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Maltese vs. Maltipoo: What’s the Difference?

Are you curious about the Maltese vs. the Maltipoo? In this article, we review the attributes that make them similar and the ones that make them different. Find out what you can expect from both dogs!

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Last Updated: April 28, 2021 | 9 min read

Maltese vs Maltipoo

The Maltese and the Maltipoo are small dogs who are full of personality and fun. As the Maltese is one half of the Maltipoo they are very similar simply because they share the same D.N.A.

The Maltipoo is slightly different in temperament, in that he is livelier and more active than the Maltese, and therefore he needs slightly more attention. He does, however, require much less devotion when it comes to his grooming.

Both breeds are small guys who are bursting with character, so let’s take a closer look at why they are firm family favorites across the world.

Breed Comparison

Maltese

  • Height 8-9 Inches
  • Weight 4-8 Pounds
  • Temperament Docile, Brave, Playful
  • Energy Average
  • Health Average
  • Lifespan 12-15 Years
  • Price $1,000 and Up

Maltipoo

  • Height 8-14 Inches
  • Weight 5-20 Pounds
  • Temperament Affectionate, Gentle, Lively
  • Energy Average
  • Health Average
  • Lifespan 12-16 Years
  • Price $800 and Up

Breed History

The Maltese is an ancient dog dating back thousands of years, whereas the Maltipoo is a designer breed that is relatively new.

Maltese

Two White Dogs With Bows Standing Outside
The Maltese’s history is one of the longest-lasting breeds ever.

The Maltese is a purebred pup and is believed by some to have originated from Malta, whereas some believe that he originates from Italy, or other colonies surrounding Turkey and Syria. Wherever he hailed from, what cannot be questioned is that he was the most popular toy dog for Royalty and the upper classes in many societies since 3500 B.C.

The Egyptians were known to build grand tombs for their Maltese because it was believed that they had special healing powers. Many well-known figures, such as Aristotle and Queen Elizabeth I, succumbed to the Maltese’s charms, and as such, they are regularly found in famous artwork.

The breed was nearly destroyed in the 17th Century when breeders attempted to make him the size of a squirrel. But Chinese fanciers stepped in and saved him, by breeding him with their similar toy dogs. When they restored the breed, they took him back to England where he was refined to the pup that we know and love today. The Maltese is currently the 37th most popular dog in America, ranked by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Maltipoo

Three Brown Puppies on a Blue Chair
This adorable creature was created in the States, but no one is exactly sure when.

The Maltipoo is a mixed breed, the result of crossbreeding the Maltese and the Toy Poodle. His other popular names include the Maltidoodle or a Moodle. He was created in America; however, the official date is unknown.

He was bred to combine the cuteness of both parents, but the intelligence and more active personality of the Poodle. The Maltipoo is not recognized by the AKC as he is a relatively new designer breed, but nonetheless, he is becoming a popular family pet across the world.

His other parent, the Poodle, is a purebred dog, more commonly known as the flamboyant national dog of France for his pretty tufts and pompon haircuts. He comes in three sizes: the Standard measuring 15 inches or taller in height, the Miniature measuring under 15 inches, and the Toy measuring 10 inches and under. Each is the same dog, just a variation in size.

However, unbeknownst to even the most knowledgeable of dog fanatics, the Poodle is originally a duck hunter from Germany, and his incredible nose has also lent him to truffle hunters throughout Europe. He is now more commonly known to sit on the laps of beautiful French Aristocrats and Royalty alike, and he is currently ranked as the 7th most popular dog in America by the AKC.

Appearance

Fluffy Dogs Standing in a Road
The Maltese only comes in white, whereas the Maltipoo comes in a variety of colors.

The Maltese is small in size, measuring between 8 and 10 inches in both the male and female and only weighs between 4 to 8 pounds. The Maltipoo varies in both his height and weight; he is often taller at up to 14 inches, but can be as small as 8 inches, and weighs anywhere between 5 and 20 pounds.

The Maltipoo also varies in many colors, such as white, cream, gray, silver, blue, black, apricot, brown, and coffee, and can also have slightly different colored ears from the rest of his body, whereas the Maltese is only white.

The Maltipoo also enjoys a variety of coat types, such as curly, wavy, or silky straight, and his fur is either medium or long in length. Being a mixed breed, the Maltipoo can take on the appearance of either parent and is therefore excitingly varied. The Maltese, however, has a silky straight coat that reaches all the way to the ground.

These guys share the same eyes, button-shaped and dark brown (on rare occasions they can be blue for the lighter Maltipoos). Their small black noses and black lined lips poke out of a short mustache, with a mischievous smile.

Beware of breeders who offer a ‘teacup’ size dog of either breed as they are prone to genetic disorders and are often riddled with health issues. Although a ‘teacup’ dog technically weighs five pounds or under and therefore a small Maltese could be considered as one, they are bred from the runts of litters in order to make them as small as possible.

Temperament

Happy White Dogs Looking Up
Both dogs are gentle yet playful, but the Maltipoo tends to be more sociable.

The Maltese is a charming canine who always gets his own way. He loves nothing more than to sit on his master’s lap and will happily take all the strokes and attention that he can get. He is sweet and cute, and as such, he believes that everyone wants to be his friend, be that human or animal.

The Maltipoo is similar in the Maltese’s temperament, however, he generally takes on his Poodle parent’s intelligence and curiosity in addition to the temperament of his Maltese parent. He equally enjoys sitting on his owner’s lap for a bit of chill time, but only if he is allowed to enjoy some fun time, or a good romp in the garden beforehand. Overall, he is more outgoing and livelier than the Maltese.

As the Maltipoo is a hybrid dog he can take on a mix of either parent’s temperament, the best way to see his temperament is to visit him as a puppy and to see how he interacts with his siblings and parents. Maltipoo owners suggest taking a puppy in the middle of the temperament scale, one who neither bullies his littermates nor shies away in the corner.

Exercise

Energetic Dogs Running Agility Courses
Both dogs only need minimal exercise, with the Maltipoo needing 30 minutes a day at most.

The Maltese and Maltipoo vary in exercise requirements. The Maltese, being a small dog, only requires a short walk or two a day, as he will get most of his exercise running around and playing indoors. This is more so that they can have a change of scenery and do their doggy business, so a walk around the block will suit them just fine. He is content being an all-day lapdog with the occasional leg stretch.

The Maltipoo is slightly more demanding, and he will need around 30 minutes of walking a day, with a few interactive play sessions throughout the day to keep him both physically and mentally stimulated. He has an affinity for water, thanks to his poodle’s traditional working background, so he will appreciate a regular trip to the local lake.

It is advised for both the Maltese and the Maltipoo, that because both breeds are vulnerable to Collapsing Trachea, that his lead is attached to a harness and not a collar. This helps to preserve his neck and decrease the likelihood of them suffering from it.

Both breeds, being sociable, are not great fans of being left alone for long periods of time and are known to suffer from Separation Anxiety, particularly the Maltese. If you do have to leave them for more than a few hours, then be sure to leave them with a treat-filled puzzle toy. Despite their small stature, they do have the propensity to become destructive if bored, and they have been known to chew their way through armchairs!

Training

Fluffy Dogs Waiting for a Treat
Early socialization is required for both dogs to ensure they behave well with other humans and pups.

Both the Maltese and the Maltipoo are people pleasers and enjoy treats and praise from their master, and therefore they both enjoy training. The Maltipoo, due to his Poodle parent’s character, is often more intelligent and enjoys being worked, and as such he takes to training quicker and is less stubborn than the Maltese.

Both of these guys require early socialization to ensure that they are well behaved around other humans and other animals, and are comfortable in a variety of situations outside of the family home.

The Maltese is sometimes known as being slightly yappy and this is a recognized behavioral issue known as ‘little-man syndrome’. This is because he either feels the need to prove his worth because he is so small, or he believes that he is the pack leader due to being over spoilt, and this results in him being aggressive or frequently barking.

The Maltipoo is less known for this behavior, however, if not socialized properly any dog breed could adopt this undesirable behavior.

Health

White Dogs Standing Outside
Generally speaking, both dogs are fairly healthy and only have a few genetic concerns.

Both the Maltese and the Maltipoo are generally healthy dogs. The Maltipoo, as with most hybrid dogs, are considered to be slightly healthier than purebreds as they have a mix of their parent’s genes.

The Maltese is required to have a Cardiac and a Patella Evaluation as per his National Breed Club. Both the Maltese and the Maltipoo are known to develop Luxating Patella, which is an abnormal kneecap development where the kneecap can slip out of place. They are also both known to experience Collapsed Trachea, which is where the rings of cartilage surrounding the windpipe collapse inward.

As in all small breeds, regular dental cleaning is required more so than the average dog for several reasons. Firstly, their teeth are more crowded in their mouth compared to that of a larger dog, and as such tartar build-up is much quicker. Secondly, because their roots are shallower periodontal diseases have more of a negative impact.

Nutrition

Cute Dogs Licking Their Lips
Both dogs are prone to obesity, so their food and treat intake will need to be monitored.

These guys differ in the amount of food that they eat per day. On average, a Maltese will eat between ½ and 1 cup of food a day, and the Maltipoo will eat slightly more at 1 to 1 ½ cups of food a day. This is entirely dependent on the size of your Maltipoo, if he is a larger Maltipoo and quite active then he may need slightly more. If you are unsure then ask your Veterinarian, and they will be able to advise you accordingly.

Both of these guys like to be spoiled with treats, so it is important to monitor their intake. Due to them being smaller dogs, who don’t need to be exercised greatly, they are susceptible to obesity.

Grooming

Dogs Getting Groomed
Both the Maltese and the Maltipoo are more demanding than the average pooch in regard to their grooming.

Neither breed have an undercoat, so they do not shed, making them hypoallergenic. This is great if you have a pet allergy or asthma, but as with any animal, hair loss will still occur so don’t expect a 100% hair-free zone.

The Maltese’s coat will need brushing every day to keep his long hair tangle-free and silky, and the Maltipoo will need less brushing at 2 or 3 times a week.

Because they do not have an undercoat they only need to be bathed once every 3 weeks as their skin is less protected, and they require specialized shampoo and conditioner to keep their hair in tip-top condition.

Both the Maltese and the Maltipoo also suffer from tear staining, which is an unsightly stain below their eyes, and the gathering of liquid often looks slimy and gritty. This may be less obvious in a darker-colored Maltipoo, but it is easy to be seen on the white Maltese and Maltipoos. Regularly wiping with tear-stain prevention wipes can help to alleviate the stains.

The Maltese, if he is a show dog, requires serious grooming to keep his long and silky coat glowing and presentable. While the Maltese doesn’t shed much, Maltese owners must invest a significant amount of time every day to ensure that there are no tangles and split ends do not occur.

Puppy Prices

Tiny White Puppies Outside
The purebred Maltese will cost more than the mixed-breed Maltipoo.

The Maltese, being a purebred dog, costs on average $1,000 whereas the Maltipoo costs on average, $800. That might seem a lot of money for such a small dog, but the great thing is they eat far less than your average pooch, and everything is bought in miniature so you save more money compared to, say, an English Mastiff!

Final Thoughts

As the Maltipoo is the pup of the Maltese it is fair to say that these breeds are very similar in both appearance, temperance, and most other characteristics. The Maltese is a purebred dog, whereas the Maltipoo is a mixed-breed dog and not yet recognized as a breed in his own right.

If you are after a lap dog that requires minimal exercise, then the Maltese would be the better choice, whereas if you are after a cute pooch that is slightly more lively, then the Maltipoo is more likely to be the better-suited pup.

Either way, these pint-sized pups are both seriously cute and full of character.

Leave a Comment

23 Comments

Ja rau

September 21, 2021 at 3:05 am

I have been looking for a maltipoo at a reasonable price. We are a senior couple who lost ours last year after 16 years. We would love to find a little girl to love.

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Apiffany Gaither Billings

September 21, 2021 at 4:00 pm

There are several options for finding a sweet maltipoo including adopting or purchasing a pup through your AKC local club.

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Shawn Lieber

September 14, 2021 at 11:43 pm

Excellent! Your knowledge and writing is both extensive and enjoyable.
Thank you..

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Stephanie

September 14, 2021 at 10:39 am

We're finally adopting a Maltipoo by the end of September and I am really glad that I found this information as we never had a dog before so everything is new. Thank you for the info. It was really helpful for me as a new dog owner.

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Apiffany Gaither Billings

September 14, 2021 at 1:20 pm

Congrats on your new pup!

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Lynn Hill

August 17, 2021 at 1:05 pm

We have a female Maltipoo named Domino. She is Black and White. She is the very best dog ever. She brings me so much joy and happiness. We also have a Husky. They get along so well. We have socialized both dogs. As soon as they were fully vacinated we started taking them to the Dog Park daily . They love it. DOMINO is not intimidated by big dogs. We take our Dogs everywhere with us. We are 71 and 65 and having the dogs make us walk daily. The best decision ever.

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Kelly Wilson

August 17, 2021 at 7:54 pm

Sounds like great dogs, Lynn! Thanks for commenting!

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Cathie K

August 15, 2021 at 4:22 am

For Erica.. We had a Maltese mix, a rescue, who had a similar condition. He would shake uncontrollably and couldn't stand. This happened twice and our Vet wasn't sure what was happening. I started online searching and found White Shaker Dog Syndrome. I called the vet to let her know my thoughts and she came to same conclusion. My fur baby was treated and did fine. He passed last year at 13 yrs old.

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Kelly Wilson

August 15, 2021 at 6:44 pm

Thanks for commenting Cathie - appreciate the feedback!

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Erika Irizarry

June 9, 2021 at 11:28 am

I'm worried about my 4-year-old Maltipoo, his name is Poppy and he has an extremely sensitive stomach. He has had 2 frightening episodes in 1 month's time. First, he daydreams and looks confused, and then he stands up and immediately falls back down, he gets really stuff and numb upon standing. I picked him up and he was shaking really bad.

When I put him back down he didn't have feeling in his legs because he immediately lost his balance and down and he is still shaking. Then he starts to hack up like he has something in his throat and then throws up this really white stuff and it has a really thick rough texture almost like saltwater taffy texture. It's really weird and after he gets it all out of his system, he is happy, energetic, and his perky old self again!

He goes from having a near-death experience and back to being quite lively in a matter of one 6 minute interval. Both episodes happened around the exact same time it was 8 pm and the first episode happened on May, 4th 2021 and it was far worse than the second one he had on June,3rd 2021, almost 1 month later? I don't want to see him go through a third episode on or around July 4th, 2021.

It's almost like he gets paralyzed and numb for a few mins, throws up the thick sticky white stuff, and is back to his upbeat self again. I'm thinking he could be having seizures, and I cannot afford to take him to the vet right now. Please if you have any thoughts of what is going on with him or what I can do to help him, I would greatly appreciate it.

I tried calling an emergency veterinarian online while this was happening, but they were absolutely no help at all and charged my credit card $50.00 and the vet never even got back to me. It was a disappointment as my dog is dying. That's what I seen in my eyes for at least 6 whole minutes and he's looking at me with pain in his eyes, like please please help me!

Brought tears to my eyes and he throws up and it's a miracle he's 100 percent healthy again. Please if you have any input, I need as many answers as I can get. Maybe there is a vet nearby you where I can get some positive answers. Thank you! If only dogs could talk and tell us what was wrong with them it would be so much easier to understand. Right?

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Kelly Wilson

June 10, 2021 at 5:34 pm

Hi Erika! That sounds like a very scary situation! Honestly, your best bet is to head to your veterinarian. Any guess that myself or anyone on my staff could provide will not give the same peace of mind as getting your pup checked out by a veterinarian. I understand you may not be able to afford the cost. I would encourage you to look at local resources that can help offset the cost of an expensive veterinarian visit. There are several organizations that can help with veterinary costs if needed, and it sounds to me like your pup really needs to be seen in person. Good luck!

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Chris Marcotte

June 6, 2021 at 4:37 pm

We found this Extremely Interesting and Very Informative! Thank You!

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Kelly Wilson

June 7, 2021 at 5:20 pm

Thank you, Chris! Glad you found it useful!

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Jan Bohls

April 21, 2021 at 9:37 pm

Great info. We have a Maltipoo that is now 4 months old. Jaxxon is very vocal, just like a little kid! We haven’t had a puppy in 20 years, do your info is quite helpful! Thank you!

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Kelly Wilson

April 25, 2021 at 3:07 pm

Glad you found it helpful, Jan! Thanks for stopping by to comment!

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Margaret

March 17, 2021 at 11:34 pm

This was very helpful. Looking to have one by October. Thanks for the information it was needed.Especially for a first time owner.

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Kelly Wilson

March 19, 2021 at 5:21 pm

You are welcome, Margaret! I'm glad you found the information useful! Good luck!

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William Henry

March 6, 2021 at 12:32 am

We have a Maltipoo and she is the best dog ever. Smart and affectionate. Lots of fun. We adore her.

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Kelly Wilson

March 8, 2021 at 3:13 pm

Sounds like a great pup, William! Thanks for stopping by to comment!

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Barbara Fuhrmann

July 23, 2020 at 12:46 am

We found this very interesting and informative. He's our rescue dog, and we were told that he's a purebred Maltese. However, he has curly hair. What a personality, Doesn't get along with other dogs.

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Kelly Wilson

July 24, 2020 at 2:45 pm

Thanks for the comment, Barbara! We'd recommend slow social interaction and soft corrections when he is around other dogs. You can always teach an old dog new tricks. Remember to reward the behavior you want. Good luck with your pup!

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Katherine Rubie

September 22, 2019 at 4:37 pm

Thank you! I am a pet sitter and the owner listed their dog as a Maltese. However, her coloring (gray and white mixed), fur type (medium length and wavy), and overall size made me feel this is not in fact a Maltese, but a poodle mix. After reading this article I'm convinced this dog must be a Maltipoo.

(She also has the collapsed trachea common to both these breeds.)

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Adrienne

August 21, 2019 at 9:01 pm

Thank you! I found this article very helpful!

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