If you haven’t heard of a malshi before, it was probably because it is one of the many names used for this very popular breed of dog. Malshi is a cross between Maltese and shih tzu breeds. The result is a small and absolutely adorable little fluffy dog, who is as mild tempered as it is cute.
Also called Malshi, Malti tzu, mal tzu, Malshi are very popular small dogs derived from 2 pure breeds. They were originally bred in the 1990s to create a hybrid hypoallergenic dog that would retain the traits common to both Maltese and shih tzu breeds.
The resulting sweet tempered and meltingly sweet dog burst into popularity across Australia, eventually spreading to North America. They remain a truly international breed as one of the parents originates from the Mediterranean region and the other from Asia.
These are small affectionate dogs. Even a full-grown Malshi retains his puppy-like characteristics, playfulness, and affectionate character. They are low-maintenance dogs who fit well in most family setups and even in limited living spaces. They make great companions and can be trained to fit a variety of lifestyles. They are also incredibly popular among celebrities for their mild manner and photogenic appearance.
Highlights about Malshi Dogs:
- Malshi dogs are a crossbreed drive from two pure breeds-Maltese and shih tzus.
- They are one of the few designer dogs who are not descended from Poodles.
- Do Malshis puppies shed? No! They are hypoallergenic dogs and also shed very little.
- The breed is recognised by most hobby clubs because of its overall popularity full stop however it is not accepted by the American Kennel Club.
- In recent years, there has been a push to develop Malshi as an independent breed and recognise it as such.
- Malshi adult dogs are petite dogs and are great options for people who are looking for a low-maintenance pooch.
- Malshi grows to an average height of 12 inches or 30 cm. There is usually some variation depending upon the height of their parents. There is not much of a difference between males and females.
- Generally, they weigh up to 6 to 12 pounds or 3 to 6 kg
- They do not require a lot of exercise and are fairly easy to train.
- Mal Shi are known for how little they bark and rarely are noisy, unless the situation necessitates it.
- Malshi are not a good option for first time dog owners who do not have any idea how to train a dog.
- They are known to be problematic while learning house rules.
- Despite their size, they require a significant amount of grooming and upkeep.
Malshi are diminutive little toy dogs who look like they just walked off a shelf in a toy store. They have cute button-like eyes, a short pert nose and a short snout.
Height: a full-grown adult Malshi will we be taller than 12 inches or 30 cm. Males are not taller than females, although they may be a little broader and heavier.
Weight: the average weight of Malshi is about 12 pounds or 6 kg. Malshi are prone to gaining weight with indiscrepant nutritional habits. There may be some variation in the median value depending upon the size of the parent dogs.
Conformation: Malshi are proportionately built dogs with an active and intelligent expression. They have large bright eyes which are even a little protuberant, but not at the level of pugs or bulldogs. They have long and fluffy coats if the hair is allowed to go out, although regular rooming is recommended to keep the dog comfortable-and the owner!
They have equal sized legs and small paws, and an overall proportional body. A very unique feature of this breed is that they do not have an undercoat in their coat. The nature of their cross ensures that they shed very little because they lack an inner coat at all. As a result, they are also hypoallergenic, although they still shed a little fur and dander.
Their coat is usually a combination of colours ranging from white, cream, brown, black, etc. Surprisingly commonly, they usually have light colour eyes, light brown or Hazel or Amber in colour.
Malshi have a short and sturdy neck on top of abroad, wide chest, with sloping shoulders. Front legs are more muscular than the back legs and the abdomen narrows down angularly. They have a long fluffy tail that they usually carry high- which is good, because otherwise it would gather the dust from everywhere.
Malshi Temperament and Personality
Malshi are famously mild-mannered dogs who quickly adapt to their home environment. They reacted a little warily to strangers and their immediate vicinity but are friendly once convinced that someone is not a threat.
Highly intelligent and reactive, they need a certain amount of mental stimulation in addition to daily physical activity.
Relationship with owners: Malshi bond very closely with their owners. They are usually calm and adjust well in families that have children. However, they are also a great companion dog for older and adult dog owners, who can pay attention to the dog’s needs full time. But it also intensifies the interactions between the dog and the owner.
Malshi are by no means a one-man dog and benefit from early socialisation.
Relationship with children: Maltese shitzu generally do well with children, although it is recommended that they not be left alone with small children. This is because most are so small that children may actually harm them without fully intending to do so.
Roughhousing with a dog as small as Malshi can have dangerous to fatal consequences for the dog and not for the child. If you have a child that young in the house you should reconsider getting Malshi till the child is old enough to understand how to behave around the delicate little pooch.
Additionally, Malshi may not trust the children enough in their early years to stay quiet around them, which interferes with sleep cycles and overall well-being for both. However, the early socialisation of these excitable little pooches makes a very big difference and how well they adjust to having little children around them.
Adopting an older dog who has no experience with children may end up being an unpleasant experience, especially if the children don’t know better than to annoy the dog incessantly.
Relationship with other pets:
If they must have been raised with their littermates and have spent their early life in an atmosphere with multiple pets for a present, they are more tolerant of other pets in the house.
They are not hunters or hounds and therefore their hunting instincts are less than these fiercer breeds. However, that still doesn’t mean that they automatically do well with other animals. It depends entirely on whether the dog has recognised and learnt the existence of other animals in the living space as not being a threat.
And while they might look too small to be dangerous, they can still do significant damage to other smaller animals who are defenseless, such as rabbits or hamsters.
Being a mixed breed dog helps Malshis escape some of the problems that are commonly found in purebred dogs. But at the same time, they definitely have some health issues derived from their size and being bred to be smaller. Also, first generation Malshi are the only ones who escape have a higher chance of escaping inherited genetic disorders. Malshis from second or third-generation crosses inherited these defects and diseases or the higher frequency.
Health issues: certain diseases show up with an alarming frequency in the Malshi population. These include:
- Portosystemic liver shunt issues
- Brachycephalic respiratory syndrome
- Disc disease and increase chances of disc prolapse, because of intervertebral disc degeneration. A slipped disc may end up causing serious nerve damage and even restricting some of the motor functions in your dog.
- Patellaluxation as a consequence of a defective development of the femur. If it affects both sides, the dog has two ‘trick knees’ and may end up with a bow-legged or knock-kneed appearance.
- Progressive retinal atrophy- an inherited autosomal dominant disorder that causes the retina to lose both structure and function
- Early onset blindness
- Hip dysplasia
- Breathing problems because of the narrow airways.
Lifespan: Malshis live an average age of 12 to 15 years. However, dogs who have serious health conditions or are second generation crosses live on an average between 11 to 13 years.
Malshi are deceptively high maintenance when it comes to time and attention. These are highly independent dogs who don’t tolerate perceived offences against their territories. They suffer from the classic small dog syndrome, although not as pronounced as by chihuahuas or teacup poodles.
To train a Malshi, it’s essential to establish yourself as the alpha, because these are dogs who occasionally are stubborn and challenge you on your authority. First time dog owners often make the mistake of accepting tantrums at Malshi often because they just look cute. But the fact of the matter is that Malshi is an adult dog or a puppy as the case may be and needs to be reprimanded or encouraged towards more positive behaviour.
So how to train a Malshi puppy? The same principle also applies to their socialization. Malshi should be forced into socialisation or into interaction with other dogs and other people from a very early age. You do not need the dog to not recognise strangers at all times but you also need your dog to be friendly enough to tolerate strangers and its close vicinity. This also applies to other dogs who might want to play.
Malshi profit from 60-70 minutes of physical exercise every day. In addition to this, Malshi also needs mental stimulation and games and interactive toys to help engage their curiosity and help build the puzzle solving skills. while this might not seem like it has a specific goal, it helps train your dog on multiple levels.
Also, a dog that can play with interactive toys will spend less time looking for wires to chew through or other destructive behaviours to indulge in. Even simple games like fetch or hide and seek will fascinate your dog endlessly.
Malshi tend to put on weight easily, especially when they are bored. It will come as no surprise to you that their daily calorie requirements are quite low, at forty calories per pound or 80 calories per kilo. However older dogs have slower metabolisms and need about 20 calories per pound or 40 calories per kilo body weight.
It’s recommended that you feed them a dog food made specifically for petite dogs. It’s not necessary that they receive wet food with dry food; they do quite well with just dry food as well. You have to make sure to divide the total amount of calories in the course of the day. Asking to your vet for a recommendation as a good idea.
Older dogs do not have excessively high maintenance requirements, but need regular grooming. First generation Malshi do not have an undercoat and therefore do not shed a lot in comparison to other dogs. This quality may or may not extend to 2nd generation dogs.
However the variety of hair textures that can be inherited from the parents makes Malshi have a variety of features themselves. For example the colours can range from anywhere between white to Grey to light brown to black and brown, including characteristically patterned dogs as well.
Malshi do best with a closely trimmed coat which can be best achieved by getting them groomed regularly, as long as the coat is not too tightly curled. Dogs with curly hair patterns need more frequent grooming. They also need to be brushed at least two or three times a week, to get the tangles, dirt, and debris out of their coat. Also, they need a daily clean-up of the under eye area to prevent tear stains from developing and becoming permanent over their face.
They also need to have the nails clipped at least once or twice a month. The frequency goes up for dogs who live indoors and do not get a chance to naturally wear their nails down on the ground outside. This should be done professionally, because dog nails have blood vessels in them and cutting them at home or trimming them at home may cause your dog a lot of pain if done incorrectly.
They also need weekly ear cleanings to make sure that the hair inside the ear flaps does not grow any germs or parasites. The ear flaps need to be wiped inside with a damp cotton ball and an antiseptic that your vet approves of for use on dogs. Again, it is essential to get your dog trained to all these right from the beginning, because dogs are impatient and sensitive if they have not learnt all of it from puppyhood.
Malshi: Everything Else
Malshi are small, excessively affectionate, loving, and loyal dogs who are perfectly content following their owner around and cuddling them every chance they get.
Once they have been trained out of their natural wariness to strangers, they are also very approachable and love playing with whoever they can play with. It is essential to train the dog at the first opportunity and to repeat the training at regular intervals because they do tend to be a little stubborn.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)
Are Malshi hypoallergenic?
Yes! Because of their lack of an undercoat, Malshi are indeed hypoallergenic. They still shed a little sometimes though.
Are Malshis good dogs?
Malshis are great dogs, especially for older dog owners looking for a dog that will be a steady companion to them, despite or even in a smaller living space.
How big does a Malshi get?
On an average, Malshis get no bigger than 12 inches or 30 cm. Their exact size depends on the physique of their parents though.
Are Malshis smart?
Malshis are extremely intelligent dogs and can be trained in a multitude of ways.
Can Malshi be left alone?
Malshis can be left alone, although it is not recommended to leave younger dogs alone at home for extended periods of time.
Why do Maltese pee everywhere?
Maltese are notoriously hard to housebreak because they insist on ‘marking’ their territory inside the house. Malshis do this as well, but the problem can be handled with regular training and refreshing of commands.
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