Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Malshi
Average Cost to keep/care for a Malshi
The Malshi is the result of crossing two pedigree dogs namely the Maltese and the Shih Tzu. They were developed to be low-shedding which meant they would be suitable for people with pet-related allergies to share a home with although today, these charming dogs have become so popular, they have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people who have never suffered from any sort of allergy. The reason being that Malshis are such a pleasure to have around because of their kind, affectionate and happy natures.
The Malshi first appeared on the scene back in the 1990's when breeders wanted to create a small, low-shedding, companion dog for allergy sufferers. From the outset, these little dogs proved to be extremely popular in Australia as well as North America. They have also become a popular choice here in the UK and not necessarily with people who suffer from any sort of pet related allergy.
To date, Malshis are not recognised as a breed by The Kennel Club (July 2016) or other international breed organisations. However, many local breed clubs have been founded in different countries of the world with an end goal being to breed these charming hybrid dogs responsibly. For the moment the majority of Malshis are first generation dogs although more second generation litters are now becoming available.
Height at the withers: Males 25 - 51 cm, Females 25 - 51 cm
Average weight: Males 2.3 - 6.8 kg, Females 2.3 - 6.8 kg
Malshis are a very cute little dogs that have inherited many of their parent breed's charming looks and traits. Because most Malshis are first generation, puppies from the same litter can be very different both in looks and personality because it depends on whether they have thrown to the Maltese or the Shih Tzu. However, they don't usually have the short nose or the protruding eyes that are so typical of the Shih Tzu.
They have nicely proportioned heads with charming dark, round eyes and short muzzles nicely finished off with dark noses and dark coloured, tight lips. Their ears are set wide apart and quite high on a dog's head, falling forwards when these little dogs are excited, but they hang down to the side when relaxed. The Malshi has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones.
They have nice broad chests for such small dogs and straight, short but strong front legs. Shoulders are nicely laid back and backs are level with dogs having well rounded loins. Bellies show a slight tuck up which adds to a Malshis athletic appearance. Back legs are well muscled and strong and their feet are small being cat-like with strong nails and paw pads.
When it comes to their coat, the Malshi usually has a loose, wavy coat depending on which of the parent breeds they have thrown to. The most commonly seen colours are as follows:
The Mal-shi is a charming character and one that can inherit many of their parent breed's personality traits. This includes being active to the point of being a little boisterous when the mood takes them. They have inherited their parent breed's intelligence too and when they are tired after a good walk, they are happy to chill out and relax on the sofa with their owners.
They tend to form very strong bonds with their families which is very endearing although it can turn into a bit of a problem if a Malshi ever needs to be left on their own for a little while because it can really stress them out. They can develop separation anxiety which sees them being neurotic and destructive around the home when they are left to their own devices. The Malshi thrives on human company and is never happier when they are with the people they love which can prove a problem. As such they are best suited to families where one person usually stays at home when everyone else is out.
It's essential for Malshis to be well socialised from a young enough age so they grow up to be well-rounded mature dogs. This has to include introducing a dog to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated. If they are not well socialised Malshis can be a little "snappy" and highly strung when they find themselves in situations that make them feel uncomfortable or nervous.
They are the perfect choice for people who live in apartments and who lead quieter, more sedentary lives. They are also a good choice for first time owners because they are so affectionate, loyal and eager to please which means they learn new things very quickly. However, they need to be trained and handled like any other dog which means a Malshi should never be allowed to get away with too much or pampered because it could result in them becoming wilful and unruly.
Malshis are clever little dogs and they love to please which means in the right hands and environment, they are easy to train and they learn new things very quickly. However, the downside to this is they are just as quick to learn some bad behaviours if they are allowed to get away with too much too often. Because Malshis are so cute, it’s all too easy to pamper them a little too much which can result in dogs becoming wilful and unruly making them harder to handle and live with. They can even develop a condition known as "Small Dog Syndrome" which can see them being neurotic and continually stressed out.
A Malshi's training has to start as soon as a puppy arrives in their new home when boundaries have to be set so they understand the "limits". Their training can start in earnest once they have been fully vaccinated and it's always a good idea to enrol them into puppy classes which is not only a great way of socialising a dog, but it also means they can start their training in a safe and controlled environment surrounded by other dogs and people.
The Malshi thrives in a family environment and loves nothing more than to be involved in everything that goes on around them. However, they are not the best choice for families with younger children, but they are fine in households where the kids are slightly older and who therefore know how to behave around such small dogs. With said, any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be supervised by an adult to make sure things stay nice and calm because Malshis are never happy when things get too noisy which can result in them being a bit “snappy”.
They are known to be good around other dogs, especially if a Malshi has been well socialised from a young enough age. They also generally get on with other pets they have grown up with in the home and this includes the family cat. However, a Malshi might just chase any other cats that cross their paths. It's a good idea to keep an eye on dogs when they are around smaller animals just to be on the safe side.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Malshi is between 12 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Malshi is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues that affect the Maltese and the Shih Tzu which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these energetic little dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, Malshis need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
A Malshi typically has a long, silky and wavy coat that's soft to the touch. Their coats need to be brushed daily to prevent any knots or tangles from forming. Ideally, they need to be professionally clipped every 6 to 9 weeks which makes taking care of their coats that much easier in between visits to a grooming parlour. Because Malshis often suffer from tear staining under their eyes, it's important to regularly wipe these away using a soft, damp cloth.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
The Malshi is a high energy little dog and one that boasts being really smart. As such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy and well-rounded. They need from 20 to 30 minutes exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Malshi would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they may be feeling.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these energetic dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Malshi puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be finicky eaters, but this does not mean they can be fed a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Malshi, you would need to pay anything from £300 to over £900 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Malshi in northern England would be £22.01 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £43.83 a month (quote as of July 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Malshi and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Malshi would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree or other puppy.
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