Maltese vs. Malshi: Which Breed to Get?

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Maltese vs. MalshiThe Maltese and the Malshi are very similar dogs, with the Maltese being one of the parent breeds of the Malshi.

Despite this, however, the two breeds suit different households and routines, and it is important that owners do enough research to allow them to choose the right breed.

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Maltese and Malshi History

The Maltese have a much more extensive history than the Malshi. The breed’s exact history is rather debated, but experts know one thing for sure: the breed is very old. It is also part of the bichon family. Dubbed the “ancient toy breed”, the Maltese’s exact origins are mysterious. There are currently three leading theories.

One states that the breed comes from Malta – hence the name – where it developed from spitz-types from around the Mediterranean. Another theory states that the breed came from Italy, again descended from spitz-types, and the final theory claims that the breed’s origins lie in East Asia.

Experts know that wherever the breed came from, it became highly popular, especially around the 16th to 18th centuries. The breed can be seen in portraits of British royals from the 16th century, and French aristocrats in the 18th century.

The breed’s popularity remained for centuries after that, and even when the breed was bred too small, leading to concerns about extinction, other breeders stepped in to save it.

The Malshi, on the other hand, or Maltese Shih Tzu, Malt-Tzu, or even Malti Zu is a designer breed that was created in the 1990s. Designed to be a low-shedding companion dog, the breed is a combination of both the Maltese and the Shih-Tzu.

The breed, while widely popular in Australia and North America, is yet to have any breed standards or clubs, and many of the litters available out there are the result of first-generation breeding.

Maltese vs. Malshi: What Are the Breeds Like?

Below, we’ll cover some of the common traits of both breeds.


The Maltese is a regal-looking dog. The breed has long silky white hair that covers the entire body, and the breed stands between 8” to 10” tall.

Weighing only 7 lbs, the breed has a domed head, dropped ears, and a perfectly black nose that stands out among the mass of white hair. The breed is easily recognizable and very sweet.

The Malshi is not dissimilar, with a long coat that can be blue-brown, chocolate, black, or white. The breed has a bicolor pattern on its coat, distinguishing it from its Maltese heritage.

Size-wise, the Malshi is usually about 10” tall, and will typically weigh around 6 to 12 lbs.

Life Expectancy and Aging Profile

As smaller dogs, both the Maltese and the Malshi benefit from slower metabolisms that prevent them from growing and maturing too quickly.

This means that typically, the breeds will develop fewer structural injuries and will develop fatal disorders and conditions much later in life. As such, both breeds have longer life expectancies.

The Maltese, for example, has a life expectancy of between 12 to 15 years. The Malshi has a slightly shorter one of 12 to 14.

Both breeds will grow pretty quickly when they are puppies, however. The Maltese will reach its full size by about a year old, and Malshis will reach theirs after about 18 months.


The Maltese is a fun and sweet dog with an affectionate and playful side. The breed forms strong attachments very quickly and loves to play, cuddle, run around and generally just spend time with its family.

Often, owners find that their Maltese ends up being a little spoiled simply because they struggle to say no to such a sweet-looking dog!

The Malshi is an active and outgoing dog. Sometimes, without socialization, the breed can even come across as boisterous. The breed does have a more laid-back side, but they often have to wear themselves out to get there.

The breed loves people, and will always want to be by your side. A happy, fun dog, the breed is a treat to have around.


Both the Maltese and the Malshi are smart breeds, and, luckily, both are also relatively easy to train. The breeds love to please, and as such will do their absolute best to listen to what you’re telling them during training sessions.

Bright little dogs, both breeds will be able to learn basic tricks like sit and recall, but may even be able to excel in more complicated tricks like those used in agility training.

If you do struggle to get the attention of your Maltese or Malshi when training, positive reinforcement (treats or petting) will work wonders.

Maltese vs. Malshi: Which One Is Easier to Keep?

Next, we’ll discuss which breed is easier to keep.

Required Living Space

Since both the Maltese and the Malshi are small – and related – it should come as no huge surprise that both breeds are pretty adaptable regarding living space.

The breeds are happy to live in a large family home or a smaller apartment. So long as both breeds are given sufficient mental and physical stimulation, they’re more than happy wherever you are!


Grooming is an essential consideration to be made when looking at dog breeds, and it is one that is far too often overlooked. Grooming can take a lot of time and effort, and if not done correctly, can lead to irritation and illness in your dog.

It is important to check that you have the time and skill to groom the breed you like, or alternatively the money to pay a professional.

Unfortunately, both the Maltese and the Malshi are high-maintenance dogs when it comes to their grooming. Both breeds need brushing daily and will need bathing every week or two.

The Maltese will also need its mouth and eyes wiped after meals in order to prevent stains (this will be the same for a white Malshi). On top of this, both breeds will require their teeth cleaned and nails trimmed on a regular basis to keep them comfortable.

Walking and Exercise

Exercising a dog is also hugely important. Failing to exercise a dog can result in a low mood, anxiety, weight gain, and subsequent health issues.

To prevent this, owners should aim to provide their dogs with the minimum requirement of exercise each day. For these breeds, that is around one hour.

This hour does not have to be done all at once – breeds will be just as happy if you take them out for two shorter walks! Exercising your dog doesn’t have to just be walking, either.

Dogs will be happy with runs, jogs, purpose-led play (like frisbee), swimming, or even agility training. Anything that gets them moving and out and about.

Maltese vs. Malshi: How Much Do They Cost?

When it comes to choosing a dog breed, there is a lot to consider. But perhaps the biggest consideration for many people is how much that breed will cost.

It is important to remember that if you cannot afford a dog from a breeder, there is likely to be a shelter with that breed or a similar one. This will be much cheaper than buying from a breeder.

It is also important to consider that breeder’s prices will depend on your location and the dog’s lineage.

On top of that, owners need to remember that the cost of a dog is more than just the upfront cost. Dogs will also require long-term payments for things like food, toys, treats, and veterinary insurance.

For these breeds, owners can expect to pay between $600 and $2,000 for a Maltese and between $1,500 and $2,500 for a Malshi upfront. For ideas about veterinary insurance, take a look or speak to your local providers.

Maltese vs. Malshi: Which Should You Get as a Pet?

As well as everything listed above, owners need to think about whether or not their chosen breed fits into their daily routine and lifestyle. It’s all well and good knowing that you’ve got the time to groom the breed, but will they get on well with you?

For example, families or those with children need to ensure the safety of their children and their dog. Luckily, in this case, both the Maltese and the Malshi will thrive in a household with children.

As companion dogs, both breeds will be more than happy to spend time with a family or to play with the children one on one. Likewise, families with other pets need to ensure their safety.

Some dog breeds are not happy to be around other dogs, and some dogs have incredibly high prey drives left from their hunting days. The Maltese and the Malshi, however, are both happy to live with small or large pets, so long as they are adequately socialized from a young age.

Finally, owners need to make sure that their routine fits their new pet. Those who work a lot or work office jobs that require them to regularly be out of the house need to make sure that their new pet will be alright when left alone. Unfortunately, neither the Maltese nor the Malshi is suitable for this kind of household. Both breeds are prone to developing separation anxiety and as such need someone who will be home the majority of the time (or work in a dog-friendly office!).


Both the Maltese and the Malshi are low-shed companion dogs that love to be around people, play, and cuddle.

They can make great pets so long as you have the time to groom them and the ability to spend plenty of time with them.

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