.

Shih Tzu Height Visualization Swedish Vallhund Height Visualization Average American Women Height Visualization Average American Men Height Visualization

Dog size comparison to a human. From left, average heights of Shih Tzu, Swedish Vallhund, American female, and American male.

Shih Tzu vs Swedish Vallhund 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 12 to 15 years, Swedish Vallhunds 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 Shih Tzu and Swedish Vallhund compare and hopefully end up with enough arguments to decide which one is better for you.

Breed Name Shih Tzu Shih Tzu Swedish Vallhund Swedish Vallhund
Traits
Breed GroupCompanion DogsHerding Dogs
Height9 to 10 inches11 to 13 inches
Weight9 to 16 pounds22 to 35 pounds
Life Span10 to 16 years12 to 15 years

Shih Tzu vs Swedish Vallhund 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, Shih Tzus and Swedish Vallhunds 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 Shih Tzus and Swedish Vallhunds 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.

Swedish Vallhund tolerates hot weather better than Shih Tzu.

During warm weather, be sure to provide shade and water and head out in the morning or late evening when it's cooler. 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.

Luckily, both breeds tolarate cold weather well, so while you stick to the rules mentioned above, they should be fine and probably enjoy the cold weather.

Our "How Cold Is Too Cold For Dogs?" article has more information on this topic.

AdaptabilityShih TzuSwedish Vallhund
Adapts Well To Apartment Living
Good For Novice Owners
Sensitivity Level
Tolerates Being Alone
Tolerates Cold Weather
Tolerates Hot Weather

Shih Tzu vs Swedish Vallhund 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 Shih Tzu and Swedish Vallhund. 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, there's no much difference between these breeds.

Both Shih Tzu and Swedish Vallhund 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.

Guarding behavior

Dog guarding behavior is welcome for some owners, while others prefer a dog that's friendly towards strangers.

Shih Tzus and Swedish Vallhunds are super friendly toward strangers, so don't expect them to be too protective unless they are properly trained.

All-Around FriendlinessShih TzuSwedish Vallhund
Affectionate With Family
Kid-Friendly
Dog Friendly
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.

Swedish Vallhund shed less than Shih Tzu do, but don't forget - preventing shedding is impossible, but regular brushing is necessary.

Recommended article: 30 Small Hypoallergenic Dogs That Don’t Shed.

Drooling potential?

Well, we have good news. These breeds have low drooling potential.

Health And Grooming NeedsShih TzuSwedish Vallhund
Amount Of Shedding
Drooling Potential
Easy To Groom
General Health
Potential For Weight Gain
Size

Shih Tzu vs Swedish Vallhund trainability

Each dog needs some kind of obedience training, but some of them are easier to train, while others are more stubborn.

Swedish Vallhunds 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.

TrainabilityShih TzuSwedish Vallhund
Easy To Train
Intelligence
Potential For Mouthiness
Prey Drive
Tendency To Bark Or Howl
Wanderlust Potential

Do Shih Tzu and Swedish Vallhund 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.

Shih Tzus have a low level of exercise needs, while Swedish Vallhunds require a high intensity of exercise.

Physical NeedsShih TzuSwedish Vallhund
Energy Level
Intensity
Exercise Needs
Potential For Playfulness

Shih Tzu or Swedish Vallhund: The bottom line

In this article, we tried to give you an idea of what you can expect from Shih Tzus and Swedish Vallhunds.

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.

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