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Are Maltipoos Smart? What You Need to Know

Melissa Gunter

By Melissa Gunter

a brown female Maltipoo dog sitting on beach chair

When you see a Maltipoo, the first words that come to mind are cute, fluffy, and simply adorable. However, there is a lot more to this designer dog breed than meets the eye. Created by mixing the highly intelligent Poodle and the curious, yet stubborn, Maltese, it would make sense for potential owners of the Maltipoo to ask whether these dogs are smart. The short answer is yes, the Maltipoo is an intelligent dog breed. They are even thought to be one of the smartest breeds around. Let’s take a deeper look at the Maltipoo and help you learn what you need to know about these dogs and their intelligence.

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About the Maltipoo

Before we can talk about the intelligence of the Maltipoo it helps to understand more about the breed itself. Maltipoos are a hybrid dog breed created by crossing the Poodle and Maltese. These designer doggies are a bit small, normally between 8 to 14 inches tall. You may wonder how that happened considering a standard Poodle is taller. Turns out, the Maltipoo is generally bred from toy and miniature Poodles. Considering their small size, Matipoos only weigh in at 5 to 20 pounds and are very loving and affectionate. This makes them ideal for older owners and families with children.

Maltipoos have an average life expectancy of 15 years and are considered a relatively healthy breed. They come in multiple coat colors but are known for the wavy, wool-like texture of their fur and the fact that they aren’t heavy shedders. For people with allergies to pet dander, the Maltipoo is often a go-to choice for bringing a dog into the house.

maltipoo dog walking
Image Credit: Irsan Ianushis, Shutterstock

Maltipoos Can Thank Their Parents

As we’ve already mentioned, Maltipoos are considered a very intelligent dog breed. For this hybrid dog breed, the brains can be attributed to one of their parent breeds, the Poodle. Poodles are commonly revered for their intelligence. In fact, they are 2nd only to the Border Collie on the intelligence scale. This is quite a feat considering so many working dog breeds exhibit incredible smarts and ease of training. The Poodle, however, can catch on to new commands in as few as 5 repetitions. Even more impressive, they are known for obeying commands 95% of the time.

The Maltese are far from being an unintelligent dog breed. While they may not rank as high as the Poodle, their low rankings on the intelligence scale can be attributed to the stubborn streak these dogs exhibit. Not obeying doesn’t mean the Maltese aren’t great dogs to have. They are very loyal to their owners and love showing affection. They also exhibit something called adaptive intelligence. This means they can learn the sound of you opening the food bag, or understand when you need comfort from them. However, following a direct command may not be at the top of their list.

two red maltipoo dogs
Image Credit: dezy, Shutterstock

Where Maltipoos Shine

Being the offspring of two intelligent dog breeds means the Maltipoo excels in several areas. Add in their small stature and it’s understandable why this dog breed makes amazing therapy dogs. This breed can hone in on its owner’s emotions and will do its best to be supportive when needed. With proper training, however, the Maltipoo can also work with PTSD sufferers, the elderly, and the disabled.

Above all else, the Maltipoo shines in the home. While they are smart dogs, they are also very loving. These little dogs simply love to curl up on your lap and spend time with you. Sure, having a dog that loves to do tricks to show off for friends and family is great to have, but the Maltipoo wants nothing more than to be with you and show you all their love.

person carrying adorable maltipoo puppies
Image Credit: OlgaOvcharenko, Shutterstock

Is Training a Maltipoo Easy?

While the Maltipoo is highly intelligent and overly easy to train, that doesn’t mean the stubborn streak of the Maltese can’t rear its head. When training a Maltipoo, you must be consistent. Your Maltipoo needs to be able to clearly understand your expectations and commands. When training a Maltipoo you should have time for training sessions. Yes, they learn easily, but they shouldn’t be rushed. Remember to praise your Maltipoo when they do well. Their affectionate side will react well to this. Like other dogs, however, they’ll still enjoy treats for a job well done as well.

Be patient with your Maltipoo, especially when they are younger. As pups, Maltipoos can be slightly hyper. Often, they outgrow this behavior, but you may notice excessive barking and other quirks, but these often stem from the Maltipoo’s need to be close to their owners. Luckily, like with other dogs, you can train against this type of behavior.

person training a maltipoo dog outdoors
Image Credit: Tadogami, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

If we’re being honest, there are no unintelligent dog breeds out there. Instead, some breeds simply need more work than others. If you want a dog that learns quickly, loves you endlessly, and would prefer to spend all its time with you, the Maltipoo is a great choice. This designer dog is very smart and can learn commands easily. Don’t forget, though, there is a bit of stubbornness in their lineage. If your Maltipoo shows signs of this, don’t be shocked. It doesn’t mean they aren’t smart, it simply means they are showing off a little of both their parent breeds.


Featured Image Credit: Heidi Bollich, Shutterstock

Melissa Gunter

Authored by

Melissa was born and raised in the mountains of East Tennessee where she spent her time writing in an old notebook and playing outside with her pets. As an avid animal lover, she has brought many into her home over the years. Currently, she is the mom of 5 fur babies. Her 2 cats, Princess and Pepper are total opposites who demand attention. Her dogs Jazzy, Whitey, and Demon are full of spunk and keep the entire family on ...Read more

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