What a terrible dilemma it is having to choose between a Yorkshire Terrier or a Shih Tzu; it’s practically an impossible choice. These little guys are two of the cutest animals on four legs. We’re going to put these two dogs paw to paw to give you a comparison of both breeds in complete detail.
What I’m not going to do is talk about which is the best breed. That’s total nonsense; there is no best breed, both the Shih Tzu and Yorkie are fantastic little dogs, so there’s no winner or loser in this comparison; we’re just comparing notes.
We are discussing the Yorkie Vs. Shih Tzu, so if you’re reading this article, you must have narrowed down all the possible dog breed choices for your family and zeroed in on either the Yorkie or Shih Tzu.
Things To Consider Before Getting A Dog
Before you adopt any dog, you need to research the breeds you’re thinking about. Because you are reading this article about the Yorkie and Shih Tzu, you have chosen to go with a small toy breed or companion dog. We will help you choose the one you feel is more suitable to your lifestyle and how the dog you choose will fit into your life.
Both the Shih Tzu and Yorkie are, as we’ve mentioned, in the AKC (American Kennel Club) Toy category. However, they might both be tiny dogs, but there are significant differences in their appearance, grooming, and temperament. All of this and more we are going to talk about in this article Yorkie Vs. Shih Tzu.
Quick Comparison: Yorkie Vs. Shih Tzu
Yorkshire Terriers and Shih Tzus are both loving and affectionate companion dogs. They are both incredibly popular both in the US and worldwide. The Yorkie is number 10 out of 197 popular breeds in the USA, and the Shih Tzu is number 20.
Over the years, my family has been pet parents to both Yorkies and Shih Tzus, so I have experience living not precisely with but close enough to know both breeds well.
As mentioned, these are hugely popular dogs, so they are relatively easy to adopt. That can be a puppy from a breeder or breed-specific rescues if you feel more inclined to rescue one than purchase a puppy.
Yorkie And Shih Tzu History
I can’t say for sure how many new dog owners have actively investigated the history of the dog they have just or are about to adopt, but I firmly believe it’s essential to do so.
It’s great fun to know everything about the breed, where the dog originated, why people, possibly centuries ago, created this particular dog; it also tells you a massive amount about what the dog’s personality and temperament might become.
Part of this article will try to fill in some details of both these dogs’ history for you.
Shih Tzu History
Did you know that the Shih Tzu you are considering adopting has a history with Chinese Royalty? It’s thought that the original Shih Tzu was bred by Tibetan monks who gave the tiny dogs to Chinese emperors. The Shih Tzu’s name in Chinese means Lion Dog, and because in their religion, Buddha came to earth on the back of a lion, the Shih Tzu became a revered pet.
The Shih Tzu became the property of the Chinese royal court during the Ming and Manchu Dynasties, and the dog was never allowed to venture outside the palaces where they were kept; in fact, no commoner was ever allowed to own a Shih Tzu.
During the reign of Empress Tzu Hsi, she was gifted a pair of Shih Tzus from the Dalai Lama for breeding, and this was the beginning of her pure line of these tiny dogs.
The Chinese gave the dogs as gifts to English and Dutch traders to take back home, and by the late 1930s, the dogs found a new home in the USA. The AKC set the breed standard in 1938, and the Shih Tzu has never looked back.
While the Yorkie cannot claim a royal heritage, he still has a rich history that began over 150 years ago during the Industrial Revolution in England.
Scottish workers looking for work traveled down south into England and settled in the county of Yorkshire. They brought some of their dogs with them for the company, and some of these breeds, such as the Paisley, Clydesdale, Waterside, and Skye Terriers bred with local Manchester, Rough-Coated and Broken-Haired Terriers.
The mixes that sprang up from this breeding were locally known as Broken Haired Scotch Terriers. However, that mouthful was fortunately renamed to Yorkshire Terrier, which made a lot more sense. In 1885 the Kennel Club recognized the Yorkie as its own breed separate from the Broken Haired Terrier.
Life wasn’t easy for those early Yorkies; they were given the job of killing rats that plagued Yorkshire’s homes and clothing mills. The workers in those mills began using the Yorkie as a source of entertainment by filling small pits with rats and then taking bets which dogs would kill the most rats in the shortest time.
In the mid-1850s, dog shows began to gain popularity in England, and breeders showed Yorkies in these shows. Yorkies groomed for the show ring began attracting the wealthy’s attention and very soon were in popular demand as lap dogs. Seeing they were onto such a good thing, Yorkie breeders began experimenting by breeding the Yorkie smaller and with longer and silkier coats they hoped would attract even more money from the wealthy.
The rise in the Yorkie’s popularity in America was primarily due to the dog’s introduction to Hollywood by the actress Audrey Hepburn. Of course, other celebrities of the time wanted their Yorkie, and so the dog’s popularity spread. At one point in 2006, the Yorkie climbed the summit of the AKC popularity list at number 2. Even today, they never seem to drop out of the top ten.
Which Is The Bigger Dog, The Yorkie, Or The Shih Tzu?
The Shih Tzu is the larger of the two dogs, and males can grow up to ten inches and weigh between nine and sixteen pounds. There isn’t any noticeable difference in the females’ size to males. The Yorkie is not quite as tall and grows up to nine inches, and weighs between five and seven pounds.
As is the case with all toy breeds, both these breeds mature early and reach their full height before reaching their first birthday.
Both of these dog breeds are the ideal size for anyone’s lap.
Yorkie Vs. Shih Tzu Personality and Temperament
Yorkies are known for their above-average intelligence and are relatively easy to house train. They are a courageous little dog (some say too courageous for their own good); strangely, Yorkies can be pretty independent for a lap dog. A Yorkie has masses of energy and is always ready to go for a walk, playtime, or just for any old type of exercise. The dog is a mixed bag when it comes to strangers; some can be very wary and bark at everyone they don’t know, while others are ultra-friendly, happy to fuss and lick everyone they meet.
The dog breeder is a crucial element in the life of every new puppy. Typically puppies are ready to be taken home between 8 and 12 weeks old. Within this timeframe, he should have already begun socialization. This training is introducing him to new sights, sounds, people, and other pets. Socialization also includes everyday household noises from the TV to washing machines and vacuums.
People see Yorkies as lapdogs, and many of them are, but some have that terrier personality and enjoy chasing after anything that moves. The old prey drive kicks in, and they’re off chasing rats again (at least in their mind).
The Shih Tzu is never anything other than a lap dog. He thoroughly enjoys cuddling on a lap and going to sleep. As much attention as you can muster will never be quite enough with a Shih Tzu. The dog has a sweetness about his personality, consistently mild and never angry. For all that, they aren’t as demanding as other lapdogs we could name. You wouldn’t see them as yappy dogs; they will alert you if a stranger arrives, but other than that, they are pretty quiet.
The Shih Tzu has a solid build, and where Yorkies can get hurt very quickly, a Shih Tzu is far more robust.
Once again, socialization is key to a well-mannered dog, and it’s the same with a Shih Tzu. If you want your pet to be confident and not anxious about every new thing he sees and hears, then socialize early. The best time to socialize a puppy is between six and sixteen weeks.
Shih Tzu Vs. Yorkie Grooming
Both the Shih Tzu and Yorkie have long coats if allowed to grow, and there’s a lot of grooming necessary with both breeds. It depends on your mindset about how you want your dog to look. If you love the long flowing coat of both dogs, then grooming is a daily chore, and trips to the groomer are going to be very regular, perhaps once a month or less.
For me, and this is only a personal choice, I love the way both dogs look with a puppy cut. They look so cute, and while grooming is still essential unless you want masses of tangles that you might have to cut out, you can get away with fifteen minutes brushing and combing every day. It’s even possible to teach yourself how to trim their coats yourself once you have them in the puppy cut.
Even though both dogs have a lot of coat, they don’t shed, and you won’t find masses of dog hair all over the furnishings. There aren’t any genuinely hypoallergenic dogs, but these two breeds come as close as you can get. Grooming doesn’t just mean brushing the dog’s hair. It covers other forms of care for the dog. One area that’s very important for all dogs, but even more so for small dogs, is teeth brushing.
Toy breeds all have an issue with their teeth; it’s as though they are so tiny they have too many teeth, which causes overcrowding and it makes it difficult to reach all their teeth correctly. Visits to the vet for teeth cleaning might be a regular occurrence.
Yorkie Vs. Shih Tzu Training
Yorkies and Shih Tzus are both pretty similar when it comes to basic training. Of course, if you have a new puppy, then housetraining is the first experience you’re going to have with both of them.
Both the Sih Tzu and Yorkie are above average intelligence and in equal measures of stubbornness. It’s not the case they will not understand what you want them to do; the question is, will they want to do what you ask?
Starting early training is essential if you want a dog that you have adequately housetrained. You can begin to train both dogs from the age of eight weeks. Don’t expect miracles; they have tiny bowels and bladders when fully grown; imagine how small they are at eight weeks. Small bladders mean they will need to go frequently. Prepare yourself for two to three months of continually taking them outside for them to do their business.
A small treat will work wonders with either dog if you want to get them to do something. Above all, you must show an immense amount of patience and kindness and never raise your voice or be harsh with either dog; they will become very nervous and unsure around you, and that’s not going to get you what you want.
Bottom Line – Yorkies Vs. Shih Tzu
Choosing either of these two fantastic little dogs will always come down to your personal preference. Either dog will give you a lifetime of fun, happiness, joy, and love. Both are special dogs, and trying to pick a Shih Tzu or a Yorkie will always be difficult, if not impossible.
For anyone desperate for a lapdog, the Shih Tzu will always be there for a cuddle. Many Yorkies are up for a cuddle just the same, but some still have a little terrier in them and aren’t quite the cuddle bunny you’re hoping for. If you have very young children, the Yorkie can quickly get hurt; the Shih Tzu might be the better choice in that case.