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Maltipoo Breed Photo

Maltipoo

Maltipoos make the perfect companion for young families, empty nesters, and everyone in between. Highly devoted to their humans, they love to accompany them on walks (and on the couch, of course). Plus, they’re non-shedders and make great apartment dwellers.
By Sierra Burgos and Claudia Guthrie
Updated February 23, 2021
Maltipoo
Breed Group
Dog Size
Other Traits
Temperament

Maltipoo

height
  • 8–14 inches
weight
  • 5–20 pounds
life span
  • 10–13 years
breed size
  • small (0-25 lbs.)
good with
  • children
  • seniors
  • dogs
  • cats
  • families
temperament
  • gentle
  • friendly
  • outgoing
  • playful
intelligence
  • high
shedding amount
  • infrequent
exercise needs
  • medium
energy level
  • active
barking level
  • frequent
drool amount
  • low
breed group
  • hybrid
coat length/texture
  • medium
  • long
  • curly
colors
  • black
  • gray
  • red
  • blue
  • cream
  • white
  • fawn
  • brown / chocolate / liver
  • gold / yellow
patterns
  • bicolor
  • tricolor
  • tuxedo
  • sable
  • merle
other traits
  • hypoallergenic
  • easy to train
  • requires lots of grooming
  • low prey drive
  • apartment-friendly
  • good for first-time pet owners
  • strong loyalty tendencies

The Maltipoo is a winning combination of a Maltese and poodle. Gentle, playful, and highly intelligent, this hybrid inherits every positive quality from each parent breed, making them a smart, active and affectionate crossbreed.

Maltipoos are patient, kind companions for everyone young and old. They'll fit right into almost any home, whether it's a busy family circus or a table for one. A Maltipoo won't get bigger than 20 pounds. It's because of this adorable disposition and a nearly "hypoallergenic" coat that Maltipoos are growing in popularity. Easy to train and easy to love, Maltipoos are a great choice for a first-time dog owner or animal lover.

Appearance

Maltipoos won't grow to be more than 14 inches tall, putting them in the small dog category. They can range anywhere from 5–20 pounds. The soft coat is typically a medium-to-long length that's wavy or curly. Thanks to their diverse parent breeds, a Maltipoo can be just about any color, but they're most commonly white and cream. As a designer breed, it can be tough to predict their appearance for certain. They can be bicolor or tricolor, or even have a marbled coat.

Portrait of blonde maltipoo puppy
Dark colored maltipoo puppy stands on grass wearing purple dog tags
Left: Maltipoos shed very little, don't drool, and are so itty bitty that they're a good choice for people with allergies. | Credit: Manuela Neulist / Getty
Right: Because of their diverse parent breeds, Maltipoos can have wavy or curly coats that come in all kinds of colors. | Credit: Cereal With Dogs / Getty

There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog, as all produce allergy-inducing dander and saliva. However, because Maltipoos shed very little, don't drool much and are so small, this hybrid breed can be less likely to trigger allergies in some people.

Some potential owners seek an even smaller version of the Maltipoo, known as the "teacup Maltipoo," but buyers should beware—the breeding process for these miniscule pups can be unethical. It's important to note that the AKC doesn't recognize teacup breeds, as there are many health concerns that befall the tiny pups. Maltipoos are already tiny as is, so check with a veterinarian before seeking out a "teacup Maltipoo."

Adam Christman, DVM, is a veterinarian in Brick, N.J., with a special interest in small animal medicine. He says when dogs are bred to be "teacup"-sized, breeders are only focusing on appearance and not on what is being done to the dog physiologically. 

"The pocket dogs that you put in your purse, they're adorable, but they can have some problems," Christman says. "They can have terrible dental disease, they can have luxating patellas and they can have some heart disease issues. And when they're little, they're more susceptible, especially the little babies, to pneumonia and upper respiratory [problems]. I always like to educate and set expectations so that way pet parents know what they might be getting themselves into."

Here are some warning signs that can help you tell if a puppy breeder might be operating unethically:

  • A website states specific wait times for puppies.
  • A breeder offers multiple mixed breeds for sale. 
  • You're not allowed to visit the breeder, or don't receive satisfactory answers to your questions about their lines of dogs. 
  • A breeder offers to ship puppies.
  • The breeder's website has vague contact information, such as no phone number, no email, doesn't offer video or in-person previews of your pup and her environment, and so on.

Temperament

The Maltipoo temperament is hard to beat. They are lovers, through and through—gentle, affectionate, fun-loving, and happy. Maltipoos are completely satisfied watching life go by from the lap of their human, and are just as prepared to play fetch as they are to snuggle. 

Marlene Kingston, breeder and trainer at My Doodle Maltipoos, has a huge respect for each individual parent breed that makes this hybrid so unique. "Each [Maltipoo] has a big personality and a lot of energy that comes from the poodle parent, but they also want to be loved and cuddled by their human, which comes from their Maltese parent," Kingston says. 

Reddish blonde maltipoo puppy stands sideways on table outdoors
These little dogs look like teddy bears, and they're just as happy to play fetch as they are to snuggle.
| Credit: OlgaOvcharenko / Adobe Stock

Maltipoos are alert and will bark at anything suspicious (or not-so-suspicious)—but don't expect them to show any aggression. They can get along with just about anybody, as long as they're properly socialized in puppyhood.

Living Needs

The Maltipoo knows they're a member of the family and should be treated as such. They need to be indoors with their humans, and they may even designate a spot on the couch as their own. As they're not huge fans of being outdoors, there's no need for a big backyard to please this pup—they actually thrive in apartments and smaller spaces. That said, they still need daily exercise to burn out their (sometimes high) energy. Maltipoos can also be noisy and will alert their family if they see or hear something out of the ordinary. If they'll be living close to neighbors, they'll need consistent training to learn what's worth a bark and what's not.

An abundance of patience is required; Maltipoos may be intelligent, but they are also sensitive. Aggressive tactics will cause them to shut down (as with any dog). Positive reinforcement, plenty of treats, and play will speed up the training process and make it enjoyable for the pooch and the trainer.

Having such gentle personalities, Maltipoos get along well with almost anyone—animal or human. They do fine in multi-dog or cat households whether or not they've been raised alongside their pet companions. Maltipoos can be a wonderful family dog and are excellent around children, Christman says, but might need some guidance to know which toy is theirs to play with and which is off-limits.

White Maltipoo puppy runs down paved country road
Portrait of blonde maltipoo with Luke nametag
Left: Cuddle bugs as they are, Maltipoos also love a good walk or game of fetch to tucker them out. | Credit: Rita Petcu / Getty
Right: Always eager to play, incorporating some fun into training your Maltipoo will yield the best results. | Credit: Philip Thompson / EyeEm / Getty

For smaller children, supervision is required. "It is not recommended to leave small children alone with a Maltipoo, as they are small and fragile dogs that can be seriously injured if a child were to simply fall on them," Kingston says. 

As puppy and child grow more mature, they'll be able to bond over hours of ball-chasing and cuddling on the couch.

Care

Although they have a low-shedding coat, Maltipoos can be high maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming. Their medium-long wooly coat will require daily brushing to keep clean and healthy. If not brushed enough, they can develop painful matting or sores on their skin. They'll need a bath once a month and clippings every few, except for the area around their face and eyes, which will need monthly trims. Smaller dog breeds typically spend more time indoors than out, meaning their nails won't have the chance to file down naturally. Examine and trim your pup's nails every month to ensure they stay healthy. Expect to brush your Maltipoo's teeth at least a couple of times a week, as well.

Maltipoos tend to have high energy levels, but they only need a moderate amount of exercise. A short 15 minute walk or a game of fetch indoors will keep them happy and healthy. They are eager to play, so incorporating some fun into training will deliver the best results.

"Maltipoos require plenty of time to be potty trained, whether it is using the wee pads indoors or going outside to do their business," Christman says. 

white blonde maltipoo puppy hed in person's two hands
Credit: OlgaOvcharenko / Adobe Stock

Health

The Maltipoo lifespan is anywhere from 10–13 years. While health issues aren't extremely common for Maltipoos, there are still conditions to look out for as a responsible puppy parent.

"White shaker syndrome is something [to discuss] with your veterinarian," Christman says. "Not all Maltipoos develop it, but it is a condition to be aware of. Make sure that both the parents of a Maltipoo have health clearances through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for patellas. Luxating patellas is quite common in this breed." Christman adds that allergies, dental disease, and progressive retinal atrophy can be problems for the tiny hybrid as well. Most small dog breeds are prone to oral health issues, so a quality diet, dental treats, and brushing can all help prevent future vet appointments. Check with a veterinarian to see what food is best for your Maltipoo.

History

Being a fairly new crossbreed, the Maltipoo doesn't have much of a history at all. They were first intentionally bred in the U.S. in the past 20–30 years. Their even temperament and "hypoallergenic" reputation caused their popularity to skyrocket; the Maltipoo is now one of the most popular designer dog breeds.

Fun Facts

  • Even celebrities like Ashley Tisdale love their Maltipoos. She has two pups named Ziggy and Sushi.
  • Maltipoo is the most common name for the crossbreed, but there are a few different spellings and variations, including Maltepoo and Mal-t-poo.
  • New York City’s next top model could very well be Mochi the Maltipoo. Her viral Instagram profile says she loves fashion, wine, and travel.