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Maltese Shih Tzu – Dog Breed Information About Malshi

Maltese Shih Tzu
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Can’t decide what dog breed should you give your friend or family member as a gift for this Christmas or New Year?

Why not a  small, loveable pompom…just like Maltese-Shih Tzu mix…this hybrid is the perfect companion for the more “relaxed” family atmosphere and one of the few designer breeds that have no Poodle dog in their bloodline.

Also, it’s one of the few designer dogs that hasn’t arrived at its demand peak yet, so now’s your chance to stand out in the crowd. Say NO… If you can resist that face!!

The Maltese x Shih Tzu hybrid is a dog of many names; you may hear them referred to as Malshi, Malte Tzu, Shihtese,  Malti-Zhus or even Shimas. What’s in a name? They will definitely be a compliant little dog that suits almost anyone and any type of household.

Just hold your horses, this designer dog breed is bred by crossing the gorgeous, curious, quick-moving hobgoblin and hypoallergenic, Maltese with the clever and spunky, less yappy, oh so fluffy Shih Tzu.

This small toy dog with hair all over their face and body of even length and sometimes the facial hair is too long for its face, obscuring its view. While she is playful and puckish, she is also just as happy to be a lapdog. She is also hypoallergenic, so she is a great companion for allergy sufferers.

Maltese Shih Tzu Video

Maltese Shih Tzu Breed Characteristics Sheet

  • Size: Small
  • Dog Breed Group: Hybrid
  • Purebred: No
  • Lifespan: 12-14 Years
  • Height: Male: 8-14 Inches( 20 -35 Cm), Female: 7-13 Inches( 17 -33 Cm)
  • Weight: Male: 6-15 Lbs( 4.5-7 Kg), Female: 6-15 Lbs( 3-7 Kg)
  • Coat Appearance: Long To Very Long And From Straight To Wavy, But Either Way Its Thick Silky And Fluffy
  • Coat Colors: White, Brown, Black, Grey Or Solid, Multicolored
  • Temperament: Affectionate, Adorable, Courageous, Devoted. Easygoing, Friendly, Laidback,  Intelligent, Keen, Outgoing, Playful, Pleasant, Responsive, Social, Spirited
  • Good With Children: Yes
  • Intelligence Level: High
  • Good With Pets: Yes
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Grooming: Average
  • Shedding: Minimal
  • Barking: Barks When Necessary
  • Suitable For Apartments: Yes
  • Need For Exercise: Average
  • Easy To Train: Yes
  • Good For First Time Owners: Yes
  • Health Issues: Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD),   Luxating Patella,  Progressive Retinal Atrophy,   White Shaker Syndrome Portosystemic Shunt Of The Liver
  • Litter Size: 2-5 Puppies
  • Average Price: $500 – $700

Maltese Shih Tzu History

The Maltese-Shih Tzu mix was developed for the first time in the 1990s when breeders wanted to create a small, less shedding dog (much like that of a Shorkie and Maltipoo).

She proved to be one of the most popular crossbreeds in Australia and also become quite popular in North America.

Yet, there has been little interest in developing the Malshi as an independent breed because most of these dogs till date are crosses from the two purebred parents, rather than being developed from other Malshi parents.

However, this petite doggo has gained much fame and recognition from quite a few dog registries except the AKC.

Is Maltese Shih Tzu The Right Dog For You?

If you want a dog who…

  • Is one of the smaller breeds
  • Is polite (usually friendly) with people and peaceful with other pets
  • Sheds minimally and hypoallergenic (often a good choice for allergy sufferers)
  • Doesn’t need much outdoor exercise

A Malshi may be right for you.

If you don’t want to deal with…

  • The tenderness of toy breeds
  • A slightly stubborn “What’s in it for me?” attitude
  • Separation anxiety” (barking and destructiveness) when left alone for long periods
  • housebreaking difficulties and difficulties in training
  • Frequent grooming or regularly shearing the coat short (which looks really cute!)

A Malshi may not be right for you.

Maltese Shih Tzu Size And Lifespan

Maltese Shih Tzu Size

  • Height – Male: 8-14 inches( 20 -35 cm), Female: 7-13 inches( 17 -33 cm)
  • Weight – Male: 6-15 lbs( 4.5-7 kg), Female: 6-15 lbs( 3-7 kg)

Maltese Shih Tzu Lifespan

A healthy Malshi should expect to enjoy a life expectancy of between 12 – 14 years when properly cared for and fed a good quality diet to suit their ages.

Maltese Shih Tzu Coat Color And Appearance

Maltese Shih Tzu Coat Color

  • White
  • Brown
  • Black
  • Grey Or Solid
  • Multicolored

Maltese Shih Tzu Appearance

As with any hybrid dog, the Malshi appearance can vary quite a bit due to the different sizes and varieties of Maltese and Shih Tzu.

In general, the Malshi doesn’t usually have the bulging eye and short nose of Shih Tzu but inherits the luxurious locks of her parent breeds.

Since the Malshis come from a small- sized parentage, it stands to reason that they themselves aren’t very big.

Facial Region

Rounded, broadheads without being domed and they boast a well-defined stop with a square, short and wide (without any wrinkles) muzzle and a striking black nose.

Oval shaped eyes which may be hazel or amber in color and black rims with dogs boasting a warm look. Long, feathered ears which these dogs carry drooping down and the hair on them blend in with the dog’s coat at the shoulder.

They have strong jaws and their mouth is slightly undershot although it can be level too.


Nicely proportioned necks which dogs carry well arched adding to their proud and pompous look. Their well-sloped shoulders with short front legs and well-muscled showing lots of bone.

Broad, deep chest and a well sprung rib cages. Muscular hindquarters with short, well angulated back legs and well-muscled with well-rounded as well as powerful thighs.

The extremely plumed tails are set high and these dogs them arched over their backs daily.

Maltese Shih Tzu Care

  • Exercise NeedsAverage
  • Intensity – High
  • Activity Level – Medium
  • Exercise Requirements – >60 Minutes/Day
  • Walk Mileage/ Week – 5 Miles
  • Playfulness – High
  • Grooming Needs – Average
  • Tendency To DroolNo
  • To SnoreNo
  • BarkLow
  • To DigLow
  • Social/Attention NeedsHigh


Maltese Shih Tzu Temperament

This live wire is gregarious and gutsy, and she loves people of any age group. The Maltese may be snappy and high-strung, but when crossed with the standoffish Shih Tzu, you will get a pleasant and friendly dog that’s good with all people.

However, like any dog, this designer dog needs to be socialized in its puppyhood. Loyal to its family, Malshis can be slightly difficult to housetrain, but not impossible.

This little dog needs a trainer/parent who understands how to be her pack leader. Inappropriate training may result in bad behavior problems, destructive behavior around the house or sheer disobedience

It’s paradoxical that many of the toy or small breeds are not the friendliest. Just because they’re lovely, toy-sized, downy and fluffy, doesn’t mean they love all people and other pets.

But, the affability of a Maltese Shih Tzu is a breath of fresh air and this cute, little fluffer literally loves everyone.

You (you should be glad to be first in the list), the neighbor down the lane, sneaky dogs that keep sniffing its butt, crying infants, the mailman… we could go on and on.

Sure…Malshi will like to meet all your friends. But, don’t choose this crossbreed if you’re looking only for a guard dog.

There’s nothing worse than a Yorkshire Terrier or Chihuahua yapping its head off at 3 am on a workday. Appreciatively, you won’t have to deal with that yapping from a Malshi as they’re generally on the quieter side.

Malshi mind living at home with a crying infant, but, because of its small size, it’s better to leave it around older children with more responsibility and knowledge of how a dog should be handled.

Since the Maltese-Shih Tzu mix forms strong bonds with their owners, they’re often very cheerful, caring, congenial and light-hearted. Malshi attitudes are more laid back than typical Maltese, which makes them all the more adorable.

For first time owners

Welcome to Maltese – Shih Tzu world.  We are sure…You are goin’ to love it. This perky little people pleaser usually is a happy and high-spirited personality that will allow it to fit into most households.

They are a great choice for First-time dog owners because they are so loving and ready to please with an added bonus being that they are extremely sociable.

This being said, these little guys are little difficult to housebreak and the trainer or owners should be aware of their parent breed as well as their specific needs which include the health concerns the hybrid.

If not handled and trained properly from the word go, these charming little personalities can become mini-disorderly and mini-wayward which makes it hard for owners.

Though, in the right hands and with a little persistence, it is possible to overwhelm their stubborn streak.


  • Apartment Living – Yes
  • Good For First-Time Owners – Yes
  • Sensitivity Level – High
  • Loneliness – Hates To Be Left Alone
  • Cold Weather – Average
  • Hot Weather – Average


  • With Family – High
  • Kids – High
  • Other Dogs – High
  • With Cats – Good, If Raised Together
  • Other Pets – Good, If Raised Together
  • Strangers – Suspicious

General Behavior

  • Independence – Low
  • Dominance – Average
  • Combativeness – Low
  • Indoors – Active
  • Outdoor – Highly Active
  • Territorial – Average
  • Easy Of Transportation – High

Maltese Shih Tzu Training

  • Trainability – Easy
  • Intelligence – High
  • Memory – High
  • Mouthiness – Average
  • Prey Drive – Average
  • Wanderlust Potential – Average

Malshis are light-hearted and exceptionally affectionate dogs which makes them easier to train than many other toy breeds and dogs in general.  Their training isn’t too hard, but don’t get too complacent either.

You still need to inculcate a strong training regimen from an early age to get the best out of them. Start socializing and training your dog from puppyhood. For a first-time dog owner, it is better to sign up dog obedience classes.

 The fact that Malshis were bred to be lap dogs doesn’t mean they don’t need training and exercise; they do. Daily walks are a must, but so are plenty of playtimes to vent off her energy because of the intelligence and inquisitiveness of this crossbreed.

Do you think the Malshi looks like a spaz? that’s because she is. This dog loves to scamper and scuttle around anywhere it can. Outside, inside, on the carpet, on wood…Never mind… They jump, hop, skip and leap.

So, If you really want to make your puppy happy, give it a fenced backyard or garden, take advantage of any opportunity to be outdoors, in addition to the needed at least one long walk a day.

It’s better to bring up crate training earlier because the Malshi is so small that it can get into all types of holes and corners.

Pick a spot away from high-traffic areas, direct sunlight, from a radiator or away from an in-floor heating or cooling vent. How about having your Malshi pup’s crate in your bedroom? That’s kinda your call…depending on your sleeping tendencies

Surprise…. surprise…. this peppering has sometimes a bit of a sassy attitude but it’s not an act of hostility. Instead, your pooch might be trying to tell you something important.

Growling or Nipping may signify that your dog may have a health issue and feels uncomfortable or vulnerable. Otherwise, it could be an act of dominance. Consider 80% -20 %.

In the latter case, you’ll have to show the Malshi who’s boss/pack leader in the house. The best way to implement your supremacy is with food. Make your dog lay down or sit before every meal.

Instinctively, they are not aggressive; however, start the obedience training right from puppyhood to ward off possibilities of your pooch showing sporadic aggression in the future.

Maltese Shih Tzu Food

Being on the small end of the scale, the Shih Tzu Maltese require an average of 40 calories per pound, while large dogs only require an average of 20 calories per pound.

It may also seem weird that puppy will require more calories per day than your adult Malshi (since puppies have incredible metabolic rate), however, this is not unusual.

Your puppy needs more calories as it is growing and they burn through calories very quickly, therefore it needs more energy to support this process.

Though quantity depends on the brand, an adult Maltese Shih Tzu requires ½ a cup good quality dry dog food that is actually enriched with all the nutrients.

You should divide this feeding into two equal serving which will ensure your dog remains satisfied all day and night. A good option is to feed Shih Tzu Malteses the kibble specialized for small, toy, and teacup dog breeds.

The best foods should have high calorific value, meat protein, complex carbs, B vitamins (from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables), and good digestibility with small kibble size (several “all life stages” foods have kibbles apt for small or toy breeds)

Rough Feeding guide for Malshi:

  • Daily cost – $1.00 – $1.20 (average)
  • Monthly cost – $30.00 – $36.00
  • Pups: eight and 12 weeks old (after its moved from weaning) – 2-3 meals every 24 hours (80g- 120g) semi-solid, wet or moist foods preferable
  • 3 to 6 months old – 2 meals every 24 hour period (120g-140g)
  • Feed puppies 6 months to 1 year – 2 bowls/daily (140g)
  • When your dog reaches 12- 18 months mark, 1 or 2 smaller bowls every 24 hours (you may reduce portions as the growth rate slows down) is typically all that’s necessary.

Remember, the daily feedings should be determined by the puppy’s build. Once a puppy hits her first birthday they can be fed adult dog food depending on their energy level, training and eating preferences

  • Dogs weighing-3 kg = 80-120g
  • 5 kg =140g
  • 7 kg = 120g
  • Protein content should be between 14 – 21%
  • Carb content should be 30 to 70%
  • Fiber content should be less than 4%
  • Fat content should be less than 10%
  • Calcium content should be 0.5 – 0.8%
  • Phosphorous content should be 0.4 – 0.7%
  • Sodium content should be 0.2 – 0.4%

 Do’s and Don’ts when looking for Malshi foods 

  • Check out for foods that feature chicken, beef, lamb or salmon with protein as the first listed item. Avoid foods missing a whole protein at the start of the ingredient list.
  • Avoid foods that contain artificial additives such as artificial colors, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives.
  • Purchase only foods that contain explicitly identified meat meals and by-products. Shun foods with poorly identified or unidentified meat meals. That is to say, the Beef meal is Okay; meat meal is not. Chicken byproducts are acceptable; poultry byproducts are not.
  • Foods that are equipped with probiotics often help reduce digestive problems in Malshis.
  • Dry kibble will keep your pup’s teeth good than wet foods, so it is usually preferable (and also affordable) to pass up wet foods. Moreover, some premium kibbles comprise of special teeth-cleaning characteristics.

Maltese Shih Tzu Grooming And Shedding

  • Coat Density – Normal
  • Length – Long
  • Texture – Straight
  • Brushing Frequency – Daily
  • Trimming/Stripping – Yes
  • Hypoallergenic – Yes
  • Shedding – Minimal

Designer dogs very much more than their purebred parents in many different characteristics such as size, temperament and, particularly, coat.

Even puppies from the same litter cannot be assured to look or act the same. Check with your breeder about the differences between each Malshi generation, as the proportion of each parent breed modifies per generation.

F1 Malshis are the result of crossing a purebred Maltese with purebred Shih Tzu.

F1B = when a breeder takes one F1 Malshi and crosses them back with either purebred Maltese or a purebred Shih Tzu and doing so usually makes the F1B puppies in the resultant litter even smaller

F2 = offspring of two F1 Malshis bred together… and so on.

Since most buyers want the small size of the Maltese and the colorings of the Shih Tzu, there is little breeding beyond the first generation (F1).

Per se, nearly all Malshis you’ll find available will be 50% each of the two purebred parents.

Their coats are normally long to very long and from straight to wavy, but either way its thick silky, fluffy (never curly) and rather soft coat (while their owners often give them trendy haircuts).

Distinctively, Malshis often don’t have an undercoat. This dog was bred purposely to eliminate shedding although minimal shedding still does occur.

These dogs are branded to be hypoallergenic so whoever is on vacuum duties will thank you later!

Their coat can come in a variety of colors and may range anywhere from white, black, grey, brown, or multicolored. For instance, white and brown, white and black, brown and black… You get the point!

The markings on these diminutive dogs vary a lot and consequently make it a little easier to differentiate your little Shih Tzu-Maltese from others.

In general, these tend to shed less overall but they still shed some of their furs in the winter months as to cool down for the summer month.

Regular brushing will not only keep their coats and skin in good condition, but it will help keep any shed hair under control.

They can also be professionally trimmed or clipped few times a year to be even and uniform(yet it’s better to remain a little fluffy) as it makes your job simple for keeping their coats looking good in between visits to a grooming parlor.

Maltese Shih Tzu Health Problems

Some major health issues that affect Malshi dogs:

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) – This common clinical disorder occurs when the fibrocartilaginous cushions between the vertebrae (except the first two cervical vertebrae) in a dog’s spine damages or ruptures or herniates into the spinal canal, resulting in severe swelling and pain, nerve damage, partial loss of limb function and even paralysis.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) – This is an autosomal congenital genetic disease that causes deterioration of the retina (retinal photoreceptor cells) which causes progressive vision loss

Patellar luxation – Commonly called as a trick knee, this inherited disorder is common in small and toy breeds. Luxating patella is characterized by ectopic development of the distal femoral patellar surface or lateral to the trochlear groove of the femur.

The consequent abnormal tracking or dislocation of the patella causes it to slip out of the groove and eventually rupture their cranial cruciate ligament. These dogs often have either a knock-kneed or bow-legged appearance with varying degrees of lameness

Minor concerns

Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome – A particular set of upper airway abnormalities that often affect brachycephalic dogs (Flat-faced dogs that have narrowed nostrils and shortened muzzles).

This may lead to difficulty breathing which may result in severe loss of breath due to over-exertion. Sadly for the Malshi, both parent breeds, the Maltese and the Shih Tzu are brachycephalic breeds.

White Shaker Syndrome – Scientifically known as idiopathic cerebellitis, this neurologic syndrome causes full body tremors in the dogs and their whole body shakes unexpectedly.

This is a strange condition in dogs that are not fully understood and is supposed to be caused by an inflammation in the brain which is idiopathic.

 Portosystemic Shunt of the Liver – Shunt of the liver is a congenital condition affecting blood flow to the liver and the inability of the liver to extract noxious substances from the portal circulation.

It’s usually caused by a birth defect and symptoms include stunted growth or poor muscle development, disorientation, episodes of hyperactivity, head pressing and circling, seizures, weakness, and excess salivation.

Maltese Shih Tzu Price

The price of Malshi puppies will cost you anywhere from $500 – $700 from a reputable breeder. Then there are licenses, vaccines, preventative medicine, heartworm testing and – of course – spaying or neutering. You’ve added an extra $400 to the actual price.

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