Maltese vs Bichon Frise – A Detailed Comparison Of Both Dog Breeds!

If you are anything like me, trying to choose the perfect dog to bring home is really hard. I love dogs of all shapes, sizes and personalities, so it is extremely difficult for me to choose between different breeds.

Hello dog moms and dads! My name is Bri, and I am a crazy dog mom to a spoiled rotten American Bulldog and Pitbull mix named Bruce.

While Bruce was not the dog breed I had in mind when I was looking for a dog, I knew as soon as I met him that he was the dog for me.

My dad, however, already had a big dog breed and wanted another dog to keep him company. He wanted a smaller dog and got just that when he adopted a Bichon Frise named Sampson.

He was between this adorable Bichon Frise and another dog that was a Maltese breed, and his decision to adopt the Bichon Frise was very hard for him!

This article will compare the Bichon Frise and Maltese breeds to hopefully help you choose between the two.

However, you might end up struggling to choose like my dad because of how great both breeds are! Let’s take a look at these pups.

Overview of Bichon Frise

Small white dogBichon Frises are little white fluffy dogs with huge personalities. They fall under the non-sporting group and are well known for their charm and attractive features.

These little fluff balls are extremely popular now for their spunky personalities and good looks. The are especially popular now as show dogs.

Bichon Frises were originally bred as royal companions of European nobles in Spain, Italy and France. Eventually, they became popular dogs in circuses for their excellent training capabilities.

They are very loyal dogs, but are friendly both family and strangers alike, to include humans and other dogs.

Overview of Maltese

The Maltese is an ancient breed that dates back as far as 3500 B.C. The city of Malta, which is just south of Sicily, was a thriving area for sea trade.

These white, luxurious lap dogs were favored by the wealthy women who visited the area from Greece, Rome, and other large cities around the world.

Roman Empire Aristocrats eventually took ownership of the dog’s popularity, and no woman of high status would ever be seen without these dogs on their arm.

Times may have changed since then, but the Maltese is still a staple of high class and royalty.

The are charming and playful dogs that fall under the toy group. Their appearance gives off an elegant persona, but they are also alert and athletic pups.

Maltese vs Bichon Frise Temperament and Training: How do They Behave?

A small white dogBoth of these breeds are excellent to train. They learn quickly, respond to treats and live to entertain their owners.

They are both very popular in showing competitions for their ability to strut their stuff with confidence and grace. They’re also lap dogs, so prepare for cuddles!

Maltese dogs are fearless and athletic and make excellent watch dogs. They can be stubborn, but they respond very well to rewards. They are affectionate dogs who always prefer to be on their owner’s lap!

The Bichon Frise is quite similar, with alert senses and loyalty. They get along very well with all other dogs and are happy to meet new people.

Both of these dogs are high energy, but the two breeds have different ways of burning that energy off.

Bichon Frises will have bursts of energy where they will want to play and exercise and enjoy a long walk. However, that activity will be met with a long nap soon after.

Since my dad’s dog is a Bichon Frise, I often see him sleeping throughout much of the day.

But at random times, he’ll hop up and start playing with his toys and my dad’s other dog, so he definitely has some spunk to him!

Maltese dogs might be elegant, but they have a wild side. They are surprisingly athletic dogs who love to be active and do well in agility courses or with vigorous walks and play time.

If you are struggling to train your Maltese or Bichon Frise we have created a great article which reviews Brain Training 4 Dogs an amazing programme that can teach your dog amazing tricks!

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Maltese vs Bichon Frise Life Span and Health: What’s Their Life Expectancy?

Small white dogThese dogs are both small breeds with very similar life spans. Bichon Frises typically live around 14 to 15 years, and Maltese breeds live for about 12 to 15 years.

Each of these preppy pups have similar common health concerns for small dog breeds, including dental concerns, heart conditions and skin conditions.

These breeds need dental care because their teeth are very prone to decay so they may need their teeth brushed daily.

Also, each breed will need regular grooming to keep their beautiful coats from matting, as well as nail clippings often to keep them from growing too long and causing pain.

Maltese vs Bichon Frise Shedding, Grooming and Appearance: What Kind of Coats do They Have?

The coats of both of these dogs are part of what makes them so popular. Although both dogs are hypoallergenic and rarely shed and have white coats, their coats are completely opposite!

Maltese coats are long, fine white hair that typically will grow to touch the ground. Many owners use bows and clips to tie up the fur around their faces to show off their gorgeous puppy eyes.

Bichon Frise coats are completely different and are very short and curly but also very soft.

Because of their non-shedding coats, these dogs need regular grooming to stay healthy and looking fabulous.

Sampson’s coat grows much faster than we expected, and we found that without regular grooming, his fur can become matted and tangled.

This is a huge thing to consider when getting either on of these breeds, because matted fur can lead to skin complications.

A small white dogBetween grooming sessions, both breeds should be brushed at least a few times a week if not every day.

They also benefit from regular baths and coat conditionings, at least once a week or more if they get into dirt.

These dogs also can get debris and hair in their ears which should be cleaned and removed. This is also something your groomer should be able to do if you request it.

These pups are both very small, but the Bichon Frise tends to be just a bit bigger.

They can grow up to a foot tall and 18 pounds, while a Maltese will only grow as high as 9 inches and will rarely surpass 7 pounds.

Maltese vs Bichon Frise Diet and General Expenses: What do They Eat and Are they Expensive?

Maltese and Bichon Frise dogs will do well on a high-quality food diet. Both are small dogs who can be prone to obesity, so table scraps and treats should be monitored closely.

Neither dog is typically picky about food, which can be good and bad. These dogs trust their owners and will eat anything they are given, so make sure what they are eating is healthy for them.

As any healthy food, this will be the majority of the expenses you have for these dogs, aside from grooming.

Taking care of their coats will definitely be the most expensive element for these dogs, so be prepared to spend money on that regularly.

These are pure-bred animals that are extremely popular show dogs, so a pure-bred is not going to be cheap.

Maltese vs Bichon Frise Family and Environment: Are They Good with Children?

Small white dogBoth of these dogs are loyal family dogs. They are great with kids if they are well trained because they love to play and are extremely entertaining.

However, Bichons tend to “not know strangers,” meaning they will be friendly towards anyone they meet. This is where the breeds differ.

While the Maltese is not unfriendly, they are typically more protective of family and will need to be properly introduced to new people.

This is so they can bond with them and not see them as a stranger or threat.

Maltese dogs are also going to require more structured activity such as walks, runs or other forms of exercise.

Bichon Frises should also get a fair share of activity but are more active in the form of playing for short bursts of time.

Bichon Frises being friendly with strangers makes them perfect for city living, although both breeds are not particular on where they live. Each would do well in an apartment or a house.

Neither breed does better or worse in warm or cool climates, but if they are exposed to extreme cold, they should wear protective clothing such as boots or coats (and please take pictures and videos).

Final Thoughts: Maltese vs Bichon Frise

Small white dogEach of these adorable breeds are treasures. It is up to you to decide which one will suit your home best.

Do you enjoy working out or have a highly active lifestyle that you want a companion for? If so, the Maltese is definitely the better choice.

If you want a more laid-back dog that has some spunk and an entertaining personality, the Bichon is best for you.

Either way, I hope this information helps you find your perfect companion!

Happy Pet Parenting!

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