Havanese Shih Tzu Mix: The Ultimate Guide

Published: 12/20/22 •  10 min read

The Havanese Shih Tzu is one of the more rare crossbreeds, bringing two dogs who bare very similar physical appearances! Both of these breeds are ‘toy’ dogs and both have similarly playful personalities, but important temperamental differences to note.

Havanese Shih Tzu Mix
Photo: Instagram

The Havanese Shih Tzu also combines two dogs from vastly different parts of the world, with a vastly different breed history, but bred for the same singular purpose: companionship.

Is the Havanese Shih Tzu the small dog you’ve been looking for? Read on to explore this mixed breed in all of its miniature glory.

Havanese Shih Tzu Mix: At a Glance

Weight:7 – 15 pounds
Height:8 – 12 inches
Lifespan:12 – 16 years
Coat Colors:Grey, White, Black & Brown
Temperament:Intelligent, obedient, playful, affectionate
Most Suitable For:Families with or without children, apartment dwelling singles & the elderly

What Does a Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Look Like?

Havanese Shih Tzu Mix
Photo: Instagram

Like most designer dogs, the Havanese Shih Tzu will inherit different parts of both parent breeds’ physical appearance – even though the Havanese and the Shih Tzu look very similar! Because of this, their physical differences may only be slight.

You can almost guarantee that your Havanese Shih Tzu will have a silky coat – both Shih Tzus and Havanese dogs have silky coats. The main difference in coats is that Shih Tzu’s have a double coat, whereas Havanese’ do not.

The Havanese and Shih Tzu have long, silky coats, perfect for adapting to hot and cold weather – though the Shih Tzus double coat makes it slightly more adept. The Havanese Shih Tzu will also have long, fur-covered, floppy ears. There is a very slight difference in tail length between the two – with the Shih Tzu having a slightly longer tail. Although, the difference is almost negligible to the untrained eye.

Unlike most mixed-breed dogs, the Havanese Shih Tzu mix doesn’t have a huge variation in physical appearance, so you could be forgiven for mistaking a mixed-breed, for one parent breed, or the other parent breed!

The main thing distinguishing Shih Tzus from the Havanese is their breed history and purpose.

The History of the Havanese Shih Tzu Mix

Like most designer dogs, the Havanese Shih Tzu mix’s history is a mystery. We don’t have precise information about when, where, how, or by whom this mix breed dog was created. The Havanese Shih Tzu is a designer dog breed created by combining two dogs with similar sizes and physical appearances – right down to their coat colors!

To better understand the Havanese Shih Tzu mix, we will take an in-depth look into their parent breeds’ history, temperaments, and current place in our canine societies. Doing this will give us a fuller picture of the Havanese Shih Tzu mix.

The History of the Shih Tzu

The History of the Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu’s history begins in the Far East, where it originated in unknown circumstances from China’s neighbor, Tibet. It is thought that the Tibetans sent small dogs (of unknown name) to the Chinese as gifts, and they were quickly adopted by Chinese royalty. They were then likely crossbred with Pekingese or Pugs to create modern-day Shih Tzus.

Despite their small size, Buddhists consider Shih Tzus sacred animals, as their name translates to “lion” in Mandarin. Lions, or lion dogs, can be seen guarding palaces, temples, and other sacred Buddhist sites.

Shih Tzus first appeared in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and spread throughout Europe, increasing in popularity due to their size, demeanor and low-maintenance nature. They remain a firm companion pet today.

How Popular Are Shih Tzus in the United States?

At the end of the Second World War, Shih Tzus were introduced in the United States. Their nature as calm terriers allowed them to flourish in this new environment and gain popularity.

In 2021, Shih Tzus ranked as the 22nd most popular breed in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club. 

Who Are Shih Tzus a Good Dog For?

Because of their size and low-maintenance nature, Shih Tzus are often very popular dogs among the elderly and/or those who live alone. They make excellent apartment dogs but do require moderate physical activity levels.

Shih Tzus are renowned for being gentle, making them good family pets. They’re lightweight – weighing between 7-14 lbs – making them easy to pick up and carry if the need arises.

How Did Shih Tzus Come About?

While the Shih Tzu is of unknown origin, we do know that it comes from Tibet, and was given the Chinese as gifts by the Tibetan people. The Chinese then bred the Shih Tzu with Pekingese and/or Pugs to create the modern-day Shih Tzu.

When Did We First Cross-Breed The Shih Tzu?

Crossbreeding of the Shih Tzu likely occurred many times over the centuries before it arrived in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. The modern crossbreeding history of the Shih Tzu most likely began in the 1990s and early 2000s, when crossbreeding peaked in popularity.

Crossbreeding of the Shih Tzu produced the Shih Mo (Shih Tzu & American Eskimo), Shih Poo (Shih Tzu & Poodle), Blue Tzu (Australian Cattle Shepherd & Shih Tzu), and various other breeds.

The History of the Havanese

The History of the Havanese

The Havanese is a Cuban breed of dog that arrived from Tenerife with Spanish farmers in the 1500s. It quickly became a popular breed in Cuba, particularly in Havana. The Havanese is part of the Bichon family – the same family of dogs to which Bichon Frises belong.

How Popular Are The Havanese in the United States?

The Havanese first arrived in the United States during the Cuban Revolution, though few escaping persecution could bring their dogs. The 11 dogs in the gene pool in the U.S. at the time sparked interest among breeders.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Havanese as a breed in 1996, and they (like the Shih Tzu) have exploded in popularity since then.

The Havanese ranked 25th in the most popular dogs of 2021, particularly for city-dwellers. Being small in size, they’re well-suited for apartment living.

Who Are The Havanese a Good Dog For?

Given their small size and zest for life, Havanese dogs are perfect for those seeking a small companion pet for their family or themselves. They only grow to 9-12 inches tall, making them an ideal carry-around pet.

This size and weight make them a perfect choice for the elderly. Even American celebrity greats like Barbara Walters owned a Havanese!

How Did The Havanese Come About?

The Havanese arrived in Cuba in the 16th century with Spanish farmers and noblemen who settled in South America. Though a different name, originally knew the Havanese, they quickly became popular among the residents of Havana and became known as Havanese dogs. 

When Did We First Cross-Breed The Havanese?

While the history of crossbreeding of the Havanese is somewhat spotty, we know that the practice of crossbreeding experienced a huge burst of popularity in the 1990s and early 2000s. This is likely the period in which the Havanese were crossbred more rapidly.

One of the most common crossbreeds is between the Havanese and the Bichon Frise.

How Important Is a Dog’s Temperament to Your Family?

Before you purchase or adopt any dog, one of the most important things you need to do is to research its possible temperaments. If you’re new to owning a dog, you will want to find one that matches your and your family’s lifestyle.

For example, an active family pet will do better with an active family than pairing an active family with a less-active dog. 

What is the Temperament of the Havanese Shih Tzu Mix?

The Havanese Shih Tzu mix has a mixed temperament comprised of some of the best parts of both parent breeds. Expect a loving lap dog with an energetic streak. These elevated energy levels may mean that you need to walk your Havanese Shih Tzu more often than normal.

The Havanese Shih Tzu can also suffer from separation anxiety. This anxiety will need to be trained out of your dog, particularly if you’re an apartment dweller with a job that requires you to leave the Havanese Shih Tzu alone for long periods.

Is The Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Friendly?

In general, the Havanese Shih Tzu is a very friendly animal! Though the Shih Tzu is traditionally skittish around strangers, with a little obedience training and exposure to others, you can expect a welcoming dog of others.

Is The Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Easy to Train?

The Shih Tzu Havanese mix may require more patience and positive reinforcement than other dogs regarding obedience training. They’re known for being particularly sensitive animals, so go easy on your Havanese Shih Tzu.

How Much Can A Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Weigh?

The average weight of a Havanese Shih Tzu is between 7 and 15 pounds.

How Tall Can A Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Get?

The average height of a Havanese Shih Tzu mix is 8 to 12 inches tall.

Similar Sized Breeds

There are a few similar-sized breeds to the Havanese Shih Tzu. These include the Bichon  Frise, the Pug, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and a smaller-than-average Schipperke.

Does the Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Shed?

Unfortunately for many owners, while the Shih Tzu is hypoallergenic, the Havanese is not. If your Havanese Shih Tzu is long-haired, you may experience moderate shedding that will require regular brushing.

How Much Exercise Does A Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Require?

The Havanese Shih Tzu is quite an active dog for its size. They also require plenty of mental stimulation- so a game of fetch might be preferable to a walk. You should walk/exercise your Havanese Shih Tzu for at least thirty minutes daily.

How Long Can a Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Live?

The average lifespan of a Havanese Shih Tzu is between 12 and 16 years.

What Health Conditions Could the Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Have?

How Can You Find a Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Puppy For Sale?

Before you begin to search for a Havanese Shih Tzu mix, we highly recommend you consider adoption. The adoption process will be much cheaper than finding a Havanese Shih Tzu mix puppy for sale. 

If you are looking to adopt, check out your local vet clinic and/or animal shelter. You could also venture online to AdoptAPet.com to find local pets in your area.

How Much Does a Havanese Shih Tzu Mix Puppy Cost?

One of the main reasons to consider adoption over purchasing a Havanese Shih Tzu mix puppy is the cost. The average price of a Havanese Shih Tzu mix puppy is between $300 and $1200.

If you’re looking to purchase, you should first read our article about reputable breeders.

Is the Havanese Shih Tzu Mix the Right Breed For You?

If you’ve been looking for a small but active companion pet, then the Havanese Shih Tzu mix might be one of your best options! Whether you’re buying or adopting, this long-haired gentle companion is a fantastic fit for so many different types of owners.

Nick Meagher

I'm Nick Meagher, a lifelong dog enthusiast and the voice behind this blog. Having grown up with dogs, I've developed a deep understanding and an unbreakable bond with these amazing companions. Through MyK9Life, I aim to share insights, tips, and heartwarming stories, celebrating the joy and journey of life with our four-legged friends.

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