maltese shih tzu

Maltese Shih Tzu in 2023: Decoding The Differences Between Two Dog Breeds

The Maltese shih tzu mix is a delightful combination of two beloved breeds. Let’s explore what makes the maltese shih tzu so special.


When it comes to choosing a new furry friend, there are so many options out there! However, two of the most popular small breeds are the Maltese and the Shih Tzu. Both breeds have their own unique qualities and personalities that make them great companions for different types of owners.

Brief Overview of Maltese and Shih Tzu Breeds

The Maltese is a small breed that is believed to have originated in Malta thousands of years ago. They are known for their long, silky white coat and dark eyes. These dogs are usually between 4-7 pounds and stand around 7-9 inches tall at the shoulder. They have been bred to be companion dogs, meaning they love to cuddle up on your lap and spend time with their family. The Shih Tzu is also a small breed that originated in China many centuries ago. They were often kept as palace dogs by Chinese royalty due to their regal appearance and charming personality. These dogs have a thick double coat that can come in a variety of colors such as black, white, gray, or brown. They generally weigh between 9-16 pounds and stand around 8-11 inches tall at the shoulder.

Importance of Understanding Breed Differences Before Choosing a Pet

Choosing which breed of dog to bring into your home is not something that should be taken lightly. It’s important to understand each breed’s unique characteristics so you can determine which one would be the best fit for you and your lifestyle. For instance, some breeds require more exercise than others while some require more grooming attention. In addition, understanding breed differences can help with training purposes as well. Certain breeds may be more stubborn or independent while others may be more eager to please their owner. Knowing these differences can help you better tailor your training methods to your dog’s personality. Overall, taking the time to research and understand the differences between breeds can help ensure that you choose the right furry friend for your family. Both the Maltese and Shih Tzu are great options for small breed lovers, but there are important differences to consider before making a final decision.


Size Comparison

When it comes to size, the Maltese and Shih Tzu are both considered small breeds. However, the Maltese is slightly smaller, typically weighing between 4-7 pounds and standing around 8-10 inches tall at the shoulder. The Shih Tzu can range from 9-16 pounds and stand anywhere from 9-11 inches tall at the shoulder. It’s important to note that both breeds have a sturdy build and a square-shaped body.

Coat Type Comparison

One of the most notable differences between these two breeds is their coat type. While both are known for their luxurious long hair, the Maltese has a straight, silky coat that hangs down from their body without any curls or waves. On the other hand, Shih Tzus have a thick double coat that is either wavy or curly in texture.

Coloration Comparison

Maltese dogs are typically white in color, although some may have slight variations such as yellow or tan patches on their ears or back. In contrast, Shih Tzus come in a variety of colors such as black, white, gold, brown and even brindle patterns.

Grooming Needs

Both breeds require regular grooming to maintain their beautiful coats. For Maltese dogs, daily brushing is recommended to prevent mats and tangling of their long hair. Additionally, frequent baths may be necessary due to oil buildup on their skin. This breed also requires regular trimming around the eyes and ears to prevent hair from obstructing vision or causing infections. For Shih Tzus’ grooming needs may vary based on whether they are kept with a shorter “puppy cut” style or allowed to grow out longer fur like show dogs (known as an “adult cut”). Regardless of the style, regular brushings are important to prevent matting and tangling. Like Maltese dogs, Shih Tzus require routine grooming around their eyes, ears and paws to avoid any infections. Shih Tzus also need grooming around their rear ends because feces can become stuck in their fur.


When it comes to choosing a small breed dog, temperament is an important factor to consider. Maltese and Shih Tzu breeds have distinct personalities that make them unique. The Maltese is known for being affectionate and playful, while the Shih Tzu is loyal and independent.

Differences in personality and behavior

The Maltese breed is known for its outgoing personality. They love being around people and crave attention. They are very active dogs, which means they need lots of exercise each day to avoid becoming bored or destructive. On the other hand, Shih Tzus can be more reserved when it comes to meeting new people or other animals. They are loyal dogs that bond closely with their owners but can be stubborn at times. Maltese dogs tend to bark more frequently than Shih Tzus due to their high energy levels. However, both breeds can be trained not to excessively bark by using positive reinforcement techniques such as praise or treats.

Training and socialization tips for both breeds

Early socialization is crucial for both breeds as it helps them develop good behavior habits from a young age. Introduce your puppy to different people, environments and other animals so they learn how to behave appropriately in different situations. Maltese dogs are intelligent and trainable which makes them easy to teach tricks like fetch or sit on command. However, training should be done in short sessions throughout the day since they have short attention spans. Shih Tzus may take longer than Maltese dogs when it comes to training due to their independent nature but consistency pays off over time. Training should start early while they are still puppies since they get set in their ways as adults. Both Maltese and Shih Tzu breeds can make great pets with the right training and socialization. It is important to consider a breed’s temperament before making a decision since it will affect how your pet will interact with you and others around them.

Health Concerns

Taking good care of your furry friend is the key to ensuring a healthy and happy life. When considering a Maltese or Shih Tzu, it’s important to understand the common health issues that these breeds may face. Both breeds are relatively healthy overall, but there are some concerns that you should be aware of.

Common Health Issues for Maltese and Shih Tzu

One of the most common health issues for Maltese and Shih Tzu is dental problems. These small dogs are prone to dental disease, so it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing their teeth regularly and providing them with dental chews or toys. Another issue that both breeds may experience is respiratory problems due to their flat faces. This can cause breathing difficulties, especially during exercise or hot weather. Keep an eye on your pet’s breathing and speak with your veterinarian if you notice any signs of distress. Additionally, both breeds may be predisposed to eye problems such as cataracts or dry eyes. Regular check-ups with your vet can help catch any issues early on before they progress too far.

Tips for Maintaining Good Health in Both Breeds

The best way to maintain good health in your Maltese or Shih Tzu is through proper nutrition. Make sure you’re feeding them high-quality food that meets their nutritional needs, without overfeeding them which can lead to obesity. In addition to regular brushing, grooming is also important for overall health. Not only does it keep them looking great but also helps distribute natural oils throughout their fur which protects against skin irritation and dandruff. Exercise is crucial too! While these small dogs don’t need excessive exercise like larger breeds do, they still need daily walks and playtime in order to maintain good muscle tone, burn off energy, and keep mentally stimulated. Keep up with regular check-ups and preventative care with your veterinarian. This will help catch any issues before they become serious problems and ensure your pet stays happy and healthy for years to come.

Exercise Needs

When it comes to exercise needs, Maltese and Shih Tzu are quite similar. Both breeds are small and don’t require a lot of physical activity. However, that doesn’t mean that they should be couch potatoes. Exercise is important for all dogs, regardless of their size or breed.

Comparison of exercise requirements for each breed

Maltese dogs need around 30 minutes of exercise per day, while Shih Tzus require slightly more at around 45 minutes. This can include a brisk walk or playtime in the backyard. Because they are small breeds, they can get the exercise they need indoors as well with toys and games. It is important to keep in mind that both Maltese and Shih Tzu are prone to obesity, which can lead to health problems such as joint issues, breathing difficulties, and heart disease. Therefore, regular exercise is crucial to keeping them healthy and happy.

Suggestions for keeping your pet active

To keep your Maltese or Shih Tzu active, you can try different types of activities such as playing fetch inside or outside your home with a soft toy or ball. You could also take them on short walks around the neighborhood or play hide-and-seek with them using treats. If you have a backyard space available, create an obstacle course that includes jumps or tunnels made out of everyday objects like boxes and hula hoops. This is an excellent way to give your furry friend some mental stimulation while also providing physical activity. Additionally, you might consider joining dog-friendly activities such as agility training classes or dog parks which provide ample opportunity for socialization along with physical activity. Remember that maintaining a regular exercise routine takes time but is essential for the well-being of your furry friend so make sure he gets plenty of activity daily!

Living Arrangements

Considerations when choosing between Maltese or Shih Tzu as an apartment or house dog

As both Maltese and Shih Tzu are small breeds, they can be great choices for apartment living. However, it’s important to consider a few factors before making a decision. Both breeds are known to be relatively quiet and adaptable, but the Maltese is generally more energetic than the Shih Tzu. This means that if you live in a small space with limited outdoor access, you might be better off with a Shih Tzu who is content with short walks and playtime indoors. On the other hand, if you have access to a yard or frequent nearby parks where your dog can run around, then a Maltese might be right for you. They love to play outside and need regular exercise to stay happy and healthy.

How to create a safe environment at home

When bringing home any new pet, it’s essential to make your home as safe as possible. For small breeds like Maltese and Shih Tzu, this means keeping hazardous objects out of reach and creating designated areas for rest and relaxation. Both breeds are known for their affectionate personalities and may want to cuddle up next to their owners on sofas or beds. However, it’s important not to allow them on furniture that is too high off the ground as they could accidentally hurt themselves when jumping down. In addition, make sure all potentially harmful household items such as cleaning supplies are securely stored away from your pet’s reach. Consider using baby gates in certain areas of the house where your pet should not have access. When done right, small breed dogs like Maltese or Shihtzus can thrive in both apartments or houses without posing unnecessary risks around them. Overall, whether you choose a Maltese or a Shih Tzu, it’s important to provide a safe environment for your furry friend. By taking the time to consider their unique personality traits and living arrangements, you can create a happy and healthy home for both you and your pet.

Cost Considerations

The Initial Purchase Price

One of the first things to consider when choosing between a Maltese or Shih Tzu is the initial purchase price. Typically, a purebred Maltese or Shih Tzu will cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on the breeder and location. However, there may be additional costs if you choose to adopt from a shelter or rescue organization. Adoption fees can range from $100 – $500 but often include spaying/neutering and vaccinations.

Food and Grooming Costs

Both Maltese and Shih Tzu require regular grooming which can add up quickly in terms of grooming costs if you choose to go to a professional groomer. Expect to spend anywhere from $50-$100 per visit for grooming services such as bathing, haircuts, nail trimming, and teeth cleaning. In addition, both breeds have specific dietary needs that should be taken into consideration when budgeting for food costs. High-quality dog food can be expensive (upwards of $50 per bag), but it’s important to remember that investing in your pet’s health through their diet will save you money in the long run by preventing expensive vet bills.

Vet Bills

Vet bills are an unavoidable expense when it comes to owning any pet. Both Maltese and Shih Tzu breeds are prone to certain health issues such as dental problems and eye infections, which may require frequent visits to the vet. Regular checkups can cost anywhere from $50-$150 per visit while more serious health issues can quickly add up into thousands of dollars.

Tips on How To Save Money While Still Providing The Best Care Possible

There are plenty of ways that you can save money while still providing your furry friend with top-notch care. One way is to learn how to groom your pet at home. Invest in a good pair of clippers, scissors, and other grooming tools and you can save hundreds of dollars per year on professional grooming services. Additionally, consider signing up for a pet insurance plan to help cover unexpected vet bills. These plans typically charge a monthly premium but can be worth it if your pet requires expensive medical attention. Don’t skimp on preventative measures such as regular checkups and high-quality food. While these may seem like unnecessary expenses in the moment, they will save you money in the long run by preventing more serious health issues that could require expensive medical attention or surgery. While owning a Maltese or Shih Tzu may come with added costs for things like grooming and vet bills, there are plenty of ways to cut back on expenses without sacrificing quality care for your furry friend. With proper budgeting and preventative measures, owning either breed can be an affordable and rewarding experience.


When it comes to deciding between a Maltese and a Shih Tzu, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and preferences. Both breeds have unique characteristics that make them great companions, but they also have differences that may make one more suitable for your situation than the other. In terms of appearance, both breeds are adorable and fluffy, but the Maltese has a longer coat that requires more maintenance. If you don’t mind spending some extra time grooming your pet, then the Maltese could be a great fit for you. However, if you are looking for a lower maintenance option, then the Shih Tzu might be a better choice with its slightly shorter coat. When it comes to temperament and behavior, both breeds are friendly and affectionate with their owners. However, the Shih Tzu tends to be more independent while the Maltese craves attention and can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long. If you have plenty of time to spend with your pet or work from home often, then the Maltese may be ideal. Alternatively, if you need a dog that can entertain itself for longer periods of time during the day while you’re at work or running errands , then Shih Tzu could be right up your alley. Health-wise both breeds share similar potential health concerns such as eye problems and dental issues as small breed dogs in general tend to do. Therefore regular vet visits are important in keeping them healthy.  on cost considerations; these two breeds differ in price depending on breeder or rescue group selected; however their grooming costs are similar as they require regular grooming sessions every few weeks throughout their lives which will add up over time. Overall, whether you choose a Maltese or a Shih Tzu is largely dependent on your personal preferences regarding exercise needs (Shih Tzus require slightly less exercise), living arrangements (Maltese can adapt to apartment living more easily than Shih Tzus) and grooming needs. In the end, as long as you provide plenty of love, attention, and care, either breed will make a great addition to your family.

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