The Maltese Shih Tzu (Malshi): Best Dog Ever!
What Do You Get When You Cross a Maltese With a Shih Tzu?
A Malshi dog is a cross of Maltese and Shih Tzu dog breeds. Both of these are small dog breeds, with Maltese adults typically weighing 2 to 8 pounds and Shih Tzu adults typically weighing 8 to 15 pounds.
How Big Do Maltese Shih Tzu (Malshi) Dogs Get?
When we got our Malshi puppy, I was very curious to see how big she would get. I read a lot of articles about Maltese and Shih Tzu dogs, but in the end I could only guess how big a Malshi would get. I once got a Golden Retriever puppy that grew to be enormous, and I suspected that a Malshi might end up being sized more like a Shih Tzu.
Our Malshi puppy is a year old now—fully grown. She turned out to be exactly the right size; not too big and not too small. She weighs 10 pounds and measures 20 inches long from nose to tail, and 10 inches high. She is big enough to play with our kids and other pets, and small enough to carry easily and sit on your lap.
This size puts a Malshi at the upper size range for a Maltese and at the lower end of the size range for a Shih Tzu.
Do Malshi Dogs Look More Like Maltese or Shih Tzu?
When I look at pictures of purebred Maltese dogs, I think they look a lot like my Malshi. The same thing happens when I look at pictures of purebred Shih Tzu dogs- they also resemble my Malshi. Overall, I think my Malshi probably looks more like a Maltese, but she definitely has strong features from both parent breeds.
From the Maltese, I think the Malshi cross gets their black eyes, black nose, and white fur. From the Shih Tzu, Malshis get some of their brown and white fur coloring, their longer fur, and the shape of their eyes and face.
The Malshi Personality
After having nearly a year of experience with my Malshi, I can attempt to describe the personality quirks of this unique type of dog.
Malshis Are Like Toddlers
In many ways, our Malsi is like a human toddler. She likes routines. She likes to go to bed at the same time every night, and has a particular place she likes to sleep- on the bed, of course. She sometimes very much wants to be held, and sometimes very much wants to be down running around. She thinks she is big enough to handle anything, but actually needs help quite often.
Our Malshi has some interesting sorting behaviors and interactions with her toys. She sometimes sorts her dry dog food into small piles. We have found her sorting plastic clothes hangers into piles. Sometimes she feels the need to completely empty her box of dog toys.
Toys and Possessions
Our dog cannot stand to lose a toy. If a toy goes under the bed or under a couch out of reach, no one gets any peace until the toy is rescued. If you look under the dark couch and don't see any dog toys, you need to get a flashlight. Our Malshi has never been wrong about the location of a lost toy. If she says there is a toy trapped under the bed, then there really is a toy trapped under the bed.
Communication With Humans and Pets
Malshis are very good at communicating. When the water bowl is empty, our Malshi will dig loudly at the metal bowl and stand in it until someone notices, which does not take long. She has the cat-like ability to get comfortable in your lap in a way that makes you avoid getting up so you do not disturb her. If a cat is in her spot, she growls quietly. If one of our other dogs is in the wrong spot, she barks at it until it moves.
But She's Not Annoying...
These behaviors may sound kind of annoying, but they are really not. Some things have to be experienced to be understood. Her barks and growling are quiet and pleasant, not piercing and harsh. It is usually enjoyable to help her get her toys out from under furniture or help her arrange the other pets properly. The best part is coming home and having her burst through the door with her tail vibrating in excitement, blinking her eyes and sticking her tongue out panting and trying to lick you when you pick her up.
Can You Walk a Malshi?
Yes, Malshis love walks! We went on some short walks at first, but I quickly realized that she can walk amazingly far and amazingly fast considering her tiny size and short legs. One evening, we were coming back from a walk of about a mile and she wanted to go fast. I even jogged with her leading me for awhile- then I got tired.
Another surprising thing about a dog this small- they don't mind cold weather and like snow. Our Malshi enjoys running around and playing in the snow. Even when a shoveled sidewalk is available, she often chooses to walk in the snow instead. Our Malshi got groomed recently and has short hair, so we put a dog coat on her when she is going to be outside very long.
So That's What You Get When You Cross a Maltese and a Shih Tzu...
I think combining Maltese and Shih Tzu to make a Malshi is like combining chocolate and peanut butter to make a Peanut Butter Cup. Chocolate and peanut butter are both great, but you get something really special when you combine two great things in the right way.
Questions & Answers
I'm looking to get a Malshi. Can you tell me where you got your Malshi?
I got my Malshi at a pet store, but next time I would find a breeder and buy directly from them. Pet stores sometimes get their puppies from "puppy mills" where conditions are poor. My advice is to find a Malshi breeder with a good reputation. You can pick up a puppy at the breeder, or they can bring your puppy to you.Helpful 61
I get the impression that Malshi are not yippy, is that right?
I would say that Malshis are not yippy, but they are not exactly quiet. My Malshi sometimes barks at other dogs, and can whine or whimper when she wants something. But she doesn't yip for no reason.Helpful 56
I mistakenly got my 8 months old Malshi shaved and now I’m worried his old hair will not grow back. Any insights?
Not to worry, shaving a Malshi doesn't cause any problems. Your Malshi's fur will grow back in a few months. I sometimes need to get my Malshi shaved when her fur gets tangled and matted. I try to wait until warm weather to shave her down.Helpful 56
I have a one year old Malshi. She likes to nap a lot. Is this normal?
Short answer: yes.
Malshi's enjoy relaxing and napping, and spend quite a bit of time chilling. Then they can have a burst of energy for a short time.Helpful 55
© 2013 Dr Penny Pincher