Malshi Dog Breed | UKPets (2024)

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Exercise Level:


Barking Level:

Good with Children:

Good with other pets:



Height: 25 - 50cm M | 25 - 50cm F

Weight: 3 - 4kg M | 3 - 4kg F

Life Expectancy: 12 - 14 Years


The Malshi is a mixed dog breed that was developed by crossing a Malteseand a Shih Tzu. He goes by several names, including Malti Tzu, Mal Tzu, Shima, and Shihtese. This small dog was primarily designed as a hypoallergenic family pet.

Malshis are charming lapdogswith a warm and friendly disposition. They love meeting both humans and fellow four-legged friends. As they are very social animals, these dogs cannot thrive well if they are left at home for long periods.

The Malshi dog’s grooming needs ranges from moderate to high. He requires daily brushing as his coat easily gets matted and tangled. His exercise needs are low. He has an average lifespan of 12–14 years.

Malshi Dog Breed | UKPets (11)


What is a Malshi dog?

The Malshi is a Maltese-Shih Tzu cross. Throughout the years, he has received several nicknames from his fans. These include Shima, Malti Tzu, Mal Tzu, and Shihtese.

This small Maltese-Shih Tzu hybrid is primarily created as a hypoallergenic canine companion for dog lovers with allergies. The origins of the Malshi are uncertain. Some claim that he first existed in the United States. Others say that the Malshi came from Australia.

Regardless, this Maltese-Shih Tzu mix was created during the 1990s. He slowly gained popularity in Australia, North America, and the United Kingdom. As the Malshi is a fairly new dog breed, not much of his history is known. However, we can understand more of this dog by looking at his parent breeds.

The Maltese is an ancient purebred dog that the Phoenicians introduced in Malta. He was a popular lapdog amongst the ladies in the nobility. During the rise of the Greek and Roman civilisation, the Maltese still kept his royal status. Even after the fall of the Romans, his fame grew and spread throughout Asia and Europe.

This small lapdog has hypoallergenic fur. He is amiable and loving with his family. The Maltese can turn into a fierce protector if his loved ones are in harm's way. Despite his diminutive size, he makes a great watchdog.

The Shih Tzu is another ancient dog breed that has existed for more than 2,000 years. He was a beloved companion by Chinese nobles and monks. These canines were highly treasured by the royalty that they were regarded as exclusive properties of the imperial court.

The Shih Tzu slowly became available to the commoners as years passed. Then he was gradually introduced to other countries all over the world. Shih Tzus are playful and fun-loving lapdogs. Unlike the Maltese, they are not fit to be watchdogs.

The Malshi inherited the hypoallergenic coat of both the Maltese and Shih Tzu. He also had their affectionate and merry nature. When it comes to this dog’s protectiveness, he is more like the Maltese. Alert and courageous, he is a good fit for a watchdog role.

This Malshi hybrid dog is relatively new, so he is not yet recognised by the Kennel Club. Other international organisations have not acknowledged him too. Fanciers of Malshi dogs remain hopeful that these small designer dogs will become officially recognised.

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Appearance and Grooming

As a Maltese-Shih Tzu mixed breed, the Malshi's appearance may vary. Thus, it is unpredictable what a Malshi puppy will look like once fully grown. However, generally, this designer dog has a round head, short muzzle, and small ears pointing forward.

The Malshi’s nose is small and black. His eyes are brown and almond-shaped. Blue eyes are rare in the breed. Some Malshis may possess them if both parent breeds have this eye colour.

There’s also the possibility of a Malshi puppy inheriting the Maltese's nose. It can turn pink if he lacks exposure to sunlight or when in heat. The dog has short but straight legs. His tail is fluffy and curly.

How big do Malshis get?

A fully grown Malshi has an average height of 25–50 centimetres (10–20 inches) and weighs around 3–4 kilos (6–8 pounds). The male Malshi is commonly bigger than his female counterpart. However, the difference is so little that it is hardly noticeable.

At what age is a Malshi fully grown?

The Malshi is a toy designer breed. Thus, he matures quickly and reaches his full size faster than large dogs.

Expect a Maltese puppy to stop growing after he turns 2 months of age. This mixed breed is compact in size. He is a perfect companion for dog lovers living in spacious homes and small apartments.

Are Malshis hypoallergenic?

Same with the Maltese and the Shih Tzu, the Malshi is a hypoallergenic dog. He is a great family pet for people with allergies. Since he is also a low-shedding canine, his fur is less likely to stick in various areas and furniture around your home.

The Malshi has a long and silky coat. It is soft to the touch and a bit wavy. The most common coat colours are white or white, with tan markings found on the body and ears. Some Malshis may also sport other colours, including:

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Black and White
  • Black and Brown
  • Brown and White

The Malshi dog breed requires daily brushing to keep his coat free from matts and tangles. Clipping his hair every 6–9 weeks will make grooming easier.

A teddy-bear clip is an easy-to-maintain hairstyle that you might want to try. Bathing should be done occasionally to prevent diminishing the natural oils of the Malshi's coat.

Clean his ears once a week. Make sure to check for signs of infections too, including bad smell, inflammation, and unusual discharge. Consult the vet as soon as possible if your dog has these symptoms. Overgrown nails are uncomfortable and painful. Thus, trim his nails every week.

Brush the Malshi's teeth every day if possible to keep periodontal diseases away. This small designer dog often inherits the Maltese and Shih Tzu's tendency to have tear stains.

Examine his eye regularly and watch out for brown crusts. Get rid of these using a damp cotton ball and a dog-safe eye stain remover.

This Shih Tzu Maltese mix does not have an undercoat. It makes body temperature regulation difficult during extreme weather conditions.

Keep your Malshi warm and comfy during the winter season by providing him with a heated bed. Add several blankets to give him more warmth. Make him wear a doggy jacket and booties when you go out for walks.

The Malshi dog breed should be in an air-conditioned room during hot summer days. Limit your walks with your dog to the coolest parts of the day. Do not let fresh water run out from his bowl so that he is well-hydrated.

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Temperament and Intelligence

Are Malshis good dogs?

The Malshi is friendly, lively, and full of love for his family. He is a sweet dog towards other people too. His playful and approachable nature makes him a highly capable therapy dog.

The Malshi is not only a lapdog but a Velcro dog as well. This means he wants to stay close to his owner. He cannot be left alone for long hours. Otherwise, he may experience separation anxiety and behavioural problems. Consider keeping a pet sitter if your family members are out most of the day.

This spirited designer dog breed is a good match for children. He exudes childlike energy and is always ready for playtime. That said, care should be taken when children, especially younger ones, handle this small dog. He has a fragile body that can easily sustain injuries.

Avoid accidents by educating your children to be gentle towards their canine friend. During playtime, dog owners must supervise their interactions. Make sure that their activities do not involve roughhousing and screaming.

Malshis love spending their time with other pets. They can hit it off with their fellow furry friends. But they should be well-socialised and gradually introduced.

Because Shih Tzu Maltese crosses are small dogs, consider getting other canine companions that are the same size as them. Large dogs might unintentionally knock them over and cause injuries.

This Maltese-Shih Tzu mix can be challenging to train. He can be quite headstrong and loves following his intuition. However, do not be discouraged and exercise patience. Always focus on making training sessions fun for your dog.

Use positive reinforcement to keep him motivated. As the Malshi dog loves to please his owner, reward him with praises. Fun games and delicious treats are good rewards as well.

Through implementing this method, he will be easy to train. Avoid punishing your dog if he refuses to listen to your commands. Take a break and try again later instead.

That said, avoid coddling and spoiling the Malshi. This can lead to serious problems such as challenging your authority and becoming destructive. Balance your role as a firm leader and a gentle guardian.

When it comes to house training, this mixed breed inherited the Shih Tzu’s stubbornness in learning. Prevent elimination accidents in your home by consistently crate training your Malshi puppy.

Are Malshis yappy?

Whether this designer dog is a barker or not depends on which parent breed he takes after. The Shih Tzu rarely barks, whilst the Maltese is the exact opposite. That said, the Malshi dog is daring and protective despite his small size. He will bark to alert his owner if he senses a threat.

Malshis are great watchdogs. However, they need to receive proper socialisation and training at an early age. These allow them to precisely identify malevolent individuals from those who have intentions.

Note that barking is also a sign that your dog wants your attention. It's his way of communicating that he wants to play, needs to eat, or wants to explore outside. Always attend to his needs to keep from yapping excessively.

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Nutrition and Feeding

Feed the Malshi with dog food that is specifically designed for toy breeds. The serving amount will depend on your dog's energy levels, size, age, and health. Generally, a fully grown Mashi requires 45 calories per pound of his body weight per day.

Maltese-Shih Tzu mixes weighing 0.9–1 kilo (2–4 pounds) need approximately ¼–½ cups per day. Those that weigh over 2 kilos (5 pounds) require ½–¾ cups per day. Their meals should be divided into 3 small portions.

As the Malshi is a toy dog breed, he is prone to hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar. This condition will be triggered if he skips a meal. Thus, always feed your dog regularly and stick to a fixed mealtime schedule. Fresh water should be available for him throughout the day to keep him hydrated.

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Health and Exercise

The Malshi has an average lifespan of 12–14 years. Being a hybrid dog, he can inherit the health problems of the Maltese and the Shih Tzu. Below are the most common health issues that affect this designer breed:

Respiratory Problems

Some Malshis may possess a smushed face similar to the Shih Tzu, making them brachycephalic. This trait can cause breathing problems in dogs, as their respiratory tract is short and narrow.

As such, they should not be exposed to heat for long periods. Overexercising must be avoided as well. Or else, they may suffer heatstroke.

Elbow Dysplasia and Hip Dysplasia

These are developmental deformities that affect the hip and elbow joints and sockets. Whilst these can be caused by genetics, injuries can also play a part in their development. For this reason, Maltese-Shih Tzu mixes are to be handled gently. Preventing them from jumping up and down furniture is a must too.

White Shaker Syndrome

This is a neurological disorder that commonly affects small white dogs. As its name implies, this disease causes dogs to experience whole body or regional tremors.

Malshi puppies as young as few months to a year old may develop this condition. Whilst the cause of health problems is unknown, it is curable through administering steroids.

Buying a Malshi puppy from a reputable breeder is the best way to prevent these health problems. Choose Malshi breeders whose dogs and puppies are health-screened. This will give you peace of mind that your pup will have lower chances of acquiring genetic diseases.

If you are looking for a dog that wants to relax with you at home, the Malshi breed is for you. As lapdogs, the Maltese-Shih Tzu mixes have low exercise needs. About 10–15 minutes of exercise will suffice in burning off their energy.

Short walks, playtime in the back garden, and puzzle games in your home are enjoyable activities for your dog. Always supervise him whilst he is playing outside. His small size makes him vulnerable to predatory animals, including coyotes and eagles.

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Cost of Ownership

Malshi puppies cost from £1400 to over £2800. The overall yearly cost is around £200–£260. Buying his basic supplies come to £200–£400.

Vet check-ups will cost £30–£60, depending on your location. Initial vaccine shots cost approximately £100, and yearly boosters cost about £50. To get your Malshi puppy insured, monthly pet insurance for this breed is about £28.

Malshi Breed Highlights

  • The Malshi dog is a small breed with a friendly and sweet personality.
  • He has moderate grooming needs as his coat requires brushing every day.
  • This Maltese-Shih Tzu mix can be stubborn during training.
  • He has moderate energy levels and needs minimal exercise only.
  • As this mixed breed has a fragile body, he needs to be handled with care.

Malshi Dog Breed | UKPets (17)

Are you sure the Malshi is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.

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The information, including measurements, prices and other estimates, on this page isprovided for general reference purposes only.

Malshi Dog Breed | UKPets (2024)
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