All About The Maltese Shih Tzu Mix (Malshi): Facts & Information

shih tzu maltese mix malshi

The Maltese Shih Tzu mix is a sweet, good-natured mixed breed dog. He gets his personality from his parents, the Maltese and the Shih Tzu.

If you’re wondering if the Maltese Shih Tzu Mix is the right pet for you, read this article to learn all the facts about the adorable breed.

There’s no better way to determine whether or not this crossbreed will make an excellent addition to your household.

So, is this the right breed for you? Let’s find out…..

Few Facts About the Maltese Shih Tzu Mix

Other names: Malshi, Malte Tzu, Mal-Shi, Shihtese
Weight: 6 to 12 pounds
Height: 10 – 12 inches long
Good Watch dog: Yes, for small homes and apartments
Lifespan: 12 to 14 years
Apartment living: Yes
Tolerate being alone: No
Coat: A medium-length coat, hypoallergenic
Level of shedding: Low to moderate shedding, daily brushing is required
Temperament: Alert, loyal, loving, affectionate, gentle, loving, playful, intelligent, sweet, energetic
Suitable for new owners: Yes
Exercise needs: Low, at least 15 to 30 minutes of exercise a day is required
Cat & dog friendly: Yes, but early socialization is required
Kids friendly: Best suited to a family with older children
Price: $500 to $800

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What is a Shih Tzu and Maltese Mix Called?

The Shih Tzu Maltese Mix is a cross between a Maltese and Shih Tzu dog and he is normally considered to be a hybrid or designer dog.

When a purebred Shih Tzu joins forces with a purebred Maltese dog, you’re are most likely to end up with a strong, friendly and charming companion.

The Maltese Shih Tzu Mix is also known as Malte Tzu, Malshi, Mal-Shi or Shihtese.

However, not all dogs that are called Malshi are a result of two purebred parents. For instance, the father could be a purebred Maltese and the mother a Malshi.

When choosing a puppy, make sure that you know who the actual parents are. When visiting a breeder, make sure to see both parent dogs.

The Malshi is not a purebred dog, so he is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. However, there are some other organizations (such as the American Canine Hybrid Club), which allow pet parents to register their mixed breed dogs.

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The Origin of the Maltese Shih Tzu Mix

Imagine two of the cutest dogs in the world coming together and bringing forth an offspring. That’s how the Shih Tzu Maltese Mix came about.

The Malshi comes from two lovable breeds: the Shih Tzu and the Maltese.

This crossbreed was developed during the designer dog craze of the 1990’s to deliver the best of both worlds. Breeders initially wanted to develop a small, hypoallergenic dog.

The Shih Tzu is intelligent, playful and friendly. The Maltese, on the other hand, is docile, playful, fearless and affectionate.

The Shih Tzu and Maltese Mix dog make for an excellent family companion.

Unlike other mixed breed dogs such as the Labradoodle, this dog’s name was not commonly used for promotional purposes. This explains why the Malshi is not a very popular choice among American families. The Maltese and the Shih Tzu is more popular in countries such as Australia and is gradually gaining popularity around the globe.

To fully understand where the Maltese Shih Tzu Mix comes from, we need to study the origins of both parents, the Maltese dog and the Shih Tzu.

The History of the Maltese

The Maltese is a very old breed whose origins can be traced as far back as 2000 years ago.

Small dogs resembling the present-day Maltese dog have been the subject of artists and poets. In fact, Aristotle mentioned the breed in his own writings. In Egypt, the Maltese was believed to have healing powers.

While the Maltese was a very popular dog across the Mediterranean region, ownership of the dog also took place in Malta and Asia.

The exact origins of the Maltese remain unclear, but it’s widely believed that he is a descendant of the Spaniel-like or Splitz-type of dogs who inhabited the Isle of Malta thousands of years ago. Ultimately, the Maltese were introduced to England and Queen Elizabeth I even owned the dog.

Between the 17th and 18th centuries, attempts by breeders to make the dog smaller almost led to the extinction of the Maltese.

The Maltese was introduced to America by Englishmen.

Maltese dog origin

The History of the Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is another ancient breed. In fact, the Shih Tzu is one of the oldest breeds of dogs in the world. It is believed that the Shih Tzu was a treasured companion of the Chinese 8000 B.C.

Back then, the Shih Tzu was also known as the “lion dog”. Even the Empress T’Zu Hsi owned a Shih Tzu. She loved different types of animals and even warned that anyone found trying to harm the dog would be killed.

She started Shih Tzu Kennels where strict breeding programs were implemented. It is said that Dalai Lama donated the dogs that she used to start the dog kennels.

It is also said that Shih Tzus were kept in a special palace and would usually sit up and greet her guests. A few other royal families attempted to continue her breeding programs following her death, but didn’t succeed in producing high quality dogs like the ones she had.

The most adorable dogs were sometimes smuggled out of the Imperial Court and would be gifted or sold to noblemen. Low quality dogs were often sold to ordinary folks.

The Shih Tzu was first introduced to England before making its way to the United States.

shih tzu dog origin

What Does a Maltese Shih Tzu Mix Look Like?

In most cases, the Malshi takes on the physical characteristics of both parent dogs. However, there’s no guarantee about which traits your puppy will inherit, as each litter is usually unique.

Sometimes one of the parents has stronger genes than the other, making the Shih Tzu Maltese Mix look more like one of the parents rather than a perfect combination of both.

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Most Malshi dogs tend to acquire a combination of colors from both parents, but some of the puppies will take on the color of the Shih Tzu parent.

A Maltese is white in color while a Shih Tzu comes in different colors, including black, white, red, brown, gold, brindle or silver. The markings on this crossbreed will vary, making it easy to tell a Shih Tzu Maltese from other dogs.

Inheriting the long locks of both the Maltese and the Shih Tzu, the Malshi will also be longhaired. The dog may or may not inherit the straight and dense coat of his Shih Tzu parent.

Although most Malshi puppies will look like the Shih Tzu, they will have longer noses. They will hold their tail straight up and over the body just like both the Maltese and the Shih Tzu dogs do. They will have large bulging eyes, which could be amber or hazel.

How Big Will a Shih Tzu Maltese Mix Get?

Keep in mind that the Mal-shi is a toy dog breed. This means that your Shih Tzu Maltese puppy will be a small dog. Both males and females are about the same size.

The height of most Malshi dogs is around 10 to 12 inches and their weight is anywhere between 6 and 12 pounds. However, the size of your puppy will depend on the parents.

Many Shih Tzu Maltese full grown dogs do not conform to these standards, so make sure to check both parent dogs to get a good idea of how big your Malshi puppy will get. Most Malshi puppies are lighter in weight than your average Shih Tzu dog.

Maltese Shih Tzu Mix Behavior and Temperament

Malshi dogs are alert, loyal, loving and affectionate. They love their owner unconditionally and will do anything to come to his rescue. These personality traits are exhibited by both the Maltese and the Shih Tzu.

The Maltese are known to be calm, playful and affectionate. They are very alert and tend to be wary of strangers and any new movements or sounds in their environment. The Maltese are also intelligent and tend to learn quite fast.

On the other hand, the Shih Tzu is a sweet and loving dog. They are also playful and make excellent family companions. However, some are agile and can be quite stubborn. Shih Tzus have been used for many years as family companions and house pets.

When you mix the personalities and temperaments of both the Maltese and the Shih Tzu, you are most likely to get a gentle, loving, playful and intelligent canine. Their antics can be quite amusing, making them an excellent choice for families and singles alike.

Due to their small size, they are best suited to a family with older children who know how to interact with them. They generally get along well with other dogs as well as other household pets.

You’ll also be pleased to know that the Mal-shi dog makes for an excellent watch dog since they are very alert and wary of strangers. As such, they are very quick to alert their owner if they sense danger.

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When it comes to barking, the Maltese are known to bark more often than the Shih Tzu dogs. This means that your Malshi puppy may be a barker or may be quite reserved.

When it comes to behavioral traits, your Malshi may show signs of boredom or separation anxiety if you leave him alone for an extended period of time. Lack of mental stimulation can also lead to behavioral problems such as barking, utter disobedience and destructive behavior around your house.

Malshi dogs can also acquire the stubborn streak typical of Shih Tzu dogs. Therefore, it’s best to start training early. These dogs do respond well to positive guidance and socialization. Consistency and patience is of the utmost importance when training your Maltese Shih Tzu Mix.

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Maltese Shih Tzu Mix Training

Fortunately, the Mal-shi dog loves his owner very much and your puppy will be eager to please. Whenever your Malshi puppy gets to spend time with you, he is happy to bond with you even when you require him to follow specific orders.

The dog is also intelligent, which makes training easy. His intelligence is definitely one of the things you will love about this dog. For that reason, training and keeping your Malshi dog out of trouble will be easy. They are quick to grasp things and they tend to remember information.

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However, the dog may be quite stubborn due to his Shih Tzu genes. Patience and consistency should pay off when training your Maltese Shih Tzu Mix.

Crate training is extremely important for these dogs to help keep them out of trouble. A crate is the best option for his napping period. That said, you should avoid keeping your Shih Tzu and Maltese Mix in a crate throughout the day. Your pup should spend a reasonable amount of time in his crate.

Like all dogs, a Maltese Shih Tzu Mix requires positive reinforcement training. Punishment or over-spoiling your puppy can result in undesirable behavioral traits such as barking and destructive behaviors.

However, keep in mind that the Mal-Shi dogs are generally cheerful and well behaved. They should live amicably with other household pets. As with all dogs, make sure you socialize your Malshi while he is still a puppy. This will help prevent shyness or aggression later in their life.

The Shih Tzu Maltese Mix tends to be wary of strangers and can become distressed if he is uncomfortable around them. However, this is due to improper socialization.

Some recommended socialization tips include taking your dog to a nearby dog park, daily walks around your neighborhood and trips to the beach. Think of dog-friendly places near you and you will definitely find nice places for your dog to explore.

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Exercise Requirements

The Maltese Shih Tzu Mix loves physical activity. This is because the dog will be quite energetic. Nonetheless, provided that he gets short exercises each day, he should be fine.

Your Malshi will most likely be as much of a bundle of energy as he is a lapdog. However, he will need physical activity to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

Keep in mind that the Mal-Shi is extremely intelligent, so be sure to provide him with plenty of interactive dog toys to boost mental stimulation. Your Malshi will also enjoy a game of Fetch from time to time.

Moreover, your dog will do well with short walks each day. He may also enjoy regular trips to the dog park where he will get an opportunity to play with his new canine friends.

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If you keep him in a fenced-in yard, make sure to allow him to play outside for a reasonable period of time each day to help meet his exercise needs.

However, one kind of activity your Maltese Shih Tzu Mix will not enjoy is swimming. This is because neither the Maltese nor the Shih Tzu can swim, so don’t be tempted to take your Shih Tzu Maltese Mix to the swimming pool on those hot, summer days.

This breed combination will adapt well to apartment life as long as he is properly trained, socialized and exercised. The Mal-Shi will be able to get some exercises indoors, but still need daily walks and quality playtime with his family.

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Grooming Requirements

Many potential pet parents ask the question “is the Maltese Shih Tzu Mix hypoallergenic?”.

Well, although the breeders of this Mix wanted to create an hypoallergenic dog, he is not completely hypoallergenic.

The coat type your Malshi inherits will determine how frequently his coat needs grooming. Generally, short coat styles will minimize grooming demands.

The type of brushes and combs this crossbreed needs will vary based on the coat style. Daily grooming is recommended for long coats to eradicate mats and tangles. Regular ear, eye and nail care will help prevent nail disorders and common infections.

A high quality diet, access to fresh water and regular vet checkups can help improve skin and coat health and quality.

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Encourage exercise for about 10 minutes before each grooming session. That way, you can rid your pup of any excess energy and make him easier to manage during each grooming session.

Feed your pup’s coat and skin treats to enhance coat and skin potential during the grooming process.

Next, comb his coat to eradicate all tangles and mats. This will also help remove dirt, debris and dead hair from the coat.

Check for hot spots, skin sores or inflamed areas on your dog’s body. This will help detect skin issues early so you can manage them before things get out of hand.

Bath your dog at least once a month to help keep his skin and coat healthy. Use deodorizing wipes for dogs to keep his skin and coat clean and healthy when you are not washing him. Perform regular nail trimming as needed. You may also want to trim his coat to keep it at a manageable length.

shih tzu and maltese mix dog Source

During the shedding season, brush your pup’s coat each day using a bristle brush, especially if your dog’s coat resembles that of his Shih Tzu parent. This will remove dirt and dust as well as prevent mats and tangles. Another option is to consider haircuts so it is much easier to manage.

Last, but not the least, brush your dog’s teeth at least once a week to eradicate bad breath and to remove bacteria.

Further Reading: Top 10 Best Bones to Clean Dogs Teeth

Feeding Info

This mixed breed dog is not vulnerable to obesity, so you’re in luck when it comes to diet and nutrition.

However, all dogs require a certain amount of high quality dog food. Most dog owners prefer to use standard cups to measure the correct amount of food for their dogs.

Due to his small size, the Mal-Shi doesn’t require a lot of food. 1/2 or 1/4 cup of premier quality dog food should be enough. Split this into two meals per day. That way, your dog will remain satisfied throughout the day.

Also, your dog will love occasional treats, but make sure you give him healthy snacks for treats.

Keep in mind that, as with all dogs, your Malshi dog’s dietary needs may change depending on his age, health, size and activity level.

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Maltese Shih Tzu Mix Health Problems

The average Maltese Shih Tzu lifespan is around 12 to 14 years. The Malshi is generally known to be a healthy crossbreed.

Like all dogs, however, Malshi puppies may inherit certain health issues from their parents. Common health issues include eye problems, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation and White Shaker Syndrome.

If you want to buy a puppy, choose a reputable breeder who will produce health clearances for both parent dogs.

Finding Healthy Maltese Shih Tzu Puppies for Sale

As we’ve already stated, you need to find a responsible breeder if you want to buy a healthy Malshi puppy.

Good breeders are knowledgeable of the breed and always create healthy puppies with good temperaments. Therefore, the puppy you buy from them will have a good chance of growing into a well behaved family pet.

A good place to start your search for Malshi puppies for sale is to ask for recommendations from your vet or colleagues.

Meet a few breeders and ask to see both parent dogs so you can get a good idea of what to expect from your new puppy. Make sure that both the parents and the puppy look healthy and are comfortable in their environment.

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How Much Does a Maltese Shih Tzu Cost?

The average price of a Maltese Shih Tzu Mix is around $500 to $800.

A much cheaper option is to consider Malshi adoption. You can check with both Maltese and Shih Tzu rescue or animal shelters in your state to see if you can find this Mix available for adoption.

When it comes to getting a new dog, the problem is that there’s no guarantee that you’re getting a genuine Maltese Shih Tzu Mix even if the dog looks and acts like one. In order to be on the safe side, be sure to use the Embark Dog DNA Test Kit to determine the parentage of your new puppy.

ALSO READ: All About the Cock-A-Tzu (The Cocker Spaniel Shih Tzu Mix)


Also known as Malshi, the Maltese Shih Tzu Mix is a sweet, loving dog who is known to be a great family pet. These little guys are full of love and joy. You and your family will be able to share great memories with this dog for many years to come.



Passionate lover of dogs and proud owner of a friendly, mischievous and energetic golden retriever named Beethoven! I’m incredibly excited to share my experiences on how best to care for your beloved pet. The more we know, the happier we and our canine friends will be!

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