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Maltese vs Maltipoo Breed Comparison – Which is Best?

Maltese Vs Maltipoo – what is the difference? Which brings out the best traits of the Maltese, the purebred or the hybrid dog oodle? Read on for a showdown between these two breeds. 

maltese vs maltipoo breed comparison two photos
BREED SHOWDOWN! Maltese Vs Maltipoo – which is better?

Both are small dogs with long lifespans, but the Maltipoos trend bigger than Maltese. Maltipoos have been growing in popularity recently, while the Maltese have been popular since the Roman Empire. But which breed is better?

Both Breeds

  1. Affectionate
  2. Low shedding (hypoallergenic)
  3. Trainable

Playful and bursting with energy, Maltese and Maltipoos can be a lot to handle in their puppy years, but they’re also affectionate and cuddly. There are many great qualities in both, but a side by side comparison can help you choose your perfect companion.

At a Glance: Maltese vs. Maltipoo

MalteseMaltipoo (Poodle X)
Height/Weight7-9 in. / 4-7 lbs.8-14 in. / 10-20 lbs.
Lifespan12-1512-15+
PurposeCompanion Dog Companion Dog
Suitable ForSingle Homes, FamiliesSingle homes, Families, Kids
Color VariationsWhiteApricot, Black, Brown, Silver, Tan, White
TemperamentEnergetic, Affectionate, Sociable with Humans, Wary of Other Pets, Trainable, Separation anxietyEnergetic, Affectionate, Sociable with Humans, Sociable with Other Pets, Trainable, Separation anxiety
Other NamesMaltese Terrier Moodle, Maltipoodle

Maltese vs. Maltipoo History

white maltese next to maltipoo
A white pair of Maltese puppies compared to a Maltipoo puppy

Maltese dogs are purebreds, meaning only Maltese genes have passed through their bloodlines for generations. Maltese have similar traits and predictable temperaments. 

Maltipoos are crossbred, meaning they inherit their genes from two different breeds, one Maltese parent and the other Poodle. Breeders hope to get the best of both, but it can be unpredictable. Sizes vary depending on their parents, but the size of their Poodle parent is a helpful hint.

Knowing the history of the Maltese and the Maltipoo can help you decide which breed is better for you.

Maltese History

Maltese get their name from Malta, where they became popular in the fourth and fifth century B.C. They were beloved in the Roman Empire and earned the nickname “Roman Ladies’ Dog” because it was high-fashion to have a Maltese hanging around. After the fall of Rome, Chinese breeders kept the Maltese in the spotlight. They became quintessential show dogs during the earliest exhibitions. With centuries of history, breeders know what traits to expect.

The affectionate, cuddly Maltese made for a great companion in Ancient Rome, and they continue to display these traits today. Their agility and intelligence made them regulars at dog shows, and they’re always ready to play. Even with their high energy levels, regular short walks are enough to keep them healthy.

Maltese belong to the Toy Group of dogs, weighing 4-7 lbs. They are low-shedding with long coats. Their coats are solid white or white with cream or light tan shading. You can easily carry them around and tuck them into your arms for a quick cuddle.

Maltipoo History

Maltipoos are relatively new in the dog breed world, coming into popularity 20 years ago.  The American Kennel Cluband the United Kennel Club haven’t recognized Maltipoos as an official breed. There is more to learn about this young crossbreed, and we need a few more generations before we can say anything specific about long-term health expectations. 

Since we already covered the Maltese half of this breed, let’s take a look at the history of the other parent breed – the Poodle and how it plays into the coat and temperament of the Maltipoo.

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

Poodle History

The Poodle might be the National Dog of France, but the breed originally came from Germany. The name comes from the Germanic “pudelin,” meaning “to splash”—it’s no surprise Poodles are great swimmers!  

Purebred poodles have three sizes. Measured at the shoulder, the Standard Poodles are over 15 in., Miniatures under 15 in., and Toys are 10 inches.

The Poodle is an excellent retriever thanks to their ancestry as a hunting dog. At any size, they are athletic, eager to learn, and intelligent. 

Poodle coats are curly and dense. Their coats might not be soft but are low-shedding (hypoallergenic).

Maltipoo History

So, with the history of both Poodles and Maltese, what do we know? 

Maltipoos are hypoallergenic, which they get from both their parents. When properly groomed, their soft coat, curly or straight, is perfect for cuddling. The size of your Maltipoo can vary depending on their parentage, as Poodles come in three sizes, but the average Maltipoo weighs 10-20 lbs.

Maltipoos are intelligent. They are easy to train, but it’s essential to pay special attention to toilet training—they can be stubborn! 

They love to play games, and their affectionate side makes them perfect cuddle companions.

Maltese vs Maltipoo Puppy Comparison

maltese vs maltipoo puppy comparison table
Comparison of Maltipoo and Maltese puppies

Whether you’re looking for your first canine friend or a new addition to your pack, you might want a head’s up about what to expect when bringing a Maltese or Maltipoo puppy home. 

CharacteristicMalteseMaltipoo
Friendliness7/108/10
Cost7/105/10
Trainability7/109/10
Good with Children3/109/10
Puppy Exercise Requirements 4/103/10
Overall Health2/109/10

Costs of Maltese vs Maltipoo

The cost of your pup will ultimately depend on you and your particular dog. Luckily, both breeds are small, meaning a lower cost.

Both playful breeds need toys to keep them busy—especially when you need downtime. A survey done by American Kennel Association calculated that pet owners spent $217 annually on toys.

Purebred puppies like the Maltese will cost $1000-2500 USD (true purebreds) and much less for regular breeders or adopting). Maltipoos can range anywhere from $400-$2000 USD. The increased popularity of Maltipoos has made them easier to find than five years ago but has increased the puppy cost.

Pet stores stock sizes that are the most popular. Retailers won’t have as much selection for Toy because small is more profitable. You will spend more time searching to outfit your Maltese. If your heart is set on specific colors or styles, it will cost more.

Appearance and Size of Maltese vs. Maltipoo

Both dogs are small, but the Maltese a Toy Dog. If you stood a little Maltese next to a large Maltipoo, the Maltipoo can be double the height and weight. Even comparing the averages shows that the 7-10 lb. Maltese is a lightweight next to the 10-20 lb. Maltipoo. 

Maltese are known for their white, straight coats, tiny dark nose, and round dark eyes. The only variation is shading, especially around the ears. 

Maltipoos have dark, round, expressive eyes, and their coats come in many colors, the most common being white. Even though darker shades are the least common, you could find your Maltipoo in any of these shades:

  • Apricot (Apricot Maltipoo are the most in demand coat color)
  • Black
  • Cafe Au Lait
  • Coffee
  • Red
  • Silver
  • Tan

Grooming for Maltese vs. Maltipoo

grooming maltese vs maltipoo
The breeding requirements for a Maltese and a Maltipoo are white different

Both breeds need regular grooming to keep their soft coats from getting matted and knotted.

A Maltese dog will typically have straight, long fur and need brushing to keep their hair untangled. Maltese should have their teeth frequently brushed because they are prone to dental disease. Their nails grow fast. Keep an ear listening for scratching on the floor and check their paws regularly. People often compare the grooming requirements of a Maltese to a Bichon.

Maltipoos can have straight hair or curly hair, but either can get matted. Most Maltipoo will inherit a Poodle coat.

This means that the Maltipoo coat is non shedding and almost hypoallergenic. Despite the non-shedding matts and knots are a concern. Curved areas, like under their legs, ears, and tail, are knot danger zones. Plus, you should watch out for wax build up inside their ears, as Maltipoos can inherit hairy inner ears that clog easily from their Poodle side. This can result in a smelly Maltipoo OR even an ear infection.

Temperament Maltese vs. Maltipoo

Maltipoos and Maltese have a cuddly, friendly nature in common. They love their humans and can suffer from separation anxiety. With most dogs, training can help prevent and treat this behavior. 

The Maltese breed, as Toy Dogs, are delicate and easy to step on. If your Maltese flies off furniture, it’s a lot further to fall. Although if your Maltipoo is from a purebred Toy Poodle – it might be similarly small!

When it comes to other animals in your life, Maltese can be skittish and are vocal about their discomfort. Maltese can be ‘yippy’ dogs. They tend to be on high alert when they hear a suspicious sound or think another animal is trying to move on their territory. Your Maltipoo might display high-alert behavior when it comes to sounds, but they can relax around other animals. 

Maltipoos are a Poodle mix designer dog, half Maltese and half Poodle, which means you could have any combination of their best or worst traits. Both halves give the Maltipoo intelligence, friendliness, and trainability. The Maltipoo temperament is perfect for families.

You can teach a Maltipoo the standard sit/stay commands, or you can work on agility training. Whatever level of training you’re comfortable with, your Maltipoo will be excited to try it.

Maltipoos can be hyper. They’re curious, social pets, and sometimes they need attention before they’re willing to lie down and snuggle on the couch with you. This hyperactivity can be a lot of fun for families with more than one friend to play with your Maltipoo! If you’re a single owner, it can be rewarding to have a dog that’s always excited to see you, but you need to learn how to calm your Maltipoo when you need some downtime.

Maltese vs. Maltipoo for Families

a maltese puppy takes a forest hike with two owners
A Maltese puppy hiking with two humans. Even small dogs enjoy hikes!

Are you looking for a dog to join a family? Do you have young children? Do you have other animals?

Maltese are social with humans, but you have to be cautious when introducing children to your pet. Kids sometimes forget their own strength and, if they’re very little, can be a bit clumsy. Maltese are curious and want to socialize, which means they’ll be in the middle of the action, getting stepped on, bull-dozed over, grabbed, and bothered. Your kids will mean well, but your Maltese won’t know that! To avoid accidents and injuries, keep your Maltese out of the reach of children. 

Maltese do not always play well with other animals. Maltese love attention from their humans, but they can be irritated by other pets. Many are uber friendly – but a quick read of forums online lets you know that mild anti social traits are not isolated.

Maltipoos love to play games with anyone. They can keep up with kids, but they’ll also happily sit with the family for a movie night. You can make training a family game or walking the dog one of your kids’ chores.

Maltipoos are bigger than Maltese, which gives them an advantage when meeting other dogs. Maltipoos are more comfortable around other animals. You should always respect your dog’s pace when meeting another pet, but Maltipoos are eager to find new friends.

Lifespan and Health Maltese vs. Maltipoo

maltipoo after haircut style
Maltipoo after a haircut. Fresh! Photo by T S Smith /CC BY

Both dogs benefit from being smaller and smaller trends longer-living. The Maltese typically live 12-15 years, while some Maltipoo can live almost two decades. 

Maltese are generally a healthy breed but have a few common problems to watch for:

  • Luxating patella – loose knee joints
  • Dental disease
  • Chronic allergies – itchy pup or a gassy dog!
  • Eye diseases
  • Heart diseases
  • Collapsing trachea – windpipe collapses, leading to frequent coughing and huffing
  • White Shaker Syndrome – full-body tremors, found in small dog breeds

Maltipoos are also generally healthy, and as a hybrid, usually have the best of two different breeds. While the goal is always to be the best, there are some health problems that Maltipoos tend to have:

So Which Pet Is Best? Maltese vs. Maltipoo

The pros and cons of these two breeds are similar because Maltipoos are half Maltese. If you want a cuddle companion, both dogs will be happy to spend their time close to you. 

So which dog breed is best? 

If you’re searching for a dog to join a family home, the Maltipoo is better with kids and other animals. If you want temperament and traits you can predict, the Maltese’s centuries of breeding make it a reliable choice.

We hope this side-by-side comparison helped you decide which breed feels right in your home!