- Average Height: Up to 14 inches
- Average Weight: 5 to 15 pounds
- Coloring: White or Cream
- Coat Type: Scruffy to Curly
- Dog Breed Group: Hybrid
- Average Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
Key Personality Traits:
AffectionateGood with Cats/DogsGood with KidsCoachableDocilePlayful
This cute little dog is a cross of a Maltese and a Toy or Miniature Poodle. Clever, playful, and affectionate, Maltipoos retain their puppy-like looks and behavior well into their teen years. The coat can be scruffy or curly and comes in a variety of colors, although it is most often white or cream.
The Maltipoo is a crossbreed. Opening your heart and home to a crossbreed is like opening a beautifully wrapped package on your birthday: you never know what’s going to be inside. It’s often assumed that a crossbreed will combine the best of two or more breeds, but genetics doesn’t always work that way. The way genes combine and express themselves is not necessarily within a breeder’s control, even less so when two breeds are crossed. That’s something to keep in mind before you lay down lots of money for a dog that you have been assured will be hypoallergenic or healthier than a purebred.
If ever there were a living, breathing, barking incarnation of cuteness, it is the Maltipoo. A mix of two of the more popular of small dog breeds, the Maltese and the Poodle, the dogs are small, clever, playful and affectionate. They’re also forever young, staying puppy-like well into their senior years. Those qualities have made the Maltipoo one of the more popular deliberate mixes.
A well-bred, well-raised Maltipoo should be friendly, people oriented, and easy to train — and just a little bit of a mischief-maker. Be warned, however, that a Maltipoo from an irresponsible or inexperienced breeder can be a mess of the combined genetic problems of his ancestors, without the benefit of the kind of health and temperament testing done by good breeders. That can mean a snappy, noisy tyrant of a dog, nearly impossible to housetrain and with a wide variety of costly health problems.
Crossbred puppies like the Maltipoo — even within the same litter — can look very different from one another, and can look the same as or different from either of their parents. The Maltipoo is usually extremely small, but his size, color, coat type, temperament, activity level, and health risks will vary depending on what that individual puppy has inherited from his parents.
A Maltipoo is likely to be a bit of a barker, making him a good watchdog. Nip nuisance barking in the bud with gentle correction. And though he’ll probably like children and other dogs, you’ll need to protect him from excessive roughness from either.
Generally, Maltipoos weigh about 10 pounds and have a slightly scruffy coat, although it can also be curly like the Poodle’s coat. They can come in a variety of colors, but are often white or cream.
Other Quick Facts
- Maltipoos are first and foremost companion dogs who should live in the home. They are too small and delicate to live outdoors.
- With their sweet, gentle temperament, Maltipoos can make great therapy dogs.
- Because of their small size, Maltipoos are best suited to homes with older children who will handle them carefully.
The History of the Maltipoo
People have been crossing types of dogs for millennia in the attempt to achieve a certain look, temperament, or working ability. That’s how many well-known purebreds, including the Affenpinscher, Australian Shepherd, Black Russian Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Doberman Pinscher, German Wirehaired Pointer, Leonberger, and more, originally got their starts.
Crossbreeds such as the Maltipoo have become popular over the past 10 or 20 years as people seek out dogs that are different from the everyday Yorkie or Poodle or that they think will have certain appealing characteristics. For instance, it’s often claimed (falsely, by the way) that crossbreeds are hypoallergenic or have fewer health problems or will carry the best traits of each breed.
Unfortunately, genes aren’t quite that malleable. Genetic traits sort out randomly in each dog, so without selecting for certain characteristics over many generations, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the best of each breed. And no matter what his breed or mix, an individual dog may be more or less allergenic or intelligent or healthy.
Whatever his breed, cross, or mix, love your dog for what he is: a unique, special, and loving companion.
Maltipoo Temperament and Personality
Temperament is affected partly by inheritance and partly by environment, so it can be variable. A Maltipoo’s temperament depends on several things including the temperaments of his parents, especially the mother, who is more likely to influence a puppy’s behavior; the amount of socialization he receives; and the particular genes he inherits. Both Poodles and Malteses tend to be friendly and outgoing and generally shouldn’t be shy. A well-bred and socialized Maltipoo should be cuddly, gentle, and loving. Say “no thanks” if a puppy’s parents won’t let you approach them, shy away from you, or growl at you, or if puppies do any of those things.
Maltipoos tend to enjoy going for walks and playing with balls and other toys, both indoors and out. If you train a Maltipoo with positive reinforcement techniques, showing him what you like by rewarding him with praise, play, and treats, he’s likely to learn quickly and will enjoy showing off the tricks he knows.
Start training your puppy the first week you bring him home. Puppies can start learning as young as eight weeks old, which is a great way to avoid allowing him to pick up bad habits and become more headstrong as he gets older. On top of training, socialize your Maltipoo as much as possible with other puppies by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old. A great way to do this is by enrolling him in puppy kindergarten class. Just be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed.
Communicate with your breeder to describe the qualities, temperament, and personality you’re looking for in your Maltipoo. Reading those qualities in a puppy can be tricky, so make sure you spend time with the breed’s parents to evaluate their personalities as well. This can provide a more accurate window into what you can expect from your potential new puppy.
What You Need to Know About Maltipoo Health
Just as all humans can inherit particular diseases, all dogs — regardless if they’re purebreds, crossbreeds, or mixes — can be susceptible to certain genetic conditions. A breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on her puppies is not a reputable breeder. Instead, look for a breeder who is open and honest about any and all health problems and the incidence in which these problems occur in her lines.
Maltipoos may be susceptible to the health problems of both the Maltese and Toy Poodle, but there’s also a chance that the genetic diversity introduced by mixing two breeds may lower the chances of developing certain inherited diseases. The very nature of genetic variation makes this difficult to predict for a mixed breed dog.
It can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of genetic issues, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who stays committed to breeding healthy dogs. Additionally, their entire line of dogs should have independent certifications proving they have been screened for genetic defects and deemed healthy for breeding. At a bare minimum, ask for certifications from health registries like the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and Canine Eye Registry Foundation to ensure your puppy has been thoroughly screened before bringing him home.
Once you’re confident in your puppy’s genetic history, the responsibility for ensuring his health does not end there. Obesity is an all-too-common health concern for pups and their owners, and it is entirely within your control. Keeping a Maltipoo at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life. Make the most of diet and exercise to help ensure a healthier dog for life.
The Basics of Maltipoo Grooming
The Maltipoo’s grooming needs will vary depending on his coat, but all Maltipoos need regular, even daily, brushing. Those with the curlier Poodle coat require professional grooming every 4 to 6 weeks. Some owners learn to use the clippers and do the job themselves, but most rely on the pros. Either way, it’s essential to take proper care of the coat, because without regular grooming it will quickly become a matted mess that can cause painful skin infections at the roots of the hair.
Your Maltipoo’s ears need to be kept clean and dry, so clean them regularly with an ear cleaning solution recommended by your veterinarian. The rest is basic care. Trim your Maltipoo’s nails as needed, usually every week or two. Small dogs are prone to periodontal disease, so brush his teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
Choosing a Breeder for Your Maltipoo
Looking for the right puppy is synonymous with looking for the right breeder. Reputable breeders will help match you with a puppy that fits what you’re looking for, and will also screen her litter for any discernible health concerns. She is more interested in getting pups in the right homes than walking away with a big paycheck.
If you’re working with a good breeder, you should be able to freely ask her questions about health, temperament, and more. In exchange, good breeders will also ask questions of their own about what you’re looking for in a dog and what kind of life you can provide for him. A good breeder can tell you about the history of the crossbreed, and discuss what health problems affect the breed and the steps she takes take to avoid those problems.
Looking for a breeder online? Some red flags to look out for include seeing puppies always available, having multiple litters on the premises, and being able to pay for individual puppies online with a credit card. Good breeders will always champion quality placement over convenient purchase. For them, it’s not all about making a quick transaction.
The old adage “let the buyer beware” fully applies as you’re looking to purchase a Maltipoo. Distinguishing between a reputable breeder and a puppy mill is not always easy. There’s never a 100% guarantee you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the crossbreed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. Use your veterinarian as a trusted resource during the process; she can often refer you to a reputable breeder, rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies.
Finally, before you decide to buy a puppy, consider your readiness for a young Maltipoo. Puppies are fun, but they require a lot of time and effort before they grow up to become the dogs of your dreams. An adult Maltipoo may better suit your lifestyle, because they may already be trained and will likely be less active, destructive, and demanding than a puppy. Adults dogs are also more predictable when it comes to personality and health. If you are interested in acquiring an older dog through breeders, ask them about purchasing a retired show dog or if they know of an adult dog who needs a new home. For adoption, keep reading to learn more.
Adopting a Maltipoo From a Rescue or Shelter
Maltipoo puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. But there’s no need to pay big bucks for a Maltipoo. There are many great options available if you want to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or breed rescue organization. Here is how to get started.
Search Online. Petfinder.com and other popular search engines will help you find you find a Maltipoo in your area quickly. You can search using specific criteria (housetraining status, for example) or using a broad query (e.g. all the Maltipoos available on Petfinder across the country). AnimalShelter.org is a great way to find animal rescue groups in your area. Additionally, some local newspapers have a “pets looking for homes” section to broaden your search.
Consider tapping into social media to find your new Maltipoo as well. Post on your channel with exactly what you’re looking for so that your entire community can be on the lookout for you.
Reach Out to Local Experts. Pet pros in your area like vets, dog walkers, and groomers can be fantastic resources to aid in your search for a Maltipoo. These types of individuals are often the first network people turn to when they make the tough decision to give up a dog, so they may be the fastest way to connect you to a Maltipoo in need of a home.
Find Rescue Groups. Search online for Maltipoo rescues in your area. Poodle rescues and Maltese rescues are also good sources for this crossbreed. Many of these groups also offer fostering opportunities so, with training, you could bring a Maltipoo home for a trial to see what the experience is like.
Whether you’re getting your Maltipoo from a breeder, a rescue, or anywhere else, signing a contract that spells out responsibilities on both sides is a must. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights to help you understand what to expect when you get a dog from a shelter. Research to see if your state has puppy lemon laws, which will help clarify your rights and recourses when it comes to adopting.
Puppy or adult, a breeder purchase or a rescue, take your Maltipoo to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.
How big do Maltipoos get?
Maltipoos are small, but their actual size will largely depend on the size of its parents. Maltipoos are a crossbreed between a Maltese and a Poodle. The variance in their size tends to come from their poodle parents, who can range in both height and weight.
In general, Maltipoos grow up to 14 inches tall and weigh between 5 and 15 pounds. However, Maltipoos are sometimes bred as a “teacup” variety, which means their full-grown adult size can amount to as little as 8 inches in height and 5 pounds in weight.
How long do Maltipoos live?
Maltipoos generally have a lifespan between 10-15 years. No dog is free from potential genetic issues, but because Maltipoos are a crossbreed with greater genetic diversity than purebred dogs, they may have a smaller chance of developing these types of health problems over their life. As with any pet, proper diet, exercise, and care are critical to ensuring Maltipoos life a long and happy life.
Do Maltipoos shed?
This curly-hair dog sheds very little to none at all. Much of Maltipoos’ shedding potential is a result of whether or not their coat resembles their Poodle parent, who does not shed at all, or their Maltese parent, who sheds only slightly.
Are Maltipoos hypoallergenic?
Maltipoos are one of the most hypoallergenic dogs you can own, making them great companions for people with allergies. While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, Maltipoos’ lack of shedding and minimal dander put them close to the top of the list of allergy-friendly pooches.