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Discover the Charm of the Adorable Maltese Shih Tzu Breed

December 1, 2023

Are you in search of a small, fluffy, and loving companion? Look no further than the Maltese Shih Tzu, a delightful toy breed that is sure to steal your heart. Also known as the Malshi, this adorable pup is a mix between the Maltese and the Shih Tzu, resulting in a charming and affectionate temperament.

The Maltese Shih Tzu stands less than 12 inches tall and is intentionally bred to be cute and fluffy. With their long, soft, and silky fur, they are truly irresistible. Whether you're looking for a lap dog or a playful friend, the Maltese Shih Tzu is the perfect choice.

An aerial view of a Maltese Shih Tzu playing in a lush green park, showcasing its playful nature

Key Takeaways:

  • The Maltese Shih Tzu is a small, toy breed dog that is a mix between the Maltese and the Shih Tzu.
  • The breed was developed in the 1990s by US breeders who wanted to create an ideal small house dog.
  • Maltese Shih Tzus have a charming and affectionate temperament, making them wonderful companions.
  • They have a low-shedding, hypoallergenic coat that requires regular grooming and maintenance.
  • Proper socialization and training are important for their overall well-being.

Origins of the Maltese Shih Tzu

The Maltese Shih Tzu, also known as the Malshi, is a popular hybrid toy breed that originated in the United States in the 1990s. Breeders discovered that crossing the Maltese and Shih Tzu breeds resulted in a delightful companion dog with a mix of desirable traits from both parent breeds.

The breeding of the Maltese Shih Tzu was a deliberate attempt to create a small, affectionate, and low-shedding dog. The Maltese, known for its silky white coat and gentle temperament, was chosen for its non-shedding qualities. The Shih Tzu, with its friendly and outgoing nature, was selected for its personality traits. By combining these two breeds, breeders aimed to achieve a perfect blend of appearance, temperament, and compatibility for a small house dog.

While the Maltese Shih Tzu is not officially recognized as a breed by major kennel clubs, its popularity has continued to grow. The intentional breeding of these hybrid dogs has resulted in a consistent appearance and temperament, making them a sought-after choice for families and individuals looking for a loving companion.

What Does a Maltese Shih Tzu Look Like?

When it comes to the appearance of a Maltese Shih Tzu, their characteristics can vary due to their mixed parentage. Typically, these adorable pups stand around 10 inches tall and weigh approximately 9 pounds when fully grown. Their small size makes them perfect for apartment living or households with limited space.

One of the most notable features of a Maltese Shih Tzu is their beautiful coat. They have long, soft, silky, and wavy fur that is often white or white with tan markings. This luxurious coat requires regular grooming to prevent tangles and mats, but it's worth the effort to keep them looking their best. Additionally, their big round eyes, usually hazel or brown, add to their cute and expressive appearance.

While each Maltese Shih Tzu puppy may have unique colorations and characteristics, their overall charm and lovable nature make them irresistible to dog lovers of all ages.

SizeAround 10 inches tall
WeightApproximately 9 pounds
CoatLong, soft, silky, and wavy
ColorUsually white or white with tan markings
EyesBig, round, hazel or brown

A Maltese Shih Tzu's appearance is undoubtedly captivating, combining their small stature with a beautiful coat and expressive eyes. Whether they are playing or snuggling up with their humans, these adorable dogs are sure to turn heads wherever they go.

Personality and Behavioral Traits of the Maltese Shih Tzu

The Maltese Shih Tzu breed is known for its charming and affectionate temperament. These dogs inherit the playfulness and charm of the Shih Tzu, combined with the affection and intelligence of the Maltese. They are lively and high-energy dogs that thrive on attention and interaction with their owners.

Proper socialization from a young age is crucial for the Maltese Shih Tzu to develop good behavior and prevent any feistiness or aggression. They generally get along well with children and other dogs when properly introduced and socialized. However, it's important to supervise interactions and teach children how to handle small dogs gently.

These dogs love to be part of the family and are known for their loyalty and devotion. They enjoy being around their owners and may develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. Daily exercise and mental stimulation are essential to keep them happy and prevent any destructive behavior that may arise from boredom.


  • Lively
  • Playful
  • Affectionate
  • Loyal
  • Devoted


  • Requires lots of attention
  • May develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods
  • Gets along well with children and other dogs when properly socialized
  • Enjoys being part of the family
  • Needs daily exercise and mental stimulation

"The Maltese Shih Tzu is a delightful companion with a loving and playful nature. They thrive on being part of the family and require lots of attention and interaction. With proper socialization and training, they can be friendly and well-behaved around children and other pets. However, it's important to remember that every dog is an individual, and some may have different temperaments and behavior traits. It's essential to understand and meet their needs to ensure they lead happy and fulfilling lives."

How to Train Your Maltese Shih Tzu for Obedience and Good Behavior

Training your Maltese Shih Tzu is an essential part of ensuring their well-being and happiness. Fortunately, these intelligent and eager-to-please dogs are relatively easy to train. With consistency, positive reinforcement, and patience, you can teach your Maltese Shih Tzu to be obedient and well-behaved.

Start training your Maltese Shih Tzu at a young age. Focus on basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and leash walking. Use rewards like treats, praise, and playtime to motivate your pup. Keep training sessions short and enjoyable to maintain their attention and enthusiasm.

It's important to establish yourself as the pack leader and set clear boundaries. Maltese Shih Tzus can be stubborn at times, so consistency and firmness are key. Avoid harsh punishments as these sensitive dogs respond best to positive reinforcement. Use verbal cues and hand signals to reinforce commands and ensure your dog understands what you expect.

In addition to obedience training, consider socializing your Maltese Shih Tzu from an early age. Expose them to various environments, people, and other animals to help them become well-rounded and friendly. This will also prevent any potential behavioral issues, such as fear or aggression, later in life.

To keep your training sessions engaging, incorporate mentally stimulating exercises. Maltese Shih Tzus have a small prey drive, so playing games of fetch or hide-and-seek can be a great way to train and bond with your furry companion. Remember to always end training sessions on a positive note, even if there are challenges along the way.

Tips for Effective Maltese Shih Tzu Training:

  • Start training at a young age
  • Use positive reinforcement and rewards
  • Be consistent and firm
  • Socialize your dog early
  • Incorporate mentally stimulating exercises
  • End each session on a positive note

Training a Maltese Shih Tzu requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. With the right approach and lots of love, you'll have a well-behaved and obedient companion by your side.

Training CommandDescription
SitTeaches your dog to sit on command.
StayTeaches your dog to stay in one place until released.
ComeTeaches your dog to come to you when called.
Leash WalkingTeaches your dog to walk calmly on a leash without pulling.

Grooming and Maintaining a Maltese Shih Tzu's Coat

Grooming is an essential part of caring for a Maltese Shih Tzu. Their long, soft, and silky coat requires regular maintenance to keep it looking healthy and beautiful. Here are some tips for grooming and maintaining your Maltese Shih Tzu's coat:

  • Brushing: Daily brushing is necessary to prevent tangles and mats from forming in your Maltese Shih Tzu's fur. Use a slicker brush or a comb with wide-spaced teeth to gently remove any knots or loose hair. This not only keeps the coat looking neat but also helps to distribute natural oils, keeping the hair healthy.
  • Bathing: Regular bathing is important to keep your Maltese Shih Tzu's coat clean and free from any dirt or odor. Use a mild dog shampoo that is suitable for their sensitive skin. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all the shampoo and avoid any residue that can cause skin irritation.
  • Haircuts: Maltese Shih Tzus often require regular haircuts to keep their coat at a manageable length. Professional grooming every two to three months is recommended to ensure the hair doesn't become too long and tangled. You can also trim the hair around the eyes, ears, and paws to prevent irritation and keep them looking tidy.
  • Tear Stain Removal: Maltese Shih Tzus are prone to tear stains due to their prominent eyes and white fur. To remove tear stains, use a tear stain removal solution or gentle dog-safe wipes. Be careful not to get any product into their eyes, and always consult with a veterinarian if the tear stains persist.

By following these grooming practices, you can help keep your Maltese Shih Tzu's coat healthy, clean, and free from tangles. Regular grooming not only promotes their overall well-being but also strengthens your bond with your furry companion.

Grooming TipDescription
BrushingDaily brushing prevents tangles and mats, distributes natural oils, and keeps the coat looking neat.
BathingRegular bathing with a mild dog shampoo keeps the coat clean and free from dirt and odor.
HaircutsProfessional grooming every two to three months helps maintain a manageable coat length.
Tear Stain RemovalUse tear stain removal solutions or wipes to gently remove tear stains around the eyes.
A close-up portrait of a Maltese Shih Tzu, focusing on its expressive eyes and fluffy fur, resembling a high-resolution studio photograph

Common Health Issues

The Maltese Shih Tzu is generally a healthy breed with a lifespan of 12 to 14 years. However, like any other breed, they can be prone to certain health conditions inherited from their parents. It is important for potential owners to be aware of these possible health issues and take appropriate measures to ensure the well-being of their Maltese Shih Tzu.

Some common health issues that can affect the Maltese Shih Tzu include bone and joint disorders, such as patellar luxation and hip dysplasia. These conditions can cause discomfort and mobility problems for the dog. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help minimize the risk of developing these issues.

Another health concern is eye disorders, including progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts. Regular eye examinations by a veterinarian can help detect and manage these conditions early on. Hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, is also seen in some Maltese Shih Tzus. Symptoms may include weight gain, lethargy, and hair loss. Medication can help manage this condition effectively.

Respiratory problems, such as tracheal collapse and brachycephalic airway syndrome, can also affect the breed. These conditions can cause breathing difficulties and may require medical intervention or surgery in severe cases. It is crucial to provide a well-ventilated environment and avoid extreme temperature conditions to support their respiratory health.

Common Health Issues in Maltese Shih TzusDescription
Bone and Joint DisordersConditions like patellar luxation and hip dysplasia can cause mobility issues.
Eye DisordersProgressive retinal atrophy and cataracts may affect vision. Regular eye exams are recommended.
HypothyroidismA condition where the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones. Medication can manage this.
Respiratory ProblemsTracheal collapse and brachycephalic airway syndrome can cause breathing difficulties.

Eating Habits

Proper nutrition is essential for the health and well-being of your Maltese Shih Tzu. Feeding them a balanced diet will help maintain their weight and support their overall health. When it comes to the Maltese Shih Tzu diet, it's important to choose high-quality dog food that is specifically formulated for small breeds.

Adult Maltese Shih Tzus should be fed around ½ to 1 cup of dry dog food per day, divided into two meals. It's important to monitor their weight and adjust the portion size accordingly to prevent them from becoming overweight. For puppies, the general guideline is to feed them about an ounce of food per pound of body weight, divided into three to four meals.

When selecting dog food for your Maltese Shih Tzu, look for options that contain suitable protein sources, healthy fats, and essential nutrients. Avoid foods with fillers or artificial additives. It's always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet plan for your specific dog, as their nutritional needs may vary based on age, activity level, and any underlying health conditions.

In addition to providing a nutritious diet, ensure that your Maltese Shih Tzu has access to clean, fresh water at all times. Proper hydration is crucial for their overall well-being. Establishing a regular feeding schedule and avoiding excessive treats or table scraps will help maintain their eating habits and prevent digestive issues.


Are Maltese Shih Tzus hypoallergenic?

Yes, Maltese Shih Tzus have low shedding and hypoallergenic coats, making them a suitable choice for people with allergies.

How big do Maltese Shih Tzus get?

Maltese Shih Tzus typically stand around 10 inches tall and weigh around 9 pounds when fully grown.

Do Maltese Shih Tzus get along with other pets?

Yes, when properly socialized, Maltese Shih Tzus can get along well with children and other dogs.

How often should I groom my Maltese Shih Tzu?

Daily brushing is necessary to prevent tangles and mats. They should be bathed every month or so, and haircuts are recommended every two to three months.

What health issues are common in Maltese Shih Tzus?

Maltese Shih Tzus can be prone to bone and joint disorders, eye disorders, hypothyroidism, and respiratory problems. It is important to ask breeders for health clearances before purchasing a puppy.

How long do Maltese Shih Tzus live?

The average lifespan of a Maltese Shih Tzu is 12 to 14 years.

How much should I feed my Maltese Shih Tzu?

The recommended daily amount of food for an adult Shih Tzu is around ½ to 1 cup of dry food. For puppies, the general guideline is about an ounce of food per pound of body weight.

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