Dogbreeds911.com - Maltese vs Shih Tzu

Maltese vs Shih Tzu

Dog breed comparison between Maltese and Shih Tzu dog breeds. Differences and similarities between these small companion dog breeds.

Difference between Maltese and Shih Tzu

Maltese Shih Tzu mix

Maltese vs Shih Tzu grooming

Maltese vs Shih Tzu lifespan

Maltese vs Shih Tzu size

Maltese vs Shih Tzu shedding

Maltese vs Shih Tzu price

Maltese vs Shih Tzu temperament

Maltese vs Shih Tzu origin

Maltese vs Shih Tzu good with kids

Maltese vs Shih Tzu companion dogs

Shih Tzu versus Maltese difference other dogs

Maltese vs Shih Tzu intelligence

Maltese compared to Shih Tzu trainability

Maltese vs Shih Tzu barking

Maltese and Shih Tzu compared exercise needs

Maltese versus Shih Tzu health issues

Maltese vs Shih Tzu difference in behavior problems

Maltese compared to Shih Tzu popularity

Shih Tzu vs Maltese loyalty to the owner

Maltese vs Shih Tzu videos

Maltese compared to Shih Tzu apartment dogs

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Maltese vs Shih Tzu
Maltese pros and cons

Comparison between Maltese and Shih Tzu breeds
Shih Tzu vs Maltese
Shih Tzu pros and cons

Shih Tzu vs Maltese

Shih Tzu and Maltese breeds are among the most popular small companion dogs. There are some significant differences between Maltese and Shih Tzu breeds that need to be taken into consideration. Although Shih Tzu and Maltese are both known as lap dogs, Shih Tzu dogs are slightly larger and are not as fragile as the Maltese. Both of these lap dogs are not ideal for families with toddlers or very young kids. Shih Tzus and the Maltese are more appropriate for families with older children who are able to handle the family dog in a gentle way. Shih Tzus and Maltese make a wonderful family pet for older adults who have the time to allocate to grooming the dog. Maltese and Shih Tzu breeds have high grooming needs and daily brushing along with a trim about once a month is required to keep the Maltese's or Shih Tzu's coat in good condition. Shih Tzus and Maltese are companion dogs that need to be around their owner most of the time.

Maltese Shih Tzu Mix: Malshi image

Shih Tzu and Maltese mix dogs have traits of the two breeds. The colors of Malshi (Maltese Shih Tzu mix) can vary because Shih Tzus are known to have 19 color combinations acceptable for the breed. Even though Maltese always have a pure white coat, Maltese Shih Tzu cross dogs can have different coat color combinations. Physical traits of Malshi dogs resemble either a Maltese or Shih Tzu, or a bit of both of these lap dog breeds.

Image of Maltese Shih Tzu mix.

Maltese Shih Tzu dog image

Half Maltese half Shih Tzu dogs (Malshi) are small in size. In height Maltese Shih Tzu dogs can reach 11 inches and weight around 16 pounds. Do Maltese Shih Tzu shed? Malshi dogs are low shedding just like Shih Tzus and Malteses. Maltese Shih Tzu dogs are high maintenance when it comes to coat care. The continuously growing coat needs to be trimmed every six weeks or so in addition to daily brushing to remove any mats or tangles. Potential owners of Malshi need to be aware of the high grooming needs of Maltese Shih Tzu cross and be prepared to either learn to groom the dog at home or take the Shih Tzu Maltese dog to professional dog grooming appointments, which can be expensive.

Maltese vs Shih Tzu: Grooming

Maltese and Shih Tzu dogs are both high maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming. Both of these lap dog breeds feature a coat that is similar to human hair and grows continuously. To maintain Maltese and Shih Tzu coat in best condition the owner will need to brush the coat daily and trim the dog's coat at least once every 6 weeks. Dog grooming appointments can be expensive and some owners choose to learn how to groom the dog at home. Shih Tzu and Maltese dogs need their nails trimmed once a month. Daily grooming for both of these breeds includes daily teeth brushing. Shih Tzu and Maltese often have dark brown or reddish stains around their eye area that need to be gently removed.

Maltese grooming

Maltese vs Shih Tzu: Lifespan

Maltese lifespan is similar to Shih Tzu life expectancy. Both of these small breeds live on average from 11 to 16 years. Many factors can affect a Maltese or Shih Tzu's life expectancy. The dog's overall health, care, diet, lifestyle and other factors affect a dog's longevity.

Shih Tzu vs Maltese: size comparison

Maltese dogs belong to a toy group and are smaller and more fragile than Shih Tzus. Shih Tzus are heavier than Maltese and can weigh up to 16 pounds, while the Maltese weigh up to 8 pounds. Compare Shih Tzu and Maltese dog sizes.

Maltese male weight: 6 to 8 lb (3 to 4 kg)
Shih Tzu male weight: 8.8 to 16 lb (4 to 7.25 kg)

Maltese male height: 8 to 10 in (21 to 25 cm)
Shih Tzu male height: 7.9 to 11 in (20 to 28 cm)

Despite almost similar height, Shih Tzus weigh twice as much as Maltese dogs.

Maltese vs Shih Tzu: Shedding

Shih Tzus and the Maltese shedding is similar because both of these breeds are considered to be non-shedding dogs. Both of these small breeds will lose a few hairs each day and if not regularly brushed, the dead hair may cause mats and tangles to form if not promptly brushed out. Shih Tzu's coat is more coarse in texture and mats easier. Maltese have a softer coat that is almost silky to touch. The Maltese and Shih Tzus have other similarities when it comes to their luxurious coat - Maltese and Shih Tzu's hair constantly grows, just like the human hair. Both, the Maltese and Shih Tzu are hypoallergenic breeds and are more suitable for people who have pet related allergies. Shih Tzu's coat can have different color, but a Maltese dog is always pure white.

Maltese vs Shih Tzu: Price

Maltese are more usually more expensive to buy and on average the Maltese price can be twice as much as that of Shih Tzu. An average Shih Tzu puppy price is about $500 while a Maltese puppy can cost as much as a $1000 on average. The difference in price is a result of Shih Tzu being a more popular dog that is easier to acquire. Shih Tzus are also slightly larger in size and the birth process is on average easier with Shih Tzus because of the dog size.

Maltese vs Shih Tzu: Temperament

Maltese temperament is lively, friendly, calm and loving towards the owners. The difference in Shih Tzu and Maltese temperaments is that the Maltese are more timid than Shih Tzu around strangers. The difference in temperaments between the two breeds is that Shih Tzu is more placid than the Maltese. Maltese dogs tend to bark more in comparison to Shih Tzus.

Shih Tzu versus Maltese: Country of breed origin

Shih Tzu breed was developed in Tibet as a companion dog.
Maltese dogs originally come from the Island of Malta.

Good with kids: Maltese vs Shih Tzu

The Maltese and Shih Tzu dogs are small and their size makes these breeds prone to accidents when playing with very young kids or toddlers. Maltese is even less sturdy and weighs less than the Shih Tzu and is not a recommended dog breed for families with young children. In comparison to the Maltese, Shih Tzus are sturdier and make a better fit for families with older children. Children need to be taught to properly handle a small dog. Teach your kids to not pick up a dog and only play with the Shih Tzu or Maltese by sitting next to the pet. Kids should not pick up a small dog as many small dogs get seriously hurt from being accidentally dropped. Overall, the Maltese and Shih Tzus make great companions for households with older owners who have the time and desire to take care of and enjoy the small dog.

Maltese vs Shih Tzu: Companion dogs

The Maltese and Shih Tzu were originally developed to be companion dogs that would spend most of the time with their owners. Both, the Maltese and Shih Tzus are excellent companion dogs that are happiest around their family. Overall, Maltese owners claim that the breed is the ultimate lap dog that really enjoys being in the owner's lap. Shih Tzu owners report that Shih Tzus also enjoy being held but probably not as much as the Maltese dogs. Both breeds tend to follow the owner around the house and enjoy being close to their families. If you are planning to get either a Shih Tzu or Maltese, be sure that you can spend most of the time with your pet. Companion dogs especially are sensitive to being left alone for long periods and can develop behavior and psychological problems if left alone often.

Families with older kids, single people or seniors who have the time and energy to dedicate to caring for a high maintenance pet such as the Maltese or Shih Tzu make ideal owners for either of these companion dogs. Shih Tzus and Maltese dogs can be happy living in a small city apartment or in a large country home. Shih Tzu or Maltese are essentially companion dogs that need to spend most of the time with the owners. Part time owners who have to work most of the day should consider a different breed because just like the Maltese, Shih Tzus dislike being left alone.

Good with other dogs: Shih Tzu compared to Maltese

Shih Tzu and Maltese breeds are both good with other dogs with supervision. The small size makes both, Shih Tzus and Malteses vulnerable around larger breeds that can accidentally hurt a smaller dog during play or mistake the smaller Shih Tzu or Maltese for a prey. Shih Tzu and Maltese owners should exercise caution when introducing the small pet to larger, unfamiliar dogs. Level of socialization depends of each individual dog (how much time the owner spent getting the puppy comfortable around other dogs) determines how good the dog is around other dogs.

Maltese vs Shih Tzu: Intelligence

The Maltese and Shih Tzu are smart little dogs. Not all Maltese are equal in terms of intelligence, just like not all Shih Tzus are equal in intelligence when compared to other dogs of the same breed. Due to these variations within each breed, intelligence level needs to be tested on individual dogs to make a reasonable estimation. Can Maltese or Shih Tzu owners help their pets to develop intellectually? Absolutely! Start introducing interactive dog toys for small breeds to your pet while the dog is still young. Play different mind stimulating games with your small dog and teach Shih Tzu or Maltese to recognize his toys by name. All of these activities help to stimulate your dog's mind.

Maltese compared to Shih Tzu: Trainability

Both, the Maltese and Shih Tzu breeds respond well to training. Shih Tzus and Maltese dogs can successfully learn basic commands, provided that the owner is consistent and patient with the dog. Maltese are easier to train than more stubborn Shih Tzus. Finding positive motivation that works for your dog is very important for successful training. For example, some Shih Tsu and Maltese dogs prefer food motivation, while others are more responsive to praise or playtime. Find what drives your dog to facilitate faster learning of different basic commands.


Maltese versus Shih Tzu: Barking

Maltese usually bark more on average than do Shih Tzu dogs. The Maltese and Shih Tzu breeds are prone to barking, especially when there's an underlying cause for the barking. Maltese tend to bark more than do Shih Tzus on average. Some dogs tend to bark out of boredom, other dogs may bark because of separation anxiety. Dogs can bark in response to a stimuli such as hearing an outside noise. If the owner is leaving either dog breed alone frequently and for long periods of time with nothing to do, either the Maltese or Shih Tzu dog may start barking out of boredom. Dog barking can be addressed with proper training. Some dog behavior specialists advise to first teach the dog to bark on command. Once the dog understands the concept of barking on command, he is ready to learn the "Quiet!" command. Teaching the dog to be quiet on command can be very useful, especially if the dog lives in an apartment building where his barking may bother neighbors.

Maltese vs Shih Tzu: Exercise needs

Both breeds are reasonably active and do best with a few daily walks to stay in best physical shape. About the same level of physical activity is needed for both of these small companion breeds. Daily playtime is required for both breeds and keeps both Shih Tzu and the Maltese not only physically active but also mentally stimulated. Shih Tzu and Maltese dogs are small and can get tired during very long walks. Carry the pet if you notice that the dog is unwilling to continue walking or appears tired. Maltese are lighter than Shih Tzu and are easier to carry. Some small breed owners like to use pet carriers to carry their pets whenever necessary.

Health issues: Shih Tzu and Maltese compared

The Maltese and Shih Tzu are relatively healthy and long lived dog breeds with good care and proper nutrition. There are certain genetic diseases associated with each breed but overall both breeds are considered to be relatively healthy. The Maltese and Shih Tzu breeds are both predisposed for eye problems. Both of these breeds feature a hair that may get into the eyes of the dog. Keep the eye area free from the hair that tends to get into the dog's eyes and may cause an infection or irritation.


Older Shih Tzus tend to suffer from joint issues and arthritis more often than Maltese dogs. Shih Tzus are heavier and have proprotionally shorter legs than do Maltese. This combination of physical traits may cause Shih Tzus to endure more joint issues than Maltese dogs when they age. Maltese have a lighter overall frame and when kept in healthy weight there is less pressure on the joints and there are fewer incidents of joint issues in Maltese than in Shih Tzus.

Maltese versus Shih Tzu: Dog behavior issues

When bored or left alone often, both the Maltese and Shih Tzu will exhibit problem behaviors such as barking, chewing on things other than his chewable toys, scratching or ripping furniture and other problem dog behaviors. Most dogs will exhibit destructive behaviors if left alone with nothing to do. Shih Tzu and Maltese are both companion dog breeds and need to spend most of the time with their family. When any companion dog is left alone frequently, the dog may develop depression or other psychological issues as human companionship is very important for both of these breeds. The Maltese and Shih Tzus were created specifically to be lap dogs that spend lots of time with the owners and leaving the dog unattended will cause the dog to be unhappy, which is a root of destructive dog behavior in many cases.

If you do need to step out and leave either the Maltese or Shih Tzu dog alone for an hour or so, consider providing the dog with a safe, chewable toy that the dog can play with while you are not around. Be sure to check the toy for any small parts that the dog can accidentally bite off and swallow.

Some owners choose to crate train their Maltese or Shih Tzu to keep the pet safe and out of trouble while the owner is not around to supervise the dog.

Maltese vs. Shih Tzu: Popularity

Shih Tzu takes 20th place in popularity ranking in the United States, according to AKC. The Maltese takes 33rd place in popularity ranking in the United States.

Difference between Maltese and Shih Tzu: Loyalty to the owner

Both of these companion breeds are very loyal to their owners. The Maltese and Shih Tzu are happiest when spending time with their families.

Maltese vs Shih Tzu videos


Shih Tzu video

Maltese video

Maltese vs Shih Tzu apartment dogs

Maltese, just like Shih Tzu can happily live in an apartment as long as they get to spend most of the time with the owner. Both of these small breeds require moderate amount of exercise during the day and with several walks every day these dogs can be perfect apartment pets. Maltese are prone to barking while Shih Tzu dogs are usually more quiet and don't bark as much as the Maltese. If the Maltese's barking disturbs the neighbors, the dog can be trained to be quiet on command.

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