Welcome to the little dog battle royal! Who will win the cutest dog contest?
Hi, my name is Jennifer and my Yorkshire Terrier, Selphie, was The Best Dog Ever.
She was given to me as an early Christmas present when she was 8-weeks-old and she stayed by my side until I had to put her to sleep when she was 15-years-old.
I’m not the owner of a 10-year-old Weimaraner, Ruger, and a 3-year-old Yorkie name Lola whom we adopted a year or so after Selphie’s passing.
My mother has a Maltese/Yorkie (Morkie) mix, so between the two Yorkies and her Morkie, I have some knowledge of the traits of both Maltese and Yorkies.
What to Consider When Getting a Dog?
We’re not really debating cutest dog, nor should a dog’s cuteness be the reason you get a dog. If being cute was a deciding factor in owning dogs, I would own approximately 500 dogs.
All dogs are cute, and puppies are even cuter, but what’s cute as a puppy might not be so cute as a full-grown dog.
A few things to consider before getting a dog are if you have enough time to devote to training and playing with a dog, how big the dog will get and how much food and exercise it will need.
We’ll delve deeper into things to consider about getting a dog while we explore the similarities and differences between Yorkies and Maltese breeds.
Short Comparison: Yorkies vs Maltese
Yorkies and Maltese are extremely affectionate and playful breeds, depending on their age. My Yorkie, Selphie, never really played that much, with Ruger or me.
However, my younger Yorkie, Lola, wants to play all the time. Especially in the middle of the night with a squeaky toy.
Neither of them does exceptionally well around small children, though that can depend more on the individual dog than the entire breed.
Similar in size and features, Yorkies and Maltese require more exercise than you would think, given how small they are.
Both can get along with other dogs but tend to think they are bigger in size than they actually are, which can result in dominance issues.
Once the most popular breed in the United States, Yorkies are almost always in the top 10 of the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) breed popularity list.
While Maltese aren’t quite as popular as Yorkies, they are in the top 50 of the same AKC rankings. Given their compact size, both dogs are frequently spotted in big cities.
Overview of Yorkies
Scottish migrant weavers are responsible for the creation of the Yorkie. A mix of the Waterside Terrier (now called the Airedale Terrier) with other small terriers, Yorkies were initially bred to hunt rats in mines and mills.
Despite their roots as working dogs, Yorkshire Terriers are classified in the Toy group with other small dogs.
At some point in their long history, Yorkies became the favored dog of high society ladies and were carried around as a symbol of wealth and stature.
Yorkshire Terriers were first Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885 and is often has a place in the finals of the Westminster Dog Show.
Show dogs are extremely well-groomed and that is the standard image most people think of when they think of Yorkies – the tiny dog with beautiful, flowing hair.
I personally choose to keep my dog’s hair short, but it still requires professional grooming every six weeks and daily brushing at home.
Yorkies are small dogs who remain small – typically under 10 pounds – for their entire life. They do best in houses without small children or cats, given their innate prey drive.
They probably won’t hurt a cat, but they will make the cat’s life miserable by always chasing it. Just ask my cat!
Overview of Maltese
The Maltese breed has an even longer and more storied history than the Yorkie. It can be traced back to the island of Malta and can be found in ancient Greek pottery and even mentioned in some writings of famed philosopher Aristotle.
In the `1770s, Maltese dogs became popular with upper-class ladies in England and remain an indication of status.
Given their 2000-year tale as lap dogs, it’s no surprise that Maltese prefer to be with their owners and can suffer severe separation anxiety. They can be quite endearing with their playful antics and adorable faces.
Recognized by the AKC in the Toy group in 1888, the Maltese are still revered as a regal dog. Like Yorkies, the Maltese breed only grows to be under 10 pounds.
Maltese coats are similar to that of Yorkies in length and softness. The breed requires daily brushing with professional grooming every few weeks.
In the 17th and 18th century, the Maltese breed was almost rendered extinct in attempts to breed it to a smaller size. Cross-breeding with other small dogs was necessary to ensure the breed continued.
This cross-breeding resulted in a genetic connection to breeds such as Bichon Frise and Havanese.
Yorkie vs Maltese Size: Which Breed is Bigger?
Both the Yorkie and the Maltese are considered a small dog breed. They will adult weight will fluctuate between 4 and 7 pounds. They are perfect dogs for small apartments and will take up a permanent residency in your lap.
Their facial features are also quite similar, with the small noses and close-set eyes.
Yorkie vs Maltese Temperament: How do They Behave?
If you’re looking for a small, medium-energy dog who will play a few rounds of fetch and then snooze the rest of the day away, Yorkies and Maltese are both great options for a pet.
Unlike Yorkies, Maltese weren’t bred to hunt, so they might have a lower prey drive, making them more suitable for life with cats and other small animals.
My first Yorkie used to share her dog bed with the cat, so it’s not entirely implausible for them to co-exist.
Small breeds such as Maltese and Yorkies are notorious for the “small dog syndrome,” where they show aggression to larger dogs who could literally eat them for breakfast.
I’ve witnessed this firsthand with both of my Yorkies and my Weimaraner. They were the boss of him and luckily for them, he is a friendly dog who let their snips and snaps roll off his back.
When I first adopted Lola, there were quite a few skirmishes with Ruger, usually when she accidentally bit his ear while playing with a toy.
But that type of dust-up hasn’t happened in over a year and I always supervise them, whether they are sleeping or playing.
When I lived in Colorado, I used to take Ruger and Selphie to the local dog park. Selphie never played with any of the other dogs and Yorkies aren’t known for being very dog or kid-friendly.
If you have small children, Yorkies might not be the best fit for your family.
Maltese, on the other hand, are a friendly, affectionate breed that gets along well with other dogs and children, though they may be snappy with young children.
Yorkies and Maltese can be very stubborn and vocal when they want attention or food. When I first adopted Lola, she didn’t bark for weeks until Ruger taught her how.
Now she starts barking and causing a commotion early in the morning until she gets that she wants. Thanks, Ruger.
Often decried as “yappy dogs,” Yorkies and Maltese both have a very high-pitched bark that can be quite annoying at times.
Neither breed likes to be left alone for long periods of time and has no problem letting your entire neighborhood hear their displeasure.
Yorkies are the better fit for childfree families looking for a small, energetic dog who enjoys the outdoors and the indoors equally.
Maltese can be great family dogs, especially if one family member works from home.
Yorkie vs Maltese Life Span: What is Their Life Expectancy?
When it comes to my Yorkie, Selphie, her life span was too short! I’m sure every dog owner feels that way about their four-legged friend.
Both Maltese and Yorkies have life expectancies between 12 and 16 years. Small dogs tend to outlive bigger dogs.
I was lucky enough to have Selphie for 15 years and this year I’m celebrating my 11th year with my Weimaraner, Ruger.
Lola is a young whippersnapper, so I don’t think about her life span that often. I’m sure she will be waking me up at the crack of dawn for food for many years to come.
Yorkie vs Maltese Health: Are They Prone to Any Health Conditions?
Yorkies and Maltese are both prone to the same possible health problems.
As small dogs, Yorkies and Maltese have to jump high to reach chairs or human beds. Purchasing special doggie stairs and training your pup to use them can result in dislocated knees, known as patellar luxation, later in life.
When I come home from work, I can see my Yorkie Lola jumping up to greet me.
She can jump almost as high as my waist and it is a struggle to train her not to do it because it is adorable. But what’s adorable now won’t be so adorable if she needs surgery from damaging her knees or hips.
Vets advise that harnesses are used for small dogs to avoid putting pressure on the dog’s trachea with dog collars that go around the neck. Many small dogs are at risk of a collapses trachea that could require surgery to fix it.
Purebred Yorkies and Maltese are purchased through reputable breeders who routinely check for genetic defects and conditions.
Another difficult topic in relation to the health of Yorkies, Maltese and all small dogs is breast cancer.
Yes, even dogs can get breast cancer and small, female dogs who aren’t spayed are at an extremely high risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
I know now from experience because Selphie developed a large lump on her breast that later came back positive for cancer.
That wasn’t what ultimately took her life (that was kidney failure due to her age), but her body fighting the breast cancer lowered her immune system.
A lot of people don’t know how common breast cancer is in female dogs, especially smaller breeds. I didn’t know until it was too late and I take every opportunity I can to spread the word.
Yorkie vs Maltese Coats: How Often do They Need Grooming and Do They Shed?
Yorkies and Maltese are considered hypoallergenic dogs for people allergic to dog fur. Allergies to dander and saliva are still triggered by the breeds.
Their long, flowing coats are the signature of both dogs, though they are drastically different colors.
Maltese tend to be completely white while Yorkies have tan and silver fur. I keep Lola’s fur short and it looks almost black except for the brown fur that frames her face.
While Yorkies and Maltese don’t shed as much as other breeds, they require a lot more grooming. If you choose to keep your dog’s hair long, you will need to brush it several times a week with professional grooming every three to six weeks.
It shows up more clearly on Maltese because of their white fur, but both dogs are extremely prone to stains under their eyes.
One reason their fur is often in hairclips or cute accessories is to keep their hair from irritating their eyes. The eye stains can be remedied with eye stain remover purchased at any dog store or vet’s office.
Yorkie vs Maltese Training: Are They Easy to Train?
A stubborn streak in both dogs can make them difficult to housetrain, but they are willing and eager to learn other training practices, such as not jumping.
Believe it or not, some people find it just as annoying when little dogs jump on them as when big dogs do it.
It’s important to socialize smaller dogs to help curb their “small dog syndrome” I mentioned earlier.
Any kind of behavior that wouldn’t be tolerated in large dogs should also be trained to stop in smaller dogs. Just because they are smaller and cuter doesn’t mean they should get away with doing whatever they want to do.
Of course, typically, the owner is the one who ends up trained. For example, Lola has me trained to get up quite early in the morning to feed her and then an hour later, she is sleeping again while I am wide awake.
If you’re looking for some an awesome dog training program, check out our review of Brain Training for Dogs here.
Yorkie vs Maltese Availability: How Rare Are They?
The rarest part about Yorkies and Maltese are finding them in dog pounds or shelters. Most people purchase these small breeds from responsible breeders or rescue organizations.
Given their immense popularity, they are very easy to acquire.
Yorkie vs Maltese Diet: What Do They Eat?
Many dog food manufacturers sell dog food that is created and targeted for smaller breeds. Small morsels are best for Maltese and Yorkies, as they have small teeth and can’t chew larger kibble as well.
Both dogs have sensitive stomachs and you should refrain from feeding them table scraps. This is difficult to do because they are expert level beggars.
According to Lola, Yorkies should be fed at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on the dot.
Yorkie vs Maltese Environment: What Home is Best for Them?
It is difficult to have small children and small dogs at the same time. Children are usually too grabby and overeager around little dogs and can easily hurt the dogs unintentionally.
Small dog breeds like Yorkies can be very snippy and reactive when they feel threatened.
My own personal experience is only with Yorkies and I would recommend a home without small children for Yorkies. Maltese supposedly do better with children than Yorkies, but is that a risk you want to take?
Both dogs can be prone to separation anxiety and do better in homes where someone is constantly present to bestow undivided attention on them.
Yorkie vs Maltese Cost: How Expensive Are They to Own?
Yorkies and Maltese are definitely more expensive than the average dog, due to their grooming needs alone. If you heed my advice, you will also need enough financial security to get your dog spayed to prevent breast cancer.
When it comes to toys and accessories, neither dog requires a lot of toys, but might enjoy being dressed up in fashionable dog clothes.
Lola is too squirmy to wear clothes, but Selphie loved them and winter jackets or sweaters are highly recommended because they can get cold, even with all that fur.
Final Thoughts: Yorkie vs Maltese
I will be the first to admit that I am biased toward Yorkies and think they are the best dog breed, followed closely by the Weimaraner. It’s not just a coincidence that Weims and Yorkies are the only dog breeds I’ve owned.
The personalities, grooming habits and quirks are almost the same in Yorkies and Maltese.
Maltese are slightly more outgoing and willing to accommodate children and other dogs. If you’re looking for a family dog, a Maltese might be a better fit.
But if you want a dog that is feisty, stubborn, affectionate and utterly adorable, a Yorkie would meet all of those requirements. (Actually, any dog meets that last requirement.)
I hope I was able to remain neutral enough to give you a glimpse into both dog breeds.
I would suggest getting both if you’re undecided but given that both breeds prefer to be the only dog in the house, getting one of each might not be the best idea.
I do know that being a dog parent to any breed is a lifetime commitment worth more than a dog’s weight in gold.