Maltese vs. Yorkie: Which Breed to Get?

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Maltese vs. YorkieThe Maltese and Yorkie are two toy breeds extremely popular nowadays. Are they as similar as they look, or are there any significant differences between them?

In the following sections, we’ll introduce you to everything you need to know if you are considering getting either of the two, or if you simply want to know more about these cuddly toy breeds.

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Maltese vs. Yorkie: A Detailed Comparison

Let’s start with looking at the two breeds side-by-side in detail.


Maltese and Yorkie have extremely different origins.

The first is considered an ancient breed, with evidence showing it was very popular among the elite of the Roman Empire. It’s been bred as an affectionate lapdog, especially due to multiple crosses with other smaller breeds like poodles and miniature spaniels. Nowadays, the purebred Maltese is pure white, which is the result of selective breeding.

The Maltese is one of the several bichon-type dog breeds.

The Yorkshire Terrier, on the other hand, is a much more recent breed. It appeared in the 1800s in England. Factory workers used Yorkies to catch rats. Nowadays, the Yorkie still retains this trait as they absolutely love playing fetch with their toys.

Once the English aristocratic ladies discovered the little Yorkie, the breed started to be selectively bred to become smaller and more loving. Sometimes, they were even mixed with Maltese dogs to make them smaller.


The Maltese is a pure white dog with a moderately long coat. They are low-shedders, often preferred by people with allergies, but their coat is quite high maintenance. One way to make it easier to care for is to trim your Maltese and keep the coat short.

A pure Maltese will grow up to 9 inches in height and reach less than 7 pounds, which classifies it as a toy breed.

Yorkies, on the other hand, have silky hair that can be black, tan, gold, and other varieties. Just like the Maltese, if untrimmed, the hair can grow very long, which makes it more difficult to clean and maintain. Just like with the other breed, owners have the option to cut the coat short to save time. Yorkies don’t shed much, so they are also considered to be hypoallergenic pups.

One main difference between the two is the shape of their ears. The Maltese have floppy ears with long fur, while the Yorkie’s ears are erect.

Apart from the color and ears, the two dog breeds can be easily mistaken for one another. Just like the Maltese, the Yorkie grows up to 7-8 inches in height and weighs up to 7 pounds, making it a toy breed.

Aging Profile

Both breeds are expected to live about 12-15 years, but the actual lifespan depends on their lifestyle, diet, and overall health. Depending on their parents, purebred pups may also be predisposed to genetic issues, which could shorten their life if left undiagnosed and untreated.

Small pups tend to reach adulthood at around 1 year old, but they will most likely reach their adult size earlier.


The temperament of a dog is very important when you decide on which breed to get. The new pup should thrive in an environment that matches your current lifestyle, activity levels, and needs.

Fortunately, Maltese are very malleable and adaptable thanks to their easy-going nature. They quickly become friends with other humans and pets, but they will suffer from separation anxiety if you leave them on their own for too long. They are loving and cuddly, and they are not very active. However, like any other dog, about 30 minutes of activity per day is recommended to keep them healthy.

Yorkies are fun and curious, perhaps a bit more adventurous than the Maltese. They love playing and chasing thanks to their ancestors. Just like a Maltese dog, Yorkies may suffer from separation anxiety if left alone at home.

One aspect you should also consider is that both breeds are quite vocal. The Maltese, however, is no more vocal than the average small breed. However, Yorkies are barking more often – from the stranger approaching them to whenever they want to play.

To avoid such behaviors, it’s important to use training as early as possible to correct your vocal puppy. This may become a more serious issue if you live in shared accommodation. However, with proper training and you establishing your role as the leader of the pack, both breeds can adapt fairly easily and listen to your commands.

Overall, both dogs are loving and friendly, but the Yorkie is a bit more independent. They require continuous attention and interaction from your side, along with early training and socialization. It is important, just like any other breed, to be consistent and patient. These breeds do not react well to negative training practices, so you should be firm and consistent but gentle.


Both breeds are very intelligent and can be trained with ease.

The Maltese is perhaps the easiest to train out of all toy breeds, so that’s an advantage for new owners. The Yorkie, as it is more independent, may be more difficult to train than a Maltese, but nothing that patience, consistency, and some delicious treats cannot solve.


The Maltese and the Yorkie can have very long coats. However, you may decide to trim it short to make it easier to maintain. If you prefer a longer coat, you need to be prepared for daily brushing to avoid mats and tangles.

Both dogs need regular baths and nail trimming as necessary. Some first-time owners may want to opt for monthly grooming sessions, especially for Yorkies whose coats tend to grow constantly, so they need to be trimmed very often.

Like all other small breeds, Yorkies and Maltese are prone to dental issues. Their small mouths mean that teeth are very close to each other, so you need to brush their teeth daily (or at least every 2 days) to avoid dental problems.

Other Factors

In addition to the above, there are some other things to consider when choosing between the two dogs.

Households with Children

You should consider that these toy breeds may not be suitable for busy families with kids. They require a lot of time to keep clean and neat, so you need to have sufficient free time to care for your small pup. Also, they are small and very frail, so rough playtime with a kid may result in injuries for the dog.

If you decide to adopt a toy pup, you should always teach your kids how to treat them and always supervise your kid when playing with the dog.

Activity Needs

If you are not very active, or you’re looking for a dog suitable for a senior, the Maltese may be the better fit. Its activity needs are quite low, although it does love playing and exploring. Nonetheless, about 30 minutes of playtime or light walking per day should be enough to keep this pup healthy.

Yorkies are more active than Maltese and must be both physically and mentally stimulated. About 15 to 30 minutes of activity per day is sufficient. Walking at a moderate pace should be enough to keep them healthy. Also, Yorkies love running and playing fetch, so they would adapt very easily to a home with a small backyard where they can play safely.

It’s important to note that none of these breeds are suitable for extreme temperatures (too hot or too cold). Hence, you need to plan your outdoor activities with care. When the weather is inappropriate, both breeds can be simply kept active indoors with toys and some fun games.

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

Overall, Maltese and Yorkie are very similar breeds. In fact, apart from the fact that the Maltese is always pure white, it can be extremely difficult to differentiate them, especially given the fact that they are approximately the same size.

When deciding which one is best for you, you need to carefully consider if you have enough time to spend with your pup. Both of them depend on their owner and are very loving and affectionate. These breeds are not suitable if you have a busy lifestyle, and may not be the best choice if you have very small kids as the small pups can be easily injured.

With proper training and early socialization, both Maltese and Yorkie can be a good addition to just about any family. The Maltese is easier to train and has relatively lower energy levels than the Yorkie, so it is best if you are not very active or if it will spend time with a senior.

On the other hand, Yorkie is an adventurous and curious little pup, but thanks to its small size, you can accommodate its exercise requirements indoors, too, especially if the weather doesn’t permit 15-30 minutes of moderate walking per day.


All in all, Maltese and Yorkies are quite similar: they are small, toy-sized breeds, very affectionate and friendly, and very playful. They are easy to train, but the Yorkie may tend to bark (nothing that proper training can fix, though).Both breeds are low-shedders, so they are great choices for people with allergies.

In the end, it may be down to your specific preferences and whether the slightly more energetic Yorkie or the cuddly Maltese is best for you.

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