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Nicole Cosgrove

Malshi dog lays with lights

The Mal-Shi is also called Malti zu, Malt-Tzu, Shih-tese, Shihtese, Mal-shih and Malti Tzu. He is a mixed or cross breed the result of breeding the Maltese with the Shih Tzu. He lives around 12 to 14 years and is a small or toy sized dog. He is a very cuddly and outgoing dog.

The Malshi is a great dog who can adapt to families or singles, young to senior, somewhat active to more active. He does not need a large house or yard and can have a great temperament as long as he is treated as a great dog not a spoiled baby! Whether you are more reserved or outgoing he will be happy, loving and very loyal to you.

Here is the Malshi at a Glance
Average height Up to 10 inches
Average weight 6 to 12 pounds
Coat type Can vary, fine, dense, long, soft
Hypoallergenic? Can be – Maltese is
Grooming Needs Low to moderate
Shedding Low
Brushing Daily
Touchiness Somewhat sensitive
Tolerant to Solitude? Low
Barking Rare to occasional
Tolerance to Heat Low to good depending on coat
Tolerance to Cold Low to good depending on coat
Good Family Pet? Excellent
Good with Children? Very good
Good with other Dogs? Very good
Good with other Pets? Good to very good
A roamer or Wanderer? Low
A Good Apartment Dweller? Excellent
Good Pet for new Owner? Excellent
Trainability Moderately easy
Exercise Needs Moderate
Tendency to get Fat Above average
Major Health Concerns Patellar luxation, kidney problems, bladder problems, eye problems, liver problems,
Other Health Concerns White shaker syndrome, allergies, hip dysplasia, ear infections, dental problems, snuffles, reverse sneezing
Life Span 12 to 14 years
Average new Puppy Price $300 to $1500
Average Annual Medical Expense $435 to $535
Average Annual Non-Medical Expense $530 to $630

Where does the Malshi come from?

The Malshi was developed in the 1990s to be a companion who was low shedding and hypoallergenic but not a Poodle mixed breed as many of them are. It is an example of a designer dog which are a popular trend at the moment, these are dogs with usually two purebred parents and have a blended name. This is a very popular designer dog in Australia now and is becoming more so in the US because of his personality, size and being hypoallergenic.

Most Malshi are from first generation breeding though there is some second generation breeding going on. As a result there are no true guarantees in which traits or looks the Malshi will pick up. For example while the hope is to get a hypoallergenic offspring, since only one parent is hypoallergenic, the Maltese it is possible for a Malshi to be more like the Shih Tzu who is not.

The Shih Tzu

The Shih-Tzu is thought to be in the top 14 oldest breeds around, coming from either Tibet or China. They were treasured as companion dogs and can be found in paintings and documents across Tibetan and Chinese history. They were referred to as little lion dogs and were docile, intelligent and happy. The first breeding pair to leave China and come to England happened in 1928.In 1969 he was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club.

The Shih-Tzu today is still very much a companion dog. He wants to please and be with you, he is very affectionate and loves to receive it too. He will spend as much time as he can in your lap and is a happy little dog when he has lots of attention. He can be lively and likes to play and is friendly too.

The Maltese

The Maltese can be traced back as far as 2000 years and is one of the oldest toy sized breeds there are though his exact origins are unclear. Some dog experts believe he was developed on the Isle of Malta, some in Italy and some from Asia. He was popular amongst royalty across Europe up until the 16th century. However he was almost extinct during the 1600s and 1700s but was saved by mixing with other miniature and toy dogs like the spaniels, and poodles. This in itself led to several new breeds being formed. The Maltese we see today was bred by the English in the late 1800s.

Today he is lively and full of personality. He does very well in dog shows, trains easily and loves people. He assumes all people are his friend. He is also quite accomplished at getting his own way with everything. House training though can be difficult and because of his size he may not be best suited for families with small children.


The Malshi is an intelligent and outgoing dog who is a great mix of being playful but also wanting to cuddle on your lap when play is done. He is a happy and bold little thing who is alert and affectionate towards his family. He can be very devoted to his owner and will make friends with most people. He also has a gentle side but can be stubborn. He loves being with his owner and family so can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long. Being the center of attention is something he thrives on and he is eager to please. His curious nature can sometimes get him into trouble.

What does the Malshi look like

He is a small dog weighing 6 to 12 pounds and standing up to 10 inches tall. He has a round head that is small to medium, a short muzzle, round eyes and ears that hang down to their cheeks. His tail curves up and is fluffy. His coat can be long, silky, soft, dense, fine and wavy. Common colors for the Malshi are white, tan, brown, black though the most common is white or white with brown markings.

Training and Exercise Needs

How active does the Malshi need to be?

He has moderate exercise needs since he is small even being an active or lively dog those needs are still easy to meet. Part of his physical and mental needs can be met with toys and play in the home. His size means he can live in an apartment easily as long as he gets outside each day for a walk or two still. If there is a yard though that is a nice bonus place for him to investigate and play in. What is also a nice thing about the Malshi is he will sort of adapt himself to you – if you are more relaxed a bit less active he will adapt to that, if you are a go getter he will go get with you! His walks should be 10 to 15 minutes each. If he is left to become under exercised and bored he will become destructive. Avoid him becoming overheated as he can have breathing problems when he over does it and that is also especially true in hot climates.

Does he train quickly?

He is moderately easy to train as he is smart and eager to please but sometimes he can have a stubborn streak. Be sure to have him trained and socialized early to help him develop into the best dog he can be. Be positive and consistent with your methods while still being firm to establish yourself as pack leader. House training though may be a bit harder. Remember not to treat him as baby just because of his cuteness and size otherwise he can become a bit of a handful. Use treats, praise and rewards in your training and you will get a lot further than any scoldings or punishments.

Living with a Mal-Shi

How much grooming is needed?

He is meant to be low shedding and hypoallergenic but you should test that before buying as a puppy could lean more towards the Shih Tzu rather than the Maltese. Being low shedding this means there is less cleaning up to do after him when it comes to hair. He will need to be brushed daily to remove tangles as he has a longer coat. That coat will need regular trimming or you could opt to have him cut shorter so that he is easier to groom. Tear stains are something he can have so clean his face and eyes daily to avoid that problem. Give him a bath when he needs it and only use a dog shampoo. Check his ears and wipe them clean once a week. Clip his nails or have the groomer do it when they get too long. His teeth should also be brushed two to three times a week.

What is he like with children and other animals?

This is a good dog for children though he does do better with older children just because they know to be a bit more careful with smaller dogs like this. Always make sure children know how to approach, touch and play with dogs safely. He is also good with other pets and other dogs.

General information

Usually they are not big barkers though they will bark to alert you of intruders. This makes them a good choice should you live in an apartment where noise rules are strict. He will need ½ to 1 cup of good quality dry dog food each day split into two meals.

Health Concerns

As mentioned he can have breathing problems and heat or humidity can aggravate that as well as being over exercised. He can be more at risk of certain health concerns that could be inherited from his parents such as Patellar luxation, kidney problems, bladder problems, eye problems, liver problems, White shaker syndrome, allergies, hip dysplasia, ear infections, dental problems, snuffles and reverse sneezing. To lessen the chances of your dog having any problems like these you can ask the breeder to show you health clearances for both parents. To check on the overall health of the puppy and other animals the breeder keeps go and visit them before buying.

Costs involved in owning a Malshi

A Malshi will cost between $300 to $1500 for a puppy. Other costs will be for a crate, carrier, collar and leash, neutering, chipping and then blood tests, deworming and vaccinations. These come to between $360 to $400. Medical essentials like check ups, flea prevention, pet insurance and vaccinations each year come to between $435 to $535. Non-medical basics like food, treats, toys, license, training and grooming come to between $530 to $630.


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The Malshi is a great dog who can adapt to families or singles, young to senior, somewhat active to more active. He does not need a large house or yard and can have a great temperament as long as he is treated as a great dog not a spoiled baby! Whether you are more reserved or outgoing he will be happy, loving and very loyal to you.

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Featured Image Credit: Lady A Photography, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.