Maltese vs Maltipoo

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Are you torn between the adorable Maltese and the charming Maltipoo? These two popular dog breeds may share a similar heritage, but they also have distinct differences that may sway your decision.

So who wins the title of the ultimate companion when it comes to Maltese vs Maltipoo? We’ll let you decide.

maltese vs maltipoo

Quick Comparison: Maltese vs Maltipoo

4-7 Pounds
5-20 Pounds
8-10 Inches
8-14 Inches
Silky, White or cream
Straight to curly, Different colors

Breed Origins and History

The Maltese can be traced back thousands of years to ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans.

These dogs were highly valued for their small size and luxurious white coat, and are believed to have been owned by royalty and aristocracy throughout history.

As purebred dogs, Maltese are recognized by kennel clubs and breed organizations worldwide, and their characteristics have remained consistent over time.

READ MORE: 12 Maltese Pros and Cons

On the other hand, the Maltipoo is a relatively new hybrid breed that gained popularity in the late 1990s.

This adorable mix between a Maltese and a toy or miniature Poodle was bred to be a low-maintenance dog, although it has no official breed history or standard.

That means that Maltipoos can vary greatly in terms of appearance and temperament.

Breed Characteristics

Here are some key traits of the Maltese and Maltipoo breeds:

Size & weight

Let’s talk about size.

The Maltese is a small breed, typically weighing between 4-7 pounds and standing at around 8-10 inches tall.

Since the Maltipoo is a mix of Maltese and Poodle, their size can vary depending on the Poodle’s influence. They generally range from 5-20 pounds and 8-14 inches in height.

If you live in an apartment or have limited outdoor space, the smaller size of the Maltese may be more suitable for your living situation. However, if you have a bit more space and prefer a slightly larger dog, a Maltipoo might be a better choice.

That said, you can’t really go wrong with either breed as both are considered small dogs.

Face features

Next, let’s compare the facial features of these two breeds.

Maltese dogs have a distinctively round face with large, expressive eyes (giving them a sweet and innocent look), and a small black nose. Additionally, their ears are set high on their head and hang down just like that of a puppy.

Maltipoos have a mix of features from their parents, but they often retain the round face, expressive eyes, black nose, and floppy ears of their Maltese father or mother.

Coat Type

Another important factor to consider when choosing between a Maltese and a Maltipoo is their coat type.

Maltese dogs have long, silky hair that requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best. This breed is known for being hypoallergenic, which means they shed minimally and are less likely to cause allergies in people with sensitivities.


The Maltipoo’s coat is a combination of the Maltese’s and the Poodle’s coats.

It can vary in texture, ranging from straight to wavy or even curly, but like the Maltese, they don’t have an undercoat, which means that their shedding is minimal.

Then again, they may require frequent grooming to prevent their hair from matting or becoming tangled.

Color variations

Color-wise, Maltipoos offer more choices compared to Maltese.

While a Maltese dog is typically white or cream in color, a Maltipoo can come in a variety of hues including white, brown, apricot, and even parti-colored options.

Maltipoos can also have different colored ears and markings on their face and body. This, of course, only adds to their uniqueness and charm!

Temperament & Personality

Okay, what about temperament and personality?

Maltese dogs are affectionate and loving, but they tend to form strong bonds with their owners, which makes them more prone to separation anxiety. They also tend to be on alert and can be quite vocal, often barking at strangers.

Maltipoos are affectionate dogs as well, but are usually more outgoing and social, although they can still have their fair share of separation anxiety.

Yet, these breeds are great family pets due to their friendly nature with children and other pets, so if you have a household with multiple animals or young kids, they would probably fit right in.

Health and longevity

Malteses and Maltipoos are generally healthy breeds with an average lifespan of 10-15 years.

That said, Maltese typically have a smaller gene pool compared to mixed breeds like Maltipoos. This can sometimes contribute to certain health issues that are more common in purebred dogs.

Some of the potential health concerns for Malteses include dental problems, ear infections (due to their long, droopy ears), eye conditions (such as progressive retinal atrophy), and collapsed trachea.

Maltipoos may inherit some of these health issues, but they can also be prone to certain health problems typically found in Poodles. These include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and a heart condition called mitral valve disease.

To avoid potential health issues as much as possible, visit your local veterinarian at least once a year and offer your dog the most nutritious diet you can afford.

Exercise requirements

If you’re not a fan of high-energy dogs, the good news is that Malteses and Maltipoos have relatively low exercise requirements.

Maltese tend to thrive with short walks and indoor playtime, while Maltipoos also enjoy the same gentle activities. Likewise, these dogs can benefit from mental stimulation through training exercises and puzzle toys.

This not only keeps their minds sharp and engaged, but helps to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

Grooming needs

Malteses and Maltipoos are high-maintenance breeds. Period.

Due to their long coats, daily brushing is recommended to prevent matting and tangles. It’s also generally recommended to bathe them every 3-4 weeks or as needed, using a mild dog shampoo for sensitive skin.

bathing a maltipoo puppy

Tear staining can be another issue for a Maltese or a Maltipoo, so it may be necessary to wipe their eye area with a gentle cleanser or tear stain remover.

Similarly, you may need to check their ears for any signs of infection or wax buildup and clean them with a veterinary-approved ear cleaner if necessary.

Some dogs may require ear hair plucking, as well as anal gland expression, however, we suggest leaving these tasks to professional groomers or veterinarians who are trained in performing them safely and effectively.

On top of that, Malteses and Maltipoos should have their nails trimmed regularly as well.

Overgrown nails can be uncomfortable and may cause difficulty in walking or lead to injuries. Nail trimming should be done carefully using proper tools like nail clippers or grinders designed for dogs.

In addition, it’s essential to pay attention to their dental health. Since these breeds are prone to gum disease and tooth loss, regular teeth brushing with dog-specific toothpaste and professional dental cleanings are highly recommended.

Training and socialization

Training and socialization are two of the fundamental aspects of raising a well-behaved and balanced dog, regardless of the breed.

For Malteses and Maltipoos, early socialization with other dogs, people, and different environments is crucial.

Exposing them to various stimuli at a young age can help reduce the likelihood of fearfulness or aggression towards unfamiliar situations or individuals in their adulthood.

Proper training can also help them develop good manners and ensure they become confident companions. These breeds are highly intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train.

RELATED: Maltese Potty Training Tips and Mistakes

However, make sure to be consistent and patient during training sessions, using only positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and play.

In summary

Both the Maltese and Maltipoo breeds offer unique qualities that can make them wonderful companions, whether you’re drawn to the elegance of the Maltese or the endearing personality of a Maltipoo.

Weighing all aspects including lifestyle compatibility, health considerations, energy levels, and other factors, can help you make an informed decision about which breed is the right fit for you.

About the author

Li-ran Bukovza

Li-ran believes that our dogs can teach us more than we could ever teach them. He's fascinated by the dog-human bond and loves researching and writing about new pet trends. With the help of Richie (his trusty Maltese sidekick), he hopes to help as many people as possible understand the beautiful, complex world of canine companionship.