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13 Things to Know about the Maltese Mix Shih Tzu

Throughout history, we have seen a number of new dog breeds spring up as a result of crossbreeding. These designer breeds have been bred to bring the best of both worlds together. Breeders hope these crossbreeds inherit the best traits from each of the parent dogs.

One such dog is the adorable Maltese mix Shih Tzu, often referred to as the “friendly toy.” No one can blame you if you saw this cute furball and became interested in adding them to your family. However, before you get them because of their appeal to the eye, there are various things you need to know about the Maltese mix Shih Tzu.

You can find them all below, from its origins and personality to the perfect dog food for these pups and other wacky and fun facts.

black and white maltese shih tzu

You might enjoy reading my posts on Chihuahua Shih Tzu Mix DogsMaltese Shih Tzu PoodleShih Tzu MixesShih Tzu Mixed with YorkieShih Tzu PomeranianShih Tzu MiniImperial Shih Tzu and How Long do Shih Tzus Live.

13 Things to Know about the Maltese Mix Shih Tzu

1. Origin

The Maltese Shih Tzu is a hybrid dog that calls two canines its parents. These are the Maltese dog and the Shih Tzu dog – which you could’ve easily guessed.

The Maltese is a small dog breed originally from the island of Malta. In the past, it was a very popular lapdog for European royalty in part due to its small size. Today, it’s a popular show dog thanks to its intelligence and how easy it is to train the dog.

The Shih Tzu is another small dog breed, this time hailing from China. It was originally kept as a companion for many people, including Chinese royalty.

Breeders first bred the dog in the 1990s to create a toy breed that shed less hair than its parents. Although it still sheds a bit, the result was considered a success and is one of the reasons behind this cutie’s popularity.

Since saying Shih Tzu Maltese mix is lengthy, there are other names this breed is known by. These include the Mal-Shi (or Malshi), Malti Zu, and the Malti-Tzu.

white shih tzu maltese puppy

2. Maltese Shih Tzu Appearance

The Maltese Shih Tzu, sometimes misspelled as Maltese Shitzu, is a toy dog. This means it’s small enough to sit on your lap or fit in your bag.

This comes from both parents as the Maltese and Shih Tzu are small dogs. Since there isn’t a breed standard, sizes do tend to vary from dog to dog.

As an adult, the Maltese Shih Tzu mix usually reaches a height of six to 10 inches tall. Extremely lightweight, Maltese Shih Tzus typically weigh six to twelve pounds.

The Maltese Shih Tzu breed’s tiny body is usually wrapped in a majestic wavy or long and straight coat. Its fur comes in a variety of colors, including white, black, brown, and a combination of all three.

3. Grooming Needs

If their beautiful appearance is what’s made this mixed breed appealing to you, you’ll need to groom them properly to ensure you both stay happy. While this designer breed doesn’t shed a lot, its silky coat needs great tender love and care to maintain its beauty.

This is a high-maintenance dog and the malshi’s coat needs frequent brushing and bathing. As with other breeds, they also need their teeth brushed and their nails trimmed regularly. Apart from keeping them looking great, grooming sessions are also great opportunities to bond with your furry baby.

For the nails, you can opt for a nail trimmer or a nail grinder. If their nails are not well taken care of, they will likely hurt your pet when they walk.

maltese mix shih tzu on the grass

To avoid mats and tangles on the coat, you’ll have to brush your Malshi three to four times a week. You can use pet brush to get the job done.

Bathing will largely depend on what activities your little dog mostly does. Although, a good rule of thumb is to bathe your furry friend once a week using good shampoo and conditioner.

Obviously, this will be more frequent if they usually get dirty from fun in the outdoors, and less if they spend their days indoors.

4. Maltese Shih Tzu Temperament

Apart from inheriting its parent’s physical traits, the Maltese Shih Tzu also has a blend of these temperaments. These are mostly, if not all, positive traits that make them such fantastic companions.

Just like its parents, the Malti-Shu is intelligent, affectionate, gentle, friendly, and pleasant. They’re also highly adaptable to different situations, new people and family structures. There are some members of this breed that are energetic and adventurous, while others are reserved. Generally they are a great companion.

Thanks to these traits, the breed is great for families with young kids or toddlers. Their affectionate nature and fierce loyalty to their humans have earned Malshis the title of “velcro dogs.” This affectionate dog likes nothing more than spending time with its owners, but they can suffer from separation anxiety.

While it’s true that Malshis are generally well-natured, some may have a few negative traits like being hardnosed and being aggressive. These can be inherited from either parent. If possible, try and meet the parents before you fully adopt the dog.

Even if the parent’s temperament isn’t too endearing, your dog can get over the hump of a bad character with socialization and training.

white maltese mix shih tzu running

5. Health Problems

One of the main reasons hybrid breeds exist is to mitigate the health issues their parent breeds face. For example, the Maltese is prone to hypothyroidism, while the Shih Tzu is commonly plagued by typical dog conditions like hip dysplasia and overheating.

However, even one strand of DNA can pass these common issues to the crossbreed. While generally healthy, Malshis can suffer from several conditions that affect their parents.

The two most prominent conditions affecting this crossbreed are patellar luxation and white shaker syndrome. Both ailments can be really painful for your dog, as well as for you to watch.

Patellar luxation is a condition where the kneecaps occasionally move out of place, which may lead to future mobility issues. However, vets say there are negligible cases where the dog may not even feel pain. In the more severe cases, surgery would be needed as soon as possible.

White shaker syndrome is an ailment that causes small dogs to shake uncontrollably during their early years. They range from mild tremors to severe ones that can stop your dog from walking for hours. Luckily, it’s easily treated by vets and can be out of sight within a week or two of treatment.

Other health conditions to be aware of include those affecting the spine and hips.

Despite these issues, the average maltese mix shih tzu is expected to be around for 12 to 14 years. Of course, this depends on how well you care for the canine as well as their diet.

6. Training and Exercise

Thanks to their intelligence, Malshis are very easy to train. They are a docile breed that’s willing to take instructions and commands. After all, they want to please their humans.

However, there are some that can be stubborn when the Shih Tzu is the dominant parent.

Just like other dog breeds, they respond best to positive reinforcement training that’s carried out gently. For example, give them a great dog treat after they follow instructions really well.

As stated above, some Maltese and shih tzu mix dogs are boisterous and naturally open to strangers while others aren’t. Some breed members can be anxious and shy around people or dogs they don’t know, especially when younger.

You can get over that hump by socializing your Shih Tzu Maltese mix early with various activities. This includes taking them on walks at dog parks, outside your house, and more.

Malshis are naturally energetic and need to expend this energy. This is why this lap dog needs daily exercise to stay in shape and remain healthy. However, this doesn’t mean hours of activity as they are brachycephalic and can’t handle intense workouts.

A leisurely walk around the neighborhood for 15 to 30 minutes daily is enough. Just make sure you have them on a traditional leash or the more modern retractable leashes because they tend to run with the wind if let loose.

You can also have fun in your backyard or indoor hallway, play a fun game of fetch or use dog toys to have your Malshi exercise.

brown and white maltese mix shih tzu

7. Diet

Knowing your dog’s dietary needs is one of the essential things to know to ensure your furry friend stays healthy. Having this information comes in handy when trying to avoid obesity or malnourishment in your furball.

The same goes for the Mal-Shi, especially if you want them to grow to perfect size and be with you until they are old. Thanks to how small they are, the breed doesn’t eat a ton of food. Although, it does enjoy its share of tasty snacks.

While it’s best to get this information from your vet, there are some benchmarks Malshi enthusiasts have said are great. As with every cross breed, they eat more as puppies than they do as adults. The pup needs more food and energy to grow compared to an older doggo.

A good rule of thumb is to give your Malti-Tzu pup 55 calories per pound of their body weight. Once you’re shih tzu maltese mix full grown, give them 45 calories per pound of body, which is about half a cup daily.

While Malshis aren’t prone to obesity, it’s better to split these calories into two meals, one in the morning and another in the evening. Make sure to give them food made for small or toy dogs from a renowned brand.

8. They Aren’t Officially Recognized

Despite their global popularity and adoration, the Maltese shih tzu mix isn’t officially recognized as a breed. The world’s kennel clubs haven’t given breeders the all-clear on this adorable dog that looks like a pom-pom.

What does this mean? It means there isn’t an official breed standard that breeders have to stick to. This means individual Maltese mix Shih Tzu will vary in appearance.

This could be disappointing if you wanted a Maltese Shih Tzu after a particular one piqued your interest. However, some consistencies have been seen in these dogs. For instance, their coat is usually the same, and their eyes are generally the same size across all mixes.

9. Cost of The Maltese Mix Shih Tzu

Since the Malti Tzu is a designer dog, you wouldn’t be wrong to expect them to cost an arm and a leg. However, they are one of the more cheap designer dogs as well as an affordable canine in general. Being one of the few crossbreeds without relations to the Poodle could be a factor here.

When bought from a renowned and experienced breeder, you can expect to pay between $500 and $700 for a cute puppy. Adult Malshis cost a little less than the young.

It’s always better to purchase a puppy as you can train them to grow into the dog you want. Adults are often set in their ways and will have a temperament that you may not like.

maltese mix shih tzu tabby tongue out in grass

Make sure to get a certificate that shows the dog has been cleared for any health conditions or lists the concerns you should be aware of.

If you aren’t ready to fork out that much money for a dog, you can adopt a Malshi from shelters and rescue groups. Apart from providing a home to the adorable furry baby, it also gives you a chance to see if the dog would be a good pet.

Just make sure to get an account of their behavior, so you are well-prepared.

10. They’re Great Therapy Dogs

Thanks to their intelligence, affectionate, and friendly personalities, they make great therapy dogs for all humans. Never heard of therapy dogs or don’t know what they do? Don’t worry; you’re about to find out.

Therapy dogs are those canines that provide animal-assisted emotional help. They’ve been gaining popularity in nursing homes, hospitals, as well as within homes of the general population. As a result, some breeds cater to individual owners or large groups, and Malshis are perfect for all.

These dogs have a calming effect that helps alleviate several conditions, all through the power of petting. If you have anxiety, stress, PTSD, experience pain, and other related illnesses, then a Malshi is here to help.

Just pet them and watch as you get calm and your mood improves. Observers have also said that witnessing this phenomenon also brought a smile to their faces.

So, get a Malshi, and you’ll get home to your fur baby waiting by the door. Pet them or hug them and you’ll de-stress and forget about life’s worries – even if for just moments.

black and white maltese mix shih tzu

11. Ideal Environment for This Breed

While dogs can be placed just about anywhere, different breeds have specific preferred environments. This means you must think of your lifestyle and what type of home you have before taking a canine home.

However, thanks to their adaptability, Malshis are comfortable in any environment. Regardless of whether you live in a one-person apartment or full-family house, they’re happy either way.

If you stay in an apartment on your own, these dogs are perfect because they don’t require too much exercise. Your small yard or indoor hallway is enough for the amount of activity they need for the day.

If you’re a large family with a big yard, you give them the space to let loose without the worry of them getting lost.

They aren’t big barkers, and even when they do make a noise, they aren’t as loud as other toy or small breeds. Malshis bark to alert their humans of something, so you’ll have an adorable furball that also doubles as a watchdog.

12. The Maltese Shi Tzu’s Ideal Human

Whether you’re the type of human perfect for this dog is another factor to consider. In fact, it’s as important as considering whether the breed is ideal for you. So, what does the perfect human for the Malti Tzu look like, and do you fit the profile?

Firstly, you have to be at least moderately active to own these little furballs. A couch potato isn’t great for the breed because they need a little exercise daily.

Secondly, they deserve gentle owners who’ll handle them with care at all times. This also goes for young kids, who can sometimes be reckless.

Since they’re velcro dogs who always want to be around their humans, they need someone who’s frequently around. If you love to travel, the Malshi likely isn’t for you.

They are at their happiest being in a home that constantly has people in it. This means you must either have a flexible schedule, have a retired person at home, or will be able to take them with you.

Being a low-shedder, the dog is perfect for anyone suffering from allergies to dogs or dog hair. They’re also great pets for anyone with mobility issues or first-time dog owners.

white and ginger Maltese mix shih tzu

13. They Do Well With Other Pets

Everyone knows it can be difficult getting your new pet to gel with your other babies. Some dogs are just naturally bad at living with other pets, while some can develop jealousy.

Luckily, you don’t have to worry about this with the Maltese Shih Tzu. Thanks to their friendly nature, they do well at joining families that already have other pets. This goes for cats, other dogs, rabbits, and so on.

If yours is especially boisterous and your other pets are friendly too, it won’t be long before you see them having fun together.

But even if you see them hit the ground running, it’s still best to keep an eye on them. This will help you notice any changes in behavior in any of your fur babies. This is especially important if your Maltese Shih Tzu is adopted at an older age. They may act in a way that’s not typical of a Malshi.

Final Thoughts on The Maltese Shih Tzu

If you like small dog breeds then maltese shih tzu puppies could be for you. Maltese Shih Tzus are such an adorable breed that almost anyone would love owning. The pom-pom looking dogs have many traits that call for adoration. They get these traits from their parents, the Maltese and Shih Tzu.

Having now read the above, you should know what to expect if you choose to get a shih tzu and maltese mix. From how they do in different family structures, their diet, grooming demands, and potential health concerns, you know it all.

Now, go and get your fur baby and get ready for years of fun and loyalty from the beautiful crossbreed. Just give them what they need so you both are happy together!

white maltese mix shih tzu

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Connie Redden

Tuesday 21st of September 2021

I truly would love to be able to find a place to adopt a Maltese Shih Tzus puppy!!! I wound much rather adopt a puppy in need of a very good home than to buy one. I would very much love to adopt a little girl puppy , and there would be no intentions on breeding. The puppy would be an absolute joy to be my brother’s little girl. He lost his 14 year old baby girl poodle just past Christmas last year and is heartbroken. He has been looking for a beautiful little girl puppy and has been unable to fine a puppy that didn’t cost a great deal of money. I have always been trying to help him find a good little girl for to spoil with a great deal of love and affection.


Thursday 23rd of September 2021

Best of luck Connie - I hope you find the perfect puppy!

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