Daisy Dog

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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The vast majority of the designer dogs have unimaginative names, but that is not the case for the sweet and small Daisy Dog. Rather than being a combination of just two pedigrees, this hybrid is composed of the self-assured Shih Tzu, versatile Poodle and kind-natured Maltese. All of these dogs are known for making good family pets and for having dependable and sweet-natured temperaments.

A ‘toy-sized’ dog with a teddy-bear like appearance, the Daisy Dog has a robust little body and a very cute face indeed. Their short limbs which can be bowed in the front contribute to their small size. When allowed to grow, their coat can become quite long and they have thick fur, which is generally white with patches of brown and black.

About & History

The Daisy Dog has been around for several decades, longer than many other designer dogs. Due to this, they have developed a uniform appearance and a recognisable personality. They inherit characteristics, both physical and mental, from each parent breed. As they are bred from one Shih-Poo parent (Shih Tzu cross Poodle) and one Maltese parent, it is little surprise that they inherit most of their genes from the Maltese.

The Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu dogs are one of the truly ancient breeds and can be traced back to Tibet and its surrounding territories. It is thought that dogs, such as the Pekingese and Lhasa Apso, contributed to their bloodline. They were particularly respected by the emperors of the time and gained themselves a reputation for being the preferred pet of the upper classes.

The Shih Tzu was first taken from Asia to Europe during the first half of the 20th century and, there, they became exceptionally popular as pets for families with young children as well as elderly people thanks to their minimal exercise needs and loyal dispositions.

The Poodle

Poodles are a popular choice in the designer dog world thanks to their hypoallergenic coat, attractive coat colours and intelligent and cheerful personalities. Poodles originated within Germany though were popularised and refined in neighbouring France. They would traditionally hunt for waterfowl, as well as seek out truffles, though later became better-known for their success in dog shows and unique haircut.

The Maltese

Maltese dogs are a breed that have been around for many hundreds of years and likely originated on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. Throughout their history, they have been kept as pet dogs and have been bred for their biddable nature and ‘cute’ looks. The Kennel Club recognise the Maltese in their Toy Group.


Daisy Dogs are a small breed that weigh between 4.5kg and 7kg and measure from 25cm to 30cm at the withers. They have small, round heads with circular dark eyes and medium-sized, triangular ears that swing sweetly to the side of their face. Their rectangular bodies are sturdier than one might expect and they have short limbs and dainty, cat-like feet. Their short tail has a jaunty curl at the tip.

Their fur is straight and can grow quite long, though is often trimmed into a ‘puppy’ style. A wide variety of coat colours and patterns are available including white, brown, red, apricot, grey and black. White is probably the most common coat colour seen.

Character & Temperament

The most attractive feature of the Daisy Dog is its happy-go-lucky temperament, ensuring it is a good choice as a pet dog for people of any age. As well as being highly tolerant of children, they bond closely with the older family members in their household. They rely heavily on those around them for companionship and entertainment and dislike being left alone for too long so should not be taken on by a family that cannot provide constant (or near enough to) company.

The Daisy Dog is highly smart and adaptable and can master an array of new tasks quickly. They enjoy learning and discovering, with a natural curiosity that is refreshing. They can be a little sensitive so should never be criticised too harshly, as this can make them lose their confidence.


Thanks to their biddable temperaments and natural intelligence, the Daisy Dog is a delight to train. Though those who have inherited more genes from their Shih Tzu parent may be more stubborn and harder to convince to listen than their littermates.

A number of Daisy Dog owners have reported that they can take longer than expected to toilet train and the author would assume that this is an issue of bladder size rather than true disobedience.


In any canine population, it is sensible to monitor their health closely, avoiding breeding those with inherited conditions when possible. Most Daisy Dogs enjoy long and healthy lives but there are certainly a number of conditions they can develop.

Addison’s Disease

Addison’s is also known as hypoadrenocorticism and it is an endocrine disorder, resulting from a deficiency in those hormones produced by the adrenal glands (aldosterone and cortisol). Many vets refer to this disease as ‘the great pretender’ as it can be difficult to diagnose thanks to the non-specific signs that come and go.

Affected dogs may have repeated upset stomachs, reduced appetites, generalised weakness and tremors. Blood tests can diagnose this condition and dogs are usually managed on oral medicine and/or monthly injections.

Cardiac Disease (MVD, PDA)

Both Mitral Valve Disease (MVD) and Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) can affect the Daisy Dog. MVD is a progressive disease of the mitral valve in the heart, resulting in turbulent blood flow that typically presents in older individuals.

PDA is present at birth – the ductus arteriosus that should close shortly after being born remains open and there is improper blood flow. Both of these disorders result in an audible heart murmur.

Porto-Systemic Shunts

Shunts are unnecessary blood vessels that bypass the liver, meaning dogs do not receive the nutrition they require and toxins build up within the body. Those affected are usually smaller and lighter than their littermates and may display signs of stomach upset and even neurological symptoms. Surgery can correct this anatomical defect, though can be tricky to perform meaning specialist surgeons are often required.

Patellar Luxation

Kneecaps that pop in and out of place cause discomfort and usually result in an unusual gait. In small dogs, the patella tends to slip towards the inside of the knee joint and vets can usually feel this when they examine an affected patient.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Though small, the Daisy Dog should not be neglected when it comes to their exercise needs and should be taken out on a couple of 20 to 30 minute walks each day. Importantly, they also need lots of mental stimulation, including puzzles, games and training sessions. Neglecting either of these vital aspects can result in a dog that becomes bored and acts inappropriately within the home.


For those who allow their Daisy Dog’s fur to grow long, they will need to commit to grooming at least every couple of days. Owners should focus on the facial fur, which can become dirty quickly. Their pendulous ears should be cleaned as and when needed and those that are prone to ear infections may need them plucked every month or so. The vast majority of Daisy Dogs are hypoallergenic and hardly shed at all.

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