Welcoming a dog into your home is a big decision, and there are many things to think about before making this leap. Each breed is different, and you must choose the right one to suit your home and lifestyle. Hybrids, also known as designer dogs, often have the best traits of both of their parents, so they can have many positive features that make them appealing. One such hybrid is the Maltese Shish Tzu. If this is a hybrid that appeals to you, then it is vital to learn what you can about the dog before making your final decision. To help you make this decision, here are 20 things you didn’t know about the Maltese Shih Tzu.
1. It is Part Maltese and Part Shih Tzu
The Maltese Shih Tzu is a hybrid dog, which means it has parents that are purebred from different breeds. According to Your Dog Adviser, one parent is a Maltese, a small dog breed that hails from the island of Malta. The other parent is a Shih Tzu, which is a small Chinese dog breed. Both breeds are companion dogs that have many positive traits.
2. This Dog Has Many Names
The Maltese Shih Tzu is just one of the many names by which this hybrid dog is known. It is also called the Mal-Shi, the Malti Zu, the Malshi, and the Malti-Tzu. There are no differences between these dogs; they are merely different terminology used to describe the same breed.
3. It is One of the Few Designer Breeds with No Poodle in the Mix
Many hybrid dogs have a Poodle as one of the purebred parents because this breed is intelligent and hypoallergenic. Just some examples of hybrids with a Poodle in the mix are the Labradoodle, a Whoodle, and a Pomapoo. The Maltese Shih Tzu is one of only a few popular hybrids that do not have a Poodle as one of the purebred parents. However, the Maltese Shih Tzu does not lack in any way as both parents are intelligent breeds and the Maltese is also hypoallergenic.
4. They Were Bred for Low Shedding
When two purebreds are bred to create a hybrid, this is usually done to get the best physical and personality traits of each breed. It can also reduce the likelihood of the hybrid developing health conditions that are associated with each of the parent breeds. In the case of the Maltese Shih Tzu, one of the aims was to create a hypoallergenic dog that hardly sheds. Although it is impossible to create a dog that does not shed at all, the Maltese Shih Tzu is one of the best options if you want a dog that hardly sheds. Not only is this great for allergy sufferers, but it will also reduce the amount of cleaning needed to get rid of hair from around your home.
5. They Have a Long and Silky Coat
According to Dog Time, the coat of a Maltese Shih Tzu is long, soft, and silky. Although the coat is usually wavy, it is not curly. Their coat is nice to stroke, and this is one of the features that their owners find appealing.
6. There Are Many Color Variations
Like many breeds, there are numerous color variations of the Maltese Shih Tzu. The most common color is white, or white with tan markings around the ears. However, they come in a range of solid colors or combination of colors. These include black and white, brown and white, black and brown, black, or brown.
7. The Hybrid Was Developed in the 1990s
Although the exact origin of the Maltese Shih Tzu is unknown due to potential unintentional breeding of the Maltese and the Shih Tzu, the hybrid was first officially developed during the 1990s. Most dogs are either first or second-generation hybrids, as there are currently no third-generation Maltese Shih Tzus. Since the hybrid was developed, it has become one of the most popular hybrids in Australia. It has also gained popularity in North America and in many other parts of the world.
8. Maltese Shih Tzus Are Great Therapy Dogs
Due to their sociable nature and intelligence, Maltese Shih Tzus are a good option for working as a therapy dog. They are very loyal to their family, and they are a fantastic companion dog. Both parent breeds have personality traits that are suitable for roles working as therapy dogs. There are many different therapy dog roles, with some dogs supporting an individual, and other visiting places such as schools, nursing homes, and hospitals. Therapy dogs have a calming effect that can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
9. They Are Suitable as Apartment Dogs
When choosing a dog, you need to think about the size of your home and your lifestyle so that you choose a suitable breed. If you live in an apartment, it is better to choose a small dog breed that does not need a lot of exercise. A Maltese Shih Tzu is an ideal choice. Not only are they a small breed, but they also do not need much exercise. Taking your Maltese Shih Tzu for a walk a couple of times a week is enough, and they will find long walks exhausting. They are also suitable for people who have mobility issues and cannot get about much for the same reasons.
10. Most Adopt the Facial Features of the Maltese
A Maltese Shih Tzu takes some physical traits from their Maltese parent and others from their Shih Tzu parent. It means that the appearance of Maltese Shih Tzus can vary. However, most Maltese Shih Tzus inherit the facial features of their Maltese parent. Therefore, they do not usually have the flat face of the Shih Tzu.
11. They Are Prone to Tear Staining
Maltese dogs are prone to getting tear staining under their eyes, and this is a trait that the Maltese Shih Tzus often inherit. It is particularly noticeable if the Maltese Shih Tzu has white fur on their face. You can reduce tear staining by keeping the area around your Maltese Shih Tzu’s eyes clean.
12. Maltese Shih Tzus Need a Good Grooming Regime
Although a Maltese Shih Tzu’s coat is low-maintenance in terms of cleaning your home because they do not shed, it is high-maintenance in terms of a grooming regime. If you do not brush their coat regularly, they are prone to tangles and matting. Therefore, you should brush their coat at least three times a week. They will also need bathing weekly, and using conditioner will help to prevent tangles or matting and keep their coat in good condition. It is also crucial to trim their nails and brush their teeth regularly.
13. They Are Easy to Train
Training Maltese Shih Tzus is usually an easy process as they are an intelligent breed. However, they have a stubborn streak, and this means they can benefit from positive reinforcement. It is also important to begin training and socialization from an early age to get the most out of your Maltese Shih Tzu. They are fun dogs that like learning new things, so you should consider incorporating some games and tricks into the training regime. If you make it fun, your Maltese Shih Tzu should find it easy to learn.
14. It is a Small Dog Breed
The Maltese Shih Tzu is classed as a small dog breed. Although the size can vary a little, they are usually around six to 10-inches tall. The weight can also vary, but they are usually within the range of six to 12 pounds. Some factors that can influence the dog’s weight are the traits they have inherited from each parent, their diet, and whether they are getting enough exercise. It is essential to help your dog to maintain a healthy weight to avoid health problems associated with obesity. The best way to do so is to feed your dog a healthy and age-appropriate diet and to take it for regular walks.
15. Their Temperament Can Vary
Maltese Shih Tzus can vary in temperament, and this often depends on the traits they have inherited from their parents. However, training and socialization can also impact temperament in these dogs. Most Maltese Shih Tzus are friendly, sociable, and adaptable. While some are boisterous and adventurous, others are quiet and laid back. On the downside, it is possible to get a Maltese Shih Tzu that is a little yappy and snappy. When choosing a pup, avoid the dogs that are hiding in the corner and the ones that are beating up the other pups in the litter. Instead, go for a middle-of-the-road dog. If possible, meet the mother to see if she has a nice temperament.
16. They Are a Good Option for Families
If you have children, it is crucial to put a lot of thought into the dog breed you welcome into your home. Some breeds and better with children than others, and some small breeds are at risk of injury if younger children do not handle them correctly. In most cases, the Maltese Shih Tzu is a good option for families, as they enjoy being with humans and most are fine with children. However, each dog is an individual, so it is essential to supervise and monitor early interactions between your dog and your children.
17. Maltese Shih Tzus Are Happy to Live with Other Pets
Another consideration when choosing the right breed for you is if you already have pets at home. If so, you need a dog breed that can get along with other animals. Fortunately, most Maltese Shih Tzus is happy to share their home with other dogs. Likewise, they do not mind sharing their home with other species of pets. However, it is best to supervise early interactions between your Maltese Shih Tzu and any other pets to make sure they all get along.
18. They Have a Life Expectancy of Up to 14 Years
According to Perfect Dog Breeds, the Maltese Shih Tzu has a life expectancy of between 12 and 14 years. There are many factors that can affect life expectancy, including genetics, care, general health, weight, diet, and exercise. To make sure your Maltese Shih Tzu lives a full and happy life, make sure they get plenty of exercise, eat a healthy diet, and regularly see the vet, especially if they show symptoms of illness.
19. They Are Prone to Some Health Conditions
Although one of the purposes of creating hybrids is to reduce the likelihood of a dog developing conditions associated with the parent breeds, that does not mean that they will not develop any health conditions. The two conditions that are most associated with this breed are patellar luxation and white shaker syndrome. Patellar luxation is a condition where the kneecap slips in and out of place. Although some dogs live a normal life with this condition, it is potentially very painful. White shaker syndrome is a condition that affects both Maltese and Shih Tzu dogs. It presents itself in young to middle-aged dogs. When a dog suffers an episode, it will shake uncontrollably and is often unable to walk all day. This condition is often treated with corticosteroids for up to six months. Following this course of treatment, most dogs do not need further treatment.
20. It is Not a Breed Recognized by the American Kennel Club
Although some hybrid dogs are now recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), this organization does not currently recognize the Maltese Shih Tzu as an official breed. Therefore, you cannot register a Maltese Shih Tzu with the AKC, nor can you enter your dog into their competitions or events. However, there are some other organizations that do allow you to register hybrid dogs in various locations around the world.