Löwchen vs. Shih Tzu: Which Breed to Get?

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Löwchen vs. Shih TzuThe fascinating Löwchen is one of the rarest breeds nowadays, but its loving, versatile, and loyal personality makes it increasingly popular among people of all ages and with any lifestyle. The Shih Tzu is one of the most beloved dog breeds in the world – and rightly so, as this ancient breed is one of the most affectionate lapdogs in the world.

Read on to find out what these breeds are like and which one is best for you.

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Löwchen and Shih Tzu History

Löwchen is believed to share features with the Bichon family of dogs, such as the Havanese and Bichon Frise. However, the actual origin and background of this breed are still unclear. Other breed enthusiasts associate this breed with lands like Russia, Tibet, or France. However, one thing is for sure – despite the German name, Löwchen is not believed to have originated in Germany, but the exact place of origin remains a mystery.

The Löwchen is also known as the Little Lion Dog. This is a common feature with the Shih Tzu, whose name refers to “lion” because of its appearance. Shih Tzu also has a rich history, but its origin is quite clear – its ancestors appeared in Tibet, and DNA analysis shows that it is a direct branch of the wolf, which is quite rare among today’s dog breeds.

With a history of at least 1,100 years, tracing its exact origins is quite difficult. However, what is sure is that this noble Chinese dog breed was the favorite of many noble and royal houses in ancient China. In fact, this breed has only been bred for a single purpose: to be a lapdog for nobility.

Löwchen vs. Shih Tzu: What Are the Breeds Like?

Below, we’ll look at what these two breeds are like.


Löwchen often has a specific appearance, with thick and fluffy hair around its face, neck, and upper body – which gives it the so-called “lion” appearance, and the rest of the body hair is clipped short. There are multiple colors available, including white, black, or lemon. Löwchens are small pups, weighing up to 15 lbs and reaching about 12”-14” at maturity.

The Shih Tzu is a small, sturdy dog that may reach 9 to 16 lbs. It has a similar height to the Löwchen, reaching about 12”-14”. Despite the small size, the breed is impressively hardy. The coat colors are varied, ranging from white, and black, to blue or liver. Some Shih Tzus have a white patch on their head, which is known as “Buddha’s kiss” or the “Star of Buddha” – this distinctive sign is highly prized.

Life Expectancy and Aging Profile

The Löwchen and Shih Tzu are small breeds – one advantage is that small breeds live, on average, longer than bigger-sized dogs. Thus, you should expect your pooch to reach about 15-16 years – or even more, with proper care and the right lifestyle. If you want to adopt a dog with a long lifespan, any of these two is suitable.


The Löwchen is a friendly, affectionate, playful, but protective dog. To curb its barking and suspicious behaviors, early socialization and training are highly encouraged. As it is often quite wary of strangers, Löwchen are great watchdogs – but perhaps not the best choice if your neighbors can be easily disturbed.

The Shih Tzu is a born and bred lapdog. This pooch doesn’t need much to be happy, only to be on your lap. They get all the attention wherever they are, and make quick friends with other people, although without socialization, some Shih Tzus may be quite reserved around humans. Essentially, a Shih Tzu is all you need if you are looking for a loyal companion.


Both breeds are companion dogs, so they have all the traits associated with four-legged family members – affection, devotion, and an outgoing nature. This also means that they have high emotional intelligence, which is required for such close companions.

They are relatively easy to train, but both breeds should be trained from puppyhood for the best results. The Shih Tzu may be occasionally playful, but is not a very active breed – it loves spending time on your lap rather than performing tricks.

Löwchen vs. Shih Tzu: Which One Is Easier to Keep?

Next, we’ll look at which breed is easier to keep.

Required Living Space

If you want a dog that can adapt to any living space, there’s some goods news: both Löwchen and Shih Tzu are small dogs, so you can keep them in a studio, a larger apartment, or even a country house – everything works thanks to their versatility and adaptability.

These small dogs don’t require much personal space; in fact, being closer to you is all they need, so they are perfect for anyone regardless of the size of their home. Both are indoor dogs, and it’s even highly recommended to keep them indoors most of the time, as their small size makes them the perfect prey for large dogs and other animals.


Both Löwchen and Shih Tzu are hypoallergenic breeds – in other words, there will be minimal shedding. On the other side, both breeds are quite time-intensive when it comes to grooming and maintenance. If you don’t see yourself brushing or combing their coats frequently, even daily if the hair is long, you may want to consider another breed.

The Löwchen usually has a lion cut, which implies longer hair on the upper body. In this case, daily brushing is a must to make sure there are no mats or tangles. If you want easier maintenance instead, a puppy cut – or a short haircut style – can significantly ease the entire grooming routine as you won’t have to brush the hair so often.

Shih Tzu’s coats keep growing all the time, so you need to schedule regular appointments to cut the hair. As with a Löwchen, you can opt for a short haircut, which makes grooming quicker and easier. However, if you want your Shih Tzu to have a long coat, daily brushing is necessary.

Apart from brushing, bathing, and cleaning ears and eye areas, these two breeds require special teeth care – regular brushing is a must to maintain dental hygiene. In addition to this, you need to trim their nails when needed and schedule grooming appointments as often as necessary, based on the chosen haircut.

Walking and Exercise

While the Shih Tzu is a pampered lapdog, the Löwchen is more energetic and active. Löwchen are dogs that need to be mentally stimulated with many dog toys and puzzles, and they need games and walks each day to stay happy and healthy. As a result, the breed is better suited for a more active lifestyle. However, the activity required is still on the low side, given the small body of this pup.

Shih Tzu only needs routine exercise to stay healthy thanks to its love for napping and cuddles. Some games played indoors may be enough to keep it active, both mentally and physically. It’s important to opt for very, very light exercise when the weather is hot, as the dog’s flat face makes it difficult to cool down efficiently.

Löwchen vs. Shih Tzu: How Much Do They Cost?

Löwchen is quite a rare breed, so it may come with a price tag from $2,000 to $6,000, depending on the quality of the breeder, pedigree, and genetics. It’s important to make sure your pup comes with all the vet papers necessary to ensure its health. Also, you will want to check the reputation of the breeder before getting a puppy in order to avoid puppy mills.

If you have a lower budget, a Shih Tzu may be more suitable. In general, the price may range from $500 to $1,500. However, no matter which breed you choose, the final price you need to pay depends on your region, how popular the breed is in your area, and how many breeders are available.

Löwchen vs. Shih Tzu: Which Should You Get as a Pet?

Loyal and affectionate, Löwchens and Shih Tzus are ideal for many families and lifestyles. They are intelligent small breeds, highly adaptable, and very friendly with kids, other pets, and humans.

If you are looking for a hypoallergenic dog breed, both are suitable. They are low-shedders, but both breeds require significant effort on your behalf. Their coats grow long, so you need to trim them frequently, and brush and bathe them as necessary. In general, the longer the coat is, the more effort is needed to take care of it.

If you want a lower-energy dog, the Shih Tzu is a great choice. However, if you want a playful little pup, the Löwchen will fit right in. None of them are suitable for high-intensity exercises or prolonged activities like hiking. They are small dogs, so the activity should be quite low in intensity and for a short period, such as short walks or a brief game of catch.

If you have small kids, caution is advised. While these breeds are friendly with kids, the dogs can be easily injured, so playtime together should always be supervised.


All in all, the Löwchen and Shih Tzu are two excellent breeds for families, singles, or seniors. With proper training and socialization, both breeds have the ability to turn into your best friend for life.

While Löwchen is slightly more active, the Shih Tzu prefers to spend most of the time on your lap. Regardless of which one you choose, these indoor dogs require and deserve lots of care and attention.

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