The Maltese Shih Tzu crossbreed is an adorable breed of Toy sized dog that makes a relaxing and cuddly companion. Also known as a Malshi, this tiny little dog is created by breeding a Maltese dog with a Shih Tzu dog to give a fluffy and loving pup that will adapt to many different situations.
Because of their celebrity status, the Maltese Shih Tzu mixed breed is known as a designer breed and stands at less than 12” tall. If you’re interested in learning more about this cute little doggie, read on below to find out about their history, their characteristics and what every day with a Malshi is like.
History Of The Maltese Shih Tzu
The Malshi breed is created by breeding a Maltese with a Shih Tzu. A Maltese is a small and hypoallergenic dog, while the Shih Tzu is a clever and spunky. Therefore, the Maltese Shih Tzu receives a mixture of these wonderful characteristics when born, creating an affectionate yet playful little breed that is adorable and fun at the same time.
Both parents of the Maltese Shih Tzu originate from different parts of the world. The Shih Tzu comes from Asia and the Maltese comes from the Mediterranean. The Maltese Shih Tzu was first bred in the 1990s in the United States.
Much like the Shorkie dog, the aim when breeding the Maltese Shih Tzu was to create a dog that didn’t shed as much. Because both parent dogs are very small, it did not matter whether the Maltese or the Shih Tzu was the sire or the dam. The result was a designer little dog that is small enough to carry around in your purse.
Unfortunately, because the Maltese Shih Tzu is a hybrid, they are not recognized by any kennel club, including the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Characteristics Of The Maltese Shih Tzu
As with many hybrid dogs, it can be difficult to know exactly what characteristics your Maltese Shih Tzu is going to get from each parent. Maltese Shih Tzu’s are normally born in litter sizes of 6 to 8 puppies, which is a relatively large sized litter considering their small bodies.
These Maltese Shih Tzu puppies normally cost around $400 – $800 each, although it will vary from breeder to breeder. Each litter will look slightly different and have different colorations.
The Maltese Shih Tzu is a Toy breed and is therefore very small. We have established above that both parents are of the same size, so it does not matter who is the sire or the dam when breeding. As a puppy, the Maltese Shih Tzu will measure around 7 inches tall and weigh 4 lbs.
By two months of age they will have mostly stopped growing and will certainly be of adult height and weight by 12 months old. This is normally 10 inches tall and 6-12 lbs in weight.
Some say that the Malshi resembles a pom pom. Although their bodies are small, their head and body are proportionate to each other. They normally have big bulgy eyes, which can be hazel or amber in color.
The Maltese Shih Tzu coat is normally long and it allows owners to give them wonderful haircuts. Their coats can be straight or wavy, too. These pups do not have an undercoat and were bred specifically to eliminate shedding, although some does still occur. This means that their coats are hypoallergenic and perfect for those who have allergies and do not want lots of dog hair around their home!
We will go into more detail about grooming your Malshi later on.
We mentioned above that the color of the Maltese Shih Tzu mix can vary from litter to litter. Normally they are white, black or brown, although they can come in a mix of different colors so you get a really unique dog! The markings on the pups vary too and this can make it a lot easier to tell your Maltese Shih Tzu apart from others.
The Maltese Shih Tzu is a very loving dog that just wants to love and be loved! Very adaptable, this pooch can fit in to any environment, including the family home, with a couple or with an individual. They also don’t mind where you live, whether it be in a small apartment in the city or in a large house in the countryside, as long as you give them lots of love!
These pups are known for being energetic enough when they want to be, but also very cuddly and affectionate animals that will happily curl up on the couch like a true lapdog. They do require a lot of attention and if they don’t get enough they can become bored and depressed. This can lead to unwanted and undesirable behaviors.
The Malshi can get on with everyone and anyone when they are socialized properly, and this includes other dogs. They can become a little feisty when not introduced properly, so socializing from a young age is important. They do not require much exercise and lots of cuddles and attention will be enough mental stimulation for them.
The Malshi has a relatively long life expectancy. These pups can live, on average, to between 12 to 14 years old.
Known Health Issues
The Maltese Shih Tzu was bred with the intention of eliminating many health problems their parents face. Unfortunately, as with any dog, this breed is still prone to some health problems. The most common three health issues are laid out below:
- Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome — this is a condition that is normally seen in dogs who have a short and flattened head and face. It can lead to breathing issues and loss of breath if they are overexerted. Unfortunately for the Malshi, both parent breeds are genetically predisposed to this syndrome.
- White Shaker Syndrome — this is a syndrome that is common in smaller dogs and causes the whole body to shake. It is caused by an inflammation in the brain which is idiopathic. Some owners mistake this for their dog just being cold but if you suspect they are suffering from white shaker syndrome, you should take them to the vets.
- Patellar Luxation — this is a common condition in smaller dogs and is caused when the patella is not properly aligned. This can cause lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait, sort of like a skip or a hop.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any of these issues before they become untreatable.
Now we have covered what the temperament and characteristics of the Maltese Shih Tzu are, it is time to take a look at what living with a Malshi is really like. This includes their food and diet, their exercise needs and their grooming needs.
Food And Diet
Because of their small size, the Maltese Shih Tzu mix does not require very much food. It is recommended that you give them 55 calories per pound of body weight while they are a puppy, and 45 calories per pound of body weight once they reach their adult life. Your Malshi puppy will need more because they are still growing.
As an adult, this should come out to around 1/2 a cup of dry dog food a day. The food you feed your pup should be high-quality and you can always check the back of the food packet to ensure you are giving them the right amount of food based on their weight. It is recommended that the kibble you feed them is formulated for small or Toy dog breeds.
You should try to feed your dog in two meals a day. Fortunately, this breed is not prone to obesity. However, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t feed them healthily!
Best Dog Food For The Maltese Shih TzuBUY ON AMAZON
We recommend this dry dog food from Nutro for your Maltese Shih Tzu. This food is specially formulated for small and Toy breeds and the kibble pieces are small so your dog can easily chew and swallow them.
There are a range of proteins in this food too, including chicken, lamb and salmon, that ensure your dog keeps strong and lean muscles way into their adult years. Added fruits and vegetables also gives your pup a shiny and healthy coat and aid digestion. Even better, this food doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
It comes as no surprise that the Maltese mix does not have huge exercise needs. However, although they don’t need a large yard to run around in, it doesn’t mean that they don’t need exercise at all.
You should expect to walk your Maltese Shih Tzu for around 15 to 30 minutes every day. Mental stimulation will keep them entertained, which includes time playing with you and showing that you love them! These dogs are very intelligent, so they will love to explore and learn new things as well.
The Maltese Shih Tzu makes an excellent family dog. Highly adaptable, these dogs do well in small city apartments and large countryside homes, as long as you give them enough love. They will also thrive in an environment with a couple or just an individual, as long as they get enough attention!
These pups are not the most active and you don’t need to worry about taking them out for long walks everyday. They will very happily curl up not he couch with you for a cuddle and can be very affectionate! That being said, they can also be playful and love to be around children, so you get the best of both worlds with this pup!
Easily trainable and sociable, these dogs get along with everyone, including humans and animals. They can become a little feisty around those that they don’t know, but with the right socialization from a young age, this can easily be fixed.
You must make sure you are able to give your Malshi the attention they need. While this doesn’t mean you need to be with them at all hours of the day, you will need to play with them and show them you love them when you are with them!
Without this affection they can become bored and depressed and begin to exhibit signs of destructive behavior. If they are left alone for long periods of time then they can suffer from separation anxiety, so they are not the pup to have if you are out at work all day long.
Training a Maltese Shih Tzu is not difficult, but it will require patience. You should always make sure to use positive reinforcement techniques. This includes verbal praise and treats. However, be careful not to over-spoil your pup either, because this can lead to bad behavioral habits such as destruction and barking.
Your Malshi will do best in training if it is presented as a game to them. An intelligent dog, they thrive with mental stimulation. This can simply be spending time with you and being shown affection and they are loved. They will also love to play fetch and games such as hide and seek.
We mentioned above that the Maltese Shih Tzu breed can get a little feisty when they are around strangers that they don’t know. Proper socialization from a young age will ensure they get along with all humans — both adults and children — and other pets as well. Socialization should consist of taking them to different places. This way they will learn new sights, sounds, smells and learn what it is like to be around other people.
One of owners’ favorite things about their Maltese Shih Tzu is the fact that they can take them to the groomers for a unique haircut! Making them a typical designer dog, these pups will benefit from a haircut, especially in the summer when it is warmer.
However, if you are not interested in giving your Malshi a new do, don’t worry. You will still need to brush them to get rid of any excess fur and dander but this can be done as little as twice a week. A bath twice a year is also recommended to keep your doggie’s hair silky smooth.
It is advised you clip their nails and brush their teeth regularly too, which will help to keep dental decay at bay. Watch out for their eyes and any tear stains and clean as often as you need to — their parent breed the Maltese can be prone to tear staining so this is something to look out for.
Maltese Shih Tzu FAQ’s
How much does a Maltese Shih Tzu cost?
A Maltese Shih Tzu can set you back anywhere between $400-$800 per puppy. This is not as much as some Toy dog cross breeds, but because this pup is still a designer breed, it is quite expensive.
If this is too far out of your price range, you can always check your local shelter. There are thousands of dogs all around the United States who need forever homes!
How big is a Maltese Shih Tzu when they are fully grown?
A Maltese Shih Tzu is a Toy breed of dog, so they do not grow to be very big. Both their parents are very small too. On average, the Maltese Shih Tzu will probably not grow over 10 inches tall, especially by the time they reach adulthood (12 months old). When they are a puppy, they are an average of 7 inches tall. These dogs normally stop growing around 2 months old.
The Maltese Shih Tzu is an adorable breed of Toy dog that makes the perfect pet to almost anyone. Exceptionally adaptable, these pups can live in both small city apartments and large country homes with no issues. The dog that just wants to be loved, the Malshi craves attention and will happily spend hours cuddled next to you.
Also playful, this small dog is the perfect playmate for children and, despite this, does not have high exercise needs. Although a little grooming is required, this hypoallergenic dog is low maintenance and will easily become your best friend and great companion.