Maltese vs. Boston Terrier: Which Breed to Get?

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Maltese vs. Boston TerrierThe Maltese and the Boston Terrier are not particularly similar dogs at first glance, but they are two great dog breeds that are often considered alongside one another by those looking to expand their family.

People looking at the two breeds should make sure that they know which one would be the best pet for them.

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Maltese and Boston Terrier History

The Maltese and the Boston Terrier have pretty interesting, long histories behind them as breeds. The Maltese, however, has the most extensive history by far.

The breed is often called the “ancient toy breed”, but precisely how ancient it seems to be a mystery to experts and fans of the breed alike.

There are theories that claim the breed came from Malta – hence the name – and that it developed from spitz-type dogs around the Mediterranean, theories that link the breed’s development to Italy, and even theories that claim the breed to be descendants of East Asian spitz-type dogs.

Whilst the origins of this bichon-type breed are a little mysterious, experts can say for sure that it has been adored across the globe for many years.

The breed was a common favorite of British royals in the 16th century and was popular among the French aristocracy in the 18th century. Eventually, as the breed’s popularity grew, it made its way to the U.S.

During the breed’s history, breeders have tried to tweak and change the Maltese. So much so that at one point the breed almost went extinct due to breeders endeavoring to create such a tiny dog that it wasn’t sustainable. Luckily, the Maltese was so adored that other breeders intervened, adding Spaniel and East Asian genetics into the mixture in order to make the dog larger again.

The Boston Terrier, on the other hand, goes as far back as the 1800s, when it is thought that the breed developed in Boston, Massachusetts, as a result of Bulldogs and English White Terriers creating a fighting breed.

Another theory claims that a man named Robert C. Hooper brought such a mix over to the US from England in 1865. Whichever theory is true, experts know for sure that there was a dog called Judge, which was the starting point for the Boston Terrier.

Judge went on to have a litter with a dog called Kate, and their litter was then further bred. At this point in time, the breed was referred to as many different names, but not the Boston Terrier.

It was not until an American Bull Terrier Club was started, and the names Round Heads and Bull Terriers were objected to, that the Boston Bull Terrier was named.

Maltese vs. Boston Terrier: What Are the Breeds Like?

Next, we’ll take a look at some of the prominent traits of both breeds.


The Maltese is arguably the more elegant-looking dog of the two. The breed has silky, long white hair that covers the body, giving it an almost regal appearance.

With a rounded skull, dropped ears and a black nose that sharply contrasts the breed’s colorings, it is a distinguishable dog. The Maltese usually measures around 8” to 10” tall and will weigh 7 lbs or less.

The Boston Terrier, on the other hand, is a compact dog with a short tail. The breed is very well-balanced, with erect ears and a ‘tuxedo’ style coat that is white and black, seal, or brindle.

The breed’s head is very square with a short muzzle and large eyes. Size-wise, the breed will usually measure between 12” to 17” tall and will weigh between 15 and 25 lbs.

Life Expectancy and Aging Profile

The Maltese and the Boston Terrier both benefit from being smaller breeds. As such, they have slower metabolisms and tend to develop fewer fatal disorders or illnesses, as well as fewer structural injuries when growing.

The Maltese, as a result, has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. The Boston Terrier, similarly, has a life expectancy of 13 to 15 years.

When the breeds are puppies, however, they will grow quite rapidly. The Maltese will reach its full size by the time it is around a year old, and the Boston Terrier will reach its full size between 10 and 14 months old.


The Maltese makes a great pet. The breed is fun and affectionate and forms incredibly strong bonds with its family very quickly.

It’s an incredibly cuddly breed, but also loves to play and will certainly keep you entertained. The Maltese may be small, but owners should not mistake that as easy to handle.

The little dogs are known for having a fair amount of energy, and also tend to be quite spoiled, as owners find their faces hard to say no to.

The Boston Terrier is also a fantastic breed to have as a pet. Known as the American Gentleman, the breed is incredibly gentle and sweet. It is lively, fun to have around, and will happily cuddle up with its family once it has worn itself out.


The Maltese is an intelligent dog that loves to please its owners. The breed is more than capable of learning basic and more advanced tricks and skills, especially if they are bribed with some treats or given plenty of positive reinforcement.

Socialization is important, as with any breed, but owners generally should not have an issue with keeping the Maltese under control.

The Boston Terrier is also a smart dog. The breed is very intelligent, but that does not necessarily mean it is easy to train.

In fact, the Boston Terrier is known for its stubbornness, which can often make it quite a burden on trainers and owners. In order to keep a Boston Terrier trained, you will need plenty of patience.

Maltese vs. Boston Terrier: Which One Is Easier to Keep?

Below, we’ll discuss which of these breeds is easier to keep.

Required Living Space

The Maltese and the Boston Terrier are both pretty small dogs, and as such, they are very adaptable when it comes to the size of their living space.

So whether you have a large farm with land, a small family home, an apartment, or even a studio, both the Maltese and the Boston Terrier will get on just fine.

So long as the breeds are given adequate mental and physical stimulation, as well as enough attention and space to lie down, eat, and relax, they can pretty much live anywhere!


When it comes to grooming, the Maltese is definitely the more difficult of these two breeds. Due to the nature of the breed’s hair (both color and style), the breed is prone to stains and it is very easy to notice when it is dirty.

The hair also tends to knot quite often, and as such, the breed needs brushing daily. The Maltese will also need its face wiped after meals, its ears cleaned regularly, its teeth brushed multiple times a week, and baths every week or two.

The Boston Terrier, on the other hand, is very easy to groom. The breed simply requires a brushing every week with a firm brush and a bath with dry shampoo and a damp cloth or sponge.

Sometimes, the breed will require a proper bath. On top of this, owners should also keep up with dental hygiene, and clean the breed’s eyes and ears regularly.

Walking and Exercise

Exercise is essential in order to keep dogs happy and healthy. However, both the Maltese and the Boston Terrier require very little to keep them at the right weight and to prevent them from developing destructive behavior, low mood, or anxiety.

To properly exercise both breeds, around an hour each day should do just fine.

This can be broken up into multiple walks, or it can be done all at once. Walking is not the only way to exercise a dog, either. You can swim, jog, run, or even participate in agility training to shake things up a little!

Maltese vs. Boston Terrier: How Much Do They Cost?

When looking at getting a pet, the cost is a huge thing to consider. It is not just the upfront cost that owners need to think about, though. There are also monthly costs like food, treats, veterinary insurance, and toys.

To get a Maltese, owners can expect to pay an upfront cost of between $600 and $2,000 in addition to the other monthly costs. For a Boston Terrier, owners should expect to pay anywhere between $350 to $3,300.

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

In addition to all of the above, owners should ensure that the breed they are thinking of fits their lifestyle and routine. For example, anyone with children or other pets needs to know that the home will be a safe environment for all involved.

In this case, luckily, the Maltese and the Boston Terrier will be just fine with other animals (even cats!) so long as they are socialized. Likewise, both breeds are just fine around children.

Anyone who plans to leave their dog at home alone during the day, however, should be aware that the Maltese is not well equipped to handle such things. The breed is prone to developing separation anxiety. The Boston Terrier, alternatively, is absolutely fine alone for the day.


Both pets will fit in great with single person, family, or couple households, and will make fantastic pets to the right people.

The Boston Terrier is a bit more of a challenge to train, but gets on better when left alone, and is easier to groom. Whereas the Maltese is a bit more spoiled, and quite high maintenance.

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