Maltipoo vs Shih Tzu

Written by Katelynn Sobus
Published: June 4, 2022
Share on:


Maltipoos and Shih Tzus are quite similar dogs, though they vary in some ways.

Maltipoos are smaller in size and can be higher energy. Shih Tzus have straight coats, are easy to train, and are purebred dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Keep reading to learn all about these breeds, how they differ, and what they’re like as pets!

Comparing Maltipoos vs Shih Tzus

Maltipoos and Shih Tzus differ in size, coat, temperament, energy levels, trainability, and type of breed.
MaltipooShih Tzu
Size7-10 inches; 4-7 pounds9-10.5 inches; 9-16 pounds
AppearanceLong coat can be either straight or curly in the colors apricot, black, blue, Cafe Au Lait, cream, gray, red, silver, silver beige, white, or a combination of these colors.Long, straight coat in black, white, blue, brindle, gold, liver, red, silver, or a combination of these colors
TemperamentMay be friendly or stand-offish around strangers, may make good watchdogs, may be shy with other dogsMay be stand-offish around strangers, good around other dogs
Energy LevelModerate to highModerate
TrainabilityIntermediate to very easyEasy

The Key Differences Between Maltipoos and Shih Tzus

The key differences between Maltipoos and Shih Tzus are size, coat, temperament, energy levels, trainability, and breed type.

Let’s discuss these differences in detail!

Maltipoo vs Shih Tzu: Size

Shih Tzu Teeth - Shih Tzu Puppy

Shih Tzus are larger than Maltipoos and weigh up to 16 pounds.

©Daz Stock/

Maltipoos are about half the weight of Shih Tzus at just 4-7 pounds. Shih Tzus weigh 9-16 pounds.

Both dogs max out at similar heights (10 and 10.5 inches). However, Maltipoos can be as small as 7 inches, while Shih Tzus cannot be under 9 inches.

Maltipoo vs Shih Tzu: Coat

Maltipoo laying down

Maltipoos can have curly or straight coats.

©Tyler Miller/

The Maltipoo coat is interesting because its parent breeds look so different! Poodles have long, curly coats, while Maltese have long, straight coats. A Maltipoo pup can inherit either coat texture.

Maltipoos can also be any of these colors as allowed by the toy Poodle breed standard (Maltese can only be white):

  • Apricot
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Cafe Au Lait
  • Cream
  • Gray
  • Red
  • Silver
  • Silver beige
  • White

Any combination of these colors can also happen!

By comparison, Shih Tzus always have long, sleek, and straight fur. They can come in these colors or a combination of them:

  • Black
  • White
  • Blue
  • Brindle
  • Gold
  • Liver
  • Red
  • Silver

Maltipoo vs Shih Tzu: Temperament


Maltipoos may be stand-offish with strangers like Maltese or want to be everyone’s friend like Poodles.


Shih Tzus may be stand-offish around strangers. It’s important to socialize them from a young age so that they aren’t afraid of new people or experiences.

They tend to do very well around other dogs, which is great for people with other pets in the house. They also don’t have high barking tendencies and don’t make the best watchdogs.

Maltipoos take traits from both parent breeds, making their personalities a bit less predictable. They may be stand-offish with strangers like Maltese or want to be everyone’s friend like Poodles.

If they take after their Maltese parent, they can make good watchdogs, alerting you to trouble. Poodles tend to be less alert, however.

Both parent breeds can be nervous around other dogs. It’s important to take introductions slowly, no matter your dogs’ breeds, as you never know how they’ll feel around someone new.

Maltipoo vs Shih Tzu: Energy Level

Maltese and Shih Tzus have similar energy levels. They need moderate exercise but can struggle with excessive activity due to their brachycephalic snouts.

If your Maltipoo takes after their Poodle parent, however, they’ll be a lot more energetic!

Maltipoo vs Shih Tzu: Trainability

Prettiest / Cutest Dogs - Shih Tzu - running through grassy field near lake

Shih Tzus can have a stubborn streak.


Shih Tzus can have a stubborn streak. They’re cute, and they know it, using it to their advantage when they want their way! It’s important to stay consistent with the rules.

Maltese can be similarly persuasive and are incredibly intelligent. Your Maltipoo might inherit this adorable but frustrating trait. Or, they might end up like their Poodle ancestors, quick to learn and eager to please.

Maltipoo vs Shih Tzu: Purebred?

Maltipoos are mixed breed dogs not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). They’re sometimes known as designer breeds, which is when two purebreds are bred together. Designer breeds are typically sold at a high price.

However, we don’t recommend buying a Maltipoo or a Shih Tzu from a breeder since poor breeding standards have led to them having short snouts. This causes many health problems, including difficulty breathing, exercise intolerance, and heat intolerance.

Shih Tzus are purebred dogs, which makes their appearances and personalities more predictable than those of Maltipoos.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Daz Stock/

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?

Share on:
About the Author

Katelynn Sobus is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on pets including dogs, cats, and exotics. She has been writing about pet care for over five years. Katelynn currently lives in Michigan with her seven senior rescue cats.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.