The American Kennel Club recognizes more than 160 breeds of dogs, including the Shih Tzu and poodle. According to the AKC, both breeds are highly popular with U.S. dog owners. The Shih Tzu is believed to be a descendant from Lhasa apso and Pekingese crossbreeding. Chinese royalty from the Ming dynasty cherished the Shih Tzu as house pets. The poodle, originally bred in Germany as a hunting dog, offers varieties in three sizes.
The toy poodle grows up to 10 inches in height. The maximum height for a miniature poodle is just under 15 inches. The standard poodle, the oldest variety of the three, stands over 15 inches tall. Adult Shih Tzus stand 9 to 12 inches tall and weigh 9 to 16 pounds. Consider the size of your living quarters. Both breeds are well suited to small spaces. Determine pet regulations if you are an apartment dweller.
The translation for Shih Tzu is lion. This breed is fearless, but sweet. Shih Tzus are alert companions and friendly toward strangers. Poodles are smart and do well in obedience class. They are active pets and project an air of dignity. There is no obvious difference in disposition between females and males in these two breeds. If you have no plans to breed your dog, any minor differences are alleviated when your pet is spayed or neutered.
Consider professional grooming for both breeds. The original poodle hairstyle, known as the poodle clip, allowed the breed speedy movement through water during hunting expeditions. Several poodle clip styles are available today. All sport the traditional knot of hair on top of the poodle’s head. The Shih Tzu’s long, double coat requires extensive maintenance. In addition to regular professional grooming, the flowing coat should be brushed daily. Tie hair on top with a bow.
The Shih Tzu requires less exercise than the poodle, but avoid swimming and excessive heat. In rare cases, Shih Tzus suffer from abnormal kidney development. Watch for excessive thirst. Poodles have high energy and benefit from frequent exercise. The remaining body hair after a poodle clip protects the poodle from cold temperatures. Miniature and toy poodles are more prone to orthopedic issues than the standard poodle variety. To ensure optimal health, purchase either breed from a reputable breeder.
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Mary Vaughan began her writing career in 1985. Her work has been published in "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine, "L.A. Parent Magazine" and "Seattle's Child" magazine. Vaughan's long-running "The Mother Side of Town" column focused on the everyday challenges of parenting and money management. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology-speech and hearing science from the University of Missouri.