Maltese Shih Tzu Mix – The Mal Shi

Mix together the Shih Tzu and the Maltese and you end up with a Maltese Shih Tzu mix, which is often referred to as the Malshi, Mal Shi, Shihtese, and the Malte Tzu. These small dogs often look a bit like a teddy bear, and the hybrid is known for being an adorable addition to the family. While these are not pure bred dogs, it is possible to register hybrid dogs with hybrid registration sites, including the American Canine Hybrid Club. If you’re considering a Maltese Shih Tzu mix for your next dog, here’s a closer look at the dog’s origin, appearance, temperament, grooming needs, and health information.

Origin and History

Although no one is quite sure about the exact origin of the Maltese Shih Tzu mix, it’s thought that these Mal Shi dogs were probably created in the 1990s. The two parent breeds were likely bred together to create a dog that didn’t shed very much. To learn more about these dogs, it’s a great idea to look at their parents, the Maltese and the Shih Tzu breeds.

The Maltese breed is a very old breed that can be traced back to 3500 BC to the island of Malta, and it may have existed even earlier. It’s thought to be one of the most ancient toy breeds from Europe. These dogs have been featured in art and in writings for centuries, and the Greeks even had tombs erects for their beautiful Maltese companions. While we know these dogs were around for years, it wasn’t until the middle of the 1800s that meticulous recordkeeping and breeding was established for the breed. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the breed became very popular and the breed continues to be very popular today, particularly in Europe and in the United States.

The Shih Tzu breed is also very old, going back to ancient Tibet and China. It’s thought that miniature Tibetan breeds and Chinese breeds were combined to develop this breed, and experts think the specific breeds crossed may have been the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apsos. While these dogs trace back many centuries, it wasn’t until the 20th century that they became well known and popular within the western world. The dogs became popular in England, and World War II American soldiers fell in love with the breed, bringing some of these dogs to the U.S. after the war. In 1969, the American Kennel Club added the Shih Tzu to their stud book.


Usually the Maltese Shih Tzu mix has straight, long hair, but their coat can come in various colors, such as white, black, tan, gold, silver, and brown. These dogs are very small, and they usually only grow to be about 10 inches tall and generally weigh from 8-15 pounds when they become adults. You can expect the Mal Shi to have an adorable face and beautiful eyes.

Mal Shi Temperament

Your Maltese Shih Tzu mix will be outgoing and active, and these dogs enjoy exploring. However, they enjoy plenty of attention and snuggling as well. These hardy, alert, spunky dogs make friends easily with people and other dogs. As long as children are considerate and gentle with these small dogs, they’ll do wonderful with children.

Since the Maltese Shih Tzu mix is clever and a bit stubborn, they can be difficult to housebreak in some cases. The Mal Shi will require patient, consistent training. It’s important to begin training these dogs while they are very young to avoid accidents in the house.

Although these dogs are small, they do like to be active. The Mal Shi need about 20 minutes of exercise daily, and plenty of play time. A game of fetch or a nice walk is the perfect way to ensure your Maltese Shih Tzu mix gets enough activity each day.


While the Maltese Shih Tzu mix usually does not shed much, their longer coat means that they need to be brushed regularly to prevent tangles and matting. You may even want to have their coat professionally trimmed and groomed from time to time. Regular brushing is important for stimulating circulation and to remove any flakes of dander from your dog. The Mal Shi generally need to be bathed once a month or so, although white dogs may need bathed more often. Since they are small, the Mal Shi is prone to dental problems, so good dental hygiene, which includes regular brushing, is essential. It’s important to wipe their faces, particularly around the eye area, each day, since they are prone to tear stains, eye problems, and skin problems. Their nails also need to be clipped regularly, since these dogs usually don’t wear down their nails naturally.

Working Roles

The Maltese Shih Tzu is a companion dog and does not usually take on any working roles.


Since both the Shih Tzu and the Maltese breeds live a long life, you can expect your Maltese Shih Tzu mix to live for 12-15 years, or in some cases, even longer. Usually the hybrids are healthier than the parent breeds, but they can have the health concerns of either breed. Some of the potential health concerns to be aware of in your Maltese Shih Tzu mix dog include:

  • Patellar luxation
  • Dental problems
  • Von Willebrand disease
  • Cleft palate
  • Respiratory problems
  • Invertebral disk disease
  • Eye problems
  • Renal dysplasia
  • Patent ductus arteriosus
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Deafness
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Retinal detachment
  • Entropion
  • Endocardiosis
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Portosystemic shunts
  • Glycogen storage disease
  • Open fontenal
  • Glaucoma
  • Reverse sneezing
  • Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis
  • Collapsing trachea
  • Dental problems
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Pyloric stenosis
  • White shaker dog syndrome

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *