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Maltese vs. Maltipoo: What’s the Difference?

Maltese vs. Maltipoo: What’s the Difference? Featured Image

The Maltese and the Maltipoo breeds have quite a few things in common, particularly because the Maltipoo is half Maltese and half Poodle. They are similar in size, they are both small dogs, but you might have to pay a little more for the Maltese because she is a purebred.

But let’s take a look at the differences between these two cute dogs. This might make your decision easier when you need to choose which one of these small companion dogs will be the best fit for your family.

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Visual Differences

maltese vs maltipoo
Image credit: Pixabay

A Quick Overview

  • Average Height (adult): 7 – 9 inches
  • Average Weight (adult): under 7 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
  • Exercise: 30 minutes/day
  • Grooming needs: High
  • Family-friendly: Yes, but not with small children
  • Dog-friendly: Often
  • Trainability:High, highly intelligent and agreeable with some stubbornness
  • Average Height (adult): 8 – 14 inches
  • Average Weight (adult): 5 – 20 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10 – 15 years
  • Exercise: 40 minutes/day
  • Grooming needs: High
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Dog-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: High, highly intelligent

Divider 8Maltese Overview

Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

The Maltese are thought to have originated from about 1,500 B.C. when the Phoenicians introduced this tiny, white dog to the island of Malta. Within the Roman Empire, the Maltese became a fashion statement for the Roman aristocracy and were carried around by Roman matrons and were admired by Emperor Claudius.

These dogs are known for their floor-length, non-shedding, silky, pure-white coats. The Maltese are social, playful, and affectionate lap dogs that might prove too small for young children. Maltese puppies are easy to find but expensive. You can expect to pay about $2500 to $4000 for a puppy from a reputable breeder. You could also consider adopting a Maltese from a rescue group as it’s less expensive (usually $200 to $600), and you’ll be rescuing a dog from an uncertain fate.


The Maltese is a part of the Toy Group and is a gentle and charming dog that has acted as a companion for hundreds of years. This can also mean they have become very adept at getting their way a lot of the time. The Maltese is a lively and playful dog that can be quite energetic but can get her exercise inside or in a small yard when necessary. They do equally well in a house or apartment, but they are prone to barking if they are bored and not played with enough.

Because the Maltese were bred to be a companion dog, she needs her humans to spend a lot of time with her. They are happiest when with their family. They are tremendously affectionate and sweet dogs that are fearless and can make good watchdogs. The Maltese gets along well with other animals but does best when socialized well as a puppy.


The Maltese is relatively easy to train as she is highly intelligent and has an agreeable nature, but she might have a small stubborn streak. They are known to be somewhat difficult to housebreak, so consistent and patient training is necessary. As long as you keep the training a positive experience, the Maltese will pick it up quickly. They can be athletic dogs and might do well in agility or obedience trials and are very devoted and trusting.

Socializing the Maltese early as a puppy is an essential part of her training. Introducing your Maltese to as many people and situations as possible will allow her to grow into a well-adjusted adult and will make introducing her to any new animals or family pets much easier.

Health and Care 

Feeding your Maltese should start with purchasing high-quality dry dog food meant for your dog’s activity level, size, and age. The food bag itself will provide you with guidelines on how much and how frequently you should feed your dog throughout the day.

Grooming the Maltese requires for you to brush her every day unless you keep her coat short. Ensure you are gentle while brushing as the coat is quite soft. They are excellent dogs for allergy sufferers as their coats don’t tend to shed and are hypoallergenic. Most dogs should only be bathed about once a month, but the Maltese will require more frequent cleaning, and you should make sure that she is warm and dry after the bath. Small dogs tend to have dental issues, so you should regularly brush her teeth, clean her ears, and trim her nails.

Overall, the Maltese is a healthy dog, but she may be prone to kneecap dislocationheart defects,  liver shunt, and encephalitis. The vet will check the Maltese’s heart and knees and run blood and urinalysis tests to check for any of these conditions.

Image credit: monster_code, Shutterstock

Suitable For:

The affectionate, playful, and charming Maltese will make a great family pet, as long as the children are older or, young children are supervised. These dogs are quite small, which makes them vulnerable to rough play. They get along well with other dogs, and even cats and smaller animals. The Maltese will work well for a first-time dog owner, as long as the new owner does their homework on this breed.

Divider 4Maltipoo Overview

Portrait of maltipoo dog playing with ball in field
Image Credit: Rob Hainer, Shutterstock

The Maltipoo is a cross between the Toy or Miniature Poodle and the Maltese. Because they are a mixed breed, how your dog looks, or her personality will depend on which parent she takes after most. As already discussed, the Maltese tends to be 7 to 9 inches tall and weighs 7 pounds or less. The Toy Poodle measures 10 inches or less and weighs 4 to 6 pounds, and the Miniature Poodle is 10 to 15 inches in height and 10 to 15 pounds in weight. The Maltipoo could range anywhere in these height and weight ranges but averages 8 to 14 inches in height and 5 to 14 pounds in weight.

You would think that because the Maltipoo is a mixed breed, the puppies would be less expensive than a purebred, but you would be wrong. The Maltipoo puppy can range from $2500 to $4000, which works out to be about the same as the purebred Maltese. If you keep an eye on rescue groups in your area, you might find a Maltipoo to bring home to your family.


The Poodle and the Maltese have relatively similar personality traits, so you can expect the Maltipoo to not vary too much in temperament. They do well in apartments or houses but are prone to a lot of barking if they are left alone too long or aren’t exercised enough both physically and mentally. The Maltipoo is intelligent, playful, and affectionate and is a social dog that enjoys meeting people. They are also very loyal and gentle and enjoy playing as much as cuddling with you on your lap.

The Maltipoo makes a great family pet and gets along very well with children, but they would do much better in a home with older children because of their small size. They also get along very well with other dogs and pets but will do best if socialized and raised with the other pets.


The Maltipoo is highly intelligent, thanks to both of her parents, and is easy to train, but if she takes after her Maltese parent, she might have a stubborn streak. As long as you train her with a firm but gentle hand and use positive reinforcement, your Maltipoo will be a joy to train.

Socialization is also vital for the Maltipoo in order for your dog to be comfortable around a variety of animals, people, and places. It’s very important for you to expose your puppy to as many new places and people as possible so she will feel comfortable with strange situations and animals.

Health and Care 

Feeding the Maltipoo is no different from feeding the Maltese, except for the potential difference in size between the breeds. The Maltipoo might be the same size as the Maltese but might also be larger, so always follow the guidelines on the food bag to help you to determine how much you should feed her every day.

Grooming the Maltipoo will also depend on which parent she takes after the most. Will she have long silky fur like her Maltese parent, or will her coat be curly like her Poodle parent? Both the Poodle and the Maltese are hypoallergenic, so the Maltipoo will also be a good breed for allergy sufferers. Both the Poodle and the Maltese need a fair amount of grooming, so expect to brush the Maltipoo daily, and she’ll need a bath about once a month. And, of course, make cleaning her ears and teeth and trimming her nails a regular part of her grooming routine.

The Maltipoo is a mixed breed and won’t be as susceptible to the same health issues that her purebred parents might be. But becoming familiar with your Maltipoo’s parents’ health conditions will allow you to recognize any potential danger signs. The health conditions of the Maltese were already discussed above, so let’s have a look at the Poodle. Poodles are prone to hip dysplasiaepilepsyinflammatory skin diseasevon Willebrand’s diseasedisintegration of the hip joint, and kneecap dislocation. Your vet will need to check your Maltipoo’s hips, knees, heart, skin, and eyes, as well as running urinalysis and blood tests.

Credit: maltipoo, Shutterstock

Suitable for:

The Maltipoo makes a great family pet but will do better in a home with older children. They are energetic and active dogs but don’t require a lot of exercise, so an active individual or family would work but don’t expect long walks and runs. They will be happy in a house or apartment but be prepared to spend time and energy with the Maltipoo, or you’ll end up with a barker with separation anxiety issues.

Divider 3Which Breed is Right for You?

Having a Maltese as a parent will make the Maltipoo quite similar in many ways, particularly since the Poodle is also similar in behavior to the Maltese. The Maltese and the Maltipoo are both small dogs that make great family pets. They are both well suited to apartment living, but they both need attention, or they can become nuisance barkers. They also both need about the same amount of grooming, but how the coat turns out on the Maltipoo will depend on which parent she takes after the most.

The Maltipoo might be a little easier to train than the Maltese, and her appearance will more than likely include some of the Poodles soft curls. The Maltipoo’s color will vary as well since Poodles come in a wide variety of colors.

While both the Maltese and the Maltipoo are healthy breeds, the Maltipoo is less likely to inherit the same health problems as her purebred parents, so that’s something to consider. Both breeds should be easy to find through breeders, although the Maltese will be easier to find. Surprisingly, they might be about the same cost, but if you adopt, you won’t be paying thousands of dollars, and you’ll be rescuing a dog in need.