You may know the Maltese shih tzu by many different names, the breed is also known as: Mal-Shi, Shih-tese, Malti Tzu and Shima. The official recognized name by the American Canine Hybrid Club is Mal-Shi. Generally weighing around 6 to 15 pounds and standing 8 to 14 inches tall this breed is a cross between the shih tzu and the Maltese breeds which means they have characteristics from both breeds (ideally). Unfortunately these types of “designer dogs” are not always bred 50-50 pure breeds, it is not uncommon for breeders to use multi-generation crosses in their breeding process.
Maltese shih tzu’s are growing in popularity because of their personalities! As mentioned these dogs share characteristics from both shih tzu’s and Maltese which makes them friendly and playful dogs. Mal-Shi’s will make friends easily with other dogs and they are also considerate and actually quite gentle with children but we still recommend adult supervision for the kids. With an average lifespan of 12-14 years the Mal-shi will make for a great family pet.
A Maltese shih tzu’s temperament can be described as outgoing and gutsy. Whilst the Maltese breed can be a little…stuck up and a tad snappy when they are crossed with the shih tzu the breed becomes more friendly and better with people. Just like any dog they need to socialize with other dogs and the earlier you can do this the better.
Mal-Shi’s can be a little bit stubborn (I’m guessing it’s the Shih Tzu in them) but they are really very clever dogs. They make great watch dogs when properly trained and generally, despite popular belief, they do not bark excessively. Some may be a bit tricky to train and even housebreak but with patience and persistence even the difficult Maltese shih tzu’s can be trained.
These dogs will require a bit of grooming. The best thing to do is buy yourself some dog clippers and give them a good hair cut once every 3 months at least. If you don’t want to clip your dog then they will require daily grooming and more frequent bathing. When you wash them use a mild shampoo and make sure you give their ears a clean too (to avoid any nasty bugs or infections).
As mixed breed dogs are usually a but hardier than their pure bred counterparts these dogs have less health problems however they still have a few short comings. Maltese shih tzu’s sometimes have the condition of Luxating patellas which is where their kneecap dislocates or moves out of it’s normal position. These dogs can also be prone to hydrocenphalus (a buildup of fluid inside the skull, leading to brain swelling) and also liver shunts.