Maltese Shih Tzu Grooming

Maltese Shih Tzu mixes are high maintenance dogs that are not easily groomed at home unless you are a very experienced owner or a groomer! Both parent breeds are known for having naturally long and luxurious coats so you can expect your Malti Tzu to as well. Additionally, both parents are said to be hypoallergenic; this doesn't mean they won't trigger allergies in everyone but they do produce less allergy-causing dander than most breeds.

The coat of this breed is highly prone to mats and most owners give up on grooming their own Malti Tzu after realizing they are full of tangles 5 minutes after being brushed. Many opt to keep their pet's coat short or take her to be professionally groomed. Keep in mind there will be daily maintenance involved on your part even if you do employ the help of a groomer. Daily brushing, weekly teeth and ear cleaning, as well as nail trimming as needed are all things that you can do at home. The following information details the basic needs of your Maltese Shih Tzu.

Maltese Shih Tzu Coat Care

Maltese Shih Tzu grooming is not for the fainthearted-- these little sweethearts require quite the labor of love. Malshis have coats that range from long to very long and from straight to wavy, but either way will be fluffy and luxurious. The amount of daily maintenance you will need to provide is based on whether you keep the coat in its natural state, clipped shorter, or closely clipped. Here's a few tips on how to groom a Maltese Shih Tzu:

Unless the hair is closely clipped over the whole body, they should be brushed daily to avoid tangles that lead to mats (pay attention to the collar, harness and belly areas). If you find your long haired Malshi to get tangles again as fast as you remove them, try mixing 3/4 water with 1/4 conditioner and spraying on the coat before brushing; you can also buy a detangling spray.

If you want the lowest maintenance scenario clip the coat short all over and don't leave it at a "fluffy length". Many owners choose to scissor the facial area, especially around the eyes. Those that prefer a slightly longer clip may want to scissor the feet as well.

Thoroughly brush with a slicker or pin brush then comb your Maltese Shih Tzu before bathing him; is is imperative to remove the tangles or mats before bathing or they will get worse! Use detangling spray or conditioner on stubborn tangles and, if necessary, cut them out before they become to close to the skin.

Bathe your pet once every other week, especially if the hair is not short, with an all natural shampoo; short haired Malshis can go longer. Use a conditioner to keep his hair silky. It's best not to dry them completely if using a blow-dryer.


Maltese-Shih Tzu brushing will need to happen 3-4 times per week. Though these hybrids' coats don't shed much, they're prone to tangling--so frequent brushing will be necessary to keep the coats tangle-free (and to keep them looking good, of course!).

The best brush for Maltese-Shih Tzu mixes is a pin brush, as this type glides through the fluffy hair the easiest--though a slicker brush will also do the job. A greyhound comb will be good to have on hand as well.

How to brush a Malshi: first wet the coat with water mist from a spray bottle (with a bit of de-tangling solution mixed in, if desired). Then go through the coat section by section with the brush, moving in sweeping strokes in the direction of hair growth. If you do run across a tangle, first try separating it with your fingers, then if needed continue working it out with the end teeth of the comb.

Maltese Shih Tzu Styling & Haircuts

Malshi haircuts are very similar to the haircuts for both parent breed (Maltese and Shih Tzu) and are dependent upon what level of maintenance you feel like you have the skills and energy to keep up with. Once you choose the style right for you, you can find many how to videos online that show you exactly how to perform any Maltese Shih Tzu haircut!

  • Puppy Cut/Summer Cut- This is the lowest maintenance. The hair is clipped short all over, anywhere from 1/2" to 2".
  • Show Dog Cut- The highest maintenance cut, this style typically involves a top not (basically the dog equivalent of a bun) and floor length hair that that is trimmed only when it has reached that length. Note that it covers the feet.. This will be very difficult for the average owner to complete and upkeep.
  • Plushie Cut- This style is not considered short but is not very long either. The body is clipped to 3"-4" and the feet are scissored along with the head; this gives them a fluffy look. More frequent brushing and bathing will be required with this than with the Puppy Cut.
  • Any of the shortened lengths can have what is referred to as a Teddy Bear Cut for the head. The face and head is very lightly scissored as to round it but still keep the hair long. This in combination with a shorter body coat gives them a cute little bear-like look.
  • Any of the shortened lengths may leave the ears and tail long, this is popular for whatever reason.