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The Malshi is one of the smaller designer crossbreeds originating in the US, and while still not common in the UK, is growing in popularity. The breeds that make up the Malshi are the Maltese and the Shih Tzu.

The Malshi come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colours and coat types, but in all cases this is a small companion dog. This crossbreed can be a first cross (with one Maltese and one Shih Tzu parent), they can be bred back to one of the original breeds, or be two Malshis bred together.


The usual height of a Malshi can vary between 25– 28cm
Maltese: not exceeding 25cm
Shih Tzu: under 27cm
The colours of a Malshi depend on the parents’ coats, but can be any of the following colours, with or without white markings
Maltese: Pure white but slight lemon markings are permissible
Shih Tzu: All colours permissible apart from merle
White blaze on forehead and white tip highly desirable in particolours
UK Kennel Club Groups
Toy (Maltese) and Utility (Shih Tzu)
The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Needs under an hour of walking a day
  • Small dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • Gets along with other pets with training
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a small garden
  • Can happily live in the city
  • Can be left occasionally with training
Generally healthy breed

There is often a degree of variation in the health conditions and issues that crossbreeds are predisposed to. This is because some individuals retain more of the characteristics of one breed over the other. 
The Malshi crossbreed is likely to have fewer respiratory concerns than a Shih Tzu as the cross with a Maltese means there is less shortening of the muzzle and potentially larger nostrils.  

For more information on the health problems that may affect this crossbreed, visit the Maltese and Shih Tzu breed pages.


Like most crossbreeds, the personality of a Malshi depends on the parents and how they have been bred and reared, but both parents are affectionate companion dogs who bond closely to their owners.

The Maltese

Despite their small size the Maltese is a comparatively robust little dog who as long as they are well-bred and socialised, are active, friendly, trusting and alert. They bond very closely to their owners and will want to go everywhere with them.

The Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is an extroverted, confident, affectionate dog who can be quite independent and aloof with strangers. And while intelligent, sometimes the impression is that they think training is beneath them!

The Malshi is a small companion dog who will enjoy games - but will mostly enjoy being with their owner. The personality of a Malshi seems to be more consistent when they are first crosses (F1). As a line is successively bred, they can be either bred back to one of the original breeds (and so strengthen either the Maltese or the Shih Tzu personalities) or else be bred to another Malshi - in which case there is less predictability in temperament (and in-breeding becomes more of a potential issue).

Responsible breeders should be prioritising behaviour as highly as health and so it is important to find a good breeder. A well-bred Malshi should be outgoing and confident, not nervous, shy or fearful.

Vet Rating

History and Origins

Ideal Owner

Exercise Needs

Potential Issues

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Malshi

Training Malshi

Family Friendly Dog Breeds

Did You Know?

Thanks to their low shedding, the Malshi are a popular breed for people with allergies.

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