Yorkie vs Shih Tzu

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When it comes to dogs, there are numerous breeds with distinct characteristics, personalities, and even intelligence. If you are looking for a new dog for your family, you may be debating between Yorkies vs Shih Tzus and which one would be best for you.

Yorkie vs Shih Tzu General Overview

Both Yorkies and Shih Tzus are very small dogs with lots of hair, energy, and love to give. However, they have very distinct characteristics that differentiate them. For instance, although they are small, Shih Tzus are a couple of inches taller than Yorkies.

White Shih Tzu smilling in a garden

Also, while they both have a lot of hair, Yorkies have much longer and silkier hair than Shih Tzus, who have a denser coat. On top of that, Yorkies generally have only four colors: black, tan, gold, and blue, while the Shih Tzu can have over eight colors. Of course, this depends on their genetics.

Many consider these breeds great family dogs that behave exceptionally well around children and other pets around the house. However, determining which one is ideal for your household might take time. Here’s a comparison of the two.


This breed is considered to be ‘’toy’’ due to its small height. On top of that, they are very energetic, affectionate, and playful, which makes them great for keeping you company. However, this might also be a downside; after all, they require a lot of attention.

If you cannot give Yorkies enough training, socialization, and exercise, they might begin to misbehave, run riot around the house, disobey orders, and even get depressed. Therefore, you need to spend at least a couple of hours of your day with them.

Here are some ways to care for them:

Shih Tzus

This breed is also considered ‘’toy’’ due to its petite height. One of their most noticeable characteristics is their small face and short snout, making them have a very particular head. However, this short snout makes them a brachycephalic breed, which is a condition that causes breathing problems.

Brown Yorkshire Terrier lying face up on a wooden floor

Because of this, this breed might require special care. Regardless of that, they are very enthusiastic and loving pets that do well in large households. Although proper training and exercise are required, you don’t need to spend much time doing it; after all, they have moderate energy.

Here are a few ways to care for this breed:

  • Due to their brachycephalic genes, they may need surgery. On top of that, they should not live in very hot or humid places; this could make their breathing much harder
  • They need light exercise. Be careful not to overtrain them, as this could also make their breathing problems worse
  • They need to be brushed and groomed constantly, especially if their coat is long
  • They need constant haircuts and nail trims

Main Differences Between Yorkies and Shih Tzus

One of the most evident differences between these breeds is that Yorkies do not have a short snout, which prevents them from having brachycephalic syndrome. On top of that, they are much more energetic than Shih Tzus, which makes them more playful and fun to train.  

Another distinction is that Shih Tzus have more color variations than Yorkies. They can be born in a variety of colors, including black, white, red, brown, double-colored, triple-colored, brindle, blue, silver, and brown. Yorkies, on the other hand, are typically black and brown.

Finally, they differ in height and weight. The Shih Tzu is taller and heavier, however, the difference is minimal as they are both classified as “toy” breeds. The Shih Tzu is 11 inches tall and weighs 16 pounds, while Yorkies are 8 inches tall and weigh 7 pounds.

Similarities Between Yorkies and Shih Tzus

When it comes to similarities, both dogs are classified as toy breeds, which means they are very small pets that can be kept in moderately small houses. On top of that, they are both very loving, playful, and friendly when it comes to people and other pets.

Also, they both have long hair that can be groomed into different styles. 

Brown Yorkshire Terrier wearing a printed sweater while sitting on a quilted bedroom sheet

When to Adopt a Yorkie

Yorkies are a great breed that will bring love and playfulness to your household. On top of that, since they are energetic and small, they are great for kids. Of course, there should always be proper precautions when a dog is around children. 

However, in this case, you must be vigilant and ensure that the children are not playing too rough with them. After all, this breed is small and light, and children frequently do not know how to control their strength, which could harm the dog.

Therefore, with proper precautions, you can adopt a Yorkie if you have a household with children. The Yorkie will constantly play with them, brighten your day, and will get along with other dogs in your house.

When to Adopt a Shih Tzu

This breed is considered to be calmer than other toy breeds; therefore, you can adopt a Shih Tzu if you want a calm dog that is loving. This doesn’t mean that they are not playful. Since they are a brachycephalic breed though, they might not be able to play for long periods of time.

Because of that, if you are not prepared to care for a dog with this syndrome, it is recommended not to get one. After all, the lives of these dogs can be seriously affected if they do not have the proper care. They can develop many breathing problems that will lead to bigger issues.

Which Breed Is Better?

Although they are both great breeds that can brighten up your house and bring your company, their characteristics make them better for certain people. For instance, Yorkies are better for those owners who want a small dog they can play with and spend a lot of time with.

The Shih Tzu, on the other hand, is ideal for owners who prefer a calmer dog. Of course, they must be able to meet the cares of this breed.


Although they might be similar in looks, dog breeds have many differences in personalities, characteristics, and even cares. This is why it is important to research before choosing a new pet for your household.