Maltese vs. Miniature Schnauzer: Which Breed to Get?

Bichon World is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This post may also contain other affiliate links and Bichon World might be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on them.

Maltese vs. Miniature SchnauzerThe Maltese and the Miniature Schnauzer may look worlds apart but in reality, these two adorable dog breeds aren’t that dissimilar.

There are a few differences, though, which may determine which breed is best for you.

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

Maltese and Miniature Schnauzer History

The Maltese and the Miniature Schnauzer both have interesting histories. The Maltese’s history, though, is by far the longest. Experts are unsure as to when the breed originated, or exactly where, but they do know that the breed is very old.

In fact, the breed is so old that it has been coined the “ancient toy breed”. Currently, there are three leading theories about the breed’s origins.

One claims that the breed originated in Malta – hence the name – where it developed from spitz-types from around the Mediterranean. Another theory traces the breed back to Italy, and the third traces it to East Asian spitz-types. What experts do know about the breed, however, is that it has been very popular for quite a long time.

The breed – which belongs to the same family as the bichon frise for example – can be traced back to 16th-century British royals, 18th-century French aristocrats, and many more.

In fact, the breed has been so popular that when it almost went extinct due to breeders selecting smaller Maltese in order to shrink the breed, new breeders stepped in to save it.

The Miniature Schnauzer, on the other hand, has a much less contested history. The breed was developed to be a ratter and a guard dog on farms.

They were developed in Germany and are the result of breeding the Standard Schnauzer with smaller breeds like the Miniature Pinscher, Affenpinscher, and possibly even the Pomeranian and the Poodle.

The earliest Miniature Schnauzer that experts are aware of was a black female called Findel in 1888, and then the breed was almost lost in World War I and World War II.

Luckily, interest in the breed encouraged breeders and their popularity has been booming ever since.

Maltese vs. Miniature Schnauzer: What Are the Breeds Like?

Next, we’ll discuss what these two breeds are like.


The Maltese and the Miniature Schnauzer look very different and are slightly different sizes too. The Maltese is a dog with a rounded skull, dropped ears, and long, silky straight white hair that covers the body.

It has a perfectly black nose that stands out amongst the white hair, and will usually stand between 8” and 10” tall, weighing approximately 7 lbs.

The Miniature Schnauzer, on the other hand, is a sturdy-looking dog breed that looks very different from the typical toy breed.

It stands 12 “to 14” tall and will weigh between 11 and 20 lbs. The breed has a double coat with a wiry top coat that comes in solid black, salt and pepper, silver and black, or white, and has a recognizable mustache and beard, with flopped over ears.

Life Expectancy and Aging Profile

Since both the Maltese and the Miniature Schnauzer are toy breeds, they benefit from much slower metabolisms than their larger counterparts.

This means that they tend to have a much longer life expectancy, as they grow at a much more stable rate, forming fewer skeletal injuries and developing any fatal conditions much later in life.

The Maltese, for example, has an average life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. The Miniature Schnauzer, similarly, has an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.

As puppies, both breeds will grow pretty quickly. The Maltese will reach its full size by the time it is around 12 months old, as will the Miniature Schnauzer.


Those looking for a fun and affectionate dog will find that in the Maltese. The breed will form very close bonds with those it lives with, usually very quickly.

A Maltese will love cuddling, but will also be more than happy to play and run around with you. It is a great pet for single people, couples, and families, and will definitely keep you entertained.

The Miniature Schnauzer is also full of excitement and life. The breed is happy to be involved and loves to be the center of attention.

It will happily cuddle or play and will make sure you never, ever feel lonely. As a terrier, the breed can be a little feisty, but generally speaking, is a great dog to have around.


The Maltese and the Miniature Schnauzer are intelligent dogs, although the Miniature Schnauzer is easily the more intelligent of the two.

The Maltese is happy to learn and eager to please, and with the right positive reinforcement, will be more than capable of learning most new tricks, from sit and recall to roll over and even some agility skills.

The Miniature Schnauzer, on the other hand, is very easy to train, and super intelligent. The breed can easily learn almost everything you throw at it, but it can be a little bit stubborn at times so some owners may find it hard to train.

Another thing to consider is that the Miniature Schnauzer’s intelligence also makes them very good at manipulating their owners.

Maltese vs. Miniature Schnauzer: Which One Is Easier to Keep?

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

Required Living Space

Despite the Schnauzer’s purpose being farm-based, both the Maltese and the Miniature Schnauzer are actually pretty adaptable.

Both breeds can happily live in an apartment, so long as their physical and mental stimulation needs are met.

This means that owners should be sure to provide them with regular exercise and enrichment. This is especially important for the Schnauzer, a terrier breed, who is likely to bounce off of the walls without enough stimulation!


The Maltese is a very high-maintenance dog when it comes to grooming. Due to the breed’s naturally white hair that is long, silky, and straight, the breed needs brushing daily.

Owners will also need to wipe the breed’s face regularly to remove stains and will need to bathe the Maltese at least once a week. On top of this, dental hygiene and nail clipping are also essential.

The Miniature Schnauzer, on the other hand, is often groomed for appearance rather than necessity. Many owners get their Schnauzers professionally groomed in order to keep the mustache and beard looking right.

Aside from that, however, the breed only needs brushing two or three times a week and bathing every few weeks. The beard will likely need washing more regularly. As usual, the breed needs to have its teeth cleaned and its nails clipped regularly.

Walking and Exercise

Giving your dog enough exercise each day is an essential part of caring for them. Failing to provide a dog with enough physical stimulation can not only lead to poor health, weight gain, and irritability, but also low mood, anxiety, and destructive behavior.

In order to avoid this, both the Maltese and the Miniature Schnauzer should be provided with at least 60 minutes of exercise each day.

This exercise can be split across multiple walks or runs, or done all at once. It can even be done as agility training, swimming, or purpose-led play. So long as your dog is moving, it counts.

Maltese vs. Miniature Schnauzer: How Much Do They Cost?

Cost is an essential factor to consider when buying a dog.

Different breeds will cost different amounts depending on how popular they are, how much they cost to keep, and how highly rated the breeder and the dog’s lineage is. If a breed does seem too expensive, it is always worth checking in local shelters for the breed.

In addition to the upfront cost, owners need to consider the cost of keeping a dog. This includes food, treats, veterinary insurance, toys, and grooming.

These costs can rack up pretty quickly, and often go overlooked when getting a new pet. To judge the price of things like vets insurance, speak to providers locally and find out what they have on offer.

When it comes to buying, those in the market for a Maltese can expect to pay between $600 and $2,000.

Those looking to buy a Miniature Schnauzer, on the other hand, can expect to pay between $1,200 and $2,500.

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

As well as everything mentioned above, owners should also consider their lifestyle and routine, and how well that gels with the pet that they are after.

For example, those who socialize away from home regularly or who work during the day and need to leave their dog alone need to make sure the breed they choose can handle that.

Unfortunately, neither the Maltese nor the Miniature Schnauzer will do well left alone. Both breeds love people and company and are likely to develop separation anxiety if left alone.

Another consideration to make is other pets. Some dogs are not suitable to be kept with others, and some dogs are likely to attack smaller pets due to a high prey drive.

Anyone with other animals needs to ensure the safety of both animals, old and new. In this case, the Maltese is fine with any other animal so long as it is socialized young.

The Miniature Schnauzer is fine with smaller dogs or dogs around its own size but may struggle with larger canines. With cats and small pets, socialization is key.


The Maltese and the Miniature Schnauzer are both intelligent pets with great personalities. The Maltese is the best option for those with big dogs and lots of time, but the Miniature Schnauzer is best for those unfamiliar with grooming or perhaps with less time available.

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