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Maltipoo

The Maltipoo is one of the smaller designer crossbreeds, and while still not common in the UK, it is growing in popularity. The breeds that make up the Maltipoo are the Maltese and the Poodle (Toy or sometimes Miniature).

Maltipoos can vary in size, shape, coat types and temperaments, depending on how they have been bred, but in all cases this is a small companion dog. The Maltipoo can be a first cross (with one Maltese and one Poodle parent, they can be bred back to one of the original breeds or be two Maltipoos bred together.

  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Little toy dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Don't mind
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • Great with other pets
  • May require training to live with kids

Key Facts

Height: The usual height of a Maltipoo depends on the size of the parents used. They can vary widely from 24cm to 36cms, but are usually on the smaller end of that range. Maltese - not exceeding 25cm; Poodle - Toy under 28cm; Miniature between 28-38cm
Colours: The usual colours of a Maltipoo vary as well and can be any of these solid colours with or without white markings
Maltese: Pure white but slight lemon markings are permissible
Poodle: All solid colours
UK Kennel Club Groups: Toy (Maltese) and Utility (Shih Tzu)

Ratings

Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 2/5
Easy to train: 5/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 3/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 1/5
Maltipoo sitting on owner's lap

Personality

Like most crossbreeds, the personality of a Maltipoo depends on the parents and how they have been bred and reared, but both parents are affectionate companion dogs who bond closely to their owners.

The Maltese

Despite their small size the Maltese is a comparatively robust little dog who as long as they are well-bred and socialised, are active, friendly, trusting and alert. They bond very closely to their owners and will want to go everywhere with them.

The Poodle

The Poodle is a lively, sociable, outgoing and affectionate dog who is both intelligent and amusing, and makes a wonderful and fun companion. They love to be included in all family pursuits and can be good watch dogs, announcing visitors loudly!

Both the Toy and the Miniature Poodles are very clever, trainable dogs and enjoy learning new skills, games and tricks.

It is clear however from looking at the two breeds that make up the Maltipoo that this is a small companion dog who will enjoy training and games - but will mostly enjoy being with their owner.

The personality of a Maltipoo seems to be more consistent when they are first crosses (F1). As a line is successively bred, they can be either bred back to one of the original breeds (and so strengthen either the Maltese or the Poodle personalities) or else be bred to another Maltipoo - in which case there is less predictability in temperament (and in-breeding becomes more of a potential issue).

Responsible breeders should be prioritising behaviour as highly as health and so it is important to find a good breeder. A well-bred Maltipoo should be outgoing and confident, not nervous, shy or fearful.

Maltipoo dog standing on sofa

History & Origins

Like many of the designer crossbreeds, the Maltipoo originated in the United States in a quest to find a small companion dog that didn’t shed and that would fit into any family’s lifestyle no matter how small their home and garden.

The two breeds that go into the formation of the Maltipoo are the Maltese and the Poodle.

The Maltese

Country of Origin: Malta

This is one of the earliest of the small companion dog breeds. They may well have existed in Malta for hundreds of years, although the earliest records are from the early 1800s where they became known as lapdogs of the nobility and were frequently seen in paintings of the time. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries they became increasingly popular both in Malta and wider afield, and thanks to both their appearance and their temperament, they quickly found fans around the world, first appearing as a show dog in England in 1859.

The Poodle

Country of origin: Germany

The original Poodle is the Standard Poodle who was a water retrieving dog. Their unusual haircuts were not about fashion, but are the result of owners wanting to make sure their dogs didn’t get waterlogged and so too heavy to swim easily in lakes. They shaved off as much hair as possible while keeping the vital organs and joints protected. The Miniature and Toy Poodles were created purely as smaller versions of the original Poodle for owners who didn’t want such a large dog but were enchanted by their personalities and enthusiasm for all kinds of work. These smaller Poodles quickly became popular and many found work in circuses thanks to their trainability, their joy of learning new tricks and their bright, happy temperaments.

The Maltipoo can have any combination of the two breeds in their appearance, behaviour and temperament.

Ideal Owner

The Maltipoo would suit an owner or a family with older sensible children who may have a smaller property or just want a fun companion who doesn’t need or want a great deal of exercise - but will still enjoy joining in all the family’s activities. They do not like to be left alone and so would need an owner who is either at home most of the time or can take their dog with them wherever they go.

Health and Common Issues

One aim with crossbreeds is to dilute or eliminate any inherited health issues that may exist within one or other of the breeds. This dilution or elimination is only likely if only one parent is the carrier of any particular condition, and where this is a first cross (F1). As this can’t always be guaranteed, all parents should be health tested prior to breeding:

Maltese - there are no required health tests but eye testing should be considered. Many small breeds can also be prone to luxating patellas.

Poodle - eye tests and hip scoring should be done.

Information on health tests for both breeds can be found on the Kennel Club’s website.

Separation related behaviour problems are very common with Maltipoos.

The Maltipoo can be a bit of a barker - especially if bored or if left alone.

Like many toy dogs, toilet training can be slow in this crossbreed and so owners need to be patient and consistent.

Exercise Needs

While this is a surprisingly active small dog, the Maltipoo will be happy with half an hour’s walking each day, as long as they have plenty of games and owner interaction.

Space Requirements

This is a small dog who can live in a flat or a smaller property as long as they have access to the outdoors for toileting and walks.

Nutrition and Feeding

Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate. Their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.

Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the dog feeding guidelines of his particular food.

Grooming Maltipoos

Maltipoo coats can be anything from Poodle curls to the long silky coat of the Maltese, so they can vary from soft and silky to thick and wavy. They are unlikely to shed much if at all, but they will require trimming as well as grooming every other day.

Find a good local groomer who can either look after your Maltipoo’s coat or teach you how to do it yourself as their coat develops.

Dog ear care is extremely important as Poodles can have problems with excessive hair inside the ears which can cause infections or sore ears.

Training Maltipoos

The Maltipoo is far cleverer than many people think and they will enjoy learning tricks and games. They can be trained to walk on a lead and harness as well as come back when called. While this may look like a cute fluffy dog, the Maltipoo can be surprisingly game when out and can chase squirrels and even the neighbour’s cat!

This is a breed that needs early and ongoing dog socialisation so they gain confidence with people and other dogs.

Family Friendly Dog Breeds

The Maltipoo makes a fun family companion but as they are small and rather delicate, they suit families with older sensible children.

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