Malshi Puppy:  Maltese and Shih Tzu Hybrid:  All You Need to Know About this Mix

By Janice A. Jones   | Updated 07-15-2021

A Malshi Puppy can be one of the cutest fur babies you'll ever see.  Maltese-Shih Tzu mix is one of the most popular hybrid dogs and it is easy to see why that is so.  Think fluffy, sweet, cuddly, these dogs are also intelligent, curious, clever.  There will never be a dull moment in your home when you bring home a Malshi.

What is a Malshi?

A Malshi is one of many names given to the mix between a Shih Tzu and a Maltese.  You might also see the terms Mal-Shi, Maltzu or Maltese Shih Tzu mix.   But what is a Mal-Shi?

When you mix the Shih Tzu and Maltese, you get a designer dog named a Mal-Shi.  The Mal Shi also called Malte Tzu, Shihtese, Mal-Shi, Malshi, is a mix between a Shih Tzu and a Maltese Dog and are normal considered to be a designer dog or hybrid.

Brindle colored Mal-Shi Puppy
Black Maltese - Shih Tzu Hybrid

When a purebred Maltese Dog is mated with a purebred Shih Tzu, you are likely to get a sturdy, happy, agile, friendly companion.  Not all breeders start with two purebred dogs so there are times when puppies that are called Mal Shi are actually the result of hybrid parents.

For example, a Mal Shi could be one-quarter Shih Tzu and ¾ Maltese if the mother is a Mal Shi and the father is purebred Maltese.  When deciding on a puppy it is very important that you know who the parents are. 

The Mal Shi is not a purebred dog so you cannot register it with the AKC, although there are other registration sites such as the American Canine Hybrid Club that allows you to register your hybrid dog.

Black and White Maltese and Shih Tzu Mix

Maltese Shih Tzu Hybrid Breed Characteristics

Names Used:Mal Shi, Malti Zu, and the Malt-Tzu, 

Size: Check the Size of the Parents Typical 6 to 12 pounds

Shih Tzu: 9-16 pounds

Maltese: 4-7 pounds

Friendliness: Yes

Good with Children: Yes

Good with other pets: Yes

Good for First Time Dog Owners: Yes

Shedding? Will loose hair into the coat so grooming is essential

Watchdog Ability: Yes

Cold Tolerance:  Will need a sweater

Heat Tolerance: Less heat tolerant

Most Mal Shi will take on the characteristics of both parents, but there is no guarantee how the gene pool will be mixed so each new litter is unique.  The size of Mal Shi dogs are determined by the parents. 

The normal size of a Maltese is about 4 to 7 pounds and the Shih Tzu standard suggests that they should weigh between 9 and 15 pounds. 

However, there are many dogs that do not conform to the standard, so you must check the parents if you want to know how big your puppy will get.  A rough estimate would be between 6 and 15 pounds. 

Read More about Mal-Shi Dogs

Personality of the MalShi

Black and White Mal Shi Puppy at 10 weeks old.

Outgoing, clownish, and clever, these little dogs will keep you on your toes.  No matter where they are, rural, suburban, city, they find ways to entertain you.  It's hard to resist their warm, social, friendly nature and Mal-Shi puppies are, well, cuteness overboard.

They are intelligent and willing to please so many tell me that they are a bit easier to train than Shih Tzu dogs.  But again, so much has to do with the parents.

Some Maltese and Shih Tzu dogs love to bark, others are very quiet.  Some are more stubborn than others.  So do check with the breeder to learn more about the personality of the mother and father dog.

Since this hybrid comes from two dog breeds that love to be close to their families, it's not surprising that Mal-Shi puppies have a hard time being left alone and can suffer from separation anxiety.

Children and MalShi Puppies

Black and White Mal Shi Puppy

Very tiny puppies can be at risk if placed in a home with very young children.  Most breeders prefer to pick families with older, respectful children who understand the unique needs of a small dog.  

Depending on the size of the puppy, they can be the perfect match for a family with children.  Ask the breeder about the size of the parents and what the adult size of the puppy will be.  They can give you estimates and if you do have children, choose a puppy that is a bit larger.

Training Your Mal Shi Puppy

Both the Maltese and the Shih Tzu are very adaptable and will make themselves at home with nearly anyone who will love them.  Mal-Shi puppies are also adaptable.

They still need plenty of early training and socialization. Housetraining should begin the day you bring your puppy home.  They will adapt to potty pads or going outdoors.  Pick a method and stick with it.  Consistency is usually the key to a successful potty program.

Exercise and Your Malshi Puppy

Brindle Colored MalShi Puppy

Much of their exercise requirements can be met in the home.  They tend to follow you wherever you go and have been known to start running for joy.  It is, advisable to plan on a walk or two a day, which can be good for both of you.

You can get your Malshi Puppy accustomed to the leash early on but be sure to invest in a harness rather than a collar.  They will need a collar to hold identification tags, but the harness is a much safer bet when leash training and on walks.

Feeding Your Malshi Puppy

Shih Tzu and Maltese hybrid puppies benefit from a high quality food.  Eight week olds will need to be fed 3 times a day until they are about six months at which time you can switch to twice daily. 

Check with your breeder and continue the food that the puppy is accustomed to eating at least initially. 

You can then gradually move to another food formula if you prefer.  Do the switch over the course of about a week to prevent stomach upset.

Grooming Your Mal Shi

The Shih Tzu Maltese mix inherits the long silky coat of the Maltese which can be a bit wavy but may also be completely straight.  Colors depend on the parents and can include any color found in the Shih Tzu along with or without the white of the Maltese.

Daily brushing will keep your puppy looking his best.  An occasional bath is also important because clean hair does not tend to mat as quickly as a dirty coat.  Use a shampoo and conditioner when bathing.  A towel dry followed by drying with a hair dryer will make the coat very fluffy and soft.

Check ears for hair and clean as needed.  Teeth can be brushed daily if possible and nails clipped as needed.

This hybrid breed has hair that will continue to grow so unless you are prepared to groom your dog at home, plan on a trip to the groomers about every 6 weeks to 2 months.  The groomer will not only bath and clip but will also trim nails, and clean out ears.  

Health Issues and the Malshi Puppy

You may have heard about hybrid vigor and decided that a hybrid puppy is the way to go if health is a priority.

It is true that some purebred dog breeds have suffered from inbreeding which has led to more genetically related health problems for the breed. 

Introducing two non related dogs does increase the odds that there may be less genetic problems but there is always the possibility that both parents, even if they are not related will be carrying similar genes that can affect both dog breeds.

Remember when you read about the health problems of a particular breed, you are discovering those problems whether they be genetic or congenital (present at birth) that have been identified in the breed.  Many diseases and conditions are common in small breed dogs including patellar luxation, eye issues, and liver or kidney problems.

Environmental factors also play a role and any dog can have poor health due to parasites, viral or bacterial infections, or as a result of a poor diet.

Our Malshi Puppy Videos

Malshi Puppy Video: "A Spring Day"

Malshi Puppy Video:  Aspen

Did You Enjoy These Videos?

We have made a few videos since beginning our breeding program.  Please hop over to our YouTube Channel and check out some more.  Oh, and don't forget to subscribe so you'll never miss another video.

About Janice

Janice is the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu. Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, she served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu.

When not writing, reading, or researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, her husband, and her family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Small Dog Place and smart knit crocheting.