All About the Shih Tzu Maltese Mix aka Mal-Shi, Shihtese, or Malti Tzu

Shih Tzu Maltese mixThe Shih Tzu Maltese mix is more commonly known among breeders as the Mal-Shi, Shihtese or Malti Tzu. Although the Shih Tzu Maltese mix is known to be a ‘designer’ dog, it is not officially recognized by any kennel club or organization.

This is a great dog to keep in the house and is perfect for first-time dog owners.

Mal-Shi Appearance

This small toy dog is a hairy one with a round face and small floppy ears. The hair all over their bodies is of even length, and sometimes the facial hair is too long for its face, obscuring its view. This dog comes in a variety of colors including plain white, tan, and black or with markings. 

Mal-Shi History

This designer mixed breed was developed in the early 1900s. The goal for creating this mixed breed was to make a better low shedding dog. The Shih Tzu and the Maltese are both very popular dog breeds, so no wonder when you mix them together, it creates an incredibly popular mixed breed.

This mixed breed is not recognized by any clubs or breed standards. You can get this mixed breed from a reputable breeder or from a rescue. 

It is not known who first mixed these two purebred breeds together, but we are sure glad they did. 

Mal-Shi Infographic

Shih Tzu Maltese Mix Temperament

The Shihtese is a highly intelligent dog, fiercely loyal, and fun-loving. Usually, these dogs are independent, but they are still eager to please, and for this reason, they can be trained easily.

They can get on with all kinds of people and even small animals due to their gentle temperament. Unlike other small dogs, they are not very noisy and can even be quite timid and often fearful of strangers; therefore, they do not make good guard dogs as they are more likely to hide than bark when a foreign face approaches.

Shih Tzu Maltese Size

Shih Tzu Maltese mixThese dogs do not grow to be very big and generally weigh 9-17lbs (4-7kg) and measure 8-11 inches (20-28cm) tall.

Shihtese Health Problems

These dogs are prone to a few medical conditions with regards to their teeth, which they inherit from the Shih Tzu side, which is why owners need to occasionally brush them and have the vet check their teeth and gums.

Some of the most common health issue for this mixed breed include:

  • Colitis
  • Dental Issues
  • Microvascular Dysplasia
  • Luxating Patella
  • Retinal Atrophy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cataracts

Malti Tzu Life Span

This mixed breed is very special because both the parents of this breed can live a very long time. You can expect your dog to live a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 18 years. 

As long as your dog stays healthy and gets the proper nutrition and exercise it will live a very long time. 

Of course, you will have to watch out for a few specific health issues that could affect your dogs life span. Make sure to go see your local vet yearly to get a check-up on your dog in case anything is wrong.

Living Conditions

This dog does not need much space, and it is perfectly acceptable to keep them in an apartment as long as they get daily exercise.

They do crave human attention, so potential buyers do need to make sure they will be able to give them the love and attention they need.

Shihtese Exercise

The Shihtese dog does not require too much exercise. Exercise can also be done at home in the form of playing.

This breed truly only needs around 30-60 minutes of exercise throughout the whole day. This can be achieved through play or even just a short walk around the neighborhood. 

Make sure even if your dog does not want to go outside that you still give them some sort of exercise. It is very important for their health. 

If you don’t have much time to stay with your dog outside, you can always train your dog with an invisible fence. This will allow your dog to enjoy some outside time without you there. 

Shih Tzu Maltese Mix

Shih Tzu Maltese Mix Feeding

This mixed breed falls into the small breed category meaning that this type of dog will not need a lot of food per day. You should expect to feed your dog around a cup of high quality dry or wet and dry food mixed together. 

Remember that it is not a cup of food at each feeding; it should be broken up through the day to equal a cup when the day is over. Try to find a dog food that gives your dog a complete balance of protein, carbs, and vegetables.

Mal-Shi Coat

Both the Shih Tzu and the Maltese have a medium to long coat. This coat does not shed and is considered hypoallergenic. This is a good sign for people with mild allergies to dog hair.

Even though the coat does not shed, it will still need to be brushed multiple times in a week. Remember, you will need to take your dog’s coat very seriously.

The coat of this breed comes in a variety of colors and some can even be multi-colored. 

What Colors Do They Come In?

There are a few different colors your dog could come in, some even being combinations of the colors:

  • White
  • Black
  • Brown
  • Silver
  • Red Hues
  • Tan

Shih Tzu Maltese mixShih Tzu Maltese Mix Grooming

Because of their long hair, they do need regular brushing with a metal pin brush 2-3 times a week. It is recommended to wash them once a month as these mischievous dogs like to get themselves dirty.

The hair does need to be blow-dried after washing to prevent it from tangling, but make sure to have the blow dryer on cold air.

Shihtese’s potential dental problems, their teeth need to be brushed 3-4 times a month and also have regular checkups with the vet.

They don’t shed very much, which makes the breed quite hypoallergenic. This great for people who are not allergic to dogs but just a little sensitive. 

Mal-Shi Training

All dogs need some sort of training; some breeds require more than others. You want to always treat your dog with positive reinforcement every time they are learning something new in training.

Socialization is another key thing that you should start early with your dog when they are a puppy. This will help get your dog used to people as well as other animals. This is a very important skill to help your dog through aggression.

Make sure if you are not capable of training your dog that you take your dog to someone that can properly do this. Yes, it will cost money, but it will save you time and help you have a better behaved dog in the long run.

Shih Tzu Maltese Mix Puppies

The purebred parents of this breed can cost a lot of money. This mixed breed, however, can still cost a lot depending on the breeders. You can expect to pay around $500 to $1,400.

Make sure you start to research breeders and interview them with equations about their upcoming litters and care for their pups.

Remember that there are a lot of dogs taken to animal shelters every day and you can always check there first to not only save you money but your helping to save a dog’s life.


This dog is perfect if you are a first-time dog owner as it does not need much exercise or maintenance. Because of its friendly nature, this is an ideal family dog

Close Relatives of the Mal-Shi

There are a few breeds that resemble closely to the Mal-Shi they include:

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