What is a Malshi and What’s Good About Them?

Last Updated on April 12, 2023

This crossbreed is no different from the other small and fluffy breeds in terms of our universal adoration. The Malshi (pronounced /mall-she/) is another excellent family pet and therapy dog.

Also known as MalShih, Malt-Tzu, Maltzu, and Malti-zu, this hybrid will steal your heart.

Let’s jump into why this furball would make an excellent addition to your family.

What kind of dog breed is a Malshi?

While this crossbreed is new, they come from a rich history. Around the year 1990, Australian breeders decided to mix two long-haired, dignified, and family-friendly purebreds to create the same and low-allergy lapdog – the Maltese and Shih Tzu mix.

It may not be as popular as other hybrids, such as the Goldendoodle and other Poodle mixes, but the Malshi is still well-known in Australia and North America. They’re now making their way to the US, and they’re one of the sought out designer dogs around.

For us to know the Shih Tzu Maltese cross better, let’s learn what its parents are like.

Introducing the adventurous Maltese

Maltese dog in winter outdoors

One of the Malshi’s parents is the Maltese. This purebred is an ancient dog that’s famous in Malta and possibly brought by Phoenicians. No one knows for sure when the Maltese first appeared on the scene. What we do know is that the Maltese showed up in Greek art dating back to the fourth and fifth centuries B.C.

Malteses are toy-sized purebreds with a height that doesn’t exceed 10 inches (25 cm) and weighs 4 to 6 pounds (2 to 3 kg).

Due to their beautifully long and silky white hair, owners sometimes tie the coat at the top of their heads into a knot, finished off with a bow. Aside from being gorgeous canines, they have hypoallergenic fur.

Hardy, adaptable, and bred to be a companion, the Maltese is an excellent watch-dog and fearless protector of the family. Maltese owners are proud of how docile, affectionate, and playful their fur babies are.

Meet the spunky Shih Tzu

Three Shih Tzu dogs with different hair lengths and hairstyles
Shih Tzu dogs

The other half of the Malshi’s parentage is the Shih Tzu. This pooch is also an olden breed and appears on tapestries dating back to 2,000 years ago.

Its name is a Chinese term that translates to “Lion Dog,” referring to how the breed resembles lions of ancient Chinese art. Tibetan monks bred these canines to offer as gifts to Chinese royalty and were the exclusive property of the Imperial Court. When they’re not beside their humans, palace Eunuchs would look after them.

Shih Tzus have a hypoallergenic coat, as well. It comes in a range of colors such as gold, liver, brindle, black and white, liver and white, and blue. Their fur, much like the Maltese, is long, straight, and silky.

In terms of size, this beloved toy breed has a height of 9 to 10.5 inches (23 to 27 cm) and a weight of 9 to 16 pounds (4 to 7 kg).

They may be small, but they’re affectionate, playful yet gentle, and were bred to be a friendly companion.

What does a Malshi look like?

Even if no one can predict what exactly a Malshi puppy would look like when they grow up, it will surely inherit its parents’ cute and fun-sized package. Generally, this hybrid has rounded heads, small and forward ears, a short muzzle, a black nose, and brown almond-shaped eyes.

Malshis don’t usually have blue eyes, but if both parents have the gene, this mixed breed can genetically get the rare eye color. The Maltese-Shih Tzu mix can also inherit the Maltese’s nose, which will sometimes turn pink if the dog is in heat or has not seen some sun in a while.

Shih Tzus and Malteses, and other breeds with short heads and noses, or flat faces, commonly get an underbite. So there’s a possibility that your mixed breed pup will get that, too.

Their tails are curly and fluffy, and they have short, straight legs. Here’s a quick video showing how cute Malshi puppies are:

Size: How big do Malshi dogs get?

Also classified as toy-sized, both male and female Malshis have an average height of 10 inches (25 cm) and a weight of 6 to 8 pounds (3 to 4 kg).

If you’re wondering at what age a Malshi is full-grown, you should anticipate your puppy to stop growing after turning two months old.

And because of their compact size, Malshi dogs can live in any type of house, including apartments. Just be sure to take them outside once in a while for a walk and some fresh air.

Coat & Color: Are Malshi dogs hypoallergenic?

Malshis are low- to no shedding dogs and are considered hypoallergenic. However, no breed can be 100% hypoallergenic, but some are just more tolerable.

They also have the same long, flowing coat that its parents are known for.

But depending on the dominant parent gene, Malshi coats can be any variety of colors. It can be black, brown, black and white, brown and white, and black and brown.

Malshis have a personality to be everyone’s best friend

Small dogs tend to be more neurotic and yappy than larger dogs⁠—but this isn’t the case for the Shih Tzu & Maltese mix!

The Malshi’s friendly appearance matches their personality. They are great with other pets and children. Take note that, because of their compact and fragile size, they can easily get hurt by larger pets or by your little ones. Always supervise playtime to avoid accidents.

Malshis have an average prey drive, which means they will enjoy chasing after a ball or a stuffed animal, but they probably won’t go crazy if they see a squirrel running through the doggy park. Some can be mouthy and engage in play-biting and chewing. Give them different kinds of toys to whet teething or their appetite.

Do Malshi dogs bark a lot?

Courageous and alert, the Maltese Shih Tzu mix will bark if something sounds or looks suspicious, and would be a good watchdog.

With that said, this furball will always want to be by your side. If left alone for too long, separation anxiety may develop. It might be a good idea to have another pet around that they can play with if you leave home for several hours a day. They’re also quite sociable, so they’ll appreciate some company.

This crossbreed is moderately tricky to train if they have inherited a stubborn streak. If you start early with appropriate training and positive reinforcement, you should not have a problem getting your dog to behave or get house trained.

As the Maltese can be athletic and agile, your Malshi may have inherited these traits, too. So you can also teach your hybrid pup to swim, do tricks, or even serve as a therapy dog. But, most of the time, they will simply want to relax on your lap.

A Malshi puppy with its mouth open and being funny

How to take care of your Malshi dog

The Maltese Shih Tzu cross can’t tolerate extreme weather. While it seems like they would be fine during the cold season, their long silky fur doesn’t have a warm insulating undercoat to keep them protected.

If you live in a place where it can get really cold, make sure there are heated beds, blankets, and even a jacket that can keep your fido warm and cozy.

If it’s summer and it’s too warm, don’t let your fido stay out for too long and keep her in an air-conditioned room. This canine usually has respiratory problems, also. We’ll discuss more on that later. For now, let’s talk about caring for this mixed breed.

How much should I feed my Malshi?

In general, a full-grown Maltese Shih Tzu mix needs 45 calories per pound of its body weight in a day, and that’s about ¼ to a half cup of dry kibbles. Puppies will need around 55 calories per pound per day.

However, if you want a more exact amount for your dog, you can use this calorie calculator to find out the precise daily caloric intake your canine buddy requires based on her age, size, activity level, and health.

We recommend that you split their food between 2 or 3 meals to keep blood sugar levels from crashing. This will also keep your pooch from getting overweight.

Do Malshis need a lot of exercise?

Their small size and easy-going nature, 15 to 30 minutes of playtime or brisk walking each day will keep them happy and fit.

Malshis can get playful at times, but they’re not big on staying outside for long periods. But of course, a little fun in the sun is always good.

We shouldn’t always judge a dog because of its breed, though. It’s possible to have little furballs who’d often love an adventure and discovering new sights, sounds, and scents! You just have to be cautious and remind yourself how small they are, and how getting too hot and too tired can affect your pet.

How to groom a Malshi’s coat?

The Malshi’s hair is long and beautiful, so it’s easy to expect that this designer dog is a bit high maintenance, but not over the top.

Keep her coat from matting and getting tangled by brushing it daily from her head to her tail. Not only will it make your fur angel look pretty, but it will also distribute natural oil to the rest of your doggo’s scalp and fur.

Baths should be done every three weeks, or when needed, to avoid drying out her skin. Alongside bathing, watch out for your dog’s eyes, ears, and mouth.

This dog breed is prone to developing tear stains. Deal with it by using some tear stain remover to keep marks from discoloring the dog’s fur.

With all that hair, keep your pup’s ears dry to avoid infection from developing. A quick check every day would be good, and then a monthly cleaning would be sufficient.

Lastly, brush your Malshi’s teeth two to three times a week, since they are prone to dental problems.

For haircuts, it can be done every six to eight weeks. There are a variety of trims and hairstyles you can request from a professional groomer to give your Malshi a unique look. Luckily, some of them are easy to do on your own!

If you keep your Malshi’s fur on the longer side, you can put her hair up in a top knot and bow to give an air of sophistication. If you’re feeling playful, try giving her pigtails on the sides of their head.

To go for an easy-to-maintain coat, you can opt for the teddy bear clip, which is a soft and fuzzy hairdo to prevent tangling. I’ve also seen photos of a Malshi’s fur cut short so that they almost have no hair on their bodies and tufty faces!

You can see in this video how to groom a Malshi’s face:

The health of the Maltese-Shih Tzu cross

This crossbreed is considered generally healthy and has a lifespan of 12 to 14 years. Yet, like all dogs, there are some genetic predispositions and illnesses to watch out for as your four-legged friend grows.

For minor issues, Malshis can also develop skin allergies caused by different factors such as allergens in the air or an ingredient in their food. She may start to lose her hair, grow skin sores, have red skin between the toes, shake her head often, or itch a lot.

If you notice your Shih Tzu Maltese mix has black spots, there can be a lot of possible reasons. Malshis, like the Maltese, can have either non-pigmented and pigmented skin. As they get older and more exposed to the sun, dark spots can appear on their body. Their pigmentation spots will be flat and either black or greyish, likelarge freckles.

However, if you notice large, crusted black spots appearing, they could be sweat gland cysts, tumors, or symptoms of other diseases.

The significant health problems that the Mal-Shi can get from their parents are elbow and hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, hypothyroidism, White Shaker Syndrome, and von Willebrand’s Disease.

If you’re excited to get a Malshi puppy, but you’re worried about these conditions, make yourself aware of the health problems that the parental breeds are susceptible to. This can help you be prepared and know what you should do to keep these diseases at bay.

How much is a Malshi puppy?

A cute little tricolored Malshi puppy with blue eyes

A Malshi can have a litter size of two to five puppies, and each pup can cost anywhere between $300 and $1,500.

Going for an expensive or cheap puppy doesn’t guarantee better quality. Aside from understanding that price would be affected by factors like the breeder’s location, the bloodline or pedigree of the parents, and the popularity of the kennel or breeder, you should know what questions to ask before buying a dog.

Breeders who care for the welfare of their breeding stock and litter would only give away a pup when it’s seven weeks old. Those who wean a puppy too soon can lead to behavioral problems with the dog.

If you can, arrange to meet the breeder and the puppy in their natural environment. Request to visit so you can see where the dogs live and where they were raised. That alone can help you know if they’re taken care of or not.

Take this opportunity to observe how the dogs react when a stranger is around. Does the mother or puppies seem scared? Aggressive? This will give you an idea of what the pup’s temperament will be like.

You should also ensure that the parent breeds had undergone genetic testing before mating. This will ensure that the Maltese and Shih Tzu parents didn’t have existing conditions that can be transferred to the puppies.

Ask to see these documents, as well as any medical records related to the puppy, like vaccinations.

As with most purebreds and crossbreeds, avoid sellers of teacup and mini Malshis because they’re more at risk of health issues due to improper breeding. You should also run away from those who would sell you a puppy without asking questions, as long as they’ll get paid. Those people may be backyard breeders, or they might be working for puppy mills.

Finding Malshi breeders & kennels

You can find a Malshi breeder by contacting local Malshi, Maltese, or Shih Tzu clubs and associations near you. Note that this crossbreed is not registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC), but is recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club and Designer Breed Registry.

In the US, there are no specific kennels that focus on this particular hybrid, but these sites or marketplaces have available Malshi puppies for sale:

  • Harmony Star Kennels (Talala, OK)
  • Timber Creek Puppies (Burlington, IA)
  • Princess Puppies (Lena, LA)

Malshis to adopt & rescue

We didn’t find a specific organization devoted to rescuing Malshi dogs, too.

If this designer breed isn’t available in your local shelter, why not take a look at the rescue associations for its parents? There’s a possibility that you’ll find a Malshi or other Maltese and Shih Tzu mixes.

Either way, those canines are waiting for their chance to get adopted and be part of a family again.

  • Shih Tzu Rescue, Inc. (Davie, FL)
  • Shih Tzus Furbabies Small Breed Dog Rescue (Saint Mary’s, GA)
  • American Maltese Association Rescue (Fort Bragg, CA)
  • Metropolitan Maltese Rescue (New York, NY)

Here are other cute breeds you may like

If you feel that the Maltese Shih Tzu mix isn’t the right fit for you and you want to look for other crossbreeds, here are some other fluffy doggos that might pique your interest:

Maltipoo (Maltese and Miniature Poodle mix)
Cavapoo (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Miniature Poodle mix)
Cavachon (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Bichon Frise mix)
Morkie (Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier mix)
Shorkie (Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terrier mix)

Don’t miss out: 29 Adorable Fluffy Dog Breeds

Pros & Cons: Should you get a Malshi?

It’s impressive that this distinctive breed is gaining more popularity in the US. It should be no surprise as they are unique and outgoing. Of course, all dogs have their own perks and quirks.

The Maltese & Shih Tzu mix is a loving lap dog who’s also alert and brave. And because they give a lot of love to their favorite human, they expect and need a lot of attention.

It doesn’t have to be a tiring type of bonding as this breed only requires a few minutes of exercise a day. Daily cuddles on the bed or couch, as well as indoor games and toys will be enough.

With luscious locks, it’s such a relief that they’re low- to non-shedding doggos. They may be high maintenance in terms of grooming, but you’d also have lots of fun styling this fido’s fur that will suit every mood and outfit of the day (#OOTD)!

Have you decided to get a pretty Malshi? Have you owned one before? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.

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