“Maltese Shih Tzu Mix”
The Malshi is a dog breed hybrid. It is a designer dog that is also called Malti zhu and Malt-Tzu. Currently, the Malshi is a popular hybrid in Australia, though it is starting to get known in North America and in other countries.
The Malshi came from breeding purebred Maltese with purebred Shih Tzu dogs.
Both the Maltese and Shih Tzu are small dog breeds, so they have a small offspring. An adult Malshi may grow up to 10 inches, weighing between 6 to 12 pounds. The coat would be long, silky, soft, and wavy. Their coat is usually white or with tan markings on the body and ears. But they can also come in different color combinations, like brown, black, brown and white, black and white, or black and brown.
Malshis can live up to 12 to 14 years.
Personality and Behavior
The Mal shi is an intelligent and adaptable dog. They are likely to be active and outgoing. Most of the time they are downright boisterous, but there are some that are quiet and more laid-back.
They are adorable little dogs. They are a joy to be around as they are affectionate, loving, and devoted to their owners
The Malshi is gentle, fearless, and playful. They can be too curious, causing them to get into trouble sometimes. They are alert and watchful and will immediately let you know if something seems wrong.
You’ll have a grand time teaching the Malshi a few tricks as they are fast learners.
They are amusing and endearing. A Mal shi is an affectionate companion who would love being with this family. For them, the most important aspect of their life is family, a characteristic they got from both the Maltese and the Shih tzu. It is not wise to leave them for a long time because it can lead to separation anxiety.
They can be stubborn at first, but if you train them early, you can get them to follow your commands.
A dog’s temperament is affected by several factors, which includes heredity, socialization, and training. Those puppies with nice temperaments are playful and curious and are willing to be held by people.
It is essential for a Malshi to be exposed to other people and other dogs early. They can become timid adults if they are not allowed to socialize while still young. It also allows them to grow up to be a well-rounded dog. Training them while still tiny puppies is also beneficial.
Common Health Issues
They are generally healthy, but similar to all dog breeds, they are prone to certain health issues. The Mal-shi may inherit the common health problems of both the Maltese and the Shih tzu. These may include Patellar Luxation and White Shaker Syndrome, normally affecting young to middle-aged dogs.
- Patellar Luxation (Slipped stifles) – This is quite common in small dogs. Patella means kneecap and luxation means dislocation of a body part, like a bone at the joint. Patella luxation occurs when your dog’s knee joint (often the hind leg) slides in and out of place. This is usually painful and crippling. However, many dogs may still enjoy relatively normal lives even if suffering from Patellar luxation.
- White Shaker Syndrome – This condition is common in middle-aged dogs. Both the Maltese and Shih tzu tend to suffer from this condition, and a crossbreed offspring are likely to inherit it. Signs and symptoms may include uncontrollable shaking and difficulty to walk. A single episode may last one whole day. Corticosteroids should be given for 3 to 6 months, after which, most dogs don’t need additional treatment. However, there might be some that would need low doses every day to keep their condition in check.
If you are looking for a Mal shi puppy, make sure that you find a good breeder, someone who can present health clearances for both the parents. These clearances will prove that a dog has been tested and cleared of specific health conditions.
In the case of Maltese and Shih Tzus, ask for health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease, and hypothyroidism. There should also be health clearance for thrombopathia from Auburn University. Also a certification that the eyes are normal from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation.
Respiratory problems are also common in Malshis; thus, it is ideal that they are in an air conditioned room during the summer months.
The Malshi can change their habits to reflect the home they live in. Being in a high-energy home, the Mal-shi becomes an active and outgoing dog. If he grows up in a quieter home, he’ll become more reserved.
Regardless of personality, the Mal-shi needs the same amount of care. He needs a daily exercise routine, which can be as simple as walking through the neighborhood or a playing fetch in the yard or hallway. A 10- to 15-minute exercise a day is appropriate.
While Malshis can thrive in apartment-type homes, but it is more ideal for them to be in a home with a small yard. They love the outdoors and are happy spending time playing outside.
As mentioned earlier due to health reasons, it is better to have them stay in an area at home with air conditioning. The risk of developing respiratory problems increases with exposure to heat and humidity. While they love the outdoors, you still shouldn’t let your Malshi stay outside for a too long, especially during the hot summer months.
It is also important for dogs to undergo training. The Malshi is eager to learn. Crate training ensures that your dog doesn’t figure in accidents in the house or get into situations they shouldn’t. A crate is also a good place for a Malshi to sleep in. Crate training your dog while still young helps him accept confinement if ever he needed to be hospitalized or boarded in the future.
However, you should never put them in a crate all day long. Your dog should not spend more than a few hours each time in the crate except at bedtime. Socialization is also an important aspect, as Malshis are social dogs and enjoy receiving visitors or going out for visits.
If a Malshi becomes noisy, they are seeing something suspicious. But they are not as noisy like other small dogs.
Ideally, you can give your Malshi ¼ to ½ cup of high quality dog food each day, divided into two meals.
Take note, though, that the amount your Malshi eats would also depend on his age, size, build, metabolism, and activity & energy levels. Every dog is different and doesn’t require the same amount of food all the time. A highly active dog would need more food than a couch potato type of dog.
It is also important that you give him good quality food for proper nourishment. Ensure your dog’s good health by measuring the food you give him. Make sure you feed him twice a day rather than simply leaving food on his bowl all the time.
If you’re unsure if your dog is overweight, give him the eye and hands-on tests. First, look at your dog, you should see a waist. Then, put your hands on his back, run your thumbs along the spine, with your fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not necessarily see his ribs without putting pressure. If you can’t feel his ribs, you should start giving him less food. He also needs to get more exercise.
A Malshi’s coat is supposed to be long and soft. It should also have some wave but not curly. His coat needs care and daily brushing to prevent tangles and mats. He also needs regular bathing to keep his coat soft and silky.
Your dog can be clipped for easier grooming, but he still needs regular brushing (weekly at minimum) and clipped every 6 to 9 weeks.
Malshis may experience tearstains under the eyes, like the Maltese. Commercial tear stain removers are not recommended, though. Make sure that you keep the area around their eyes clean all the time to minimize staining.
You should brush your dog’s teeth at least twice or three times a week. This prevents tartar buildup and growth of bacteria inside the mouth. If you can brush his teeth daily, better, as this helps prevent bad breath and other gum disease.
Trim the Malshi’s nails at least once or twice a month if he doesn’t wear them down naturally. Doing so helps prevent painful tears. The moment you hear them clicking on the floor, their nails are too long. If you have to do the trimming yourself, take note that there are blood vessels in a dog’s toenails. Cutting too far will result to bleeding causing him not to cooperate the next time you have nail clippers on your hand. If you’re not confident to do it yourself, you can also bring him to a get groomer.
Make sure that you check his ears weekly. Redness and bad odor may mean an infection. Use a cotton ball with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to wipe the ears. Never insert anything into your dog’s ear canal. You should only clean the outer ear.
You should start grooming your dog at an early age, so he gets used to it. Frequently handle his paws, dogs can be touched about their feet, and then look inside his mouth.Ensure that you make grooming a positive experience for your dog. You may give him rewards once something is completed so that he doesn’t develop fear of grooming as he grows into adulthood.
As you groom your dog, you should also check for rashes, sores, or any other signs of infection, like tenderness, inflammation, or redness on the skin, nose, eyes, and other parts of the body. His eyes shouldn’t have redness or discharge. Do this weekly to ensure early detection of infection.
The Mal-shi is an extrovert, active, and affectionate dog. He is intelligent and always willing to learn, thus, training him is quite easy. He can be a good therapy dog. He is very sociable and loves being around people, making him an ideal family pet. He is also good with children of all ages. He is also good around other dogs and pets.
Treat him like a dog and he acts like a real dog. Allow him to walk freely and don’t carry him everywhere. You can be sure he’ll have a nice temperament.
Being affectionate and caring, he thrives with the elderly, first-time dog owners, and any other person who fancies dogs and are constantly happy and cheerful.