The Mal-Shi cross – a combination of Shih Tzu and Maltese – is one of the most popular Shih Tzu hybrids. It's easy to see why; the Mal-Shi is the perfect mix of sweet, bold, playful and affectionate, as well as being relatively easy to train and care for and suitable for just about any person or environment. Mal-Shis make perfect pets for families and are great with children (however, their small size means that they can be easily injured, so small children should always be supervised around them).
Although Mal-Shis have lots of energy and a huge playful streak, they don't need a lot of long walks (although they do enjoy being outdoors), making them a great choice for older people or busy singletons. Short walks and sufficient indoor or garden activities are perfectly fine. Mal-Shis adore being around people and will want lots of cuddles, so potential owners should factor this time in as well – but who wouldn't want to hang out with one of these adorable pups all day?
Diet & Health
Mal-Shis have similar dietary requirements to other Shih Tzus crosses. They should be fed high-quality dry kibble rather than wet food to prevent oral health issues. Food intake should of course be monitored, although if owners are more active than average with their Mal-Shis, then this may need to be increased to reflect the additional activity.
Mal-Shi are generally healthy, but can inherit problems common to its parent breeds, particularly respiratory issues. Mal-Shis can also experience 'White Shaker Syndrome', a disorder that causes tremors and sometimes seizures.
Mal-Shis tend to have longer coats, so need regular grooming to keep it in good condition and avoid matting. They shed very little and are a good option for allergy sufferers. Like Shih Tzus, they can also get 'tear stains' around their eyes, so these should be checked frequently and gently cleaned when required. The Mal-Shi coat is usually white or white/tan, but it can also be various combinations of black and brown with markings on the face and body.
Like all Shih Tzu crosses, the Mal-Shi can be a little bit stubborn. Nevertheless, Mal-Shis respond very well to training because they simply love to please. Training should start early and be as consistent as possible, with lots of rewards and positive reinforcement.
Mal-Shis learn fast, so owners should expect to have to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated with games and teaching new tricks. Housetraining may be the only particularly challenging aspect of Mal-Shi training – this can take a little while, so patience will be required.
On the whole, Mal-Shi owners can expect a highly rewarding experience with this happy little dog. He'll bring joy and fun everywhere he goes and will be the perfect canine companion for just about anyone.
Mal-Shis are petite little dogs, growing to about 10 inches tall and weighing in at 6-12 pounds.
Mal-Shis have a life expectancy of approximately 12-14 years.
Known to adore their owners, Mal-Shis can experience separation anxiety if left alone for too long. Potential owners should expect to have their new fur buddy at their side most of the time!