The Maltese and Shih-Tzu breeds share many of the same characteristics such as the tendency to be playful, docile, affectionate, intelligent, lively, gentle, and easy-going. When these two breeds are crossed to produce a Mal-Shi the same temperament can be expected.
Depending on how strongly the Mal-Shi inherits characteristics from the Shih-Tzu parent, the Mal-Shi may also be an adept alert dog. Regardless of which parent the dog inherits more traits from, the Mal-Shi is destined to be a fantastic lap dog.
Both the Maltese and the Shih-Tzu are small dogs, and the Mal-Shi is no different. When fully grown, the Mal-Shi weighs between 8 and 12 lbs. This breed stands approximately 10 inches tall.
Coat and Coloring
For allergy sufferers, a Mal-Shi is an excellent choice due to its hypoallergenic coat. Both the Maltese and Shih-Tzu grow hair, instead of fur, which reduces the amount of shedding and pet dander. This breed does require regular brushing and grooming, but rarely bothers people with allergies.
The Mal-Shi’s coat color and texture, however, is less predictable. Some dogs of this breed have flowing straight hair, while others have a curly or wavy coat. Most Mal-Shi dogs are white or beige, although some have tan markings on black, brown, or bi-color coats.
Training and Exercise Requirements
The Mal-Shi excels as a companion and therapy dog, which means it has above-average intelligence and trainability. While Shih-Tzus occasionally have stubborn tendencies, with proper motivation (treats) the Mal-Shi is easy to train.
Like most toy-sized dogs, the Mal-Shi is a medium energy breed. Since the Mal-Shi is intelligent, it is essential to provide this breed with outlets for burning mental and physical energy. Mal-Shi dogs should exercise approximately 60 minutes per day.
The Mal-Shi is generally a healthy breed, much like the parent Maltese and Shih-Tzu breeds. In addition, mixed breeds typically have fewer health problems due to increased genetic diversity. However, there are a few common health problems for this breed.
One example is patellar luxation, which occurs when the dog’s kneecap dislocates from the femur. A second common problem is a respiratory dysfunction, due to the breed’s flatter-than-normal face. A thorough veterinary check will indicate whether a Mal-Shi will be prone to these problems, and what steps can be taken to minimize their effect on the dog’s health.