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10 Dog Breeds Similar to Maltese’s

Written by: Ejay C.
| Published on February 19, 2024

The Maltese is a breed known for its elegance, companionship, and luxurious white coat, embodying the quintessence of a lapdog with a history that dates back over two millennia. Originating from the Mediterranean island of Malta, the Maltese have been a companion of royalty and a subject of artists’ admiration throughout the ages. Renowned for its gentle and affectionate nature, this breed is highly prized for its striking appearance and spirited personality. Despite its small size, the Maltese is fearless and possesses a lively character that endears it to many. For those who are captivated by the charm of the Maltese but are interested in exploring breeds with similar traits, several options share the Maltese’s affectionate nature, size, and even aspects of their luxurious coats. This article explores 10 dog breeds similar to the Maltese, delving into their characteristics and why they might be a fitting choice for enthusiasts of this beloved breed.

1. Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise shares many similarities with the Maltese, including a playful demeanor, a fluffy white coat, and a penchant for companionship. Originating from the Mediterranean region like the Maltese, Bichons have a cheerful disposition and thrive on interaction with their human families. Their hypoallergenic coat, which requires regular grooming to maintain its puffball appearance, is soft and velvety to the touch. Bichon Frises are known for their adaptability and can live happily in various environments, making them excellent pets for city dwellers and those with limited space.

2. Havanese

The Havanese, the national dog of Cuba, is another breed that shares the Maltese’s affinity for companionship and has a similar silky coat, though it comes in a wider range of colors. These dogs are renowned for their outgoing personality and their ability to form strong bonds with their owners. The Havanese are slightly sturdier than the Maltese and possess a playful and curious nature that makes them excellent family pets. Their coat, while luxurious, is more tolerable in different climates and can be kept in a long or shortcut depending on the owner’s preference.

3. Toy Poodle

Toy Poodles are known for their intelligence, elegance, and the hypoallergenic quality of their curly coats. They share the Maltese’s stature as excellent companions and lapdogs, with an added zest for life and agility that sees them excel in various dog sports. Toy Poodles are highly trainable and eager to please, making them suitable for a wide range of owners. Their coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting, similar to the Maltese but offers the benefit of minimal shedding.

4. Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terriers, or Yorkies, may have a more adventurous spirit than the Maltese, but they share the same size range and a fondness for being close to their humans. Known for their beautiful, silky coats that bear a resemblance to human hair, Yorkies are spirited, with a personality much larger than their small stature suggests. They are adaptable, enjoy accompanying their owners on outings, and can be quite vocal, making them excellent watchdogs in a petite package.

5. Pomeranian

Pomeranians are known for their fluffy coats and vivacious personalities. While they sport a more fox-like face compared to the Maltese, Pomeranians share the same affection for human companionship and have a similar size. Their double coat requires regular grooming to maintain its luxurious appearance, and they are known for their alertness and boldness, often unaware of their small size. Pomeranians are adaptable and can thrive in various living situations, making them beloved pets around the world.

6. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus, with their long, flowing coats and sweet nature, share the Maltese’s love for being a companion dog. Originally bred for royalty in China, Shih Tzus are friendly, outgoing, and enjoy a good cuddle, making them excellent family pets. Their coat can be kept long or trimmed short for easier maintenance, and they generally have a calm demeanor, though they can be lively and playful when the mood strikes.

7. Coton de Tulear

Coton de Tulears are known for their cotton-like coats and gentle, clownish personalities. They share the Maltese’s small size and affectionate nature, with a robustness that makes them excellent playmates for children. Cotons are adaptable, easy to train, and possess a happy-go-lucky attitude that endears them to everyone they meet. Their coat requires regular grooming to keep it soft and mat-free.

8. Papillon

Papillons are distinguished by their butterfly-like ears and share the Maltese’s small size and companionable nature. They are one of the oldest toy breeds, known for their intelligence and eagerness to learn. Papillons are active and enjoy participating in dog sports, offering a spirited companionship that is both affectionate and engaging. Their coat is long and silky, requiring regular grooming to maintain its elegant appearance.

9. Japanese Chin

Japanese Chins are known for their distinct Oriental expression and their cat-like behaviors, such as perching on high surfaces. They share the Maltese’s affectionate nature and preference for a peaceful environment. Japanese Chins are graceful, and charming, and possess a luxurious coat that requires regular grooming. They are excellent companions who form deep bonds with their families, thriving in a loving home.

10. Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apsos, originally from Tibet, share the Maltese’s long, flowing coat and devoted nature. They were bred as sentinel dogs in monasteries, which contributes to their alert and watchful demeanor. Lhasa Apsos are independent but affectionate with their families, enjoying a good cuddle while also being content with some alone time. Their coat requires regular grooming to prevent tangles and maintain its beauty.

While the Maltese hold a special place in the hearts of those who love them, several breeds offer similar companionship, size, and grooming needs. From the playful and agile Papillon to the sturdy and affectionate Coton de Tulear, each of these breeds provides an alternative for individuals and families looking for a small, affectionate companion dog. Whether you’re drawn to the Maltese for their luxurious coat, sweet disposition, or size, there’s likely a breed among these ten that will capture your heart and fit seamlessly into your life.


What Are Maltese’s Like? How Are They Different Than Other Breeds?

Maltese dogs, known for their flowing white coats and gentle, affectionate nature, have been cherished companions for over two millennia. Originating from the Mediterranean island of Malta, these small but spirited dogs have a rich history that includes being adored by royalty across Europe. Today, the Maltese continues to captivate dog lovers worldwide, not just for its elegant appearance but also for its charming personality. This article delves into the characteristics of the Maltese breed, highlighting what sets them apart from other breeds and what potential owners can expect from these adorable companions.

Understanding Maltese

The Maltese is a toy breed, known for its luxurious, silky white coat that reaches to the ground. Despite their refined appearance, Maltese are hardy and adaptable, capable of participating in agility and obedience competitions. They are renowned for their lively and playful nature, often described as puppy-like in their behavior throughout their lives. The breed is characterized by its expressive, dark eyes and black, button nose, which stand out against its pristine coat, giving the Maltese an eternally youthful appearance.

Temperament and Behavior

Maltese are known for their gentle and affectionate demeanor. They thrive on companionship and form strong bonds with their owners, often following them from room to room. Unlike some toy breeds that may be reserved or shy, Maltese are outgoing and enjoy meeting new people. They possess a fearless nature, often unaware of their small size, and can sometimes be protective of their families. Despite their small stature, Maltese are quite energetic and enjoy playtime, walks, and learning new tricks.

Physical Characteristics

The Maltese weigh under seven pounds, but what they lack in size, they make up for in personality. Their distinctive coat requires daily grooming to prevent mats and tangles and maintain its elegant appearance. Maltese do not have an undercoat, which makes them less prone to shedding and a good choice for people with allergies. Their compact size makes them ideal for apartment living and for owners who enjoy taking their pets along on adventures.

How Are They Different Than Other Breeds?

Maltese stands out from other breeds in several ways. Their combination of a glamorous coat, petite size, and playful yet affectionate temperament is unique. Unlike some small breeds that may exhibit more independent traits, Maltese are known for their unwavering loyalty and desire for constant companionship. Their lack of an undercoat sets them apart from many other long-haired breeds, contributing to their status as a hypoallergenic breed. Additionally, the Maltese’s history as a favored pet of nobility has imbued the breed with a sense of grace and dignity not always found in other toy breeds.

Health and Care

Maltese are generally healthy, with a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. However, they are prone to certain health issues, such as dental problems, luxating patella, and heart conditions. Regular veterinary care, along with proper nutrition and exercise, can help ensure a Maltese lives a long, healthy life. Their coat requires daily grooming to keep it in top condition, and they benefit from regular, gentle exercise to stay fit and happy.

Maltese in Society

The Maltese breed has a storied place in society, having been the companion of choice for aristocrats and royalty for centuries. Today, they are beloved by people from all walks of life, and cherished for their ability to provide unconditional love and companionship. Maltese often excel in dog sports like agility and obedience, showcasing their intelligence and eagerness to please. Their small size and adaptable nature make them well-suited to a variety of living situations, from bustling city apartments to quiet suburban homes.

The Maltese breed offers a unique blend of elegance, affection, and playful spirit, making them a cherished companion for many. Their distinct appearance, coupled with their loving and loyal nature, sets them apart from other toy breeds. While the Maltese may require regular grooming and care, the joy and companionship they provide in return make them a beloved member of any family. For those seeking a small breed with a big heart, the Maltese is an excellent choice, embodying the best qualities of a companion dog.

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