Pet Insurance for Maltese Shih Tzu

Find out all about Maltese Shih Tzu and their common health conditions, and then compare pet insurance options from some of Australia’s leading insurers.

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, updated on September 26th, 2023       

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Price range

$1,500 –$3,000


20cm - 30cm


3kg - 6kg


Playful, affectionate, friendly

Coat length

Long, wavy, hypoallergenic

Exercise needs




Life expectancy

12 - 15 years

maltese shih tzu


The Maltese Shih Tzu, often called the ‘Malshi,’ is a delightful crossbreed between the Maltese and Shih Tzu, known for its affectionate and friendly nature. They were first bred in the United States in the 1990s in an effort to produce a small, non-shedding dog with a hypoallergenic coat that would make a good indoor house pet. The result of crossing a Maltese, with its long white coat, and the slightly larger Shih Tzu with its hypoallergenic coat, has now become a firm favourite world-wide.  

Malshis have a medium to long, thick soft wavy coat that requires regular grooming. Unlike the Maltese, that is almost always pure white, they come in a range of delightful colours including black, brown, white, cream and black and brown. 

Malshis are known for their affection towards their owners and also their patience and suitability to be a lap dog if required. Their friendly and sociable nature makes them great companions for the elderly or house-bound. They are also very suitable for apartment living. They are intelligent and responsive to training, but can be stubborn and spirited.

Common diseases and conditions of Maltese Shih Tzu

  • White Shaker Syndrome: This is a syndrome that is common in smaller white dogs, and causes the whole body to shake. It is easily manageable with the right veterinary treatment.  
  • Luxating Patella: Luxating patella is a condition where the kneecap (patella) dislocates from its normal position. It can cause lameness and discomfort.   
  • Dental issues: Maltese are known to have dental issues due to their small mouth size, so they need to have their teeth cleaned regularly.

 Breed-specific issues:  

The small size of Maltese means they can easily be injured, so they should be handled with care by older children and protected from larger playful dogs. They can also suffer from separation anxiety if left alone too long. They love to be with their owners at all times, and can become problem barkers if not given sufficient human attention. 

How much does pet insurance cost for a Maltese Shih Tzu?

Most Australians can expect to pay between $20 and $60 a month for pet insurance. There are many factors that can influence the cost of pet insurance for your dog, which is why it's important to compare pet insurance policies. Factors affecting the cost of your insurance include: 

  • Age: The older your dog is, the more pet insurance is likely to cost. This is because senior dogs tend to have more physical health conditions and illnesses due to age, and so present a higher insurance risk.    
  • Type of insurance you choose:  There are three basic types of pet insurance available in Australia; accident-only, accident and illness, and comprehensive insurance. An accident-only policy is the cheapest type of insurance available, with comprehensive coverage costing the most.  
  • The policy annual limit: Each pet insurance policy has an annual limit, which is the maximum amount that will be paid out on the policy in one financial year. Annual limits range from around $10,000 up to $25,000 or more.   
  • Sub-limits: In addition to an annual limit, there may also be sub-limits that apply to the policy, for example, a $300 sub-limit for consultation fees, or a $5,000 limit for cruciate ligament conditions.   
  • Benefit percentage: Pet insurance does not cover 100% of the cost of your vet bill. Instead, it may pay a percentage of the total bill. This can range from 50% for cheaper policies, up to 90% for the best policies available.   
  • Excess amount: This is the amount you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket each time you make a claim on your policy. Some pet insurance policies do not come with an excess amount, whilst others do.  
  • Any add-ons you choose: It’s possible to add on more cover options to a basic policy, such as emergency boarding fees, routine care and dental care. These add-ons extend the scope of your pet insurance, but do increase the overall cost of the policy.  
  • Discounts: some insurers offer discounts of between 5% and 15% if you have multiple pets insured together, if you pay your premium annually, or if you bundle your pet insurance with other forms of insurance with the same company.
  • Gap-only insurance options: Some insurance companies offer a gap-only insurance option, which means when you go to the vet you'll only be required to pay the gap amount, not the cost of the whole bill. This is similar to the Medicare system of health insurance for humans in Australia, where gap payments can be made at HICAPS terminals at the time of treatment. 

Types of pet insurance you can choose from

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Common questions about Maltese Shih Tzu

What's the difference between a Maltese Shih Tzu and a purebred Maltese or Shih Tzu?

Maltese Shih Tzus are a mix of the two breeds, resulting in a blend of characteristics. They might not conform strictly to the standards of either breed, and so can vary in size, coat length, appearance and temperament. Some may have a slightly longer nose, while others may exhibit a mix of personalities from each parent breed. This makes them wonderfully unpredictable and full of personality. 

What is a Maltese Shih Tzu's temperament usually like?

Maltese Shih Tzu are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They tend to be sociable with people and other pets, making them great companions. However, they do not tend to enjoy the company of other larger dogs, but will happily bond with cats. They are often playful and enjoy being a part of family activities. 

How much grooming does a Maltese Shih Tzu require?

Due to their long, silky coats, regular grooming is necessary. Brushing, bathing, and occasional professional grooming are essential to keep their coat in good condition. Their coat is less likely to mat compared to a purebred Maltese. 

How much exercise does a Maltese Shih Tzu need?

Maltese Shih Tzu require daily exercise, but their exercise needs are relatively moderate due to their small size and energy levels. A couple of short walks or play sessions throughout the day are usually sufficient to keep them happy and healthy. They enjoy playtime indoors as well, making them suitable for apartment living or homes with small yards. 

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Compare pet insurance policies with Savvy

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