Maltese vs. Beagle: Which Breed to Get?

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Maltese vs. BeagleThe Maltese and the Beagle are two popular dog breeds, but they are worlds apart. If you have found yourself in a position where you are debating between the two, it is crucial that you do enough research to know which pet would best suit your home and your needs.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at each of the two breeds to hopefully help you make the right decision.

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Maltese and Beagle History

Both the Maltese and the Beagle have extensive histories, but the Maltese’s is by far the longer one. The former’s history is a little bit mysterious and uncertain, but there are 3 theories at to where the Maltese came from.

Dubbed the ‘ancient toy breed,’ experts believe that the Maltese either originated in Malta – giving the breed its name – from spitz-type dogs around the Mediterranean, originated in Italy from Italian spitz-types, or possibly even developed from East Asian spitz-type breeds.

What experts do know about the Maltese is that the breed has been adored internationally for a long time. The breed can be tied to the British royals in the 16th century and the French aristocrats in the 18th century, and eventually found its way to the US.

This bichon-type breed is so well beloved that efforts were made to save it when breeders almost bred the Maltese to be too small. New breeders added Spaniels and East Asian breeds to the mix in order to reform the Maltese that we know today.

The Beagle, on the other hand, only dates as far back as the 14th century.

Experts believe that similar breeds have been around much longer, possibly even as far back as 400 B.C, but the name Beagle emerged in the 14th century when Edward II and Henry VII had dogs known as Glove Beagles. This breed was small enough to fit in a hand and was very popular.

Likewise, around this time, there were Singing Beagles, named after their characteristic howl. After that, there were the Pocket Beagles during Elizabeth I’s reign, which were super small at only 9 inches tall.

This breed was used for hunting for a while but was soon phased out in place of the Foxhound. Beagles then became farmers’ pets and kept hunting, but this time for rabbits and hares. After a while, the breed became known for its hunting skills again, giving us the Beagle we know today.

Maltese vs. Beagle: What Are the Breeds Like?

Next, let’s take a look at the two breeds side by side.


The Maltese and the Beagle are very different dogs to look at.

For one, the Maltese is very small, measuring at 8 to 10 inches tall and weighing around 7 pounds or less. The breed has silky white hair that is long and straight, covering the entire body, as well as a rounded skull, dropped ears and a black nose.

The Beagle, on the other hand, measures between 13 and 15 inches tall and will weigh between 18 and 30 pounds. Their short coats can come in “any hound color” such as tricolor or red and white. The breed has recognizable dark brown or hazel eyes that tend to look sad and pleading.

Life Expectancy and Aging Profile

Since both breeds are on the smaller side, they benefit from a naturally slower metabolism and growth rate. This means that they, on average, have longer life expectancies and are less likely to develop a fatal condition or illness than other, larger breeds.

As such, the Maltese has an average life expectancy of around 12 to 15 years, and will usually reach its full size by the time it is about a year old.

The Beagle, on the other hand, has a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years and will usually reach its full height at about 8 months, and then fill out. By the time it is a year and a half old, it should be its full size.


The Maltese is a fun, affectionate dog breed that will form very tight bonds with its family very quickly. They love to cuddle, to play, and are reasonably goofy!

The breed is very small and perfect for those looking for a lapdog that has a bit of energy in it – a dog that will also run around and play fetch with you every now and then. The breed is often found to be quite spoilt, simply because owners can’t say no to their cute faces!

The Beagle is also a sweet breed and is known for being very gentle despite having been bred to hunt. The breed is fun and goofy and is guaranteed to make you laugh. Known for its cheekiness and sometimes mischievous nature, the Beagle makes a great pet so long as you’re happy to train them.


The Maltese and the Beagle are both intelligent dogs, but the Beagle is arguably more intelligent. They are happy to learn, and the Maltese will learn pretty quickly – especially if there is positive reinforcement in the form of treats.

The Beagle, whilst intelligent, can be a little harder to train. The breed often has tunnel vision in the sense that it is incredibly single-minded, and so whilst they will happily learn, it can be hard for owners to get their Beagle’s attention for long enough to focus and learn. Patience is key, and plenty of time to train might be needed.

Maltese vs. Beagle: Which One Is Easier to Keep?

With getting a dog being a responsibility first and foremost, let’s take a look at what it takes to take care of these two dogs properly.

Required Living Space

This is always something to think about when getting any kind of pet, but luckily, both the Beagle and the Maltese are incredibly adaptable. They are happy to live in an apartment, a condo, a house, or even in an RV for stretches of time!

The breeds are relatively small, and so require only enough space to run around a little, nap, and eat.  This does rely on them getting enough exercise, though. The breeds will often act out if not given enough exercise (like daily walks) and will have far too much energy spare.


When it comes to grooming, it is something to consider before getting the breed purely to see if you will have enough time and the right skills to groom your dog. If not, you will have to pay a professional to do it, as failing to groom your pet can result in infections and discomfort.

When it comes to these two breeds, the Maltese is easily the more demanding of the two.

The Maltese’s white coat stains easily, so the breed will need bathing regularly, as well as wiping after meals and having their eyes wiped to avoid tear stains. The coat is also very prone to knotting, and so will need brushing daily. On top of that, owners will need to clean the breed’s ears and teeth, too.

The Beagle is much simpler. A weekly brush with a medium-bristle brush or hound glove and bathing when dirty every few months will be plenty. The breed will still need brushing (approximately 2 or 3 times a week) and the breed’s ears and eyes will need checking up on regularly, too.

Walking and Exercise

Providing your dog with the right amount of exercise is essential to make sure that it is happy and healthy. For the Maltese, this is half an hour, and for the Beagle, this is 90 minutes.

This exercise can be anything from running, jogging and walking, to purpose-led play or agility training. Anything that gets your pup moving counts!

Failing to provide sufficient exercise for a dog can lead to weight gain, low mood, anxiety, stress, and destructive behavior. It is very important to keep them active.

Maltese vs. Beagle: How Much Do They Cost?

Cost is important to consider when getting a dog, but it is not just the upfront cost that you should be thinking about. Remember that dogs will also require monthly spending on things like food, treats, veterinary insurance, veterinary bills, and toys.

If cost is a problem, it is always worth looking in shelters to adopt rather than buy, or to foster.

For a Maltese puppy, owners can expect to pay between $600 and $2,000, and for a Beagle, between $500 and $2,000. This will vary depending on location, the breeder, and the litter’s lineage.

Maltese vs. Beagle: Which Should You Get as a Pet?

There should also be some thought on whether or not the breed you want will fit into your daily life. Things like household dynamic and lifestyle are huge considerations that need to be made.

For example, those with small pets like rodents or cats should opt for the Maltese (so long as they are socialized), as the Beagle’s hunting instincts are too risky to pair with small animals. Alternatively, those with children will be pleased to know that both breeds are child-friendly, and will love spending time with you as a family or just playing with the kids.

Anyone who leaves the house for long periods of time for work or social events should also take this into consideration, unless their workplace is dog-friendly, as neither the Maltese nor the Beagle can handle being left alone for long periods of time.


The Maltese and the Beagle are both great pets that can really lighten up your life. The differences lie mostly in their grooming requirements, their ability to be around pets, and their size.

It is also worth noting that the Maltese is, to the extent possible, hypoallergenic, but the Beagle is not!

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