People often mistake toy breeds as a new trend in the dog world but the truth is that some of our smallest companions have been with us for much of documented human history.
Malshis are the result of crossing a Maltese with a Shih Tzu but don’t be fooled by their tiny stature and ever-youthful nature – these dogs have a lengthy and proud history behind each.
Continue reading to learn more about this adorable mix, its parent breeds, and more!
Table of Contents
Maltese, Malshi, and Shih Tzu Comparison Table
|Height||7-9 inches||9-10 inches||9-10.5 inches|
|Weight||Less than 7 pounds||6-12 pounds||9-16 pounds|
|Life Expectancy||12-15 years||12-14 years||10-18 years|
White and lemon
White and tan
Black and white
White and tan
Black and white
Blue and white
|Coat Type||Silky with long length||Silky with long length||Double coat with long length|
|Affection Levels||Very loving||Very loving||Very loving|
|Shedding Level||Little to no shedding||Little to no shedding||Little to no shedding|
|Health Issues||Patellar luxation
Granulomatous meningoencephalitis (GME)
|Trainability||Average trainability||Pretty easy to train||Pretty easy to train|
|Exercise||Average exercise needs||Average exercise needs||Average exercise needs|
|Friendliness to People||Alright with strangers||Alright with strangers||Alright with strangers|
|Friendliness to Dogs||Alright with other dogs||Good with other dogs||Very good with other dogs|
|Drooling Levels||Little to no drooling||Little to no drooling||Little to no drooling|
|Mental Stimulation||Average mental stimulation required||Average mental stimulation required||Average mental stimulation required|
|Barking Level||Average barking||Average barking||Average barking|
It’s hard to imagine that these dogs have existed for around 28 centuries when all you see are their small bodies and elegant coats but it’s true.
Many ancient civilizations including the Phoenicians, Romans, and Egyptians were charmed by these dogs and held them in high regard as a symbol of status and fashion.
Some accounts even suggest that the apostle Paul from Christianity was gifted a Maltese after miraculously healing the father of Malta’s Roman governor, Publius.
The breed continued to be refined throughout the Dark Ages in China before being exported back to the Western world and becoming the dog we know and love today.
Despite the breed’s association with the upper echelons of society, this toy breed is actually quite athletic and adaptable. Today, they make excellent companions for people in all kinds of living situations.
With a certain intelligence about them and a desire to please, the breed is relatively easy to train with positive reinforcement and treat-based incentives.
About Shih Tzus
Although many people pronounce this “lion dog” name as something like “sheet-su”, the Chinese pronunciation is “sher-zer”. Even this pronunciation may be an inaccurate reflection of the breed’s original name considering that the breed actually comes from Tibet and not China.
In any case, these historic dogs have a wonderful affinity for family life. Unlike many other toy breeds that can get snippy with children, Shih Tzus are particularly playful and loving with children.
If you don’t fancy these little dogs being named after ferocious beasts of the African plains, the breed has yet another name – “chrysanthemum-faced dogs”. The logic behind this name is that the hair on a Shih Tzu’s face grows out in every direction, which is stunning but also a nightmare for consistent grooming and care.
Similar to the Maltese, Shih Tzus are surprisingly hardy and agile. This is especially impressive when you consider how the breed was almost wiped out in the early 1900s and just 14 surviving specimens brought these dogs back from the brink of extinction.
Also known as Malti Zu or Malt-Tzu, a Malshi can only be considered a charming addition to any family. Their compact form, hypoallergenic nature, and goofy antics lend themselves to any lifestyle, even sedentary ones, as these fluffy “teddy bears” love nothing more than warming the lap of their favorite person.
Are Malshis Truly Hypoallergenic?
While no one dog breed is completely allergen-free, some breeds are generally considered compatible with people with dog allergies.
Both the Maltese and Shih Tzu fall into this category even though they shed a little bit more than others like the Poodle. This means any Malshi will also be regarded as hypoallergenic, no matter which parent they take after.
Are Malshis Yippy Dogs?
Malshis inherit much of their barking inclination from their Maltese parent. Because Maltese are excellent watchdogs, you can expect a Malshi to alert you to unusual or unexpected situations with a sharp bout of barking.
However, they are not as vocal as other extra small dog breeds like Chihuahuas that will serenade you with endless, shrill barking.
Even though they typically don’t bark enough to be considered a nuisance, it is a good idea to begin training and socialization early to prevent any excessive barking from becoming a habit.
How Much Grooming Do Malshis Need?
Since Malshis do not shed as much as other dogs, they require more care and attention when it comes to grooming. These are essential steps to keeping your Malshi healthy and glorious in their appearance.
A Malshi’s coat should be gently brushed every day to prevent tangles and matted hair. Regular baths will keep a Malshi’s coat soft and with the proper coloration.
Malshis are not typically known for having skin allergies or sensitivities but you should avoid overbathing them – about once a month is a good guideline to start. Another issue Malshis typically have is excessive tearstains on their coat around the eyes.
These can be removed with appropriate cleaners that are commercially available but a visit to the vet may be necessary for extreme situations or to diagnose the cause.
Malshis inherit somewhat poor dental health from their Maltese parents, so be prepared to brush their teeth consistently. Consider brushing their teeth whenever you brush their coats. These little dogs are also known for having fast-growing nails that need to be trimmed every other week.
Finally, as with all dogs that have floppy ears, a Malshi’s ears should be checked and cleaned weekly to prevent infections.
How Healthy Are Malshis?
There are some misconceptions about mixed breeds being healthier than purebred dogs. A phenomenon known as hybrid vigor shows mixed dogs are typically healthier than purebred dogs but if proper screening and testing are done, purebred dogs can live relatively disease-free for most of their lives.
This is all to say that Malshis are healthy little dogs that have a slightly larger number of conditions they could inherit from their parents, even though the chances for any one issue are reduced.
Malshis can steal the hearts of even the most calloused people just from their appearance. If that isn’t enough, their playful and affectionate nature will win over any resistance to this mixed breed.
They do come with a fair amount of grooming requirements but they are highly adaptable so they are good for families, tight living quarters, and even first-time dog owners.
Possibly the most difficult aspect of owning a Malshi is not over-spoiling these pampered pups. They will do everything in their power for treats but one must be careful not to let these miniature companions become overweight.