These dogs are small breed dogs that are very affectionate, energetic, and playful. These two breeds are suitable for apartments as well as houses with lawns. Apart from space, both Pomeranian and Shih Tzu need lots of attention and aren’t ideal for those who cannot spend quality time.
While both of these small breed dogs are similar in a few features such as height and weight, many differences make both unique pets.
Origin and History
The Pomeranian’s uncredited ancestor is the German Spitz. The breeding techniques resulted in the modern-day Pomeranian after the breed migrated to Pomerania of the Baltic Sea.
This dog became famous because of their adoption by royal family members such as Queen Charlotte and her granddaughter Queen Victoria. The first Pomeranian dog was registered with The American Kennel Club in 1898 but is officially recognized in 1900.
Shih Tzu also has a historical bond with royal emperors of China. It was a proud pet for the noblemen, so they refused to give their breed to other countries. Shih Tzu originated by crossing between Lhasa Apso and Pekingese.
In the year 1930, it was imported to Europe and is named as Apsos. Later in the year 1935, standards for this breed were set by European Kennel England, and the breed is recognized as Shih Tzu. American Kennel Club registered it in the year 1969.
Both Pomeranian and Shih Tzu are classified as Toy Group by many Kennel clubs meaning which they are small breed dogs. Although both are toy dogs, the Shih is a bit larger than Pom.
One of the striking features of the Shih Tzu is their large eyes and short muzzle, and of course, you will be awestruck with those lovely cute puppy eyes. They have a fluffy double coat, floppy ears, and a bushy tail. A Shih Tzu will measure about 10.5 inches (26.7 cm) and weighs around 4 to 7 kilograms (8 to 15 lbs). The color of the coat may vary, but white with grey or brown blazes is not uncommon.
The Pomeranian is a complete fluff ball. Unlike Shih Tzu that has long silky hair, Pomeranian has a puffy textured coat. The prominent features include feather-like tail (plumed tail) and ruff coat around their necks. Their round goofy appearance will make one hell of an adorable pet.
Pomeranians measure about 8 – 14 inches (36 cm) in height and measures around 1.3 to 3 kilograms (3 – 7 lbs). It weighs lesser than Shih Tzu, making it challenging in the maintenance. The color of the Pomeranian coat has wide variations that include white, cream, tan, brown, and even mixed colors.
Behavior & Training
My first dog was a Pomeranian who crossed the rainbow bridge at the age of 14. He was a lovely dog, very affectionate and, high on energy. But I will admit that he was a stubborn dog. It’s not because I couldn’t spend quality time or socialize him; he had this bold, and self-governing type of nature. He was so independent, but was obedient, very!
Well, you must remember that every dog has a different temperament. No two dogs are same, even two dogs of the same breed.
In general, both dogs are intelligent, playful, energetic, and demand a lot of attention. These dogs are not for those who cannot commit to spending quality time with their pets. Early socialization is a must for both dogs, or else they can be very stubborn.
The Pomeranians are extremely alert of their surroundings, defensive, and tend to bark to the slightest noise. A regular stimulus to different types of environments is required to prevent chronic barking.
On the other hand, the Shih Tzus are independent but affectionate to strangers. Like Pomeranian, they need early socialization to prevent stubbornness. But don’t be fooled by its size, the Shih Tzus are excellent watchdogs. Even though they can’t bring down the intruder, they can alert you in every pesky situation. Although they are not trained for this purpose, they are alert and always watchful of their surroundings.
Both dogs are gentle with kids and their families. They tend to seek attention and somehow always win what they want. Repetitive training will give excellent results and make them extremely obedient dogs. Even though they are lovely around your family, please don’t leave them unattended around children.
Both love playing active games and indulge in outdoor activities. Make sure to potty train them at the earliest. Unlike the large dog breeds, it is expected that these dogs may take longer than usual to learn to poop outside the house.
Please make sure you spend quality time, invoke positive training, and socialize as much as possible. Since they are intelligent dogs, training can be easy but repetition is required. If you are a first-timer, Shih will best fit in than the Pom. No offense Pom, I love you!
You know that both dogs are Toy dogs, which means they are the smaller dogs. Even though they are toy dogs, they are high on energy, especially the Pomeranian. But considering their size, both the dogs do not need strenuous exercises every day. A couple of walks 15 minutes each will suffice. You can also make them play in the house.
You can let them run in an enclosed space to consume their energy. Since the Pomeranian is a bit smaller than the Shih Tzu, pay extra attention while they play with you or any other larger pet. They can be easily injured and must be handled with extra care.
Owing to their furry coat, understand that both these dogs need daily grooming. The Pomeranian’s thick double coat has two layers; outer rough and inner soft. It is quite easy to groom a Pomeranian and one brushing per day is mandatory.
The Pomeranian sheds twice per year, and during this time, the coat may knot. Trimming once every or two months will prevent this problem.
The Shih Tzu’s long silky hair will need a bit more attention. It requires daily brushing and maintenance can be a bit expensive. First-time pet owners must consider this before adopting a Shih Tzu. Often, many owners clip the hair short (puppy cut or teddy bear cut) to cut the maintenance expenses.
Note that you will find strands of hair in almost every part of the house, no matter which dog you own. I would have knit blankets with the hair of my old little Pomeranian, that’s how much he used to shed. It becomes quite uncomfortable at the time of shedding where there will be lumps of hairballs. Make sure you have a good vacuum cleaner.
Health and Lifespan
The usual health problems, such as hip dysplasia seen in larger dogs, are not common in these two breeds. Since they are smaller in size, the typical joint or muscle problems are not frequently observed.
A pure-bred Pomeranian or Shih Tzu with good food and coat maintenance can have the most exceptional lifespan of 16 years. But specific breed-specific health problems are commonly observed in both dogs.
The most common health problems associated with Shih Tzu are:
- Brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome (breathing disorder)
- Eye problems
- Intervertebral disk disorders
Some moderate or standard-sized Shih Tzus can develop hip dysplasia, a rare scenario.
Common health issues in Pomeranians are:
- Various eye problems such as anatomic malformations of one or both eyes (microphthalmia)
- Dislocation of knee caps (Luxating patella)
- Inability to breath when excited or exercised (Tracheal collapse)
- Absence of one or both testes in males (Cryptorchidism)
Apart from these usual health problems, the Poms can suffer a rare genetic condition known as black skin disease characterized by severe hair loss. Few dogs with Hypothyroidism can also show similar symptoms. It is essential to diagnose the problem appropriately, so that correct treatment is provided.
While all the diseases mentioned above for both Pom and Shih are common, it does not mean that they are prone to these diseases. Proper care and healthy food will keep your dog in good shape. My Pomeranian did not have any health problems. His only problem was jealousy!! He could not stand a second if I were friendly or playful with other dogs. That is how possessive your dog can be. Give them quality time, love, and affection, they will be all yours.
Which one suits you best?
The Pomeranian vs Shih Tzu debate will never end. It all depends on personal choice if you meet all the requirements. Both breeds are not suggestible if you are a person who works a lot in the office and cannot spend much time with your pet.
Considering the health problems, the Shih Tzu has more and severe problems than Pomeranian. You must be more attentive to this issue because it can become costly for you in the future.
The Pomeranian has fewer health conditions and can be a suitable dog if you have financial constraints. But remember, Pomeranians tend to bark a lot. If you are in an apartment, it can be an issue for you and your neighbors. But to tackle a Pomeranian, you need a little prior experience, not specifically with another Pomeranian but with another stubborn dog such as Siberian Huskey, Akita, or a Dachshund. If you are a first-time dog owner, Shih Tzu is an ideal dog for you.
So, which is better, Shih Tzu or Pomeranian? The answer to this question is subjective. If you do the right thing, both dogs are suitable for you. If you are adventurous, you can have both the dogs because Shih Tzu and Pomeranians get along well together. So, have you decided about your new toy dog? Let us know about it. We would love to hear from you.
Frequency and distribution of 152 genetic disease variants in over 100,000 mixed breed and purebred dogs by Alex Gough, Alison Thomas, Dan O’Neill.
Novel insights into the pathways regulating the canine hair cycle and their deregulation in alopecia X by Brunner MAT, Jagannathan V, Waluk DP, Roosje P, Linek M, Panakova L, Leeb T, Wiener DJ, and Welle MM.
Histopathological and Immunohistochemical Features of Vitreoretinopathy in Shih Tzu Dogs by Nikolaos G.Papaioannou and Richard R.Dubielzig.
Lydia King is a huge animal lover and has always been fascinated with learning about the animal kingdom. She enjoys writing about anything animal related from scientific information about rare species to animal references in pop culture.