Dog Health & More
The Maltese Shih Tzu, also known as the Mal-Shi, Malti zu, and the Malt-Tzu, is a dog breed hybrid. One of the few "designer dogs" not originating with a Poodle, and therefore not one of the ubiquitous "Poo" or "Doodle" hybrids, the adaptable Maltese Shih Tzu is an adorable, sweet little guy with a long name. Created with the same goal as the Doodles — to be a small companion who doesn't shed much and is therefore more appropriate for people with allergies — the Maltese Shih Tzu is a classic cross, a sweet lapdog who likes to play with the kids.
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Originally bred to be completely nonshedding (which is a misnomer since that's not physically possible), the Maltese succeeds to some degree, since he's a low-shedding companion. However, the Maltese Shih Tzu is much more than that.
He's intelligent and happy, making him a breeze — and a pleasure — to train. He does well as a therapy dog, and his wonderfully social nature makes him a great family pet. He's good with children of all ages and with other dogs and pets.
This extrovert is gutsy and gregarious, and he loves people of any age group. The Maltese can be high-strung and snappy, but when crossed with the aloof Shih Tzu, you can get a friendly and outgoing dog who's good with people. Like any dog, this cross needs to be socialized as a puppy and as an adult.
He also needs to be treated like a dog rather than like a baby or a stuffed animal who eats; that's why most dogs this size become little tyrants. It's not their nature so much as that they're allowed to be brats — but if you treat your Maltese Shih Tzu like a real dog, he'll act like a real dog. Make him walk, don't carry him everywhere, and he'll have the nice temperament he was meant to have.
The Maltese Shih Tzu may look like one either of the parent breeds, but he doesn't usually have the Shih Tzu's short nose and bulging eyes. A Maltese is prone to tearstaining, but the stains — while still there — can't be seen as easily in this crossbreed, probably because the dogs aren't pure white.
He's an affectionate companion who loves being with his family. He's not recommended for homes where he'd be left alone for long periods at a time, since he can suffer from separation anxiety, like most companion breeds.
The Maltese Shih Tzu can be active, but he can also adapt to quieter living. He requires some exercise each day through either a walk or a good play session in the yard. He loves being outside and although he makes an acceptable apartment resident, he does much better with a small yard to romp in.
The Maltese Shih Tzu can have respiratory problems, thanks to that flat-faced Shih Tzu heritage, so he's best suited for homes with air-conditioning since heat can aggravate any problems. He shouldn't be overexercised on hot and humid days.
The Maltese Shih Tzu has proven that he's an adaptable, happy, and loving companion. He's a wonderful choice for elderly people, first-time owners, or any dog fancier who wants a cheerful pal to fill the days with laughter and smiles.