Are Maltipoos Smart?

Maltipoos are practically synonymous with the word “cute.” These cuddle bugs are one of the most adorable poodle mixes. With their teddy bear-like face, tiny frame, and fluffy coat, it’s no wonder that they’re such a popular breed, but are Maltipoos smart? 

are maltipoos smart
Are Maltipoos smart? Are they book worms or slow on the uptake?

The answer is yes, Maltipoos are smart — perhaps smarter than you’d anticipate. Maltipoos are more than clever, though; they’re also intuitive. We’ll touch on why that is below, and then we’ll look at specifics, like how easy it is to train a Maltipoo and what toys are best suited for them. 

Maltipoo Intelligence

You may have heard that Maltipoos have all the sweetness of a Maltese and all the smarts of a Poodle, making them the best of both breeds. 

And it’s true, Maltipoos inherit their intelligence from their Poodle lineage. When it comes to working and obedience smarts, Poodles rank second in the world, just after border collies. That means poodles can understand new commands in less than five repetitions, and once they know a command, they’ll obey 95% of the time. 

Conversely, their Maltese heritage probably isn’t doing much for Maltipoos in terms of cleverness. Maltese rank 111th out of 138 qualifying breeds when it comes to working and obedience. It takes them 40-80 repetitions to learn a command, and once they know it, they’ll only respond to it 30% of the time. 

maltipoo puppy
Golden haired Maltipoo puppy living his best life

However, to say a Maltese isn’t smart would be a mistake. They may not be the most obedient work dogs, but that doesn’t mean they lack brains. Maltese are known for their stubborn nature, which means they tend not to obey. Though they’re companion dogs who love to please their owners, they have a willful streak that keeps them from being overly obedient. 

So, Maltese may be higher in what’s known as adaptive intelligence and intuition. They learn from their environment and act accordingly. 

So, they might learn the sound of your car pulling into the driveway and meet you at the door. Or, they might know the clink of a can opener means you’re about to serve them dinner. And, they’ll probably want to sit in your lap if you’re upset or scared. But they may have a more challenging time with direct commands. 

When you combine the adaptive intelligence of a Maltese with the working obedience smarts of a poodle, you get a very clever Maltipoo. They tend to learn commands quickly, but they can be stubborn too. 

For many owners, this simply lends to their endearing personality. They see their rebellious streak as a sign of independent intelligence rather than an indication that they don’t know what you’re saying to them. 

maltipoo puppy laying on back
A super cute Apricot Maltipoo puppy. Check to the super cute puppy coat! Photo by Cindy Devin /CC BY

Maltipoo Personality Overall

Maltipoos are smart, but that’s not the only reason their owners love them. Maltipoos have endearing personalities; they like to cuddle and prefer to be near a human companion at all times. 

Their small stature means they don’t need much space, but they do like exercise. That’s probably because both of their parents are working dogs by nature.  

Most of us would assume poodles were bred to work, but that’s a less intuitive assumption with Maltese. However, Maltese are also hunting dogs, at least, historically. Initially, humans bred them to hunt down rats and other tiny pests. 

So, coming from two working dogs, a Maltipoo will have energy. Because they’re so small, though, a brisk walk in the morning and evening is usually enough. Add that to a little bit of play in the afternoons, and you can easily tire a Maltipoo out.  

Perhaps Maltipoo’s most desirable trait is their capacity for affection. They’ll curl up with their human and snuggle all day long if you let them.

Of course, that means they don’t do well alone and sometimes become anxious when their owners are away. Maltipoos left alone too long often become anxious or even depressed. So, it’s important to keep them company as much as possible. 

maltipoo crate size
Maltipoo are tiny – so choosing the right size crate is an important part of crate training

Is It Easy to Train a Maltipoo? 

Maltipoos have a quick wit, stubborn streak, and very loving personality. Altogether, that makes them relatively easy to train as long as owners stay consistent with their commands and expectations. 

Being consistent means using the same commands, like “sit” and “stay.” But it also means you need to be consistent with timing. As noted above, Maltipoos come from two working dog breeds. So, having a dedicated time for training can help them pick up commands quickly. 

Whether it’s in the morning or directly after dinner, owners should do their best to keep the times they train their Maltipoo puppies consistent. 

Beyond that, training a Maltipoo is just like training most other breeds. They love praise and treats, and because they’re so human-centric, they take their owner’s “no’s” to heart. Most owners find they don’t have to take corrective actions over and over. 

That said, their stubborn streak can cause training issues. Sometimes Maltipoo owners swear their dog hears them and understands but refuses to follow the command. Luckily, Maltipoo’s are extremely cute, and their owners typically forgive them. 

Maltipoos can also get stuck in behavioral patterns, like excessive barking. If that happens, it’s usually attention-seeking. Maltipoos need near-constant companionship from their owners, and if they don’t get it, they might act out. 

They also might seem overly hyper, especially when they’re young. That can lead Maltipoos to jump on guests or run around in circles incessantly. Usually, providing an exercise outlet, like taking them to a dog park or for a long walk, solves that problem. 

Maltipoos as Work Dogs

Because Maltipoo’s are both intelligent, compact, and companionable, they make excellent therapy dogs for a variety of conditions. They’re wonderful for those suffering from PTSD or anxiety disorders because they’re very in-tune with their owner’s emotions. 

Maltipoos can act as a calming presence and will use their intuition to provide comfort when their owners or others need it most. However, as noted above, they can be stubborn and overly energetic at times. To train a Maltipoo as a service dog takes patient training and early socialization. 

Enrolling a Maltipoo in puppy kindergarten, making sure they’re around other dogs and humans, and consistent training sessions are essential to train a Maltipoo for therapeutic purposes. 

maltese puppy vs maltipoo puppy
Both Maltese and Maltipoo puppies are vibrant and energy packed

What Toys Keep Maltipoos Entertained? 

Because Maltipoo’s are energetic and intelligent, they do best with certain types of play. They tend to do well with puzzle toys that stimulate their brains. 

They also like any game that includes their owner. Fetch is a great option; they also like tug-of-war. Some owners report that their Maltipoos love soft toys that squeak. Given their Maltese heritage, this makes perfect sense. Maltese love catching rats, and a soft squeaky toy is a good (and sanitary) replacement. 

See our mega list of 35 indoor activities and games to play with your dog for inspiration.

Final Thoughts 

There’s no doubt that Maltipoos are cute, but they’re also very smart. Their poodle-Maltese heritage gives them brains, intuition, and a happy, energetic nature. They learn commands relatively quickly and are generally obedient. 

Though they often have a stubborn streak, their ultimate goal is to please. Maltipoos want to make their owners happy and learn the word “no” quickly. 

Given all of that, it’s no wonder that Maltipoos are a popular poodle-mix breed. They’re cuddly, sweet, and very smart indeed.