Maltese Shih Tzu Mix Breed Information

Maltese Shih Tzu

The Maltese Shih Tzu (also known as a Malshi) is a small, loveable pup. The perfect companion for the more “relaxed” family member.

A designer dog breed, bred by crossing the gorgeous hypoallergenic Maltese with an oh so fluffy Shih Tzu.

Not only is the Shih Tzu Maltese an affectionate breed, but, they can also be playful, highly adaptable, and can fit in with a variety of different lifestyles (e.g. a young, thriving city life and a loving suburban life).

This designer toy breed is classed as a toy dog, once matured, measuring up to 12” tall and 12 pounds in weight. They have a short muzzle and round head with a soft non-shed coat.

So, if you are interested in this mixed breed, keep on reading to discover their temperament, lifespan, and size as we cover the facts.

Maltese Shih Tzu Facts
Breed TypeMixes and More
PurposeCompanionship and Designer
Suitable For Elderly, attentive owner, or even a great little addition to the family!
SizeUp to 12" for both males and females
Weight6 to 12 pounds
Lifespan 12–14 years
Color VariationsWhite, black, or brown with a combination with different markings
TemperamentSweet, Loving, and Loyal
Activity LevelsLow – A brisk 15-30 minute walk each day is sufficient
Daily Food ConsumptionUp to 1/2 a cup of high-quality kibble
Known Health issuesBrachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome, White Shaker Syndrome, Patellar Luxation

Maltese Shih Tzu Breed Information

Maltese Shih Tzu

The Maltese Shih Tzu is bred from two pure breed parents; the petite and hypoallergenic Maltese dog and the clever and spunky Shih Tzu.

Because both parents are of a similar size, the sire and dam can be interchangeable.

So, where did this little designer dog come from?

Although both parents originate from different parts of the world (Maltese from the Mediterranean and Shih Tzu from Asia); the Maltese Shih Tzu was actually bred first in the United States in the 1990s.

The idea of mixing the Maltese dog and Shih Tzu dog was to create an adorable little companion who did not shed as much; much like that of a Shorkie.

Fun Fact

If you are a Pretty Little Liars fan then you will know that Ashley Benson has one of these designer hybrids.

The Shih Tzu Maltese is not recognized by any major kennel club as it is a hybrid dog.

Maltese Shih Tzu Puppies

The litter size ranges from between 6-8 puppies; due to their small size this is a large litter size. Each litter is unique in coloration, as is the case with many designer hybrids, so there is no telling just what each litter will look as they may come in many different colors.

A Maltese Shih Tzu price tag ranges from between $400 – $800 USD, with variations dependent upon which breeder you purchase from.

You may even be lucky enough to find one in a rescue center as adopting a dog is always a heart-warming option.


Shih Tzu Maltese

What is the Maltese Shih Tzu life span?
This dog lives on average for approximately 12-14 years. Being the perfect small companion dog, you will definitely appreciate every year spent together.

How big is a Maltese Shih Tzu full grown?
Remember, this is a toy dog breed. Therefore, your puppy will not grow very much after two months of age (see table below). Both sexes of the dog are approximately the same size.

Puppy (2 months) 7 inches 4 lbs
Dog (12 months) 10 nches 6–12 lbs

Maltese Shih Tzu Temperament


The Maltese Shih Tzu has a very loving temperament. In fact, they crave love and need to know just how much you love, love, love them. Just like another Maltese mix; the Morkie.

They have such a great temperament they are suitable for both the elderly and children. This is because they are energetic enough that they can keep your children busy, but they can also be docile and snuggly and are therefore the great companion to the elderly.

They can be confident and are sometimes somewhat suspicious of strangers. When they are not introduced properly to strangers; they may act a little feisty.

They are great with other pets too as long as they are introduced and socialized frequently.

It is very important that the Shih Tzu Maltese gets all of the attention they require; without proper care and affection, this breed may get bored and depressed. This can then lead to destructive and unsettling behavior.

How to Care for a Malshi

Feeding a Maltese Shih Tzu Yorkie Mix
Good news for all of the more relaxed dog-parents out there as this designer dog breed is is easy to care for.

Food and Diet Requirements

Being on the small end of the scale, the Maltese Shih Tzu doesn’t actually require that much food and they will never say no to a healthy treat.

Puppy (2 months) 7 inches 4 lbs
Dog (12 months) 10 nches 6–12 lbs

It may seem strange that your puppy will require more calories per day than your adult Malshi (since they are smaller), however, this is completely normal.

Your puppy needs more calories as it is growing and therefore needs more energy to support this process.

An adult Maltese Shih Tzu requires round ½ a cup of high-quality dry dog food per day. A good option is to feed your Malshi kibble specialized for small and toy dog breeds.

You should split feedings into two servings throughout the day. This will ensure your dog remains satisfied all day and night.

Luckily for this breed, Shih Tzu Maltese are not prone to obesity! However, it is probably better to keep them away from Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s. As with any animal, it is important that we stick to foods that meet all the dog’s nutritional and daily requirements. This ensures that your pet stays healthy!

Remember, as with any dog, your Maltese Shih Tzu dietary requirements may change in accordance with their age, size, and activity level.

Exercise Requirements

Exercising a Dog
It is important that you do not push these designer dogs too much, they are a known sufferer of brachycephalic respiratory syndrome therefore over-exertion may lead to breathing difficulties.

Let’s be honest, no dog will say no to a nice big yard to run around in. However, a big yard is not necessary for the Maltese Shih Tzu. They can happily live in a small space such as an apartment. However, this does not mean that no exercise should occur.

They don’t require a harsh or physical exercise plan (e.g. a herding dog which requires agility training). However, you should expect to walk them for a brisk 15 to 30-minute daily walk.

You should also look to use some mental stimulation games (see suggestions below) to help keep them entertained whilst not over excising them.

This way they will have your company, attention, and exercise all in one.


Remember to use a leash as they love to be little explorers. The Malshi is very intelligent and therefore is always interested in discovering its new and exciting surroundings.

Training Requirements

Playing Fetch with a Shih Tzu
The Maltese Shih Tzu is a very intelligent crossbred dog. This makes some aspects of training easier; which is a perfect characteristic if you’re a first-time puppy owner!

A Malshi needs positive reinforcement training. Here are some puppy training tips to help with your Malshi.

Over-spoiling any dog can lead to bad behavioral habits (e.g. destruction and barking) so be careful when it comes to “over-babying” your pup.

The Maltese Shih Tzu has a tendency to show signs of distress around strangers. However, this can be a result of inadequate socialization. Great socialization activities include trips to the dog parks, little walks around the neighborhood, and even little trips to a dog-friendly beach!

Short for ideas? Google dog-friendly places in your area and you will be sure to find cool and different places to take your Malshi.

Simple mental stimulation is sufficient for your little Malshi. All they really need is to know that you care and love them, cuddles are enough to keep them more than occupied.

They can be quite an energetic breed if they need to be, so small games are suitable for mental stimulation.

Try games of hide and go seek, or, even fetch.

For a fun game of hide and seek simply run around with your Malshi, then quickly hide. Call his or her name and let them try and find you. To make it more fun, you can even sneak away and try new hiding positions and again call their name! Trust me, they will be racing around trying to find you.

The most important thing to remember is that they do not do well when they are alone. They can easily suffer from separation anxiety. They require and crave your affection both mentally and emotionally. So as long as this is given then you should both be okay.

Known Health Problems

The Maltese Shih Tzu is a hybrid dog that was bred with the goal of eliminating known health faults present in the purebred parents whilst introducing the hypoallergenic coat of Maltese.

However, unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and some health issues and diseases are still present. As a loving owner, you will want to have a brief idea of what health problems your little Malshi may be predisposed to.

  • Brachycephalic Respiratory Syndrome is commonly seen in dogs who have a short and flattened head/face shape as this causes the shape of their noses and muzzles to be irregularly short. This may lead to difficulty breathing which may result in intense loss of breath if they are over-exerted. Unfortunately for the Malshi, both parent breeds, the Maltese and the Shih Tzu are genetically predisposed to this syndrome. Therefore, passing on the health problem to your poor little Maltese Shih Tzu.
  • White Shaker Syndrome, is prevalent in many small dogs. This syndrome causes the dog’s whole body to unexpectedly shake and is caused by an inflammation in the brain which is idiopathic. Sometimes owners may mistake the shaking for their dog just being cold. But if the tremors persist, then you should contact your local veterinarian!
  • Patellar Luxation is a common orthopedic problem in many dogs. This can result in your dog’s knee becoming dislocated. Sadly, this condition is common in small and toy breeds. Prolonged or continuous stress in the area may lead to surgery.

Maltese Shih Tzu Appearance: Coat, Color, and Haircuts

Maltese Shih Tzu Puppies

So, we have established the fact that they resemble a pom-pom. But let’s get more specific, what does the Maltese Shih Tzu really look like?

Generally speaking, they’re definitely on the small side compared to your average dog. Their bodies and heads, although small, are quite proportionate.

They may have big bulgy eyes, which may be hazel or amber.

Their coats are normally long (although their owners often give them trendy haircuts) and straight or wavy.

Uniquely, they don’t often have an undercoat. This dog was bred specifically to eliminate shedding. Although some shedding does still occur. These dogs are known to be hypoallergenic (i.e. reduced shedding) so whoever is on vacuum duties will thank you!

Their coat can come in a variety of colors and may range anywhere from white, black, brown, or a combination of colors. For example, white and black, white and brown, brown and black… You get the point!

The markings on these small dogs vary often and therefore make it a bit easier to tell your little Maltese Shih Tzu from others.

Maltese Shih Tzu Grooming

Light brushing is enough to get rid of that small amount of excess fur and dander. Brushing can be daily or as minimal as just twice a week.

Owners of the breed normally opt for a Maltese Shih Tzu haircut; especially in the summer months. This will also make grooming a lot easier.

If you want to keep your pup’s hair nice and silky smooth, then bathing twice a year is not a bad idea. Regular nail clipping also doesn’t hurt. And make sure their eyes are kept clean as they may get quite gunky! If their eyes aren’t cleaned regularly then this can lead to tear staining (as seen commonly in the parent breed, the Maltese).


A small dog that is highly adaptable, requires little exercise and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg on monthly dog food.

These loveable, affectionate, intelligent, and playful pompoms are the perfect companion for any family or individual, no matter what the living situation.

Just be sure to show your Maltese Shih Tzu some love, attention and have plenty of time for them.

Comment below if you too know of someone with a kind and out-going Maltese Shih Tzu, we would love to hear just how loving and affectionate they are!

About John Woods 299 Articles
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.


    • Hi Mary, I have shared your comment with the community – so hopefully someone will be able to recommend a breeder to you.

    • I’m also looking for a Maltese Shih tzu mix, a female, but will definitely take a male. Black and white preferably.

    • I would love one too, but don’t know where to find one around my area (Minnesota). I had a shitzu, but she died a few months ago. Shitzu have lots of health problems, at least the one I had did. Lots of skin allergies, among other things. Do Maltese shitzu dogs have proclivity to skin allergies? And mine did the reverse sneezing thing that was really concerning at first. Just want to know what to expect.

  1. We are first time guardians of a beautiful Maltese/Shih Tzu mix. Talk about love,love,love!!!She is a pure delight 24/7. We are retired and never ever leave her for extended periods of time. Separation anxiety is both cruel and frustrating to any dog and in this case very cruel to this loving breed.

  2. We have a fluffy white 10month old male called Elvis and he’s adorable. Took a while to toilet train but once the penny dropped he’s been fantastic! What a delightful little dog, he’s misses nothing very alert, loves walks, loves cuddles, loves other dogs, not so keen on our neighbours cats. He’s never chewed anything, he does have a extensive range of his own toys. He would go for. Walk 10 times a day if he could, he would also play fetch all day. Would certainly recommend this breed to family’s.

  3. My wife, and I got our daughter a maltese shih tzu for Xmas of 2011. Immediately the little pup imprinted on me. So even though the pup, Aka CupCake, is my daughter’s pup. She will always come to me when I call her or will lay next to if not on top of me when she is sleeping. My daughter thinks I done something to her or bribing her to make her come to me when all I’ve done is just love on her. I think it’s amazing that this little fur ball is such a big part of our life and that I will do anything for her. She fell ill about 2yrs ago and the vet said it would cost $1,500-$2,000k for the surgery, meds and after care. We didn’t have the $$ but I sold my race car so we could get the $$ to get our baby better. I look at her like she was my other kid. Never in a million years I’d think I would love an animal like this. But I’m proud to say I do and will continue to love her as long as I can!!

    • I agree wholeheartedly. At the time I adopteded my baby, they were called Malte-Tzu’s…no matter what, she is a darling, treasure and total delight. To her, the whole world and everyone and evetything in it is her happy place. Inteeligent, loving and a joy.

    • That’s beautiful exactly the way I would describe the love I have for my chitzu Maltese. They really are family.😍

    • Hi just read your message about AKA Cupcake, what a awesome story you know it’s so funny you say she imprinted on you. About 2 months ago my little man Benjii passed and my hubby wanted to get me Another companion dog asap so we got a Malshi and same thing happened she just stuck to my hubby like super glue lol. They are precious she doesn’t do anything my hubby says as I’m the one training her .. just wanted to share.

  4. Our female Katie loves on everybody. Loves to play fetch, recognizes a large vocabulary, has been totally healthy for 9 years, no eye staining and we keep her in long coat. Her coat is silky at about 10 inches long. She gets a weekly bath with great pet product and conditioner. We have only fed small breed Blue Wilderness as well as Blue fetching treats. Zero itching or skin problems.

  5. I’m Really Trying To Find Out If Anyone Can Possibly Answer This Question For Me! We Bread Our Black & Tan Male Mauxie To Our
    White Female Mal Shi. They Are Both Hybrids. But Bread Together I Can’t Find information On What Breed They Will Be Concidered? Can Anyone Help Please?

    • Hi Gwendolyn,

      Typically a mix is two purebred dogs mated (e.g. A Dachshund and Maltese), a hybrid is three dogs (e.g a F1 Mauxie mated with a Labrador). Normally anything with four or more breeds is considered a mongrel or mutt (unless four breeds are mated for a specific breeding program i.e. American Alsatian)

  6. We have a male dog, Buddy. He is a very loved member of our family and I’m dreading the time when he’s no longer with us. He is currently 16 years old, and although a bit blind & death, he is still very active.He still thinks he’s a pup, and loves life. He sleeps between my wife & I each night, on top of our bed, with his own blanket. He has made our lives richer, and we love him dearly.

  7. We have a Malachi that we rescued from an abusive owner. She’s an absolute love, very sweet, loving dog & we love her beyond words. It took her a while to realize people, especially men, would not hurt her but now she loves everybody. She’s a little watch dog & barks when someone is around. She ignores other dogs & cats, so we think she doesn’t know she’s a dog…she loves to play fetch, and is a pure delight.

  8. We just adopted a Maltese/ Shih tzu and we pick him up July 1st and we’re so excited. We have read everything we can on both breeds and combination of both everything sounds wonderful and I’ve only seen great reviews, but is there anything we should watch for or has anyone had negative experiences. I only ask so we can be prepared if something should arise in our pup and to provide the best environment possible. I think I have purchased every thing I can possibly purchase for our pup he will definitely be spoiled beyond belief! My concern is which type of food is best there are so many and I only want the best food for him any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • I just picked up my Malshi pup (11 weeks) a few days ago. She loves Diamond Naturals small breed puppy food. Definitely walk him every couple of hours and use pads to cut down on accidents. My dog has learned her name and how to sit in three days. Make sure you have a travel crate or cage with a soft bed for him to sleep in while you sleep. He might howl and whine the first night or two, but will quickly settle down after a while. You are going to love your dog.

  9. We just purchased a 7 week old baby girl and my only concern is that during the day everyone will be at work and I have read that this dog requires attention or they will get depressed. I’m a little bit concerned with her being at home alone during the day. Anyone have similar experiences and could tell me how it went or any tips? Thanks!

    • Hi Adarsh,

      We can understand your concern. It’s not ideal for a dog to be alone for that length of time. Is there anyway friends or family can come to spend time with puppy whilst you’re at work? Or if not immediately, could you take some time off work until you can organise some options? The time spent alone won’t help your toilet training plans.

      Moving forward have you considered day care or a dog walker? If you are able to go home at lunch a dog walker could help in the morning or afternoon?

      Start crate training as soon as possible.

      Helping a puppy to cope being alone can take time. You start with short periods of time (10 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes etc). It helps if you can have barriers in your home, they can still see you but they aren’t following you directly. Any signs of distress means you’ve moved on to soon and you need to reduce the time apart again.

      If your pup is chewing, barking, digging or howling, they aren’t coping and they can’t be left alone.

      If they do cope being left for short periods, ensure you walk them before you leave and spend some time on brain games to help settle them. When you get home for the day plan to exercise and play again.

      If your pup is showing signs of separation anxiety, there are ways to tackle it, please feel free to get back in touch or seek the advice of a qualified behaviourist.

  10. My maltese-shih-Tzu is approx. 14 or 15 years old. I wonder if you can help? He is a male, blind and deaf. Lately he has developed a bad skin condition on several places which is matting his fur. Is there any cure for it?

    • Hi Gabriele.

      He’s a great age, it can’t be easy caring for him with those health issues. Skin issues can be caused by a range of things.

      Due to his age, it would be worth visiting your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health concerns. Once you know that, you may consider his environment. Some dogs can develop allergies to things in their environment – detergent, fabric softener, upholstery cleaner, air fresheners etc.

      They can also develop allergies to food (even if they’ve eaten the same food for a while). You could start to eliminate or change one thing at a time to see if this helps the issue. The reason we say one thing at a time is to know for definite what is causing it. Food is often a good place to start.

      If your vet hasn’t already shaved the area, it may be worth visiting your groomer so they can take his coat short to prevent any more matts forming (matts pulling at broken skin won’t help with healing).

      Most skin issues can be dealt with, but it’s certainly worth speaking to your veterinarian and your groomer.

  11. We acquired our Malshi male at 5 weeks old. While he ate well, we had to teach him to drink water. Bear was all black, at first, but is now getting some brown coloring. This puppy is a pure delight and has so much energy. We can’t imagine life without him!

  12. We just inherited a three-year-old Malshi after my mother in law died. He was basically kept in a cage except to relieve himself and eat. Therefore he is not completely housebroken. He doesn’t relieve himself in the crate, which is good. However, we are going back to school/work in a few weeks. Therefore, he will be crated from about seven until 13:30. We are walking him before and immediately after and then he is pretty much out of the crate except for when we eat dinner and go to bed. He hasn’t been destructive or troublesome except for chewing paper and the occasional accident when he is playing. Is there a way to train him to let us know when he has to go out – ie scratching on the door or something?

    • Hi Gretchen,

      Thanks for your questions – house-training is the same, no matter what the age of the dog. The most important thing is to get into a routine with your Malshi. So, when you are home, take him outside at regular intervals, perhaps every two hours, to give him the opportunity to toilet. Praise and reward him when he does.

      Many dogs instinctively try to let their owners know they need to go potty. They may start pining, whining, or crying. They may start circling or pacing. They may also start sniffing excessively at the floor. Some dogs do start jumping up at the door. If you aren’t sure this is reliable enough or you’re worried you may miss certain behaviours, some owners have had success teaching their dog to use a bell.

      To introduce a bell, place it by the door. Whenever your dog shows interest in it, mark the behaviour, with “yes” or a clicker and take him outside. If he toilets whilst outside don’t forget to reward him. Repeat regularly. You just want your dog showing interest in the bell initially. You want him to learn than the bell marks going outside. You can encourage him to press the bell, again take him straight outside. Good luck!

    • I don’t know if you trained your mal shi, I am sure you have since this is almost a year later. I have a coton de tulear. She is pad trained, but taught her to ring the bell to go outside. She never would go to the bathroom in the grass, but she rings the bell to go outside just to play! We crate ours at bedtime, but I have always used an xpen. That way they could have their water, food, beds, toys and a pad down for a while.

  13. My Mal Shu died a week ago after spending 16 years with us, we apodted him since he was 2,Teddy is a cream fur ball and he is intelligent, friendly, gentle, and caring. I miss him!

  14. Hi we have an 8yr old male Malshi and would like to get another Malshi. Given that we have a male what sex would be best for the new fur baby?

  15. We have a male malshi 5 months old. He is very smart, and he sleeps most of the day which makes him very cuddly and sweet to pick up and hold. However, as soon the clock strikes 6pm, he turns into a very demanding biter with me and my other dog and two cats, whom he usually loves. He barks a lot and we walk him several times at night but he doesn’t calm down until bedtime. We have had him since 8 weeks and I don’t know how to break this habit. Can you advise?

  16. I truly enjoyed your article, I have been researching, trying to find the right breed of dog for me, and I think the Malshi is it!!

  17. I have just adopted a deaf 13 year old Shihese. I call him that because his body & colouring is predominently Shih-tsu but with a Maltese muzzle. Please can we adopt thus method. He is adorable

  18. We have a Malshi and by far the best dog ever. Smart and was so easy to train. Most loveable and is alright with dogs but prefers cats. Just loves cats. He is 10 years old and we take him everywhere with us. Right on the plane when we fly to Arizona for the winter. The only thing we find is that he can’t take heat very well so now we are back in Connecticut to stay.I would tell anyone he is perfect pet.

  19. Maggie, our Maltese Shih Tzu mix was with us for 15 years. She was the best little dog we’ve had. Very gentle, great companion, calm and loving. She was so friendly that she was loved by family, friends and strangers alike. She did imprint on me which was bit frustrating for other family members. Suffered from skin and food allergies for most of her life, but we learned the triggers and it made everyone’s life easier. Highly recommend this dog breed.

  20. I am looking for a female Maltese Shih Tzu mix, I would prefer to have a rescue, so not a puppy. I lost our girl recently and I agree these are the best dogs ever. Highly recommend for anyone.

  21. I have the cutest, sweetest, smartest and most loveable Malshi,her name is Darby. Shes 3 today. I almost wasnt able to enjoy her this long. She had seizures when she was a baby , really scary to watch . Went on phenobarbital, which reduced her seizures to almost none . Shes now 3 and is off her meds as of 6 weeks ago and is doing great. Shes the love of my life. I couldn’t imagine not having her. She is my baby ! We thought having seizures might make her function slower too. But total opposite. Shes so smart and loveable!!

  22. I am desperately searching for a female Malachi puppy preferably 6 to 8
    Weeks old. I lost my Malshi in Mar 2021. She was totally a pleasure. To my home from the beginning of 8 weeks old.she was our constant life of the party for nearly 10 years. Loving and so very smart.
    I have faith that I will find another with what seems to be a enormous
    Neighborhood of Malshi lovers.

  23. Thank you for these helpful tips. My Malshi has allergies and by simply changing his food, he’s so much better. And his energy is better, too. I really appreciate the information.

  24. My Maltese is 3 months never own a dog before. He goes outside to use bathroom. My concerns is when it gets cold, rainy and snow will he still want to go outside early in the morning. Trying to stop him from eating everything he see when I’m walking him.

  25. Hi there,
    I have a wonderful, beautiful 13 year old baby girl Malshi. The last few days she has been scurrying from room to room, she doesn’t want to go out for walks. She hasn’t lost her appetite and she is going to the toilet, albeit less frequently, but she’s not yelping or whining. Just appears quite restless during the day and unsettled. She sleeps through the night with me. I’ve made an appointment to take her to the VET, but I’m just wondering if anyone else has experienced this with their elderly Malshi before?

  26. I got a little girl that was born 20/12/2021 her name is Jorja-Mae.
    She is so lovable even sleeps over my shoulder and neck, but in a millisecond she turns into a little devil dog and zoom’s around barking and biting she has been doing this since we got her where she came from roughed her a bit so assuming it is where it started.
    She is slowly getting better but in saying that they are so highly intelligent and super easy to train.

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