10+ Dogs Similar to Maltese

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Dogs Similar to the MalteseThe Maltese is a gorgeous dog and it is beloved internationally for that reason. It is cute, small, fluffy, and adorable, and suits a huge array of lifestyles and routines.

But are there any other dogs like it? What breeds could you consider if you want a Maltese but also want to push the boat out a little?

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Maltese’s Family: The 6 Other Bichon-Type Breeds

The Maltese belongs to the Bichon family, and there are six other breeds within this family who all have similar traits. If you’re looking for a breed that has similar characteristics and temperaments to the Maltese, look no further.

Bichon Frise

Bichon FriseThe Bichon Frise has curlier hair than the Maltese. In fact, its coat is almost Poodle-like. It is also slightly larger in both height and weight. The Bichon Frise has a shorter lifespan, but not by too much, and is also a lively, bubbly dog with lots of energy and love to offer. Bichons are intelligent, just like the Maltese, and are perfect apartment dogs.

The breed is, however, sometimes difficult to train. This can include housebreaking. They are also incredibly sensitive and cannot have harsh tones used against them or be left alone for long periods of time, as they are prone to separation anxiety. They will likely use their intelligence in mischievous ways, but that is one of the reasons that their owners love them.

Learn more about how the Maltese and Bichon Frise compare


Bolognese DogThe Bolognese is an Italian dog breed that is sometimes called the Bichon Bolognese or the Bologneser. It is also a real companion dog. The breed loves people and will form bonds with them very quickly, but they are also quite stubborn and some people have even described the breed as manipulative!

The breed is incredibly sensitive, much like other Bichon types. This means that it will be very emotionally attached to those in the family, making it great as a companion dog, but it can also mean that the breed struggles to spend time alone and may get jealous if a new pet is added to the scene.

Learn more about how the Maltese and Bolognese compare


Bolonka DogThe Bolonka is a Russian dog that is also called the Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka. The breed is notorious for being a perfect little lap dog, and it loves nothing more than cuddling up with its owners. The Bolonka is friendly, and reasonably intelligent, but can be quite mouthy and difficult to train. The breed also has a playfulness that makes it seem forever like a puppy, which is a great trait for those looking for a family pet.

In appearance, it is very similar to the Maltese with a slight curl to the coat. The breed is hypoallergenic, so it is a great option for anyone who has allergies, and the coat comes in more colors than many of the other Bichon varieties. You can find Bolonkas in black, brown, gray, “wolf gray”, blue, silver, red, fawn, and cream.

Coton de Tulear

Coton de TulearFrom Madagascar, this Bichon type looks like a little cloud. The breed is fun and energetic, incredibly intelligent, and other than grooming, is pretty low maintenance. The breed will get on well with basically anyone, child, dog, cat, or adult, and will provide a constant stream of both affection and entertainment.

People have often reported that Cotons are wonderfully communicative, and will sometimes try to reply to their owners by barking or whining in response. The breed is observant and will tilt its head when spoken to. It will also quickly pick up on any routines within the house, making it well suited to a house with multiple children or for someone who perhaps works from home and is not always free to play, even if they seem to be.

Learn more about how the Maltese and Coton de Tulear compare


Havanese DogThe Havanese comes from Cuba, hence the name. The breed is obscenely affectionate and will stick to its family like glue. If you want any independence when walking around the house, the Havanese is not for you. The breed is quirky and fun and can make a wonderful pet for any household.

It is worth noting that the Havanese, despite its size, does love to be a guard dog. So whilst it is suitable for apartments, training will need to take place in order to prevent the pooch from upsetting all of your neighbors anytime someone walks past your door. The breed is also a climber, so anyone living in an apartment with a balcony should be sure to keep a close eye on their Havanese at all times.

Learn more about how the Maltese and Maltese compare


Löwchen (Little Lion Dog)Lowchen in German means “little lion dog”, and the breed does reflect that. It is a toy dog that is often trimmed to have a lion’s mane and then shorter fur across the rest of the body. The breed is active and intelligent and will be happy to keep pretty much anyone company so long as it gets plenty of attention.

Anyone looking at getting a Lowchen should be aware that the breed is not quiet. The Lowchen loves to bark and the breed will often allocate itself a job as a watchdog or an alarm clock. This can be targeted with training, but it does seem to be an inherent trait of the breed. At the same time, though, the breed is incredibly loyal and protective of those it loves — it just doesn’t show it in the most considerate ways!

7 Best Non-Bichon-Type Alternatives to Maltese

If you’re not warming to the idea of a Bichon-type breed, but you do definitely want something similar to a Maltese, consider one of these breeds.


PomeranianThis little ball of fluff is a descendant of larger sled breeds and is active, excitable, and intelligent. The breed is often used in agility shows, but can also make a wonderful family pet and will be happy to play and cuddle. They are very small, at only 7” to 12” tall, making them great apartment dogs.

The Pomeranian’s small size does mean that owners will need to consider educating their children on how best to handle the breed. It also puts the breed at risk of hunting from things like birds of prey, so it is important that owners stay close on walks.

That being said, the breed will be adamant that it does not need your help if it finds itself in an argument with another dog in your home. The breed is small, but it certainly does not know it. Pomeranians have “big dog energy”, and will fight anyone who thinks otherwise. This can mean that you need to step in if the breed gets too feisty for its own good.

Learn more about how the Maltese and Pomeranian compare

Japanese Spitz

Japanese SpitzThis small family dog may look non-threatening and chilled out, but it has the spirit of its larger spitz relatives (think Husky or Akita). It is small and fluffy, but incredibly intelligent and easy to train with an intense loyalty to its family. The breed is wonderful with children and is fairly low maintenance when it comes to grooming.

The Japanese Spitz is also very family-friendly. It will get on with children and is known to be gentle with them while also happily playing with them. The breed tends to get on well with other dogs, despite other spitz-types sometimes having issues in this regard.

Miniature Poodle

Miniature PoodlePoodles are considered to be one of the smartest breeds out there, and they are so beautiful to look at. The breed’s coat is dense and curly and they are slim and agile. A Miniature Poodle will stand around 15” tall, making them perfect for smaller living spaces – just like the Maltese.

They love to play or learn and are very easy to train. A Miniature Poodle is a great option for new owners or anyone who is looking for a dog breed that is loving and affectionate but easy to manage.

Learn more about how the Maltese and Poodle compare

Miniature Samoyed

The Samoyed is a large spitz-type breed, but the Miniature Samoyed is significantly smaller. The breed has all of the double-coated, larger dog’s traits, but is compacted into a more apartment-friendly sized dog.

These pups are affectionate, devoted, playful, and intelligent, but they do have a bit of a mischievous side. Training them can prove a little bit difficult sometimes as the breed does have the characteristic spitz stubbornness.

Finnish Spitz

The Finnish Spitz is the national dog of Finland, and for good reason! The breed was originally used for tracking elk and bears but is now a beloved family pet. They are talkative companions who will show undying loyalty to those in their family. Sometimes, however, it presents as a very noisy dog!

The breed is high-energy and lively and is good with other pets and children. They are sometimes a little aloof with strangers, but with enough socialization, this can be worked on. A Finnish Spitz will react very well to positive reinforcement, as it is a breed that absolutely loves to eat.

Swedish Valhund

Swedish Valhunds are a working and farming dog breed. They are active and intelligent but are small enough – like the Maltese – that they are great apartment dogs. They resemble Corgis in their stature and size but are distinctly separate breeds.

This is a great dog, and in many ways is similar to the Maltese, but it is not necessarily a dog breed that is ideal for first-time owners or those with children, simply due to its tendency to try to herd them. The breed will require a lot of socialization, but once it is trained, will be a very loving and friendly, smart pet to have around!

Maltese Mixed Breeds

As with most breeds, there are a series of Maltese crossbreeds or mixed breeds that get to boast many of the Maltese’s strengths whilst also getting to benefit from other breeds’ traits too. Some of the most popular Maltese mixed breeds are:

  • Maltipoo (Poodle x Maltese)
  • Malchi (Chihuahua x Maltese)
  • Morkie (Yorkshire Terrier x Maltese)
  • Malteagle (Beagle x Maltese)
  • Maltichon (Bichon Frise x Maltese)
  • Maltipom (Pomeranian x Maltese)
  • Cavamalt (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Maltese)
  • Silly Cocker (Cocker Spaniel x Maltese)
  • Caltese (Cairn Terrier x Maltese)

These mixed breeds are also really worth considering. They are sometimes cheaper than purebreds like the Maltese, and, more importantly, mixed breeds tend to have fewer health conditions. This can mean that your pet not only lives longer but could cost you much less in veterinary bills and insurance, too.

If you are considering getting a Maltese mixed breed, it may be useful to do some research into the traits of both breeds. It is not always easy to predict which traits come through when combining breeds together, especially in newer mixes. Looking up both breeds and being sure that you understand both could be very useful in making a more accurate prediction about which dog breed is the best match for you and your home.


The Maltese is a wonderful dog breed, and it is very popular as a pet across the world. But, if for whatever reason you do not want a Maltese but you do want a breed similar — there are plenty of options! Do not fret, as you can choose between a range of Bichon types, other breeds, and even Maltese mixed breeds.

Those looking to get a similar breed should bear in mind, though, that every dog is different. Even within the Bichon Frise family, there may be some shared traits, but a Coton de Tulear will not act just like a Maltese. If you’re expecting a Maltese but with a different appearance, you are likely to be slightly disappointed by a different breed.

Whether you are looking for food for your dog or other pet supplies, Chewy.com has them all. Right now, they are even running a promotion where you get 40% OFF your first Instinct Raw Frozen autoship order.