The Lovable Little Mal-Shi

The Mal-Shi or also known as the Malt-Tzu is a dog breed hybrid of a Maltese and Shih Tzu. It is one of the few designer dogs that did not originate from a Poodle. But they are created with the same goal as Doodles which is to be a small companion. The Mal-Shi is a classic cross breed and a sweet lapdog who loves to play with kids. Let us know more about the history and characteristics of the breed.



It was in the 1990’s when the Maltese Shih Tzu breed was developed in an attempt to create a low-shedding, hypoallergenic companion dog. It is surprising that the breed became popular on a name that simply combined the two breeds used in the crossbreeding.

The Mal-Shi is currently one of the most popular dog breed hybrids in Australia, and aside from that, it has also grown its popularity in North America and other countries because of its small size and outgoing nature.

However, there are no breed clubs or breed standards for the Maltese Shih Tzu yet. Many of the litters that were produced are the result of first-generation breeding of purebred Maltese dogs and purebred Shih Tzus. There has been some second-generation breeding, but it has not undergone breeding of third and subsequent generation.

Characteristics of the Mal-Shi


Average size: 10 inches tall

Average weight: 6 to 12 pounds

Hypoallergenic: Yes

The Mal-Shi can grow about 10 inches tall and can weigh from 6 to 12 pounds. It has a long coat with a soft and silky texture and has some wave to it, but never curly. They are generally white or white with tan marking on the body and ears. Sometimes, they can also sport color combinations such as black, brown, brown and white, black and brown, and black and white.

The Mal-Shi is an adaptable and intelligent dog. It likes to be active and it is outgoing as well. But there are times that you’d find them laid-back and quiet. The most important aspect of life for the Mal-Shi is family. It’s because if he has that, nothing else matters and everything else is negotiable.

Taking Care of the Mal-Shi

Since the Mal-Shi is an adaptable dog, he can change his habits to reflect the home he lives in. If he lives in an active and high-energy home, it’s likely that he will be active as well, but he can be reserved and calm in a quieter home. But regardless of their personality, the breed needs the same amount of care as other dogs. They need a daily exercise for at least 10 to 15 minutes such as walks along the neighborhood or a fun game of fetch in the yard.

The Mal-Shi is ideal to live in a home with a small yard, but they can also do well in apartments. It is also suggested to keep them in a home with air-conditioning because they can suffer from respiratory problems due to heat and humidity.

Since the Mal-Shi has a fine coat, he requires care and needs daily brushing to keep it from mats and tangles. To keep his coat soft and silky, regular bathing is needed. Clipping can make grooming a bit easier but you still need to brush his coat weekly and clipped every six to nine weeks.

The teeth of your Mal-Shi should also be brushed at least two or three times a week and you should trim his nails once or twice a month to prevent painful tears.

The daily amount of food recommended for the Mal-Shi is ¼ to ½ cup of high quality dry food divided into two meals. This depends on your pet’s age, build, metabolism, and activity level.

The crossbreeding of the Maltese and Shih Tzu has indeed resulted into something really special, which is the Mal-Shi breed. It is another great companion dog breed that is best for families especially with those with kids at home.

Some fun facts about Mal-Shi:

  1. Mal-Shi is perfect for a therapy dog due to its human friendly and adaptable nature. Also training a Mal-shi is an absolute delight because this dog loves to please.
  2. Mal-Shi has a very happy character but if you start to treat him like a baby or a stuff toy, he may show some tyrant behavior. Mal-Shi should be treated like a dog not a baby hence let him walk on his own, make his schedule, allow him enough physical activities and he will grow into a responsible and obedient dog.
  3. Mal-shi has a tendency to develop respiratory diseases very easily because of small windpipe therefore it is best suited for places with moderate temperature, or homes with proper air conditioning. During hot seasons, Mal-Shi should be kept inside.
  4. Though Mal-Shi is a very friendly dog but his temperament can also be affected by the genes he’s carrying. Therefore, before adopting a Mal-Shi speak to his breeder in detail, make sure the parents of Mal-Shi had a good temperament.
  5. Cross bred dogs need to be examined medically before adoption to make sure he’s not carrying any diseases from his parents. Good and experienced breeders do not breed ailing dogs but if it’s your first time adopting a crossbreed, get him examined from some reliable vet.
  6. Make sure to begin his socialization training as early as you can. If delayed, he may become aloof like his parent Shih Tzu.
  7. The best thing about this breed is that it doesn’t shed its coat, hence you don’t have to worry about your rugs and bed. But he needs grooming every two weeks.
  8. It is common for breeders to breed second or third generation crosses hence one can never be too sure about the temperament of a Mal-Shi.
  9. Mal-Shi cannot be used as a watch dog since they get scared of strangers easily and they are not very vocal.