If you’ve been looking for a little ball of fur to brighten your day (and life!), there are chances that you’ve been looking for a purebred dog. Sure, retrievers, labs, German Shepherds and poodles have their allure, but wait till you meet the adorable Malchi!
A mix between a Maltese and a Chihuahua, these little hybrid dogs give you the best of two amazing breeds; with big hearts and even bigger personalities in an adorably small package, this breed is sure to steal your heart!
Malchi At a Glance
- Height: 12-14 inches
- Weight: 5.2 pounds
- Lifespan: 12-15 years on average
- Group: Mixed breed (Maltese and Chihuahua)
- Temperament: Very sensitive, easy to train, loves socializing, fairly active, doesn’t do well being left alone and can have separation anxiety, playful, affectionate and gentle.
- Most Suitable For: Families with relatively older children and those who are not gone long hours from the house, elders and older couples whose lives are relatively slow paced; dwells excellently in apartments and smaller homes and in a warmer climate than cold.
History of Malchis
A relatively new breed, Malchis originated in the United States, much like most toy breeds. Because they’re a new breed, there isn’t much history to fall back on, which is why experts and potential dog parents tend to look at the history of the parent breeds — the Chihuahua and the Maltese.
The Maltese is an old breed that dates back to the times of the Greeks and Romans — the breed was commonly used as a trade good in both cultures. Originally from Malta (Maltese — Malta, get it?), the breed soon became a global one thanks to its fame as a trading good.
Soon, Maltese were being used for everything from being accessories of genteel ladies in the elite class to being featured in portraits and even having poetry written in their honor! These beautiful little white dogs, with their calm disposition, had ladies swooning over them and winning hearts faster than you can say “Maltese”!
Gradually, the breed traveled to Europe, where it added one more feather to its furry cap — the tag of a “healer dog”.
Healers in Europe used these dogs to heal people, believing that their gentleness would heal the sick. However, despite such fame and popularity, the Maltese captured the Americans’ fancies only as late as 1870, eventually gaining the American Kennel Club’s recognition in 1888.
Safe to say, there’s been no looking for these doggos ever since, with several Maltese being popular show-dogs and house pets.
Chihuahuas are just as popular a breed as Maltese, coming from The City of Palaces — Mexico! These dogs have been companions to the who’s who of Hollywood, right from Marilyn Monroe to Reese Witherspoon to Ashton Kutcher!
Spunky and spirited, these dogs may be tiny but have personalities that make them seem 10 times bigger than they actually are! Initially, these dogs were believed to be spirit guides protecting the souls of those who travel through the underworld; though there isn’t any solid proof to back this up, Chihuahuas have become famous the world over.
The breed was first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1904 and take their name from the state of Chihuahua where they were first met by American tourists. Like the Maltese, they are also show dogs and go-to companions.
Malchis reach a maximum weight of 12 pounds (very rarely 15) and a maximum height of 12-14 inches. Since they’re mixed-breed dogs, their appearance can greatly vary, even from other pups in the same litter. It all depends on which parent’s gene is stronger in the dog. Therefore, the color, coat length and coat density can all vary.
Malchis can have white, black, cream and fawn coats and the coat length can be long or short, depending on the dominant gene. Regardless of the color, the coat is always wavy, shiny, soft and extremely low maintenance.
The ears can occasionally be tall, though the long, folded ears resembling the Maltese parent are more common. These dogs have gorgeous brown eyes and a furry fringe that hangs over their forehead.
Related: Can Maltese Be Black?
Temperament of the Malchi Mixed Breed
As mentioned earlier, Malchis are playful, affectionate and gentle dogs with personalities that seem too large for their little bodies! These dogs are extremely protective, even to the verge of aggression.
However, these dogs don’t get along well with children of any age; they make great companions for older kids and senior couples. It is ill advised to leave Malchis around kids — they can get easily annoyed real fast, getting snappy and snarly. However, this can be overcome to some extent with starting off socialization early and efficient training.
Though they’re great dogs, be prepared for a ton of barking — these dogs are great conversationalists and like to say “hello” to anything and everything that’s in the vicinity! You may also encounter quite the stubborn streak when you try to train these dogs (courtesy the Chihuahua parent!) but they also love pleasing their owners and trainers (courtesy the Maltese parent!).
To top it off, these dogs give you oodles of love, always excited to see you and always ready for a cuddle!
Raising a Malchi
Though Malchis are intelligent and are able to learn quickly, they can be quite stubborn, as mentioned earlier. This means that you need to be firm and assertive to get them to be obedient.
Positive reinforcement works best with this breed. It is also important that the dog is socialized at a young age so that any negative traits, such as aggressive behavior towards other kids and other pets, biting and barking, can be minimized.
Malchis need to get familiar with other children and any children in the family so that they don’t act up when the two happen to be in the same room.
Malchis can be tough to housebreak, a trait they inherit from their Maltese parent. Therefore, regular, consistent practice is required, especially in their puppy years. Supervise their activities and work positively with them and avoid harsh behavior or punishments; keep in mind that they’re sensitive. Consistency and patience are key!
Don’t let these things scare you, though! Remember the part about these dogs loving to please? Well, with firm and positive training methods, training won’t be such an uphill task.
Malchis are great apartment dogs and even better lap dogs, just like their parents. However, these dogs need to get the exercise that their bodies demand. This means taking them out for some time each day (try to average 7 miles of walking per week) as well as playtime within the house (at least 30 minutes, both combined).
A nice, decently long walk each day is sufficient as well as occasional visits to dog parks (be aware of the socialization factor here, though!); not only does this keep them healthy but also prevents the build up of energy and frustration at not having an outlet for this energy (worse, this energy could translate into your furniture getting destroyed!). Malchis get tired pretty quickly, so make sure you pay attention to your furball’s needs and energy levels.
Additionally, don’t neglect mental stimulation.
Malchis require moderate to above moderate grooming; they can be hypoallergenic though, so check your allergies before you decide to welcome a Malchi into your life. Shorter-haired Malchis don’t require as much grooming; you can get away with less frequent brushing and fewer visits to the groomer to get a trim around the eyes.
With a longer-haired Malchi, the case is different; a Malchi with long hair requires frequent brushing, regular trimming around the eyes and more frequent grooming visits.
It is recommended that you brush your Malchi at least once a day, every day, with a firm bristled brush, though you can also get away with every alternate day. Of course, longer-haired Malchis will require more attention to their coats, to remove any tangles and loose hair.
Malchis shed moderately, so be prepared for the frequency of vacuuming to increase in your daily chore list. Short-haired Malchis don’t require frequent bathing; additionally, bathing them more than required will strip their hair and skin of healthy natural oils.
However, due to their light coloring, their coats are susceptible to stains, so it may take a bit of work to keep these coats perennially lovely and stain-free. Focus especially under the eyes and around the mouth, areas that are especially prone to staining.
If you have no experience with trimming nails, ensure you take your Malchi to the groomer when nails get too long. Do a weekly check for infections around the eyes and ears.
The ears, especially, being folded over, tend to be a hotbed for extra moisture trapping, leading to infections and irritation. Wipe these areas clean every day, or as frequently as possible, and ensure you brush your doggo’s teeth at least twice a week.
Malchis aren’t really given to putting on too much excess weight but being the small dogs they are, they only require a cup of food each day; anything beyond this is excessive and can result in weight gain.
This also works out amazingly well for owners as it means lesser expenses for dog food compared to other breeds (only $20-30 per month)!
Keep in mind that these dogs can be prone to digestion problems, so feeding them dry food rich in fiber, divided into 2-3 meals a day, is a good option.
In general, mixed-breed dogs are more susceptible to illnesses than purebred dogs and Malchis are a little more susceptible, than average, to health issues, compared to similarly-sized dogs of other breeds. However, the good news is that most of these illnesses are preventable and treatable, given the right care.
Some of the more serious issues to watch out for are:
Minor issues to watch out for are:
- Color dilution alopecia
- Shaker Dog Syndrome
- Mitral valve dysplasia
- Corneal dystrophy
Do Malchis Make Good Guard Dogs?
Given their small size, you may not think that Malchis make good guard dogs but the truth is that they make exceptional guard dogs! These dogs are protective by nature and highly affectionate towards family members, even though it can’t tolerate children!
Malchis bark often (more than required, in fact!) but the great thing about this barking is that it scares away any potential threats to the family. Additionally, Malchis don’t seem to be aware of their actual size; they think they can take on enemies more than twice their size — this confidence makes them a formidable power to have around.
Also, Malchis can be quite aggressive when allowed to be; the combination of aggression and barking is enough to scare anyone away. That being said, as the owner, don’t let your dog take on fights that it can’t handle; for all its bravado, its size can be a huge disadvantage, even your doggo feels like it can overcome that hurdle with will power and determination!
The Final Word
Malchis make great dogs; they’re friendly, affectionate and intelligent. Sure, they can be a little high maintenance but it’s totally worth the effort!
That being said, do remember that designer dogs come with their share of problems and controversies. Mixing two breeds that are not meant to mate can result in a ton of health issues, especially if the health of the parents themselves is already weak.
Additionally, these dogs can be sold for exorbitant amounts, which makes many breeders exploit these dogs and take advantage of them. Due to the financial motivation, many of these dogs come from horrid puppy mills.
If you want a Malchi at any cost, try to see if there are any up for adoption at your local shelter or if there are any rescues looking for a dog. The sad reality is that due to their cuteness, people take these dogs home, but due to the high amount of maintenance they require, they’re abandoned and left to fate’s design.
Taking a rescue dog home can change the lives of both you and the dog and the amount of unconditional love these rescue dogs shower on you can be quite humbling, so consider adoption before you give in to buying one.