Havanese vs. Maltipoo: Which Breed to Get?

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Havanese vs. MaltipooAre you looking for the perfect puppy for your lifestyle? The Maltipoo and the Havanese are very popular breeds nowadays. The Maltipoo is a beloved hybrid, while the Havanese is a pure breed that belongs to the same family of dogs as bichons frises, known as Barbichons.

Although they are quite different in appearance, there are many similarities between these two breeds. Keep reading to find out which one suits your lifestyle best!

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Havanese vs. Maltipoo: A Detailed Comparison

Let’s start by looking at the breeds side-by-side in a couple of different ways.


In terms of history, there’s a major difference between the two pooches.

The Havanese is a purebred believed to have originated in Cuba, Havana, many centuries ago. The Maltipoo, however, is a designer dog that appeared in the United States at the end of the 20th century by crossing a Maltese (same family as the Havanese) with a toy poodle. The Havanese is believed to have descended from the Barbet, a large wooly dog that’s an ancestor of today’s poodle.

Thus, they are quite alike in that they both descend from a poodle.

The Havanese is the only dog native to Cuba and has a long history with nobility and aristocrats. This small breed was also called Havana Silk Dog, and they used to be the breed of choice for wealthy Havana families.

Maltipoo’s other parent, the Maltese, is an ancient dog breed native to the island of Malta. There are many other crossbreeds whose parent is a poodle, such as Goldendoodle, Labradoodle, and Bernadoodle, the result of the so-called “Doodle craze”. The poodle is a very common choice to cross with other breeds thanks to its low-shedding coat, variety of sizes, and malleable temperament.


The Havanese is a toy breed that reaches between 7 to 13 lbs, and between 8 to 11 inches tall. This bichon-type pup grows very long hair that can reach down to its paws. Some pups have straight hair, others may have it slightly curly and thick. Because of these, the Havanese pup often looks bigger than it actually is. Underneath the fluff, the body is small and fragile.

The purebred Havanese has a silky coat, but there may be pooches with a short, curly coat similar to a poodle.

Although it may not seem intuitive, the Havanese’s coat is not suitable for cold climates. In fact, it is supposed to be natural protection against UV rays and heat, so the breed can handle the hot weather in Cuba. As a result, if you live in a hot climate, you should not trim the long coat as it provides protection.

As a hybrid, the Maltipoo may vary in terms of size and appearance. It may weigh anywhere between 5 lbs and 20 lbs and may reach up to 14 inches. The Maltipoo can also come in many colors, ranging from gray and silver to white, black, or even brown. Its coat is also variable – curly, straight, or somewhere in between.

Since the Maltipoo is a hybrid, it may inherit the traits of one parent or be an exciting combination of both.

Aging Profile

An adult Havanese is expected to live 12-15 years, while a Maltipoo may live 10-15 years.

In general, however, hybrids are healthier than purebred dogs because they enjoy more genetic variety. That said, practically, the lifespan depends on the quality of life, diet, level of activity, and several other factors.


The Havanese is known for its docile, loyal, and extremely affectionate temperament. If you want a pup to follow you everywhere, this may be the right breed for you. It is a versatile dog, ideal for any type of family. Apart from cuddling and daytime naps, the Havanese loves mental stimulation and lots of fun playtime. It will entertain you with its goofy personality all day long.

The Maltipoo is a lover through and through. It is a cheerful, fun-loving, and loyal dog. It prefers to cuddle, take a nap in your lap, play fetch, and generally is up to anything you do.

The Maltipoo’s parent, the poodle, has lots of energy, while the Maltese parent is known for its predisposition towards cuddling and napping. Thus, the Maltipoo is the best of both worlds. Maltipoos may also have some watchdog qualities as they will bark at strangers, but they are not aggressive and they can be friends with just about anyone.


Both breeds are intelligent and easy to train, as long as you start early and use positive reinforcements. The Havanese is a quick learner, regardless of whether it is about basic commands like rollover or sit, or some kind of performance – dancing, jumping, or other acrobatics.

The Maltipoo is also active and feisty. Just like with the Havanese, it can learn a wide range of commands, as long as you keep the sessions fun and short, and provide plenty of praise and rewards.


In terms of grooming, these pups may be more or less difficult to maintain. It is all down on the type of coat they have. A curlier, thicker coat may require daily brushing to avoid painful mats and tangles. Soft, silky, straight hair may need brushing 2-3 times per week only.

As mentioned above, the Havanese is native to Cuba, and its long coat protects against sunburns. It is not recommended to trim it short if you live in a hot climate. If you want to decrease the time required to groom your Havanese, one option would be to cord it or twist it into dreadlocks.

For a Maltipoo, you may need to adapt based on what type of coat it has, too. The Maltipoo can be soft and silky or thick and curly. It will also need daily brushing or combing to prevent tangles. Perhaps one of the main concerns regarding daily grooming is the special attention to need to pay around its eyes. Both Maltese and poodles are prone to tear staining, so you need to keep the hair around the eyes clean and dry to avoid infections.

Other Factors

Another factor you may want to consider is the level of physical activity required for your pup to stay happy and healthy. If you are not very active, a Maltipoo may suit your lifestyle better. The Havanese still requires a lot less physical activity than a larger breed but is slightly more active than a Maltipoo.

In addition to this, although they are similar in size, Maltipoos are weaker than a Havanese, so intense physical activity (like hiking or jogging) is not recommended. If you have small kids, opting for a stronger pup may be a better idea to avoid potential injuries. Nonetheless, kids should always be supervised when they play with dogs to avoid accidents or mistreatment.

Havanese vs. Maltipoo: Which Should You Get as a Pet?

Overall, the choice is down to your personal preference. These two breeds differ in appearance, mostly because one is a hybrid and one is a pure breed. They are loving and friendly and may adapt to any type of family and home.

None of these two pups is suitable if you have a busy lifestyle and you cannot spend time at home. They are prone to separation anxiety, which can lead to destructive behaviors.

If you live in a hot climate, the Havanese’s long silky coat will keep it cool. However, both breeds are indoor dogs, so you shouldn’t leave them outside for long, especially when the temperature is very high or very low.


All in all, Havanese and Maltipoo are two breeds highly appreciated for their temperament, loving personality, and trainability.

Unlike other breeds, they are not highly active, so they can easily adapt to apartment living. As long as there is always a family member at home, choosing one over the other may be up to your personal preference.

Considering Other Breeds Too?

Make sure to read how the Havanese compares with other breeds too:

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