Maltese Shih Tzu – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Dog Breed Group:
Hybrid Dogs
From 10 inches tall at the shoulder
6 to 12 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 14 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The Maltese Shih Tzu Mix, also known as the Mal-Shi or Malti-Tzu, is an adorable pup that is known for its lovable sweet nature. With their light shedding coat, love of their owners, and love of play, it’s no wonder they are such a treasured breed in the dog world.

In this article we’ll discuss the characteristics of the Maltese Shih Tzu, and what you can expect when you bring them into your home.

The Maltese Shih Tzu Mix was created in an effort to create the perfect companion dog with low-shedding fur. It’s no surprise with their overwhelmingly cute appearance and their love of affection, that this breed quickly became the most popular dog breed in many parts of the world.

Since this is a mixed breed, there are no specific breed regulations or official AKC breed recognition for this popular dog breed.

While this may not be a registered breed, that hasn’t stopped the Malti-Tzu from gaining popularity around the world.

Appearance Of The Maltese Shih Tzu Mix

The average Maltese Shih Tzu mix ranges from 6-12 pounds and stands at about 10 inches of height. Though there are no size regulations for this breed, they are often quite small and make for the perfect lap dogs.

The Malti-Tzu’s coat is often long and silky and can have a bit of a wave depending on the dog. Along with their range of curl is the range of different colors of coat you can expect to see in this breed.

Some common coat colors include:

  • White
  • White and tan
  • Black
  • Brown
  • Black and white
  • Brown and white
  • Black and brown

While their standard coat color ranges, the white and tan Maltese Shih Tzu’s are most common.

Personality Of The Maltese Shih Tzu Mix

Maltese Shih Tzu’s personality is one of the main reasons this breed has become so popular. They are outgoing, active, and love to have fun with their humans. Their comical personality is sure to keep a smile on your face.

Though they are often outgoing and playful, they enjoy their laid back time with family. Family is number one for these dogs, and they love nothing more than to be snuggled up next to their people. If you are looking for a lovable companion, a Malti-Tzu is just that.

Since they love their families so much, they can experience separation anxiety if left alone for long hours. If you are a family that is not home often, the Maltese Shih Tzu mix may not be the right dog for you.

They are considered high maintenance when it comes to their need of attention, so try your best to set aside one time for them each day.

While temperament will vary from dog to dog, they are often friendly and social. When socialized properly, they are eager to explore and meet new people. They are incredibly curious and love to check out new places and people.

Since this breed is quite social, they may bark back out of play or attitude. Many owners find this endearing, and it does not often turn into a problem.

Grooming Your Maltese Shih Tzu Mix

With these breeds beautiful coat comes the responsibility of brushing this coat daily – this is how you will keep this breed odorless. Their fine hair can become easily tangled, and can even become matted if left un-brushed.

If you choose to let your Malti-Tzu’s fur grow out to a long coat, you should always factor in daily brushing sessions.

Maltese Shih Tzu Mixes are often groomed professionally and shaved periodically throughout the year. Since their fur grows so quickly, most owners schedule their clipping every 6-9 weeks.

If you don’t want to shave their fur or keep it short, you should at least consider sanitary trims around their behind and on their faces. This fur can become soiled easily, and it’s important to reduce the risk of matting and crusting in these areas.

Along with brushing and trimming are their requirements for routine bathing. Most owners bathe their Maltese Shih Tzu Mixes once a month to keep their fur shiny and fresh.

While some owners are tempted to bathe them more frequently due to their long fur, it’s important to refrain from excessive bathing habits.

Bathing them more than once a month can affect the natural PH of their skin, and can result in skin irritation and dryness. If you are interested in the home-made shampoo you can find them here.

Overall Health Of The Maltese Shih Tzu Mix

While Maltese Shih Tzu mixes can lead a generally healthy life of 12-15 years, they are prone to a few medical conditions. Some of these conditions include:

  • Allergies: Maltese Shih Tzu mixes are prone to allergies of the skin. Allergies can be from their food, allergens in the air, and contact allergens. If a dog is experiencing allergies they may have skin redness, skin irritation, head shaking, itching, hair loss, and sores on the skin.
  • Patellar luxation: Patellar luxation is extremely common in small dog breeds. This condition is the dislocation of the knee joint, which causes the knee to pop in and out of place as they move. This can be extremely uncomfortable and can lead to arthritis and further irritation of the joint.
  • White shaker syndrome: White shaker syndrome is characterized by generalized shaking and tremors. Dogs with this condition can experience tremors that last for minutes to hours, can have difficulty walking, and can even experience changes in their vision. This condition is thought to be autoimmune-related and is treated with the use of steroids.
  • Respiratory issues: This breed can suffer from respiratory issues involving their soft palate and can result in respiratory distress when they get worked up. Make sure to always monitor your Malti-Tzu in warm and humid climates (as this can aggravate respiratory issues), and always bring them into a cool area if they seem to get too worked up.

Training Your Maltese Shih Tzu Mix

Maltese Shih Tzu mixes are intelligent and enjoy positive reinforcement style training. This breed picks up new skills quickly, and truly enjoys the learning process.

The best time to begin the training process is between 8-12 weeks of age, or from the point of adoption. By helping to implement your structure from the start, you can help your Maltese Shih Tzu Mix be a well rounded and enjoyable member of your family.

Just like any other breed of dog, the Malti-Tzu benefits from proper socialization. This breed can be a bit timid in unfamiliar situations, and can even be mouthy when nervous.

By introducing them to new people, dogs, and surroundings at a young age, you can help them gain the confidence they need to be respectful pups.

Exercise And Your Maltese Shih Tzu Mix

The Maltese Shih Tzu Mix is a playful breed, but can also enjoy their laid back time as well. In general, they need about 15-30 minutes of exercise each day to keep them mentally stimulated.

What they enjoy more than the exercise itself is playtime with their favorite people. They truly love to spend time with their owners, so daily playtime can be your dog’s favorite part of the day.

If you are living in a home without access to a yard or room for exercise, it’s recommended to walk your Maltese Shih Tzu Mix daily for at least 15 minutes, so they don’t experience pent up energy.

A restless Malti-Tzu can be destructive and can lead to behavioral problems.

Since they enjoy the time spent with their family, it’s important to consider your time away from home. This breed can experience separation anxiety when left alone too long, so this is not a breed that does well when left alone in a cage for long hours.

Important Tips For Owning A Maltese Shih Tzu Mix

A Maltese Shih Tzu Mix would be an incredible addition to any home, as they make a wonderful and loving companion for any family. If you choose to adopt a Malti-Tzu, here are a few tips to remember:

  • The Maltese Shih Tzu Mix is considered a designer breed, and not a registered AKC breed.
  • They do best with at least 15 minutes of daily play time or exercise.
  • This breed is known to be low-shedding.
  • They require daily brushing, as their fine hair becomes tangled easily.
  • They are extremely loving and enjoy spending quality time with their owners.
  • They are intelligent and enjoy positive reinforcement training.
  • Even if you do not shave your Maltese Shi Tzu Mix, you should at least do sanitary trims every 4-6 weeks.
  • You should not bathe your Malti-Tzu any more than once a month, as this can cause a change in their skin’s normal PH.
  • This breed can be fearful and are known to nip out of fear, so it’s important to socialize them from a young age.

Maltese Shih Tzu Mix: Summary

Overall, the Maltese Shih Tzu Mix is a treasured pet in the dog world and continues to steal the hearts of dog lovers around the globe.

If you are looking for a sweet and playful pup for your family, the Maltese Shih Tzu Mix may be the dog for you!

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