13 Important Things To Know About Maltese Shih Tzu

    Maltese Shih Tzu- Complete Breed Guide!

    Maltese Shih Tzu is a crossbreed of Shih Tzu and Maltese breeds. Maltese Shih Tzu forms an amazing companion because of its adorable toy size. It makes a great cuddly and relaxing partner to be with. It is also known as Malshi. They are bred with some goals as doodles- this cute hybrid is a small and allergy-friendly dog that does not shed much. They are sweet lapdogs who love playing with kids.

    Despite their status as designed dog breeds, unfortunately, they are resent in abundant numbers in rescue groups and dog shelters. Make sure you adopt these dogs instead of bringing them from shops so that they can achieve a great loving home.

    Both these breeds were bred together in the hope of getting a breed that is good-natured and small, also a breed that does not shed much with outgoing temperament. By this, you can figure out what kind of personality a Maltese Shih Tzu has.

    Since this is a mixed breed, the American kennel club and other kennel clubs do not recognize it and it has not acquired official breed status till now. Each Maltese shiz Tzu dog has a slightly different appearance when you notice carefully.

    Let’s see in detail what a Maltese Shih Tzu dog looks like.

    Maltese Shih Tzu

    puppy, basket, maltese shih tzu
    Photo by Anyaall on Pixabay

    1. Origin of Maltese Shih Tzu

    The Maltese dogs were first found in Europe in 500 BCE, which indicates they are quite old. It is believed that Maltese is older than breeds that originated in Asia. This breed was highly prevalent in the middle age among the Europan nobles. They were earlier presented as lapdogs back when royal courts were held. The Maltese breed is still extremely popular in Europe and they are called show dogs today.

    The Shih Tzu breed is among the oldest dog breeds known till now and is said to have originated from Tibet. Since 1000 BCE, these are considered to be companion dogs. They were highly popular with noble and china royalty. Traders from these regions introduced Shih Tzu in the United States. They were taken to Europe too after the second world war back in the 1930s.

    Even though Maltese Shih Tzu was breed was initially bred to achieve a toy breed that sheds less, it still sheds. However, the shedding is less compared to the original breeds or parents.

    This feature has made the Maltese shiz Tzu gain a lot of popularity in recent years. It has managed to gain quick fame in Audtrail and the united states. Americans usually recognize this breed as “Mal-Shi”, now you know which breed we are talking about.

    2. Apperance of maltese shih tzu

    When you look at these dogs, they more or less appear like cute pom-pom due to their small size. Their body and head are proportionate. They have significant bulging eyes in hazel or amber color.

    When we talk about their coats, they have a long straight, or wavy coat. One of the most unique features of Maltese Shih Tzu is that they lack undercoats. This is the reason they shed lesser compared to many other breeds. This makes it entirely safe for people who are allergic to pets due to shedding.

    You will see Malshi in various colors as their coats can be brown, black, white, or a combination of all three. Not only this but markings are also seen on their coat which makes all the Maltese Shih Tzu dogs differ from one another in appearance.

    3. Maltese Shih Tzu temperament

    When it comes to their temperament, many of their characteristics match their parent breeds. They are usually more even-tempered, better-natured, and tolerant as compared to Maltese dos so they are popular as friendly toy dogs.

    They are also highly confident so often people describe these dogs to be gutsy. Malshi is popular to be highly tolerant around kids of all ages and they just play happily with kids and other people in the house to make them happy.

    They have a balanced temperament due to characteristics from part breeds which makes them a perfect family dog for kids in there. They are extremely loyal to their families and good to children. You must know that they love people and require a lot of attention from family members to stay happy. They enjoy communication and loves playing games. Not only this, they help their owners with some chores and like going for short walks with their owners.

    However, behavioral problems may arise in these dogs when they are not given enough attention or they become spoilt after leaving them alone for extended periods of time. If you notice any such thing from happening, you should know that they develop a lack of interest or anxiety due to separation. Immense disobedience and indoor destruction may become a habit when not checked for days together.

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    As an owner make sure you never spoil your Maltese Shih Tzu to the level that they consider themselves to be the master instead of you. They are supposed to be led by a robust and determined leader. You must start their training as it nurtures discipline in the dog from an early age and helps them behave the way you want them to,

    They are usually cheerful and good-natured. They love leaving a peaceful life with all other housemates including other pets you have. It is best to socialize them when they are few months old so that they do not become timid. This also helps the dog curb aggression that might arise when introduced to other animals in your house or other people.

    4. Lifespan and Size of a Maltese Shih Tzu

    maltese shih tzu
    Photo by TerriAnneAllen on Pixabay

    A healthy and happy dog of this breed will live nearly 12 to 14 years and the female dogs live slightly longer than the male dogs.

    There is no size difference between both the genders in this breed, unlike many dog breeds. A puppy ages 2 months has a height of 7 inches long while a completely grown dog has a height of 10 inches at the age of 12 months.

    Taking proper care of your dog is an easy task. You just have to make sure you are giving them a proper diet and taking them for walks with good training and socialization. Let’s see a detailed version of the care guide for your dog.

    5. Diet needed

    You already know they are small dogs so they do not require a lot of food to be fed daily. But they eating treats after impressing their owners. Hence, it would be great to be careful about how much food to feed your dog. Here are calorie requirements for your dog to follow:

    • For a puppy, the calories should be 55 per pound of their body weight
    • for an adult dog, the calories should be 45 carries per pound of body weight.

    This is because the puppy needs more food as they are growing and requires more energy whereas an adult dog can do pretty well with just half a bowl of dry dog food.

    Porper is should be taken when you are buying food as it should be high in quality. One amazing option you can consider is to serve them kibble which is made especially for small dog breeds or toy breeds.

    It would be great if you divide the food into two separate servings, one to be given in the day and another at night. In this way, your dog remains fully satisfied the entire day and you will not have to worry about feeding them constantly throughout the day.

    One amazing thing to notice about this breed is that you will never find them getting obese or fat. Still, it is a good thing to keep a close eye on their food. Maltese Shih Tzu requires a healthy diet filled with essential nutrients so that all the daily requirements of a healthy body are meant. Giving a healthy diet to your dog is just ensuring that they stay with you for a longer time in a healthy state.

    Do not forget to update your dog’s diet as per their activity level, size, and age.

    6. Grooming

    When it comes to your dog’s grooming, they just require a light brushing to clear any excess fur or dander from their coat. You can either brush their hair daily or just twice a week minimum. Most owners of these cute tiny pets prefer to give their dog a haircut especially during the summer months so that grooming is more manageable. If you want your dog to have smooth and silky hair, you must bathe them once in 2 to 3 months but make sure you do not make them a bath too often.

    Clipping their nails regularly is quite helpful too. Not to forget, your pet’s eye also needs to be taken care of as they may get quite gunky on another side. When their eyes are not taken care of properly, they may lead to stained tears.

    7. Exercise needs

    Maltese Shih Tzu breed is known to be prone to respiratory diseases and problems. It may have breathing problems after doing harsh exercises or exerting too much pressure. However, this does not indicate you have to chain them in-house or they cannot run outside. They require 15 to 30 minutes of short walks daily to stay in shape.

    It would be more than great if you carry a leash when taking your pet for brisk walks to any new place. This is because they love exploring new areas and might even get lost in this process. Apart from brisk walks, they also need games for mental stimulation as they keep the dog entertained without much pressure.

    Playing games and exercising with Maltese Shih Tzu will keep your pet healthy and give them needed attention to stay happy, which I what they always need.

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    8. Training needs



    Maltese Shih Tzu is undoubtedly an intelligent breed that makes them easier to train. It responds quite well to training when positive reinforcement is applied. Make sure you do not spill your dog. This may make them anxious in some unfavorable situations and result in harmful behavior such as destructing the property or constantly barking.

    These dogs may feel shy sometimes around strangers but this is mostly because of a lack of socialization. Some of the best activities for socialization include making them walk in the neighborhood, pet-friendly beaches, and dog parks. In this way, they will become friendly and less shy.

    You will find plenty of dog-friendly areas in your surrounding, if you run out of ideas, just google them and you will see. Your dog needs a display of love. A simple high or cuddling will make them happy and make them think you love them or care about them. This is enough to keep your little Maltese Shih Tzu happy throughout the day.

    You will find these dogs quite energetic when they are playing, which is great for their mental development. You can play games like hiding and seek, fetch, etc to keep them mentally stimulated and healthy. To have fun, just try hiding in different places and let your little one find you. This makes it fin for you and your dog both. Make sure you call by their name when hiding.

    9. Shedding of Maltese Shih Tzu

    As already mentioned above, these dogs do not shed much as their parent breeds. Even if they do not shed much, you still need to brush their coat at least twice a week to keep it safe from mats. Also, you must trim their hair every 6 to 8 weeks.

    Also, Maltese Shih Tzu is a hypoallergic mix breed. Both the parent breeds are also hypoallergic so it gets the same trait from both, this makes them highly suitable for those people who are allergic to pets.

    10. Common diseases and health conditions

    Below given is a list of some common diseases this dog can acquire over a period of time due to many factors, take a closer look at them so that you can follow proper measures to avoid them.


    This disease is common in most dog breeds. This happens when the thyroid and is not able to produce and meet the needs of required hormones due to inflammation. Some common symptoms include hair loss, dry skin, weight gain, ear infections, and lethargy in dogs. Make sure you keep checking your dog to notice symptoms in the early stages.

    Intervertebral disc diase

    This occurs when the spine has a damaged disc in between the vertebrae. It causes leakage and swelling. Some common symptoms of disc diseases include shivering, lethargy, inactivity, limping, and not being able to bend for eating the food. You must consult a vet immediately if you notice any such symptoms.

    Brachycephalic airway syndrome

    The symptoms of this disease are commonly found in all breeds but they are particularly common in small breeds like mal-shi. The chances related to contracting this syndrome increases in hot weather in Australia which results in severe conditions of repository syndromes.

    Hip dysplasia

    This disease is seen when the dog fails to from appropriately, resulting in lameness in the mal-shi possibly.

    Portosystemic shunt

    This disease is seen when the portal vein or nay offshoots of the total vein are connected abnormally with other veins making the blood shunt bypass the liver. It is usually a congenital disability that leads to poor muscle development and stunted growth. Another sytms of this disease is disorientation.

    White shaker syndrome

    This disease is commonly seen in small breeds and it causes the dogs to shake unexpectedly as a result of idiopathic inflammation in the bain. Many owners often mistake this disease to be a common cold but if they do not go away or persists, it is highly important to call a vet.

    Patellar Luxationmal

    This disease is related to orthopedic. It is seen in many dogs and may lead to a dislocated knee. It is more commonly observed in toy breeds or small dogs and requires surgery if it persists.

    11. Cost of the dog



    A Maltese Shih Tzu can cost anywhere between 500 dollars to 700 dollars. The cost of getting an adult mal shi is slightly less than a puppy. When you get them from a rescue shelter, the price drips highly. The price also differs depending upon the breeder. If you go to a breeder, make sure you check all the diseases and both parent dogs before buying so that you can detect if there were unethical breeding practices in the place.

    12. Adoption of the dog

    Adopting a Maltese Shih Tzu from a rescue center is the best option if you are a dog lover. It costs anywhere around 200 to 300 USD which is highly affordable than getting from a breeder. Also, it helps you give a new home to the lost puppies and abandoned dogs.

    People tend to have a lot of questions before adopting the dogs from sellers or rescue groups. The concern is usually related to taking care of the adopted dog and regarding their ability to adapt to a new home all of a sudden. The answer varies for each Maltese Shih Tzu depending upon the dog’s past experiences and conditions.

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    Each mal shi in the rescue center has a separate story to share. Some dogs were found by the rescue groups in their owner’s backyard where they were kept in cages and never allowed to step into the grass. Some owners would just abandon their dogs because they couldn’t bear the expenses or just couldn’t take care of the pet. These instances leave a bad mark on the dog’s mental health. They are just less fortunate than other dogs that are kept well and loved by their respective owners.

    When you adopt a dog, you must take care of them according to its needs and personality. Dogs abandoned possess different needs for a great upbringing. Rescue Maltese Shih Tzu dogs may have the following issues you must take care of:

    1. A lack of coat- most recur centers often shave off their coats since they have many dogs to take of and cannot look after one carefully. The coat of a mal-shi tends to become tangled due to lack of grooming and brushing so they are shaved. Dogs having fewer coats required more care especially in cold seasons. As an owner, you must take warm covering for your et until they grow their coat back.
    2. Malnourishment- Some Maltese Shih Tzu dogs are malnourished when you see them first. You must feed them properly with a nutrient-rich diet so that they can get back to their initial shape. Make sure your pet gains weight slowly.
    3. Vaccinations- Sometimes you cannot figure out if the Maltese Shih Tzu you have adopted has been vaccinated fully or not. Even the rescue centers may not be able to find records. If this is the case, it is best to vaccinate them. Vaccinations must include distemper, parvo, and rabies. In such scenarios, over-vaccinating might be a possibility but it is better than no vaccinations at all.
    4. Spaying and neutering- Some Maltese Shih Tzu dogs might have gone through neutering or spaying at the shelters while some are still due to get it done. If the latter cases persist, you must get ti done by taking them to a vet.
    5. Skin issues- After shaving, some dogs developed sore spots and sore pawas due to resting uncomfortably in shelters for months or eyas. You can treat their sores using some topical medications or take them to a vet for additional treatment in case of severe infections.
    6. Additional care– Rescued Maltese Shih Tzu dogs are micro-chipped, de-wormed, tested for heartworms, and treated for fleas. It would be great if you take extra care of this.

    13. Behavioral features of an adopted Maltese Shih Tzu

    Puppies Club

    Before adopting a Maltese Shih Tzu, you must know about their behavioral features so that you can help them cope up with certain experiences ad give them a good life ahead.

    The past experiences of these dogs may be different but one thing in common is that all these dogs have suffered a lot due to lack of love from the family and send to shelters. Most mal shi dogs go through emotional traumas. This is the reason many dogs need time to understand that their new owners want to take care of and look after them. This is the reason adopted mal shi may show such behavioral characteristics in the beginning-


    When they arrive at the new home, they are shy and anxious. This is most probably due to the emotional trauma they have gone through in the past. They might even believe that a good time with you would not last for long due to which they are reluctant to trust new owners. The dog will eventually overcome with the owners’ help. You just need grooming, regularly walking, and cuddling with the dog to make it realize it is in good hands now.

    Clingy behavior

    After they are taken care of properly, these rescued dogs may become too clingy and follow you everywhere. This can be an issue if the owners have to go somewhere for a long time. To deal with such issues, you can hire a walker, or buy calming collars or specialized toys for your little pet. This helps Maltese Shih Tzu receive comfort and warmth.


    Depending upon the past experiences of their life, they have specific fears. Maltese Shih Tzu might be scared of other pets, sounds, or some people. Some rescue dogs might not have been to open areas for long due to which they are cared of getting onto grass or open grounds.

    If you notice any of these traits in your rescued Maltese Shih Tzu, make sure you take extra care. Allow them to have some time so that they can adjust to their surroundings. try to be with them and give them enough time and space to recover from fears.

    Expose them to their fears slightly and increase gradually if they make progress in dealing with them. However, make sure you do not spill them while taking extra care.

    The bottom line

    Adopting or buying a toy breed or small dog like Maltese Shih Tzu is not at all expensive compared to other breeds. To keep your dogs healthy, make sure you indulge in healthy activities with them like playing and brisk walking. Get them a nutrition-rich diet and a lot of love and care.

    This dog is a perfect little companion for huge families with kids in it. Just give them enough care, time, and love (a lot of cuddles) and you will have a healthy, happy puppy by your side.

    This was everything you needed to know about Maltese Shih Tzu dogs.

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