The German Shepherd breed is known for a number of desirable characteristics. Because of this, they are often used to cross with other breeds in hopes of producing offspring with specific traits.
Most often, they are bred with other large working dogs like the Rhodesian Ridgeback or the Bullmastiff. However, once in a while, GSDs get themselves entangled with odd pairings and end up with unusual but undeniably adorable offspring such as the Maltese German Shepherd mix.
About The German Shepherd Breed
The German Shepherd is a herding dog that’s considered a large breed. These dogs have a long history in fields, herding sheep, and protecting flocks from predators.
Today, however, it is known as an all-purpose working breed with elite levels of intelligence that make it well suited for important roles in the military and the police force.
Beyond the German Shepherd’s ability to work, it is a well-loved personal and family companion. They can be quite protective of their home and family, and will generally be aloof to strangers.
However, they are also known to be playful and affectionate, and even remarkably patient with young children.
While they might have an air of seriousness about them, most GSD parents will attest to the fact that these dogs can also be incredibly goofy.
About The Maltese Breed
The Maltese is an ancient breed that hails from Malta—an island country located between the Italian region of Sicily and the North African country of Tunisia.
Malta has always been known as a luxury destination and luxury is also what the Maltese is known for.
This toy dog has been a favorite among aristocratic ladies of the Roman Empire. On their laps or the crook of their elbows were often where this dog lay with its silky, pristine white coat and large round eyes.
These dogs were undeniably a status symbol during that time.
Today, the Maltese is among the most favored breeds around the world. In the United States, it regularly ranks among the country’s top ten most popular breeds in the toy category.
Apart from its charming good looks, it is loved for being playful, gentle, and incredibly affectionate.
Why Cross A Maltese With A German Shepherd?
The offspring of a Maltese and a German Shepherd is sometimes referred to as a Sheptese. Although there’s no real benefit to producing a litter of Sheptese, it sometimes just happens as a result of unplanned mating.
Regardless of whether the mating was planned or accidental, it is difficult to predict what the resulting GSD – Maltese cross would look like.
They can take on the size appearance of whichever parent has more dominant traits but will typically be an unpredictable mix of the two.
General Characteristics Of A Maltese – German Shepherd Mix
Even though there’s no typical look for the German Shepherd Maltese mix, here are a few characteristics you might expect:
It’s difficult to imagine how large a Maltese – GSD cross can grow because of the massive size difference between the two parents.
Here’s how the German Shepherd and the Maltese compare in terms of height and weight:
|Breed||Height (in.)||Weight (lbs.)|
|German Shepherd Dog||24 – 26||22 – 24||65 – 90||50 – 70|
Given these figures, it’s no surprise that the Maltese-German Shepherd mix is typically small or medium-sized. While they may be larger than a Maltese, they rarely grow to be the size of a German Shepherd.
Very likely, they will be around 10 to 18 inches tall and weigh between 20 and 25 pounds.
The Maltese – German Shepherd cross often inherits the GSD’s black saddle, which makes it instantly recognizable as a German Shepherd mix.
Even when the GSD parent dons another color, its mutt is likely to inherit the same color and the same medium-to-long double coat. Very rarely will the offspring have the Maltese’s long and silky white coat.
It doesn’t take much to keep a GSD Maltese mix properly groomed. Because they rarely inherit the Maltese’s long and silky coat, there’s no need for trims and constant brushing.
However, the German Shepherd coat it might inherit means a double coat that sheds year-round and blows off twice a year.
This means having to brush at least once a week to control the shedding and then as frequently as once daily during the shedding seasons.
As for the ears, maintenance will depend on which set the pup inherits.
The GSD’s upright ears are generally healthier and easier to keep clean. On the other hand, the Maltese’s drop ears require a little bit more care.
You’ll need to make sure it’s always clean and dry to minimize the risk of ear infections.
All dogs benefit from regular nail trimming, and the Maltese-German Shepherd mix is no different. It will also require frequent toothbrushing to ensure good oral health.
The strength of the German Shepherd – Maltese cross will mainly depend on its size. They may inherit the GSD parent’s more muscular build, but they won’t be as strong simply because they are not big enough.
They may, however, still have considerable bite strength relative to the size of their muzzle.
Based on the Maltese’s participation in the AKC Fast CAT trials, these dogs are actually pretty swift, running at average speeds of 14.7 miles per hour (23.6 kph).
The build and size of the German Shepherd unsurprisingly make it a faster runner at approximately 30 miles per hour.
Given the running speeds of its two parents, the Maltese – GSD mix is expected to run quite fast.
Of course, its speed will be proportional to its size as longer legs mean larger strides. Nevertheless, you can expect these dogs to be quick on their feet, agile, and energetic.
The Maltese – German Shepherd mix may be more laid back thanks to the lower energy levels it inherits from the Maltese parent.
However, having a GSD parent means they are likely to still be quite energetic. They will thrive on physical exercise of at least 30 minutes per day in order to avoid the development of bad behaviors.
The intelligence and work drive they are likely to inherit from the German Shepherd parent also means they will require plenty of mental stimulation.
The German Shepherd is among the world’s most intelligent breeds. It belongs to the highest tier of dog intelligence, which means it only takes up to 5 repetitions for them to learn a command. And, they obey no less than 95% of the time.
The Maltese, however, is not quite as trainable. These dogs belong to the fifth tier of dog intelligence and may need up to 80 repetitions to master a new command. Additionally, they typically obey approximately 40% of the time.
The GSD – Maltese cross may not be as intelligent as its German Shepherd parent. Nevertheless, what it lacks in natural intelligence, it makes up for in its eagerness to please.
With early exposure and socialization, these crosses can be well-behaved and delightful companions.
The German Shepherd – Maltese mix is expected to be more charming and sociable than a typical GSD. They relate better with other dogs and are much more likely to relax and switch off at home.
Compared to the Maltese, however, they have much more energy and a stronger drive to work. Although these dogs are highly adaptable, they will benefit from plenty of training and even a job to do at home.
But no matter which parent it takes its personality from, the Maltese – German Shepherd mix is sure to be affectionate with family and playful yet gentle with young children.
You can also expect them to be slightly wary of strangers because of their protective nature.
Any Maltese GSD cross will require regular vet checkups from puppyhood because the difference in size between the two parents can lead to several complications.
For example, any of the dog’s organs may grow to be too large for its body. Conversely, its heart might be too small to support a larger body.
Additionally, the genetic conditions of both parents will play a huge role in the health of their offspring. The GSD parent brings up concerns of hip and elbow dysplasia while the Maltese parent makes it more likely to suffer from patellar issues.
But if both breeding stocks are screened and healthy, the resulting offspring are likely to be healthy as well.
Barring any complications from mismatched sizing, a Maltese – German Shepherd cross is generally expected to live between 10 and 12 years. To ensure longevity, take your pup to regular vet check-ups and feed them a high-quality diet throughout its life.
Additionally, keep your dog from becoming overweight as this will lead not only to cardiovascular issues but will also cause unnecessary wear on their joints and give them a much harder time in their senior years.
The GSD – Maltese mix is not recognized by the AKC simply because it is a cross of two breeds while the organization is a register for purebreds.
Nevertheless, it can participate in the AKC Canine Partners program, which accommodates the registration of mutts and allows them to participate in a number of club-hosted events.
How Popular Is The German Shepherd – Maltese Mix?
It would be difficult for you to find a German Shepherd – Maltese mix because responsible breeders would not produce them on purpose.
The difference in size between the two breeds puts the resulting puppies at great risk. If the Maltese is the female that will carry the litter, its life will also be at risk because the puppies might be too large for its body to handle.
Nevertheless, you may still encounter the occasional GSD-Maltese cross as a result of an accidental mating. When you do, it will surely be an interesting dog with plenty of unique characteristics.
Just like every other dog, the Maltese – GSD mix is a delight to own. Even more so because of its incredibly unique appearance and combination of personality traits from the two parents.
However, these dogs may need careful and regular vet examinations throughout their life since the difference in size between the two parents can bring life-threatening health conditions.