Is The Maltese Shih Tzu The Right Dog For You?
The Maltese Shih Tzu very well may be one of the cutest things that you will ever see. In fact, they are so unbelievable perfect, you may think you’re looking at a little stuffed animal at first glance. There are not many breeds that are considered designer dogs that do not originate from the poodle other than this breed. These dogs were bred specifically to be a non-shedding variety that are perfect for people with allergies.
While the Maltese Shih Tzu does shed very little, it still requires some maintenance. These dogs don’t have fur; they have hair, and a lot of it. Their long straight and often stringy hair will hang straight to the ground if not clipped and as you can imagine, it is a playground for tangles. Therefore, constant grooming is an absolute must. They should be given a bath with a high quality shampoo and if you aren’t willing to brush your dog a minimum of once or twice per day, he should be shaved or clipped.
While tearing is a common problem with both their purebred ancestors, the Maltese Shih Tzu isn’t plagued so much by it but you will need to wipe his eyes from time to time. Lastly, their ears should be cleaned and nails clipped regularly. If you aren’t willing to commit to an active grooming schedule, this is not the puppy for you.
While the Maltese is known for being snappy and high-strung, when he is bred with the Shih Tzu’s aloof personality, the result is an outgoing, independent and friendly dog. The Maltese Shih Tzu loves people of all ages and they are excellent with children but they can get a little moody and jealous with a new baby because they do like to be the center of attention.
These dogs have sunny dispositions and play like they are young children so plan on having plenty of toys. They do need constant interaction so if your home is a place where the dog would be left alone a lot all day with no one to play with, he will certainly not be happy and can be quite destructive for his tiny size. If this is the case, you may just want to consider buying two!
The Maltese Shih Tzu prefers only the best quality food, bedding and supplies and they expect to be treated like royalty. It is not uncommon for them to only respond when they get what they want and if they are not granted the limelight, they will quickly become irritated.
These are pretty intelligent dogs so you would think that training would be a breeze but due to their independent personality, they’re really not. They are a breed that responds to treats and praise so as long as you have something to offer, they are happy to put forth the effort. The challenge in training comes when you get to the point that you want them to go potty outside without a treat. Regardless of what you want, they can be stubborn little monsters and will disobey until you have something that they want again.
The Maltese Shih Tzu is an incredibly active dog that is happy running around all day so you really never have to worry about them getting overweight. They usually are fine where exercise is concerned, simply running around the yard or your home so they really are ideal for apartment living. If you do take them for a walk, keep in mind that they are small and you may need to carry yours home if you walk too far. Also, it is a good idea to dress them in a sweater or coat and boots if you walk them in the cold winter months.
Health And Lifespan
While the Maltese and the Shih Tzu have their share of health issues as purebred animals, these hybrids really don’t see too many of them. They are prone to having issues with their boggle eyes as well as liver shunts and hydrocephalus but other than that, they really don’t have too many other concerns. They have a nice long lifespan of around 14 years so these are definitely a long-term commitment pet but one that certainly offers its share of rewards.