Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Pomeranian vs. Maltese: The Differences (With Pictures)

Chris Dinesen Rogers

By Chris Dinesen Rogers

Pomeranian vs Maltese - Featured Image

The Pomeranian and Maltese couldn’t look more different. The former looks like a little fox with its pointy ears. The latter looks like royalty with its gorgeous white coat. Surprisingly, the dogs are more closely related than their appearances would suggest. It also is apparent in their personalities.

Both pups are ancient breeds with histories shrouded in mystery. Archaeological and genetic evidence provides some clues to their origins. Suffice it to say that both breeds have a fascinating history to tell, with brushes with the upper class and sea travel.

Divider 8

Visual Differences

Pomeranian vs Maltese - Visual Differences
Image Credit: Left – Pomeranian (KoolShooters, Pexels) | Right – Maltese (Archibald Marajas, Pexels)

At a Glance

  • Average height (adult): 6–7 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 3–7 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–16 years
  • Exercise: 1 hour a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Sometimes
  • Trainability: Intelligent, extroverted, lively
  • Average height (adult): 7–9 inches
  • Average weight (adult): Under 7 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–15 years
  • Exercise: 1 hour a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderately high
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Sweet, affectionate, playful

Divider 2

Pomeranian Overview

white fox face pomeranian on the grass
Image Credit: Tam and Trace Photography, Shutterstock

The Pomeranian has an interesting history. Its ancestry goes back to the Spitz clade of dogs from Asia, which includes Chow Chows and Akitas. The term “Spitz” describes groups of breeds with similar features. Of course, the Pomeranian is nowhere near the size of these dogs, even if it resembles them. When the Spitz dogs came to Europe, they further diverged with the so-called Victorian Explosion.

The Pomeranian was a result of that development when it split off from the Spitz dogs in the mid-1800s. The first pups were much larger, with some weighing up to 30 pounds! When the United Kingdom’s Kennel Club (KC) recognized the breed in 1870, selective breeding brought them down to almost 18 pounds. Queen Victoria advocated for even smaller dogs, which led to the present-day size.


The Pomeranian may be a small dog today, but its personality is larger than life. It is a lively and spirited pup that lets you know it’s there. That also applies to larger dogs, which it isn’t afraid to challenge. Yet underneath that tough-guy facade is a sweetheart that is affectionate with their family, including kids. They are somewhat guarded around strangers, which isn’t unusual for a companion animal.


The Pomeranian is intelligent and, thus, needs mental stimulation to be happy. It’s not an overly sensitive dog, but positive reinforcement is essential with this little guy.

Like many small breeds, this pup tends to bark a lot. It’s a bad habit you’ll have to manage as a puppy. Otherwise, the Pomeranian is fairly low-key.

white pomeranian dog running in a park
Image Credit: Tam and Trace Photography, Shutterstock

Health & Care

The main health concerns for the Pomeranian are collapsing tracheas and luxating patellas. We recommend only buying from sellers who conduct the recommended pre-breeding screenings by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). They should also include a cardiac exam and ophthalmologist evaluation in part because of the breed’s risk for cataracts.

Suitable for:

Apartment dwellers and individuals with the time to devote to having a pet will find the Pomeranian a delightful choice as a family pet. It is also good for first-time dog owners. This pup will lavish you with love and attention. Besides, it’s so darn cute! How can you not find this pup the most adorable pet ever?

Divider 1

Maltese Overview

Maltese dog playing in the grass
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

The Maltese is another ancient breed that likely has genetic links to the Pomeranian and the Spitz clade. The pup gets its name from the Mediterranean island. Archaeological evidence suggests that the Phoenicians, Egyptians, and Romans knew of this breed, although the modern-day breed probably differs quite a bit from its ancestors.

Unlike the Pomeranian, AKC recognized the breed not long after its establishment, with the Maltese added to the ranks in 1888. Today, it is the 39th most popular pup.

Its most noticeable feature is its pure white coat offset by its dark eyes. Its fur is like silk with no undercoat.


The Maltese has the spunky and sometimes feisty nature you often see in small dogs. Yet, it also has a gentle side that is friendly and affectionate with its family. It’s not as welcoming of strangers, which is common for lap dogs used to being the center of attention.

Like the Pomeranian, it is susceptible to separation anxiety. This pup doesn’t like to be left alone.


The Maltese is intelligent and, thus, easy to train. It’s an excellent choice for the first-time pet owner. It has a moderate tendency to be nippy, which you must control as a puppy. It can also be a barker.

However, it has low wanderlust potential. This dog seems to know a good thing when it sees it. It is quite playful but keeps its intensity in check.

person training a white Maltese dog with tennis ball on the beach
Image Credit: Daniel Torobekov, Pexels

Health & Care

The Maltese is a relatively healthy dog with a decent lifespan. Heart issues and luxating patellas are the main issues with the breed. You should have both evaluated, as per the recommendations of the American Maltese Association. Obesity and dental disease are other concerns to monitor, and their caloric and nutritional needs are similar to the Pomeranian.

Suitable for:

The Maltese will make a delightful pet for anyone that has the time to devote to this playful and affectionate pup. It’ll do its part to make training easy and keep you entertained. Its long hair requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best. We also suggest monitoring its body condition to ensure it stays at a healthy weight.

Divider 8

Which Breed Is Right for You?

The Pomeranian and Maltese’s shared ancestry explains many similarities between the two breeds. Both are outgoing despite their small sizes. They are adaptable and intelligent. The differences are minor. The Pomeranian sheds, while the Maltese does not. Both require frequent grooming. It boils down to how you connect with the pups, but both will bring joy into your life.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: Left – Pomeranian (skorchanov, Pixabay) | Right – Maltese (Yunus Tuğ, Pexels)

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database