What You Need to Know About Mal Shi Crosses

A  Maltese Shih Tzu mix is sometimes also called a Mal Shi, and these are beautiful, small dogs that make great pets. A Mal Shi is what we call a crossbreed or a designer dog, meaning that it's a combination of two existing breeds of animal.

What is a Mal Shi?

A Mal Shi is going to be some combination between a Maltese and a Shih Tzu. This might mean that your puppy has two Mal Shi parents, but more likely it will mean that your puppy has one Maltese parent and one Shih Tzu parent. This will depend on how your breeder chooses to breed his dogs, but crossbreeds coming from two different breed parents are usually considered purer and healthier animals.

What Do I Need to Be Aware of About Designer Dogs?

When buying a pure bred dog it's fairly easy to predict certain things about your puppy, such as its future size and temperament, simply because these dogs are bred to high standards. With designer dogs this prediction is more difficult though, since the dog will inherit different characteristics from each of its parent breeds. This means that we can only guess certain information based on what we know about the parent dogs.

How Big Will My New Puppy Grow?

Both parent breeds are fairly small dogs. A Maltese will usually grow to between 8 and 10 inches, and will weigh between 6 and 9 pounds. A Shih Tzu is a little larger, though not by much,  usually growing up to about 11 inches in height and will weigh between about 9 and 16 pounds.

Because both parent breeds are small, it's almost certain that your Maltese Shih Tzu cross is also going to be a small dog. Your puppy will probably grow to somewhere in the middle of the height and weight ranges normal for both Maltese and Shih Tzus.

What Will My Pet's Coat Be Like?

A Maltese usually has a thick, mid length, rather wavy coat, whilst a Shih Tzu is famous for its long, straight, silky coat. A Mal Shi generally has a mid length coat that's thicker and wavier than that of a Shih Tzu. Colours can vary, but dogs tend more towards the cream or white colour of the Maltese than the tans and browns of the other parent.

Do these Dogs Have Any Coat Concerns?

It is very probable that your dog will need grooming, unless your puppy is very short haired for the breed you will probably need to trim his coat. Styling such as seen on Shih Tzus is rarely necessary though. Your pet will need regular brushing to stop shedding, and you will need to shampoo your dog's coat to keep it looking great.

What Will My Dog's Personality Be Like?

Both pure breeds are quite similar in temperament. Both are loving and loyal breeds, curious, lively and very sociable. However, they are both less trainable than other dogs and need a firm hand, and they can snap. Brought up with children, either breed will be fine, though both breeds don't react well to unknown or very small children. Your mixed breed puppy will probably exhibit the same personality as both its parent breeds.

How Much Exercise Will My Dog Need?

These are active animals, and they love playing. Since a Mal Tzu is quite a small dog, however, lots of exercise isn't really necessary. A short walk once or twice a day should be fine, and these animals should be happy in an apartment setting.

Does this Designer Breed Have Any Health Concerns?

Maltese are prone to teeth and eye issues, and can also experience sun burn on exposed skin. Shih Tzus have a tendency to suffer from back or respiratory problems as well as teeth or eye issues. As a crossbreed your dog will likely be far healthier than a purebred dog, however.

How Do I Know if this is the Right Pet for Me?

The best way to know if this is the breed for you is to visit one! Try calling local breeders to arrange a visit. You might also look online for forums devoted to Mal Shi owners to get more info.