Maltese vs Poodle Breed Comparison (Key Differences)

Malteses and poodles are wonderful breeds that are devoted companions to their owners. These two breeds are loving and loyal and are considered some of the aesthetically pleasing breeds in the world. 

The hybrid of these two breeds, known as Maltipoo, has become a popular breed. But sometimes, hybrids don’t exemplify a perfect mix of their two-parent breeds.

maltese vs poodle comparison
Comparing the Maltese vs Poodle breeds.

Knowing the parent breeds traits can help you prepare for possible behavior in a Maltipoo, so you know you’re bringing the right dog into your family.

Read this breakdown of the poodle versus the Maltese to see how the breeds are similar and how they are different. 

Affection Level

While both breeds love pets and belly rubs, you’re going to get a lot more snuggles from the needy Maltese that love having you around. Poodles are fiercely loyal but can sometimes be aloof and reserved. 

a maltese and poodle dog side by side
A side by side comparison of a Maltese and a Poodle


Maltese are super snuggly dogs and will love to cuddle on the couch and at bedtime. They benefit from lots of belly rubs and physical attention, but not from everyone. Maltese aren’t always the best with children, especially if they’ve gone most of their life without interacting with kids. 

Maltese are also wary of strangers and strongly depend on their humans to let them know a person is a-okay or not. So don’t expect this little dog to stop and say hello to every neighbor because they likely won’t be interested. 


Poodles are not the most cuddly of breeds, but they certainly love pets. One of the best traits in poodles is their level of patience when it comes to children and other dogs. Because of this, families with small children often adopt poodles because of their gentle nature. 

Poodles are friendly enough with strangers, but they will be fiercely loyal to their owners. They are highly intelligent and will eventually respond well to firm training, even if it takes a while to get them on board. 

Energy Level

When it comes to energy, the Maltese comes nowhere close to the poodle. Poodles love long walks and playtime, even the poodles smaller in stature. A Maltese will be more content to take short walks, but if you want a poodle, you need to make time for long walks and adventures. 

maltese and poodle puppy tongues out
A Maltese and a Poodle puppy with their tongue out!


A Maltese’s energy level is moderate to low. They may jump on you give butt wiggles when excited or want to play, but they have low endurance. They won’t enjoy super long walks because their legs will tire quickly. 

Maltese are generally content to just hang out and watch you do your thing. But when they do play, they love to play in quick, energetic spurts. 

They’ll exert most of their energy barking out the window, as they have a high tendency to bark and make noise when strange people or animals enter their proximity. 


Poodles have moderate energy, so they need exercise and love to run around but won’t become too antsy if they can’t. It also depends on the size of the poodle, as toy poodles will not require as much exercise as standard poodles. But toy poodles can be known to be jumpier when excited. 

Poodles, in general, will always be up for playtime. They love tug-of-war, and most poodles pick up on fetch quickly and love playing with a ball. 


Both Maltese and poodles are beautiful breeds with unique coats. The Maltese boasts a silky straight coat while poodles have that iconic curly coat. Maltese are always small, but poodles can range quite a bit in size, giving owners more options when adopting or buying. 

matlese and poodle temperament
Both Maltese and Poodle dogs share affection for other dogs in their households


Maltese are majestic dogs that usually weigh between 5 and 7 pounds and stand at about 9 inches. So these dogs are super tiny and are covered in a long, silky fur coat that can be a delight to brush.

Coat Colors:

  • White
  • White and tan
  • White and lemon


Poodles are known for their lean bodies and curly coats. They usually come in black or white but can have a range of different coat colors like biscuit, slate, or auburn.

Poodles come in three sizes: toy, miniature, and standard. There is a Moyen (medium) poodle breeders are beginning to make popular, but for now, we’ll discuss the main three. 

Toy poodles usually weigh under 12 pounds and are about 10 inches tall. Miniature poodles can weigh between 15 and 40 pounds and stand at 12-15 inches tall.Lastly, standard poodles can weigh as much as 85 pounds and stand around 15 inches tall. They are much bigger than toy poodles and can be considered a medium or large breed.

Poodle Coat Colors (more in our gallery):

  • Apricot
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Brown
  • Gray
  • Red
  • Silver
  • Cream

Ideal Environment

Poodles are far more adaptable than Maltese that become dependent and sometimes clingy with their owners. But poodles can handle alone time and a variety of spaces. 

malese and yorkie puppy
A beautiful duo of Maltese dogs and a similarly tiny and cute Yorkie pup (Our Yorkie vs Maltese guide)


Malteses will enjoy a smaller space like an apartment, as a large house may overwhelm them. They can be adaptable, but not as much as poodles. Despite their long hair, they do not handle the cold well. So buy them a little coat or keep your winter walks short. 

The biggest problem for Maltese is they do not handle solitude well. Being alone for too long or too often gives them anxiety and puts them on edge. So they likely aren’t casually napping when you’re at work all day, but instead eagerly wondering and worrying about you. The best Maltese owners work from home or have multiple small dogs that keep each other company.


The best part about poodles is they are highly adaptive. Their ideal environment can vary, as they can easily adjust to long stretches home alone or time surrounded by many people and children. They can adapt well to both apartments or large properties.

Poodles need frequent exercise, however, so a cramped area and lack of nature walks are not ideal conditions. They also love to have balls and other chew toys around to keep them stimulated. 

Because of the poodle’s medium coat, they tolerate cold and hot weather well, so they don’t need to live in a specific climate. 

Final Woof

While the two breeds can be similar in size, their traits vary quite a bit. Poodles are smarter, easier to train, and more adaptable. But they also require more physical exercise and are not super likely to snuggle on the couch. Maltese can be difficult to train and are very needy, but they will love you fiercely and cuddle every chance they get.

If you don’t have the time or don’t want to go on long, frequent walks, a poodle may not be for you. And if you spend whole days at work with no one else in your household, the Maltese may not be the best choice. 

Make sure you choose a breed that will suit your lifestyle so both you and the dog can thrive together.