Maltese Shih Tzu = Malshi: Best Dog Ever!

Updated on February 11, 2016
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Dr. Penny Pincher has a Ph.D. in engineering and loves animals. He has raised peacocks, chickens, sheep, dogs, cats, rabbits, and pigs.

A Maltese Shih Tzu (Malshi) enjoying a car ride!
A Maltese Shih Tzu (Malshi) enjoying a car ride! | Source

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.

Malshi (cross of Maltese and Shih Tzu) at 1 year old adult size
Malshi (cross of Maltese and Shih Tzu) at 1 year old adult size | Source
Malshi: cross of Maltese and Shih Tzu dog breeds
Malshi: cross of Maltese and Shih Tzu dog breeds | Source

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.

Purebred Maltese Dog- Malshi crosses get the white fur, black eyes, and black nose from their Maltese parent.
Purebred Maltese Dog- Malshi crosses get the white fur, black eyes, and black nose from their Maltese parent. | Source

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.

Purebred Shih Tzu Dog- Malshi crosses get some of their coloring and the shape of their face from their Shih Tzu lineage
Purebred Shih Tzu Dog- Malshi crosses get some of their coloring and the shape of their face from their Shih Tzu lineage | Source

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.

Sorting Behavior

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. And it is usually enjoyable to help her get her toys out from under furniture and 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.

© 2013 Dr Penny Pincher


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      Emma Grayce 2 weeks ago

      My Malshi's groomer gave me some great advice for tear stains. Give her only distilled water to drink. I no longer buy tear stain remover or chews to combat stains. She went from dark red/brown stains to barely pink! We did not change anything else about her diet. Our groomer said minerals in tap water can cause stains.

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      Jessica 3 weeks ago

      I have a shih tzu Maltese mix he is 2 year old and has been noodered. He is very hyper.I thought by getting him noodered he would calm down. But he is still hyper.

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 3 months ago from Iowa, USA


      I found an article that talks about steps to take for behavioral changes due to separation anxiety and the arrival of a new baby:

      Hope this helps get your Malshi back to normal!

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      Jennifer Marte 3 months ago

      So I have a Malshih male that is just over 3 years old, we got him when he was 7 weeks old, and he was doing good with potty training and we just moved to a much bigger house and he had zero accidents. He then had one potty accident when my mom came with her new puppy which I disregarded and shampooed and steam cleaned out of the rug. Then I, his mommy was gone for about 1 month due to health issues and then since I came home, with a new baby, he has been peeing in the house. He is crate trained and he loves to go there to sleep or rest, and he also has dog beds all over the house. He even goes out before we go to sleep which is usually around 10 or 11 pm. He pees and usually poops once or twice at this time. My husband wakes up around 4-6 am for work and our dog usually comes to my husbands side of the bed ecstatically to go outside as we routinely do, and he goes outside. He has no accidents during the day time and then we take him out at night as we normally do before we go to bed but I wake up to feed to newborn around 2 or 3am and find myself stepping in a large puddle of dog pee. We have a premature baby and cannot have our dog soiling our carpets that our baby will soon be crawling on, as well as our grown children who enjoy sitting on the carpet. How do I fix this? Also, he barks at anyone who comes over and jumps all over them. This needs to stop. He also barks at door bells and knocking at the door, how do we eliminate this? He is very protective of myself and ANY child but he is aggressive towards any male humans till he is around them for a while. He will either nip at their ankles or hands. How do we get rid of all these bad habits that have recently become present???? Please help!!!!! Thank you!!!!

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      Tammy 3 months ago

      I have a Maltese/ Shih-Tzu aka as Malt-Tzu. I had her Dna Teated and this is what they are really called, Call yours whatever you like but? These are what's called Hybrid or Designer dogs, Very special Breed Indeed. My Malt-Tzu is 4 months old and has the weight of 7.4 pounds.. I can't imagine what she will weigh when I have her Spayed in April. Wouldn't trade My Kloe' for any other.

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      Robin 3 months ago

      I have a malshi. She is the best dog I have ever owned. Quick learner in every way. Loves people ,kids and other dogs. She is 10 lbs too , never has an accident never bites. She is a love.

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      Darlene 4 months ago

      Dr. Pincher, thank you for you write up. Just today I went puppy shopping and could not make up my mind. Now I know I will get the Maltshih... I cannot wait to bring the little guy home. Thank you

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      Amy 4 months ago

      We just got a Malshi puppy today! Your description sounds amazing and we can not wait to watch her grow.

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      Theresa 7 months ago

      You have described my Malshi Layla perfectly!

      I love coming home in the evenings and she is the first to greet me at the door. I can sit down fast enough so she can jump in my lap and lick my face.

      She does have a certain time she likes to go to bed. If I have company over and we are up late, she looks at me like "Hey, when are these people going home so I can go to bed?"

      She loves when company comes and she shows it by peeing! That's why we let her greet everyone on the porch. Hopefully she will grow out of that. She will be 2 in November. And she weighs just about 10 pounds.

      I highly recommend this breed.

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      Foxy Moron 7 months ago

      Absolutely the best dog ever! I had no idea what I was in for when I adopted Cosette. She is the sweetest dog I have ever met.

      I didn't know that the sorting behavior was a malshi trait. Cosette picks shoes up (some she has to drag) from around the house and places them all in a pile.

      My husband taught her "sit" and "lie down" before meals, and now when she wants us to fill or change her water, or when it's meal time, she stares at us while sitting then lies down (which is more like a quick drop).

      @Kelly Collins - if you use give your malshi bottled water from a glass bowl, it can reduce tear stains. Cosette has some areas of her fur where the color dramatically changes colors from an apricot color to white (on the same hairs) from when we stopped giving her tap water.

      Thanks for sharing Dr. Penny Pincher. Excellent testimonial!

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      Kelly Collins 9 months ago

      Just bought my first girl Malshe. I feel like I got the best of both worlds

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      Dr Penny Pincher 11 months ago from Iowa, USA

      I think tear stains are a common problem for Malshis since they have protruding eyes. Check the pet store or ask your vet about treatment options.

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      Neely 11 months ago

      I have a Malshi named Murphy and he has red stains under his eyes and I don't know what it is.

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      Dr Penny Pincher 15 months ago from Iowa, USA


      I hope my Malshi lives to be 18- or more! Best of luck with your new pup!

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      Buni 15 months ago

      We have had 2 Malti-Tzus and they are just the best. Our last one (Skoshi) lived to be almost 18 years old so we knew we had to get another like her. Dory is now 3 mos old and adorable, sweet and so smart. At 8 weeks she knew "No-No" in a quiet voice and "Wait" (for food or treat) and "Sit" and knows "Hey" if she bites down when playing with fingers... She is just precious and the love of our life. Of course we all know small breed dogs live longer and a mixed breed (if parents are healthy) normally are healthier and live even longer we have learned in small breed dogs, with proper care and nutrition.

      Of course, there are acceptions and many full-blooded dogs are very healthy too. Just my humble opinion. Enjoy your sweet

      unique dog!

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      Jennifer 15 months ago

      The description matches my malshi PERFECTLY! She just turned 3 and she is sooo spoiled. smh XD

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      Juciej 16 months ago

      My malshi pup is sort of fat he never barks love this dog

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      Dr Penny Pincher 20 months ago from Iowa, USA

      Ja, my Malshi's tummy sticks out a bit, but she is not fat. I think their short body can result in a bulging tummy. Maybe have your Malshi checked by a vet to make sure nothing is wrong...

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      ja 20 months ago

      My malshi has a little bloated belly and does Not eat alot. Only a half a cup of crunchy blue with a smigen of chicken breast. Once a day. Why is his belly bloated? We walk alot and he's so playful. I'm worried.

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      Dr Penny Pincher 20 months ago from Iowa, USA

      Michael, my Malshi isn't quite as sweet as yours, she can actually catch birds! I am not sure how she does it, maybe birds aren't afraid of her because she is so small and cute. Maybe I got the hunting dog variety of Malshi...

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      Michael Clarkson 20 months ago

      As a proud Malshi owner, I concur. They are the best dogs. Mine is the sweetest animal I've ever owned. He'd never hurt another living thing. He hunts the rabbits in our backyard not to hurt them, but to cuddle them. He also makes this grown, well educated, large man use words like "goodest" as in, "Who's my goodest boy?" Yeah. I love my little buddy.

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      Dr Penny Pincher 21 months ago from Iowa, USA

      Deanna, you should get some really cute puppies- take lots of pics and video!

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      Deanna Rostock 21 months ago

      I have an auburn and black Shih Tzu named Lola. I have a pure white male maltese named Django. Lola is about 7 lbs and Django is about 6. We have just mated them. Lola is 2 and he is 3. I am so excited to see the combo that we get. Lola is about 3 weeks into the pregnancy and is doing well. I love these little ones. I think the toy behaviors come from the Maltese. Django is a toy nut!!! I have been a little afraid about the puppies, however all of your comments have made me feel a lot better. Thanks for this great Blog about Malshies!!!

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      Dr Penny Pincher 22 months ago from Iowa, USA

      Janet, all of this reminds me of my Malshi... happy to hear she has brought such happiness!

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      Janet 22 months ago

      About 6weeks ago I bought a Malshi, I live in Victoria Australia .She has bought great joy to my life .So full of energy and just so cuddly ,she is just about toilet trained now so she is doing well .She sleeps in my bed of a night ,and put her tiny head on my shoulder when she goes to sleep .When she needs to go out side in the morning she lets me know by licking my face .She has bought such joy to my life ,and she is such a cuddly little thing .Her name is Princess ,she has really changed my life ,they are such great little dogs ,which I had got one sooner .

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      Maulik 23 months ago

      Can someone please suggest any good Malshi breeders? I live in Virginia and have been researching a lot to find a breeder but I only find Malshi breeders in PA (Amish Village area). The overall reviews are not encouraging for me to buy one from there

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      drpennypincher 23 months ago

      Zach, Malshi's are a non-shedding breed! One of the many good things about this cross...

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      Zach 23 months ago

      Do these dogs shed?

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      Medina 2 years ago

      So awesome to read these comments. My Mia a malshi has been a joy to have around these last 3 years. I got her at 11 weeks w/no regrets. Everything peeps are saying is Mia. Only thing is she's a picky eater & I fall for it everyone w/her soulful dark eyes.

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      Dr Penny Pincher 2 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Lee, our Malshi is like having another child in the house. She is still fun and full of energy at 3 years old. I don't think I could handle more than one, though. She demands- and gets- a lot of attention.

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      lee davidson 2 years ago

      I just got a 3 month old Mal-Shi, and we named him "Yoda" (from StarWars). whenever im at the office, I couldn't stop thinking about him, my wife and 4 yr old son loves him so much. He relieves me stress from work and traffic. im still trying to potty train him (which is quite challenging), but just within 1 week, he is now learning to "dump" on the potty mat. I so love my Mal-shi... im thinking of getting another one though... he is like a little boy which demands so much attention and loves you unconditionally..

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      Dr Penny Pincher 3 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Lucy, I think Baby is an appropriate name for a Malshi. They seem to want A LOT of attention and are able to communicate what they want from their parents- I mean owners...

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      Lucy 3 years ago

      I have a malshi named baby. She's a lot like yours actually! She's so loving and playful and if we don't play with her she just barks. If we don't give her food, she'll kick her bowl and make all the water fall out and make a mess... believe it or not, she loves baths! A lot of times she crawls into the shower and just lays down in there, even if it's not on! When we leave, she starts whining but when we get home she starts jumping up and down. When she was very little, she would pee of happiness.... I LOVE MY MALSHI!!!!!!!!!!! :D

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      Dr Penny Pincher 3 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Marie, some of the behavior you describe definitely sounds familiar. My Malshi always brings me a toy when I come home. She is VERY persistent when she wants something. Like your Malshi, she has a high energy mode and then transitions quickly to a "power off" mode. Interesting that Malshis seem to have so much in common.

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      Marie Gray 3 years ago

      My 8 month old little Malshi is a delight. Very loving, happy, friendly and cuddly. And as soon as I put my watch on, she knows we're going out! When she wants me to play with her, she will place her toy on my foot and if I ignore her, then another toy gets put on my foot, then another - until of course I give cute is that! She loves her walks .... no, I mean runs and has so much energy. And when we get back home, it's snooze time. Oh, I adore her!

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      Bret 3 years ago

      I have 5 other dogs. Retired and I love them. I got the chance to adopt a mal-shi puppy a week ago. I have never had a puppy like this. He is so loving. Loves to be held and loved on. Spends lots of time in my lap. When I get up he wines and wants me to come back. Loves to sleep with us at night. He gets along very well with our other dogs and has quickly become a part of my family. WHAT a dog. Don't tell him I called him a dog. He does not know that.

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      Dr Penny Pincher 3 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Suehouse, our Malshi is very social with other dogs and people. She is definitely intelligent and lots of fun! I wouldn't necessarily say training and obedience are her strong points- but we like her personality and how she can get us to do what she wants. Thanks for visiting.

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      Suehouse 3 years ago

      Have had a male malshi now since February,2014. What a joy. Very outgoing, loves to be around people and other dogs., no matter what size.

      Training was very easy and he is smart. We take him as much as we can or he goes to day camp and plays with his doggie buddies. Best money ever spent for so much enjoyment.

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      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      lynne1, it is interesting to hear how other Malshis behave. Keeping track of toys is one of my Malshi's top jobs. I like how your Malshi can figure out if she is going with your or not based on your clothing- very smart!

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      lynne1 4 years ago

      My one year old Malshi is such a loving little girl always looking to be picked up and cuddled. She does have her resistent moments but those are mostly when she's pre-occupid with her toys, or chews. Quite the quizzy, always the first into shopping bags but the best is the way she can pick out which of my clothes mean that she's coming with me or which mean that she's to stay home. So very clever, intelligent and a never ending source of amazement of how she memorises the name of her toys and where to find them virtually from the very moment that they're given to her. Love her to absolute bits and wouldn't want any other companion.

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      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Thanks, Kidscrafts! Yes, she is quite a dog. She has a lot of personality in a very small size and has really become part of the family. Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

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      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Great hub about the Malshi! It sounds like a lovely dog! I love your analogy with combining chocolate and peanut butter to make a Peanut Butter Cup :-) Nothing like food and especially chocolate to understand that concept :-)

      Your dog looks just adorable!

      Definitely useful and interesting!

      Have a nice Thanksgiving!

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      Dr Penny Pincher 4 years ago from Iowa, USA

      Thanks, Tillsontitan! Small dogs can be great fun. In some ways, small dogs behave a lot differently from the big dogs that I am more familiar with.

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      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      This sounds like a great dog! I have a MinPin who shares some of the Malshi traits. Unfortunately my MinPin is on the large side weighing in at 15 pounds. (He's always on a diet because he loves to eat.)

      Everyone cracks up when they see him digging in his food or water dish when he wants them filled.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.