Maltese Shih Tzu Dog Breed

Maltese Shih Tzu Puppy Playing
  • Other names:
  • Mal-Shi
  • Shih-Tese
  • Shihtese
  • Malti Tzu
  • Shima
  • View all 5...

The Maltese x Shih Tzu cross is a dog of many names; you may hear them referred to as Malshis, Malti-Zhus, Shih-tese or even Shimas. Whatever you call your pet, they will definitely be an adaptable little dog that suits almost anyone and any type of household. They get along great with kids, other pets and strangers. Although they aren't known to be easily trained, exercising them should be easy. They are very communicate, happy, outgoing dogs that are prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. On average, the Malshi will live 12-14 years with fewer health concerns than his/her purebred parents.

Maltese Shih Tzu Breed Details

Breed Specs
Hybrid12-14 yrs.9-15 in.6-14 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

The Maltese Shih Tzu is a low shedding companion dog that was bred for just that. They are quite adaptable and can fit into almost any household, as long as the owner is not gone the majority of the time. This breed truly is great for young and old alike; they are able to be outgoing and energetic or calm and cuddly. Ideally, the owner will have a yard for them to run and play but this is not necessary as long as they can be taken out every day for at least half an hour. Use the following facts to decide if the Maltese Shih Tzu is right for you:


  • Sized perfectly for apartments, condos and other small living quarters
  • Lives well with kids, other pets, and frequent visitors
  • Easily exercised
  • Adaptable-- can be cuddly or energetic
  • Hypoallergenic or low shedding


  • Moderately noisy
  • Training is more difficult than some breeds
  • Is not an intensive exercise partner
  • Prone to separation anxiety and small dog syndrome

Maltese Shih Tzu Breed Description

Malshis, as hybrid dogs, will inherit characteristics from both parents but not always equally. We recommend prospective owners read up on the traits of both the Maltese and Shih Tzu before adopting one of these mixes. The following information for this breed can be supplemented by visiting our parent breed pages.

Members of this breed are somewhat smart but sometimes their curiosity or stubbornness outshines their intelligence. They are trainable with patience, consistency and a firm attitude. If you treat a Malshi like a baby, it will act like a spoiled one so make sure this little dog understands his place. They are, however, naturally communicative with people and you will know if they lost a toy or if their bowl is empty.

One great aspect of the Malshi is her adaptability. She is outgoing and energetic yet can be a calm cuddle buddy. This allows her to fit into many different types of households. She will be fine with other pets, strangers, kids and any other situation that might cause a bump in the road with other dogs. The only thing she isn't fine with? Being left alone for long periods of time.

Ideally, your Maltese Shih Tzu mix will be able to play in a nice fenced yard. If not, make sure to take them out for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. They won't be able to keep up with your runs, bikes or hikes but do enjoy long walks, trips to the dog park and plenty of toys!

Maltese Shih Tzu Coloring

Mixed breeds have a greater coat color variation that either purebred parent. Although Maltese Shih Tzus are often white (with or without brown markings), their coat can include: black, white, brown, tan and silver. They can be solid or, more likely, combinations of the previously mentioned colors.

Maltese Shih Tzu Size

Size is not as predictable for hybrid dogs as it is for purebreds, however, a fully grown Maltese Shih Tzu mix will be a small sized dog. A Malshi rarely exceeds 15 inches and will weigh as little as 6 or as much as 14 pounds. They are perfectly sized for small dwellings like apartments and condominiums.

Average Adult Height

9-15 in
*Height is measured in inches from the front paws to the top of the shoulder while the dog is standing on all four legs.

Average Adult Weight

6-14 lbs

Maltese Shih Tzu Variations

The Maltese Shih Tzu is a cross between the purebreds Maltese and Shih Tzu. This hybrid dog is oftentimes called a MalShi but sometimes known as a Maltishi or Teddy Bear. Since most breeders and buyers want the small size of the Maltese and the colorings of the Shih Tzu, there is little breeding beyond the first generation (F1). As such, nearly all MalShis you'll find available will be 50% each of the two purebred parents.

There are few variations in a MalShi's coat style. The coat itself is nearly always silky, fluffy and rather soft. It can grow quickly, and allowing it to do so requires a great amount of grooming; most people prefer the puppy cut for this fast-growing coat. As for colors, there tends to be a handful of them: white, black, red and either parti or tri-parti as well as variations of the red that can be cream, light chocolate or perhaps even sable.

There are a very few breeders, however, who do breed back an F1 Maltese Shih Tzu to a purebred Maltese. Maltese Shih Tzu are toy or miniature dogs already and doing so usually makes the F1B puppies in the resultant litter even smaller; these Teacup Malshi puppies are at greater risk of health problems. For the most part, the Maltese Shih Tzu is basically one size that, when mature, falls between 5 and 15 pounds.

Maltese Shih Tzu Temperament

The Maltese Shih Tzu temperament can best be described as "outgoing, playful, curious and attention loving". They are social with anything and everything, including strangers and other pets. Malshis are also alert and on one hand this makes them good watch dogs, but it also makes them moderately noisy.

This breed is playful, active, energetic and loves toys. Ideally, they will get playtime in a fenced yard but as long as your can take them outdoors everyday, a yard isn't mandatory. Since they bond with their families so strongly, they may develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time.

Training will require patience and consistency and the most important thing to remember with small breeds is to not treat them like a baby. Malshis are smart but also curious and a bit stubborn. Many owners report they are somewhat difficult to housebreak so it is important to crate train them early. However, they are naturally adept at communicating things like food and water bowls being empty, a lost toy, or wanting to be cuddled.

Maltese Shih Tzu and Children

Malshis love attention and a lively little dogs that can play with you or settle down for a cuddle. They do like routine so rambunctious households with very small children may not be best for them. Older kids who can be taught how to appropriately and gently handle a pet will be a perfect match for this breed. Babies should always be supervised around any breed.

Maltese Shih Tzu Photos

Below are pictures and images of the Maltese Shih Tzu dog breed.

Black Maltese Shih Tzu
Maltese Shih Tzu
Maltese Shih Tzu
Maltese Shih Tzu Puppy Playing
Maltese Shih Tzu Sitting
White Maltese Shih-Tzu (Mal-Shi) Puppy

Living Requirements

Overall, Malshis are adaptable and easy to live with. They can be playful and lively or they can be calm. This breed is alert, however, making them moderately noisy dogs. This fact, combined with their likeliness to develop separation anxiety if left along for long periods of time, means you may come home to find a displeased neighbor. Members of this breed are friendly and outgoing so they can easily fit into households with other pets and respectful children.

These small dogs are perfectly sized for small dwellings such as apartments and condos. They are energetic and will require daily outdoor exercise. A fenced yard is a big bonus for them but is not necessary if you can take them out to play for at least 30 minutes per day.

Maltese Shih Tzus were bred to be hypoallergenic and are reported to be so. They are low shedding dogs, however, no pet is guaranteed to be fully hypoallergenic so allergy tests are recommended.

Maltese Shih Tzu Health

A cross between a Maltese and Shih Tzu should produce puppies that develop fewer health problems than their purebred parents, especially first generation crosses. Choosing a reputable breeder that offers a health guarantee, along with routine check ins at your veterinarian should help prevent and/or detect many conditions. On average, Malshis live between 12-14 years.

Although Malshis are usually healthy, a few common ailments that can be passed down from their purebred parents such as bladder problems, dental issues, and the following health concerns:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Portosystemic Liver Shunt
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Reverse Sneezing
  • White Dog Shaker Syndrome
  • View all 6...

Maltese Shih Tzu Breed Recognition

The following dog breed registries and organizations recognize the Maltese Shih Tzu as a dog breed:

  • American Canine Hybrid Club
  • Designer Breed Registry
  • Designer Dogs Kennel Club
  • Dog Registry of America Inc.
  • International Designer Canine Registry