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Mal-Shi : Breed Characteristics, Care &
Exercise Needs (Maltese Tzu)

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About Mal-Shi

Country of Origin, History of Mal-Shis

There is no known date or person who started the Mal-Shi breed, but it is believed it may have existed naturally over the years. However, it was only in the 1990s that designer dog breeders in North America and Australia mixed Maltese and Shih Tzu to develop Mal-Shis to have an affectionate, companion dog. As demand for mixed breed dogs kept increasing, Mal-Shis became more and more popular.

Still, most puppies are first generation crosses and there is not much effort to breed the puppies to perfect a breed.

Mal-Shi Tools

Breed Selector Tool - is the Mal-Shi the right breed for you?

Is the Mal-Shi the right breed for you and your family?

Find out by using our Free Dog Breed Selector Tool

Check Your Mal-Shi's Learning Style

Are you aware dogs also have a learning style that can greatly affect their ability to housetrain as well as be trained correctly. Evaluate your Mal-Shi's learning style and personality using our free Learning Style tool so that you are better able to provide him with the proper Mal-Shi training methods.

Is your Mal-Shi dominating over you?

Does your Mal-Shi bark unnecessarily? Does your Mal-Shi come to you when you call? Download a FREE Report on Dog Dominance for you and your Mal-Shi and learn how to control your dog.

Do you make these mistakes with your Mal-Shi?

Are you inadvertently snow-balling bad behavior in your Mal-Shi? Evaluate your Dog Training Style from our Free Tool and learn how best to deal with your dog.

Mal-Shi Calorie Calculator

Do you know how many calories your Mal-Shi needs every day and how many cups of food you should be giving it every day? Click here to use our Mal-Shi Calorie Calculator.

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A General Appearance of the Dog

The Mal-Shi is a cross between the Maltese and the Shih-Tzu. He gets some characteristics from each breed, but no two dogs get the same set of genes so there are no two dogs who look alike or have the same temperament and behavior. See both breeds to learn more about traits your dog may have. Most Mal-Shis have hanging ears, black eyes, and a dark, triangular nose. They are low-shedding with a dense layer of silky coat.

The Mal-Shi is an adorable, sweet lapdog who loves to play and likes kids. He does well in an apartment setting and is a good dog for a first-time dog owner, an elderly person, or a person with allergies in the family. They are adaptable to busy homes or quiet homes, only requiring some daily exercise in the form of a walk or romp in the yard or indoor playtimes. Most are outgoing, friendly, and active, but sometimes one will be quite laid-back and quiet. They want to be wherever their owner is.

The Mal-Shi do not bark as much as Maltese or Shih-Tzus, but they alert bark, making them good watchdogs. They generally do well with other pets in the household. They are intelligent and inquisitive. They train fairly easily. The Mal-Shi coat needs a daily brushing and a visit to the groomer every 6-8 weeks will help make the job easier.


The Mal-Shi inherits the coats of his parents, having long flowing straight hair which is silky and mats easily. The coat may be more like the Maltese and have some waviness, especially if cut shorter. The Mal-Shi will be white or white with tan markings with amber or hazel eyes. Other colors of coat include black, brown, black and white, brown and white, and black and brown (maybe with some white).


6 – 12 pounds


About 10 inches

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Mal-Shi Personality Traits

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Temperament of the Dog

The Mal-Shi is a happy, affectionate dog who is easy to train and very playful. He loves to have fun, is clever and inelligent, and enjoys children. While he is energetic enough for a busy family, he is also willing to be a lapdog with play periods. He tends to be outgoing, making friends of people and other dogs (and cats).

He makes a great therapy dog if socialized well; in some cases, he is hesitant or wary around strangers. He is a quick learner and wants to do new things and please his people. Learning and performing tricks makes him happy. Use positive reinforcement with him.

He does fine in an apartment or family home as long as he gets a walk or two a day and good playtimes, but he loves to be able to explore the outdoors on a leash or in a fenced yard.

Better suited to an indoor or outdoor lifestyle?

The Mal-Shi neds to be mostly indoors, with air conditioning in hot weather.

Are they suited to homes with kids?

The Mal-Shi loves children of all ages. They make a fun family dog.


The Mal-Shi is fairly easy to train and loves to please. Use positive reinforcement, patience, and persistence. He loves to learn and perform tricks.

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Free Mal-Shi Training Secrets

Free Course on Mal-Shi Training & Obedience
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking and Biting

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Mal-Shi Activity Level

How active is the breed?

A walk or two each day and some play time is enough activity. However, the Mal-Shi likes to explore the outdoors on a leash or in a fenced yard. He can be quite energetic and boisterous or he can be a calm lapdog depending on his family situation.


Since the Mal-Shi coat is prone to matting, daily brushing is necessary. Periodic professional grooming will save the owner time and energy in the daily routine. The Mal-Shi only needs to be bathed if he is dirty or at the groomer’s. Check his ears daily when brushing. Also brush his teeth each day. Cut his nails every 3-4 weeks. Make sure to keep fur around eyes, ears, and rear end trimmed. He may be prone to tear stains, so you will need to wipe around the eyes several times a day and may need to use a product such as Angel Eyes.

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Free Mal-Shi Training Secrets

Free Course on Mal-Shi Training & Obedience
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking and Biting

Sign Up Here

Health and Care

The Mal-Shi can suffer from respiratory problems which is aggravated by heat and humidity, so they need a home with air conditioning in hot or humid weather. They sometimes have knee problems.

Life Span: 12 – 14 years

National Breed Clubs

National Breed Clubs: none

Other Recognition:

ACHC = American Canine Hybrid Club (Mal-Shi)
DBR = Designer Breed Registry (Mal Shi)
DDKC = Designer Dogs Kennel Club (Malti Tzu)
DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
IDCR = International Designer Canine Registry® (Mal-Shi)

Group: Mixed Breed Dog.

AKC Popularity Ranking: Not recognized by AKC.

Also Known As:

Train Your Mal-Shi To Listen To You

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You'll learn new commands to obedience-train your dog as well as how to housebreak your dog in 6 days or less.

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  • How to lead and think like a pack dog - the new psychology.

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Whereas other dog training related web sites and books offer generic information for dogs in general, ours is the ONLY web site that offers Malti zu information specifically, from a renowned panel of experts - because as you probably know, Malti zus have their own special training requirements that other dogs don't have.

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Our Dog Experts

The Mal-Shi training information you will read here was developed by a panel of renowned dog training experts whose combined wisdom represents nearly 100 years of specialist experience training dogs.

Here are a few of our experts:

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