Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Light Timber Frame (LTF) shear walls are widespread constructive technologies in timber engineering. Despite the intrinsic differences, the lateral response of the two structural systems may be quite similar under specific connection layouts, boundary constraints, and size of the shear walls. This paper compares the experimental cyclic responses of CLT and LTF shear walls characterized by the same size 250×250cm, and loaded according to the EN 12512 protocol. The rigid-body rotation of the shear walls prevails over the deformation and rigid-body translation in the post-elastic displacement range. As a consequence, a capacity model of the two systems based on the sole hold-down response accurately seizes the observed cyclic response, despite ignoring the other resisting contributions. The authors examine the differences exhibited by the CLT and LTF shear walls and the related error corresponding to a capacity model based on the sole hold down restraints. Additionally, it is assessed the overstrength of the CLT panel and LTF sheathing to the shear walls collapse due to the hold-down failure. The estimated overstrength factor is the most meaningful difference between the two structural systems in the considered experimental layouts.