Shih Tzu vs Poodle Breed Comparison (With Photos!)

Do you want to add a new puppy to the home and are stuck between choosing a Shih Tzu or Poodle? Both Shih Tzus and Poodles are happy, energetic dogs that make great family pets

However, one breed may be better in certain circumstances, like being a new dog owner or living in an apartment. In this article, you will get a clear understanding of each dog to know which breed suits your life. 

shih tzu vs poodle
Shih Tzu vs Poodle breed comparison (with photos!)

Breed Appearance of Poodle vs. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu coat colors include:

  • Black
  • Gold
  • Brindle
  • Liver
  • Silver
  • Red
  • Blue

Poodle coat colors include:

  • Black
  • White
  • Black and White
  • Cream
  • Silver
  • Gray
  • Sable
  • Brown
  • Apricot
  • Red

Shih Tzus have a unique face, unlike any other dog breed. They have short snouts with a waterfall of hair on each side of their nose and big eyes full of character. Once kept by royal Chinese families, Shih Tzus have an appearance of elegance

When kept long, their straight hair grows from head to toe, and you’ve probably seen a picture of this dog breed with a ponytail atop their heads. A Shih Tzu tails will usually curl over their back, adding an extra flow of their long, beautiful hair.

As with Shih Tzus, Poodle’s hair will continue to grow until cut. Unlike a Shih Tzu, Poodles have very wavy or curly hair. You may have seen Poodles with a unique haircut featuring a poof of fur around their ankles, chest, and heads paired with short hair along their legs and midsection

Poodles appear leggier than a Shih Tzu and typically have a docked tail. While a Shih Tzu has a short snout, a Poodle has a long muzzle with dropped ears.

poodle and shih tzu looking away
A cute Poodle and a Shih Tzu both looking away.

Coat Types of Poodle vs. Shih Tzu

Here are the coat types of Poodles and Shih Tzus:

Poodle Coats

Poodles don’t have fur; they have hair similar to that of a human. Their coats are very dense and course, requiring plenty of brushing and regular grooming. Poodle hair doesn’t stop growing with a human’s hair, so it doesn’t shed like most dogs. 

Shih Tzu Coats

Shih Tzu coats are also incredibly dense. Rather than having hair, Shih Tzus have a double coat that is puffy and soft. Their fur also requires lots of brushing to keep it from getting matted, which can be uncomfortable and even painful for dogs.

poodle vs shih tzu coats
Poodle and Shih Tzu in their distinctive coats.

Size Difference in Shih Tzu vs. Poodles

The Poodle breed comes in three sizes; Toy, Miniature, and Standard.

  • Toy Poodle: Up to ten inches in height and weighs six to nine lb
  • Miniature Poodle: 11-15 inches in height and weighs 15-17 lb
  • Standard Poodle: 18-24 inches in height and weighs 45-70 lb
three Poodles in the car compartment
The three Poodles waiting in the car compartment. (Image: Instagram/@the_clown_clan_poodles)

Shih Tzu’s’ weight will range between nine and 16 pounds and reach around ten inches in height. Toy and Miniature Poodles are somewhat comparable to the size of a Shih Tzu, while a Standard Poodle will be much taller.

shih tzu puppy licks tonuge out
A Shih Tzu puppy with its tongue out. Expect a Shih Tzu puppy to lick EVERYTHING!

Temperament and Personality in Shih Tzu and Poodles

According to the American Kennel Club, Poodles are among the most intelligent breeds of dogs. Because of their intelligence, training them can be easier than many other dogs. 

Poodles are considered hunting dogs, so don’t let their elegance fool you. Toy and Miniature Poodles can be more aggressive to outsiders than a Standard Poodle, and all Poodle types can be protective of their owners and home.

Shih Tzus are lively and perky dogs that tend to get along with everyone, other people and dogs included. Most Shih Tzus are sweet and cuddly, making them great family pets. A Shih Tzu will rarely chew on your household items, but they are diggers

Both breeds love affection and will love spending time with their families. 

naught parti poodle has torn up a pillow
A guilty looking two color Poodle

Poodle and Shih Tzu Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of a Poodle can vary depending on its size. Here are the average life expectancies for each Poodle type. 

  • Toy Poodle: 14-16 years
  • Miniature Poodle: 14-16 years
  • Standard Poodle: 11-13 years

Shih Tzus have an average lifespan of 13 years, but some live longer, some even up to 20 years old.

poodle playing with a toy
Standard poodle playing with a toy in the grass.

Poodle and Shih Tzu Needs and Training 

Because of their intelligence and energy, Poodles require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. A run around the yard once a day will not be enough physical activity for a Poodle. Poodles do not do well when away from people and in a kennel for long periods.

Poodle listening to a command
A Poodle obeys a command from the owner. (Image: Instagram/@trainingamoose)

Even though Poodles need to exert energy through play, exercise, and learning, they are pretty good at all of the above. Their intelligence makes them easy to train various commands, including sit, stay, come, etc. Teach your Poodle new tricks regularly to keep their brains active. 

Shih Tzus is also an intelligent dog breed known to outsmart their humans. They are easy to train and enjoy learning new tricks, but they also know how to train their owners. They can be one step ahead of you, knowing your usual mannerisms and routines.

A happy Shih Tzu is a Shih Tzu that gets plenty of time with its owner. They love spending time with the people they love and require a lot of one-on-one attention. These perky dogs love to be the center of attention, so teach them plenty of tricks for them to show off.

Shih Tzus and Poodles require regular walks and time to play with their owners. All Poodle sizes and the Shih Tzu breed should be socialized early to get used to other humans and dogs.

a shih tzu licking its owners face
A Shih Tzu licks its owners face. Lick frenzy!

Cost Comparison 

Shih Tzu prices can range from as little as $300 to $3,000 depending on their pedigree and where you get them from. Most rescues will charge roughly $350 for Shih Tzu puppies, and registered breeders usually sell Shih Tzu puppies for over $1,000.

Poodles cost around $250-$2,000. Some rescues may even charge as little as $150 for a Poodle breed. On average, breeders sell Poodles for $1,000 but sometimes more.

Whether you plan to get a Poodle or Shih Tzu, many rescues are dedicated to that specific dog breed. If you plan to go with a breeder, be sure that you find a reputable breeder that tests health and limits how many dogs they breed, and doesn’t sell their puppies to pet stores.

poodle sits on a outdoor lounge
A Tan Poodle sitting on an outdoor lounge. Beautiful!

Shih Tzu vs. Poodle: Which Is Better?  

Poodles and Shih Tzus are dog breeds that are intelligent, energetic, and love spending time with their families. Each breed is long-haired, requiring regular brushing and grooming to prevent painful knots. 

Both dogs can bark, but Poodles may be easier to train than a Shih Tzu. Shih Tzus tend to be cuddlier and require lots of attention, so they work best for families who can spend plenty of time with their dogs.