The Maltese are small, cute-looking dogs with long hair. Shedding very little or not at all, their coats continue to grow in length, and they can vary from pure white to yellowish, especially around the eyes and ears.
On the other hand, the Shih Tzu (pronounced “sheet-zoo”), originates from China, and is wider and stouter than the Maltese. With that said, the Shih Tzu is still considered a small dog that comes with a wide range of coat colors.
Loyal and protective of their owner and possessions, both the Maltese and the Shih Tzu embody the best qualities within smaller dog breeds.
However, in this article, we will focus on what makes these two energetic breeds different.
In our Maltese vs Shih Tzu guide, you will learn what separates these two beautiful furry companions, and which one will be better suited for your lifestyle and activities. Without further ado, let’s dive into it!
Maltese vs. Shih Tzu: Overview
|Smaller and lighter||Bigger and heavier|
|Harder to train||A bit easier to train|
|Needs early socialization to adapt to other animals||Gets along great with other animals|
|Less affectionate||More affectionate|
|More guard dog tendencies||Less guard dog tendencies|
|Comes in white||Comes in a range of colors|
|More independent||Less independent
|Has fewer health issues||Has a bit more health issues|
|Has a single-layer coat||Has a double layer coat with an undercoat|
|Sheds less||Sheds more|
1. The coat color is probably the most notable difference between purebred Maltese and purebred Shih Tzu dogs. Purebred Maltese dogs are always white, while Shih Tzu’s have an array of coat colors and combinations including black, blue, red, gold, silver, brindle, liver, black and white, and white.
2. Shih Tzu dogs are better suited to be around small children and other pets, such as cats or small critters, than Maltese.
3. Maltese pups come with higher energy levels, and perform better in obedience and agility style training and competition.
4. Shih Tzu’s are bred to be companion dogs, and they enjoy the company of their owners and other members of the family. Although the Maltese is still very affectionate, Shih Tzu’s are a bit more loving.
5. Dogs of the Maltese breed have more guard dog tendencies than Shih Tzus. However, both breeds are prone to barking excessively if not trained properly from an early age.
1. Both Maltese and Shih Tzu dogs are classified as toy dog breeds.
2. Both are suitable for apartment living, and they can adapt to almost any living environment.
3. Both breeds are able to grow long-length coats, and they require high grooming maintenance.
4. Both the Shih Tzu and the Maltese have been welcomed by classy and popular people throughout their ancient histories.
5. Both of these breeds, like most other toy breeds, take a long time to potty train.
Shih Tzu vs Maltese: which one is larger?
If you are looking for a big, sturdy, muscular canine, you might want to look elsewhere. Neither of the breeds in our Maltese vs Shih Tzu guide is much larger than the average adult pet cat.
The Maltese are smaller than the Shih Tzus, typically reaching a height of seven to nine inches, and weighing less than seven pounds. Shih Tzus, on the other hand, reach a height of eight to eleven inches, and usually weigh between nine and sixteen pounds.
Note that these measurements are taken from the floor to the shoulder so their actual height will be a bit taller. Nonetheless, both of these breeds are small enough to have lots of space even in the smallest of apartments.
Shih Tzu vs Maltese: Temperament
The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes the Shih Tzu breed as playful, affectionate, and outgoing, and the Maltese breed as charming, playful, and gentle. But, what does this actually mean?
Dogs of the Maltese breed are very intelligent for dogs of their size. They excel at obedience- and agility-style games and competitions. They are also quite energetic, furry companions that would enjoy a back yard to bounce around in as well as plenty of games, walks, and goofing around with their family members.
Maltese pups tend to be mild-tempered with a range of other dog breeds and unfamiliar people. However, these doggies do require a firm approach when it comes to training as they are prone to excessive barking.
You can expect a Maltese to alert you when guests reach your gate, step on the lawn, reach your doorstep, or even step inside your house. This is simply due to their defensive nature and their job as little guard dogs.
Note that Maltese doggies can experience separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. However, this condition can be controlled if the dog is not “over-loved” or very spoiled.
How does the Shih Tzu compare?
As we briefly mentioned above, the Shih Tzu breed was produced and raised to be a companion, giving it an affectionate, loving temperament. This also means that this breed tends to be less yappy and demanding compared to some other toy breeds you may or may not come across (we are looking at you, Chihuahuas).
Shih Tzus are built sturdier, and they are known as great companions to both children and elderly people due to the fact that they adore cuddles and have lower exercise requirements than most dogs of similar size.
Even though the Maltese are a bit more playful, and the Shih Tzu can be stubborn at times, the latter is still considered to be a better choice for family environments.
With that said, you should bear in mind that each dog is different, and their exact temperament and personality won’t be apparent until they reach adulthood.
Maltese vs Shih Tzu: life expectancy and health
When it comes to lifespan, a healthy purebred Maltese puppy is expected to live between twelve and fifteen years on average. The Shih Tzus tend to have a bit wider range of ten to eighteen years.
Note that there are known cases of Maltese dogs reaching twenty years of age, and Shih Tzu dogs reaching twenty-three years of age. Both breeds can be long-lived, with the overall average canine age being between ten and thirteen years.
Maltese are considered relatively healthy, with a few health issues they are prone to. The American Kennel Club recommends that breeders check for heart conditions such as patent ductus arteriosus; a condition where a heart duct fails to close after birth, and luxating patella, where the kneecap moves out of its normal position.
A bile-acid test in Maltese puppies is also suggested in order to rule out congenital liver issues such as microvascular dysplasia (abnormal vessels within the liver affecting blood flow), and liver shunt (abnormal vessels that allow for blood to bypass the liver.
For instance, Maltese dogs have twenty times of a higher risk of liver shunts than other dog breeds. But, 85% of surgeries lead to the pup having a completely normal life after recovering from surgery. This percentage will only increase with medical advancements.
Maltese are also prone to encephalitis; brain swelling that can be the cause of white dog shaker syndrome which causes full-body tremors. Sadly, there is no pre-test available for this condition as of yet.
These pups are also prone to all sorts of allergies. These allergies can make their skin itch, or induce sight loss through glaucoma and retinal atrophy.
Like most other dog breeds, Maltese require regular teeth brushing and trips to the veterinarian to ensure there are no dental issues.
When you decide to get a puppy, make sure to ask for the parent’s medical records as some of the diseases mentioned above are genetic. Therefore, if the parents of your new furry bestie don’t have the condition, the chances of your pooch having it are quite low.
Getting your four-legged furball scanned as early as possible will also help your veterinarian do the best they can for your pup. Many of the conditions that the Maltese breed faces can be cured by surgery.
Shih Tzus are also relatively healthy canines, especially if the breeders screen their breeding dogs for particular diseases like they do for Maltese.
The Shih Tzu breed has a particularly short snout and long coat; therefore, these dogs do not cope well in the heat. In addition, they can struggle to swim in order to cool down, making them highly susceptible to heat strokes.
The main health problems plaguing this breed include patellar luxation (a slipped kneecap) and hip dysplasia, where the ball and socket joint do not align properly from birth.
Additionally, due to their long backs, Shih Tzus can suffer from Intervertebral Disk Disease (IDD). With this condition, the disks in the back of the Tzu can bulge or rupture, damaging nerves and causing excruciating pain. If left untreated, IDD can lead to paralysis. Luckily, if the condition is under grade 4 in symptoms, there is a 95% chance to correct the ailment with surgery.
The eyelids of a Shih Tzu sometimes fail to close properly, which can cause corneal inflammation and dryness. Their bulgy eyes tend to catch more infections and corneal ulcers as they are more likely to be damaged by rubbing them with their paws or by flying objects.
The main eye problems affecting this breed are epiphora, where the dog will look like it’s crying all the time because its tears cannot drain properly, and Entropion, where the eyelids turn inwards and the eyelashes irritate the eyes.
In addition, there are other eye conditions that the Shih Tzu can suffer from including progressive retinal atrophy (degeneration of the retina), cataracts, and retinal detachment, where the back of the eyeball pulls away from the blood vessels.
We know that all of these conditions might seem scary, but nearly every dog breed in the world has its list of increased risk of health problems. But, even though there is a higher risk compared to some other dog breeds, the risk is still too low to put you off either of these beautiful canine companions.
Maltese vs Shih Tzu: Appearance
You can think of Maltese as puppies that never grow up. Their compact body, with a length of not greater than its height, and their rounded skulls, give these pups the perfect-looking body.
With the round, black or dark brown eyes, and gumdrop nose, they have a face that even cat people tend to fall for. They are well-known for their soft, pure white coat, with occasional lemon or tan coloring that may appear around their ears.
The coat of these dogs is single-layered, and it can grow down to the floor in a straight, elegant manner. However, many Maltese owners opt for the short “puppy cut” in order to make grooming and cleaning a lot easier.
Keep in mind that purebred dogs of this breed always come with a white coat. So, even though you might come across black Maltese for sale, the chances are that the dog is not purebred, but rather a cross between a Maltese and another dog breed.
The Shih Tzu is a bit sturdier, with a greater amount of substance and weight. The Shih Tzu’s body is longer than it is tall, and it comes with dark eyes peeping up at you from a flattened face.
An unusual feature of this breed is its underbite, which is actually a part of the breed standard. These dogs will always wear a proud look on their faces as if they actually know they were bred for royalty!
Unlike Maltese, Shih Tzus come with a double coat. If left to its own devices, the coat flows smoothly down to the floor. However, you can opt for the “teddy bear cut” or the “puppy cut” in order to give your pooch a unique, stylish look. This breed can be found in a wide range of colors, but most commonly, they are white with patches of grey.
Although this toy breed was produced for the appearance of strength, it is actually one of the slowest dog breeds in the world, reaching only 6 mph. With the average human walking speed being 3.1 mph, you can rest assured you will catch up to your pooch if it ever tries to make a run for it!
The Maltese, a much more energetic and agile dog, is likely to be a bit faster. Many Maltese owners claim that their Maltese can even outrun them!
Shih Tzu vs Maltese: Shedding and grooming
The Maltese comes with a silky, straight, single-layered coat. The good news is that if you or anyone in your family suffers from dog-related allergies, the Maltese might just be the dog for you! They do not have an undercoat, they shed and drool very little, and they spread as few allergens as possible, making them highly hypoallergenic!
Unlike Maltese, Shih Tzu dogs come with a double coat that consists of a top coat and an undercoat. The coat still reaches the floor, but due to the undercoat, a Shih Tzu’s coat can shed.
The breed is not considered hypoallergenic by some people, but it still has a very low shedding rate compared to some other dog breeds like Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds, Dachshunds, and Corgis. This makes them suitable for people with low to mild allergic reactions, or those who don’t want to deal with lumps of hair rolling around their house!
Both the Shih Tzu and the Maltese have fast-growing nails and hair, meaning you should be prepared to groom them regularly.
Both of these toy breeds require daily brushing and regular trips to a professional groomer every month and a half. This is especially the case if you want to keep your pup’s coat short and easier to manage.
Dogs of the Maltese breed need to have regular baths with dog shampoos and conditioners. Their ears must also be checked every week for excess earwax. The long hair around their ears should also be trimmed regularly to avoid any hair clogging the ear canal. And, as you can probably imagine, the hair around the bottom of your Maltese should be kept short for hygiene reasons!
A daily wipe around the eyes with a moist cloth should take care of tear stains. However, if the problem persists, it may be a sign that your pup’s eyes are not draining properly, which may darken the color of the hair around its eyes. In this case, you should consult a vet to determine a plan of action.
Shih Tzu dogs aren’t much easier when it comes to the time and effort with grooming. Daily brushing with a wire brush with flexible pins is a must in order to ensure you reach all the way through the undercoat to the skin. The Shih Tzu’s mustache and top knot need to be combed daily, along with the rest of its body.
All Shih Tzus with hair left to grow out must have it tied up on the top of the head or on the side. Whichever way you prefer, just keep the hair out of the dog’s eyes to prevent irritation. When it comes to bathing, you should give your pooch a scrub down every three to four weeks in order to ensure a healthy and shiny coat.
Maltese vs Shih Tzu: trainability
Maltese are playful, joyful, and energetic, making them very good dogs for agility competitions. They respond very well to positive reinforcement and treat-based training regimes.
They are also extremely loyal and protective of their owners, which can lead to problems with separation anxiety. They love acting like fearless little watchdogs, but they wouldn’t know what to do with an intruder if they caught one.
In any case, these faithful companions wouldn’t want anything to happen to their family. But, even though they are affectionate canines, they tend to exhibit mischievous streaks from time to time.
You can also expect a Maltese to have a severe case of the “zoomies”, where it runs around like mad and barks. This is completely normal behavior, and you can just laugh it out without worries.
With regular exercise and appropriate mental stimulation, the frequency of these zoomies can be reduced and the barking tendencies can be completely trained out. However, some owners prefer their dogs to have their “mad time” whenever they want and enjoy the sound of their dog barking at anything. To each their own.
Although Maltese are not particularly intelligent canines, ranking 59th out of 79 dog breeds in Stanley Coren’s, The Intelligence of Dogs, training one is not impossible!
They are willing to learn and eager to please their owners. They are also capable of following positive, repetitive, treat-based training routines for basic obedience training such as sit, stay, come, etc. Keep in mind that these dogs want nothing more than to please you!
The main concern when thinking about introducing a dog of this breed into your home is that they are notoriously difficult to house train. They are by no means an exception in the toy dog world when it comes to this subject, though.
This is a common problem in many toy breeds that can be approached in many different ways. For instance, if you live in a colder climate and your pup just can’t get used to the cold, consider an indoor-style potty pad approach.
Dogs of the Shih Tzu breed definitely fit the teddy bear description. They are as cute as teddy bears, and they can be as stubborn as real bears.
They go by the policy, “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”, meaning that training will go a lot smoother if treats are in the picture.
Short reward- and praise-based training routines from an early age should work wonders for your Shih Tzu. Keep in mind that these are lap dogs with low energy levels, and they are not built for long training sessions.
With that said, they still require regular exercise to prevent them from developing weight problems. As a responsible owner, you should prevent your pooch from getting fat whether they like it or not!
Shih Tzus are generally considered less noisy than Maltese, but that doesn’t mean they are quiet. You will still need to have a firm hand and consistent training routines in order to prevent excessive barking.
Similar to the Maltese, Shih Tzus can be quite hard to properly house train. This is something you really need to take into account when getting a new puppy. Since training one of these pooches can take over eight months, make sure you read up on potty training techniques and the best ways of removing urine smell before you actually bring the puppy home.
With most toy breeds, including Shih Tzus, it is recommended that all variations are minimized. Try to take your pooch to the same place in the yard to pee, and make sure you give it lots of praise and pats so it knows what a good doggy it has been.
Remember that toy breeds are not bred for obedience and intelligence. They are mainly bred to be companion dogs that look adorable, and you can take them anywhere you go!
However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up on training altogether. Even though it may take a little longer, training a Maltese or a Shih Tzu is definitely possible. With prior preparation and studying, raising a well-mannered and highly obedient furry member of the family will not take too long.
Shih Tzu vs Maltese: feeding requirements
Both breeds sport a beautiful, luxurious coat that demands high-quality dog food in order to maintain good condition. Most people recommend a dry dog food diet over a wet one. Also, note that treats are a must when it comes to training purposes.
Since most dogs are prone to obesity if left to their own devices, you need to ensure that the right food in the right quantity is given in accordance with your dog’s small size and age.
This is not anything unusual in the dog world. Toy breeds are more prone to hypoglycemia (or low blood sugar). This is especially the case with Shih Tzu puppies, so a high-quality diet given at the right times is crucial.
To ease the transition that your pooch goes through when leaving the breeder and entering your home, you should continue with the same brand of dog food that the breeder has been giving the pooch. This will minimize stress, and encourage your little dog to keep eating.
It is also vital to keep in mind that small dogs tend to have sensitive digestive systems. Due to their petite size, small breeds are at greater risk of food poisoning as even small amounts of harmful foods can do a lot of damage.
Similar to Maltese, Tzus have little stomachs; therefore, a high-quality, protein-rich diet is vital to ensure that they get all the necessary nutrients they need for their daily activities. You can recognize a good-quality brand of dog food by the amount of protein found in its formula. Typically, dog food with 25% protein is considered high-quality.
The fast-growing nature of these two similar but different breeds also means that the food should consist of high-fat content, such as omega-three and omega-six fatty acids. It should also come with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to ensure the healthy and happy development of your new puppy.
If you are worried about your dog having an allergic reaction to any of the food you are feeding it, you might want to switch to a hypoallergenic diet.
Now that we have covered what type of diet you should provide your Shih Tzu or Maltese dog, the next thing to go over is the quantity. How much should you feed these dogs?
Generally speaking, a Shih Tzu will need around 35 calories per pound. This number is lowered to around 30 calories per pound for less active and senior dogs.
What this means is that if your Shih Tzu weighs roughly twelve pounds, it will need around 420 calories per day to remain healthy. This amount of calories should be spread across two or three meals per day.
Since this breed of dog is a bit more active, it may require a few more calories per pound. The recommended amount for active Maltese pups is approximately 45 calories per pound of body weight. The amount is increased for puppies and decreased for less active and senior dogs of this breed.
So, for an adult Maltese dog with regular energy levels that weighs around seven pounds, you will need to provide around 315 calories every day.
Remember that these are only rough guidelines, and that you shouldn’t blindly follow them with your pooch. Each dog is different, and the amount of food you feed your pup will be determined by your dog’s weight, activity level, and vet recommendations.
Maltese vs. Shih Tzu: How good are they with children?
Do you already have a couple of children? Are any on the way, or are you planning on having one? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then a Maltese is probably not the breed for you.
They are known to be intolerant of young children, and their petite size makes them vulnerable to even well-meaning kid’s rough play.
On the other hand, a Shih Tzu might be your best choice in the toy breed category as they are known to be very affectionate with children. In addition, the larger size and mild temperament of these dogs make them a great choice for families with children and other furry friends.
With that said, you should keep in mind that this breed is still small, and your children may still be a little too rough on them. This is also the case if you already have a dog as large dogs are not careful during playtime.
If you’ve ever had an over-enthusiastic Labrador throw its paw at you to get something it wants, you might know what we are talking about. Yes, it is adorable, but also very painful!
Where are the Maltese and the Shih Tzu suited best?
Photo from: @cocos_thedog
Dogs of this breed are highly adaptable and suitable for almost any environment. They come with high energy levels, and will appreciate indoor playtime and a daily roam around the block or in the back yard.
Their social nature means that these dogs will appreciate meeting other furry friends in the dog park, but they are also more than happy to spend time in the apartment where enough exercise is given.
Maltese dogs prefer a warmer climate. However, even if you live in a colder climate, you can still have a Maltese by your side! Just prepare for the colder winter with a cute jumper and shorter, but more frequent walks and you are all set.
Keep in mind that small breeds tend to lose heat much quicker than larger breeds. Also, the long hair of a Maltese can trap ice and snow against its paws, so make sure you check them after every walk in order to keep your pup as warm as possible.
Although their coats thicken in the winter, they do not possess an insulating undercoat, meaning they are not meant to be outdoors for long periods during winter. Their coats take time to thicken so make sure to keep your dog nice and warm during this period by providing it with a jumper, a hat, and some cute shoes!
Shih Tzus are perfectly bred for companionship. They are suitable for apartments of all sizes, and they don’t require too much physical exercise to remain healthy and fit. They even do not mind if you don’t have a large yard as long as they can spend their time cuddling with you on the sofa.
Note that these dogs are definitely not built for outdoor living. They are susceptible to both heat and cold due to their long fur and flattened muzzle. Shih Tzus were bred to be companion dogs, meaning they will rarely leave your side and will hate every second of being left alone for long periods of time.
Maltese vs Shih Tzu: Are they expensive?
The most straightforward answer we have for you is yes. These two breeds are deserving, but also high maintenance.
These small pooches are well-known show dogs. Therefore, a purebred Maltese puppy with a champion lineage from a reputable breeder can easily reach a price tag of $1,300.
Luckily, if you aren’t that interested in showing your pooch, you can get a Maltese puppy for around $400.
Dogs of the Shih Tzu breed can be bought for a few hundred dollars. However, if you are looking for a purebred, show-quality, or even champion bloodline pooch, you should be prepared to spend over $2,000.
With that said, you should keep in mind that the initial puppy price is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to owning and raising a Maltese or Shih Tzu dog.
Both of these breeds require high-quality food in order to lead a healthy life, but with the small size of their stomachs, they aren’t able to gobble it up quickly. This will certainly reduce the costs compared to owning a larger dog breed.
The highest expense you can expect from both of these dog breeds is the cost of professional grooming services. Both the Maltese and the Shih Tzu require grooming at least once every two months, and this will set you back between $30 and $90 depending on the services you want.
As we mentioned above, the nails of both breeds grow very fast and need regular trimming. You can add nail trimming to the service you require from a groomer or you can do it yourself at home. If you opt for the latter, you’ll need a nail trimming tool alongside a good-quality brush and comb for everyday use.
Both of these toy breeds are usually quite demanding, and they expect a little bit of luxury in their life. So, make sure you have the space in your budget for a heated dog bed and some kind of special treats.
Their adorable little faces will definitely make you want to spoil them rotten in any way you can, so make sure your wallet can match the expenses that come with those mesmerizing eyes!
The Maltese breed is thought to be descended from a spitz-type dog breed that lived by Swiss Lake Dwellers with the purpose of catching rodents. The breed was likely introduced to Malta by nomadic tribes around 300 BCE.
The first record of the Maltese breed was found on a Greek container found in modern-day Italy, dated to 500 BC.
Maltese dogs were enjoyed by wealthy ladies all over the globe, and they were even featured on golden-age ceramics at the time of the Greeks. Even Aristotle, one of the most famous Greek philosophers, referred to the breed as being perfectly proportioned.
The breed remained a status symbol throughout the Roman era, and no self-respecting Roman woman was seen without her faithful “Roman ladies’ dog.” Even Emperor Claudius was fond of the breed, and it became a symbol of loyalty in Roman legends and myths.
The breed nearly went extinct when the Roman Empire collapsed. Luckily, it was saved by Chinese breeders who crossed it with some of their own toy breeds in the process.
The new and improved Maltese dog was then reintroduced back to Europe, and rightfully took the hearts of judges and visitors of New York’s first Westminster dog show in 1877.
If you think that Shih Tzu’s have kind of an underdog story in which they struggled throughout history, you have another thought coming. There is nothing humble about the beginnings of this fabulous dog breed.
The name “Shih Tzu” translates to “lion dog”, and it can be traced back all the way to 800 BC. It is believed that the cuddly furballs we know and love today were first developed in secret by the Chinese emperor’s imperial breeders.
The imperial breeders crossed two Sino-Tibetan breeds: the Lhasa Apso, and the Pekingese, to create the Shih Tzu.
The breed kept the royal dog status for hundreds of years, and the emperors would praise and reward those breeders who could produce the most dashing and affectionate pups.
It wasn’t until the 1930s when the Shih Tzu breed became known to the outside world through breeding clubs from Peking, and later, England. Today, some of the well-known owners of Shih Tzus include Queen Elizabeth II and Miley Cyrus.
Maltese Shih Tzu puppies
Now that we’ve seen everything that separates these two breeds, it is time to take a look at what brings them as close together as possible! We are talking, of course, about a Maltese Shih Tzu mix, also known as the Malshi!
The Malshi is the offspring of a purebred Maltese and a purebred Shih Tzu. As a crossbreed, you can expect the Malshi to inherit characteristics from both parent breeds.
What this means is that through selective breeding, there is a chance to find a pup that inherits the tolerance for small children from its Shih Tzu parent, and a white coat from its Maltese parent.
It also means that you can get your hands on an energetic, outgoing, and social pup with a bicolor or tricolor coat pattern!
With that said, you should bear in mind that genetics is a very complicated matter. When crossing two purebred dogs, the size, appearance, and temperament of their offspring aren’t as predictable as those of purebreds.
Maltese Shih Tzu Poodle puppies
Photo from: @wigglewalksnj
How do you make the Maltese Shih Tzu crossbreed even more adorable? Just add a Poodle into the mix!
Maltese Shih Tzu Poodle mixes, also known as Malshipoos, are specialty designer dogs. They are the offspring of a Malshi and a toy Poodle.
With the coat colors of Shih Tzus and Poodles combined, one can only imagine what crazy color combinations Malshipoos come in.
But, one thing is for sure… Malshipoos are one of the most hypoallergenic crossbreeds in the world.
With both the Maltese and the Shih Tzu having lots of hypoallergenic qualities, the Poodle genes make the mix even more friendly towards people suffering from dog-related allergies.
Maltese vs Shih Tzu – ancient status symbol vs royalty. Both of these amazing dog breeds have a rich history and they deserve it.
The Maltese comes with a bit higher energy level, and they can be quite independent. It is more suited for people who enjoy outdoor activities and want a small pup to run alongside them.
On the other hand, the Shih Tzu is a calm, affectionate, and cuddly companion that is more suited for a family environment with small children running around.
Both of these breeds are considered quite healthy, although the Shih Tzu might experience a few more issues associated with its squished-in face.
They are both high-maintenance dogs that require a lot of grooming time, so if brushing your dog’s coat daily doesn’t match your dog-ownership fantasy, you should steer away from both of these breeds. With that said, both breeds are great for first-time dog owners.
When all is said and done, the main thing that separates these breeds is the color choices. If you want a pure white pooch, go for the Maltese! If, on the other hand, you want a dog that comes in multiple coat colors and combinations, you should go for the Shih Tzu!