Malshipoo (Maltese x Shih Tzu x Poodle Mix): Ultimate Guide


A Malshipoo at home

The ultimate companion dog, a Malshipoo, is the perfect combination of three popular toy dog breeds; the Maltese, Shih Tzu, and Miniature or Toy Poodle. 

The Maltese is a small, light-colored dog with a distinctive appearance first bred in Malta.

Often referred to as “babies with big ears,” the Maltese was introduced to Europe in the 1800s by British royals.

The almond-shaped face, diminutive size, and long, silky coat have made them one of the most popular breeds of companion dogs, especially with ladies who carried them in their sleeves or kept them on their laps while in carriages.  

Known for their friendly, gentle temperaments, they make lovely additions to families and individuals. 

With modest exercise needs, the Maltese is a dog well suited for apartments, seniors, and families.

In addition, their gentle, generous nature makes them ideal for first-time dog owners. 

Shih Tzus are a breed of dog first originating in Tibet. They are known for their short muzzle, large, expressive eyes, and long, silky coat.

They are a popular companion dog breed and often sport long, elaborate hairdos, often with a top knot in conformation dog shows. 

They are independent, adaptable dogs that are playful, friendly, and get along with everything. 

Toy Poodles were Standard Poodles bred down in size without crossing with any other breed. 

The Standard Poodle was first bred in Germany to retrieve waterfowl for hunters. 

Their intelligence and trainability quickly made them one of the most popular dogs in Europe, frequently featured in the circuses in France. 

The French circuses started breeding only the smallest Poodles with each other, making them easier to transport and maintain in a traveling circus. 

Over the years, the Miniature Poodle was bred into existence. At the beginning of the 20th century, breeders again bred the Miniature Poodle down in size to create the Toy Poodle. 

Well-known for their intelligence and hypoallergenic coats, Toy Poodles are one of the most popular breeds of companion dogs. 

Temperament of Malshipoos

Malshipoos are the lucky recipients of the genetic traits of all three popular companion dogs. As a mixed-breed dog, a Malshipoo’s temperament and looks will depend on which parent dog it takes after and in what filial mix.

For example, a Malshipoo is often 50% Poodle, 25% Shih Tzu and 25% Maltese.

Such a combination breed is likely to be intelligent, affectionate with a curly coat that sheds very little and is possibly hypoallergenic. 

They would be playful, moderately active, and require tons of attention. Although Poodles are athletic, active dogs, Shih Tzus and Malteses have low to moderate energy levels that require a small amount of daily exercise.

While a 30-minute walk a day should suffice, loads of playtime in between should be added to keep your Malshipoo tired and happy. 

In addition, if your Malshipoo takes after the Poodle parent, he will love the water! Swimming is an excellent exercise for muscle tone and cardiovascular health. 

They make excellent pets for families and should do well in households with children, seniors, and other pets.

Although the trainability of the Poodle is widely known, Shih Tzus can have a stubborn streak, while Malteses are generally easily trained. 

Although Malshipoos are affectionate, loyal dogs with a general inclination towards sweetness, they can also inherit a bit of stubbornness and require some positive encouragement for desired behaviors. 

Their happy-go-lucky, easy personalities might suit first-time or inexperienced dog owners. 

Barking Tendencies

As with most miniature dogs, Malshipoos tend to be more vocal than bigger breeds.

They vocalize when they want attention, see a threat, or are just plain bored.

While barking is a normal behavior in dogs and a way to communicate, excessive barking might be due to other underlying problems like separation anxiety, dominance, or boredom. 

To have a happy, well-balanced Malshipoo, provide regular exercise and adequate mental stimulation from obedience training or playtime.

Grooming Needs 

While the Poodle’s low-shedding, hypoallergenic coats make grooming a breeze, the Shih Tzu’s long coats require frequent brushing and trimming. 

Malshipoo coats can be long and wavy or short and curly depending on which parent breeds it takes after. 

If short and curly, a brush every day or two and a trim every few months should be sufficient to keep dead hair and dander away and remove any tangles.

If the coat is long and curly, frequent brushings and trimmings are required to keep tangles away. 

In addition, they will require a bath every week or two and frequent cleaning of the eyes and ears to keep infections at bay and remove any debris. 

Their nails will have to be cut or filed down unless your Malshipoo is exceptionally active and runs miles on rough terrain, sanding them down naturally. 

Health Issues

While Malshipoos are relatively healthy dogs, some genetic problems can arise from the Poodle, Shih Tzu, and Maltese bloodlines. 

White shaker syndrome: High levels of dopamine can result in a rare condition called White Shaker Syndrome.

This can manifest from about six months to three years old in dogs. Symptoms are tremors, lack of coordination, and disrupted sleep patterns. 

Epilepsy: You can identify seizures by watching for signs like playing with their heads, disordered movement, unusual behavior, wandering, and excessive drooling.

Seizure episodes can be minimized with proper medication and care, and epileptic dogs can lead a full, happy life. 

Portosystemic shunt: A portosystemic shunt is an abnormal flow of blood that causes toxins and other harmful substances to stay in the body. While commonly affecting the liver, it can also be present in other organs that metabolize nutrients. 

Signs can include: 

  • poor balance
  • lack of appetite
  • hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • intermittent gastrointestinal issues
  • loss of appetite
  • urinary tract problems (incontinence)
  • drug intolerance

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This condition affects the vision that worsens over time, at times resulting in complete loss of eyesight. 

Blind dogs often lead long, happy lives, using their formidable sense of hearing and smell to navigate the world. 

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: The blood supply to the head of the femur is blocked and might result in hip dysplasia.

While this condition can appear in any breed of dog, Poodles are especially susceptible to it. Legg-Calve is easily fixed with surgery, creating a new joint that alleviates pain and restoring hip and leg function.

How Big Do Malshipoos Get?

As a mixed-breed dog, a Malshipoo can vary significantly in size depending on which parent he takes after. 

However, as all three parent breeds are small toy dogs, a Malshipoo is unlikely to be anything but diminutive! 

A Malshipoo typically stands about 8 to 15 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 5 to 15 pounds. 

Their coats can range from white, tan, and cream in solid, bi-color, or tri-color combinations and range from slightly wavy to short and curly. 

Diet of Malshipoos

Like most dogs, a Malshipoo is likely to be a voracious eater. They are medium-energy dogs that need moderate amounts of protein. 

Overfeeding is going to result in obesity and leaves dogs vulnerable to other diseases and illnesses. 

Feed high-quality kibble meant for small breeds with a good base protein like chicken, lamb, beef, fish, or plant-based protein.

If your Malshipoo is a puppy, feed only puppy food. Puppies under 12 months have different nutritional requirements than adult dogs.

When approaching 12 months, don’t switch the food abruptly, but instead, start mixing adult food into puppy food in gradual increments, eventually being pure adult food. 

A sudden change in diet can result in physical stress to the body and show up in symptoms like hair loss or itchiness. 

How Much Do They Cost?

The cost of Malshipoos varies greatly depending on the breeder. Being a designer dog breed, they can cost anything between $600 and $4,000.

Before heading off to a breeder, check with your local shelters or rescue groups. Dogs are often given up for reasons that have nothing to do with behavioral problems, such as changes in family or living situations. 

In addition to the purchase price, you’ll need a few pet supplies before bringing your Malshipoo home. 

Some dog parents have reported spending about $1,000 in the first year as a setup cost for bringing a puppy into the family. 

  1. Dog bowls
  2. Food
  3. Crate if intending to crate-train
  4. A leash
  5. A collar 
  6. Grooming supplies like a brush, ear and eye cleaner, nail trimmer, and shampoo
  7. Toys, treats, and dental bones
  8. Cleaning supplies like enzymatic cleaners and odor eliminators 

In addition, completing the vaccination schedule of a puppy can range between $200 and $400, which is the approximate price of the annual booster shots. 

If you intend to spay or neuter your Malshipoo, the simple surgery can cost between $400 and $600. 

Unforeseen circumstances can result in massive veterinary bills. Consider good pet insurance to cover any emergency bills. 

While pet insurance can cost between $10 and $100 a month, a mid-range plan with decent coverage will cost between $30 and $50. 

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