Maltipoo Designer Cross 101: Who Are These Adorable Pups?

Updated December 16, 2021
Woman in knitted sweater with her maltipoo poodle

A maltipoo is not a recognized dog breed, but a hybrid cross between a Maltese and a Poodle. Other names include maltapo and maltepoo. Various clubs and breeders associations generally recognize the spelling, "maltipoo," as being correct.

Origin and History

The maltipoo results from the deliberate cross breeding between Maltese and Poodles, though smaller Miniature and Toy Poodles are typically used. The parents are carefully considered, and the pairing is calculated to produce puppies with the look and temperament that the breeder desires. The maltipoo designer breed was developed to be a small-breed companion for those suffering from allergies. Although no dog is completely hypoallergenic, the maltipoo comes fairly close.

Most maltipoo litters are first-generation breedings, but they are becoming popular enough that maltipoos are being bred to other maltipoos, though trait combinations of cross-bred pairings can vary widely. Although the American Kennel Club does not officially recognize this cross as a breed, maltipoo lovers can be a part of the North American Maltipoo Club if desired.

Breed Characteristics

Maltipoos are a good choice for first-time dog owners. They're eager to learn and known to be easy to train.

Adorable maltipoo pup lying on green grass in the city park on beautiful summer day

Appearance

Maltipoos come in a variety of colors. Most of the dogs have a light-colored coat that is soft and has a slight curliness or wave to it. There is no undercoat. The maltipoo has low dander and may be better for some people with allergies. Coat colors most often seen are:

  • White
  • Ivory
  • Cream
  • Silver

A maltipoo's size largely depends on the size of the parents. They may have shorter legs, more akin to the Maltese, or longer legs, like the Poodle. Their build can be stocky or lean depending on the traits they inherit. Because maltipoo parents have distinctly different genetic character, puppies from this cross can have any combinations of those traits, and may not look like their parents or siblings.

Most of these dogs weigh from 4 to 12 pounds when they are fully grown, though examples of the cross have been shown to reach nearly 20 pounds, in some cases. The definitions of each size may vary from breeder to breeder, so be sure to explain to the breeder exactly what you are looking for. It is also possible to get a rough estimate of adult size by looking at the bone structure of the dog and the size of the parents.

Temperament

Maltipoo puppies are not always the product of a breeding between a purebred Maltese and a purebred Poodle. Many breeders will breed generations of mixed breed dogs to one another, or back to either of the original breeds used in the pairing. In order to determine the temperament of the Maltipoo, you have to look at the temperaments of both of the breeds that make up this hybrid.

Maltipoo On Field

The Maltese is an energetic breed of toy dog who are very loving and make good companion animals. They can become very possessive of "their" human when not socialized properly. Although these dogs are highly intelligent, they can be difficult to housebreak, and this takes consistency and dedication. Patience is key.

Training

Poodles are one of the most easily trained dog breeds in existence, and Maltese are known to be highly trainable. As a result, maltipoos are typically receptive to training. They are affectionate and like to spend time with their owners.

The maltipoo is an intelligent cross who benefits greatly from early socialization and training. Use positive reinforcement while training and you'll be heading toward a well-rounded, trained dog quickly.

Exercise Requirements

Maltipoos are active and require daily exercise to remain happy and healthy. They do require less exercise than most other dogs, needing only about 30 minutes of exercise per day, which may be broken up into two 15-minute sessions, if need be. A short walk around the block or some outdoor playtime is sufficient. If it's cold or there's bad weather outside, a game of fetch inside is a good plan B.

Maltipoo Dogs Running On Field

Health

It is often said that crossbreeds have "hybrid vigor." This means that the combination of the two breeds results in a dog that is generally healthier than either of the pure breeds. Keeping a breed pure results in a very small genetic pool to choose from, and this can lead to a higher rate of health issues in particular breeds.

Some breeders believe that by cross breeding and introducing a new set of genetics, the resulting puppies are healthier with fewer tendencies toward genetically based diseases. This subject is debatable, and other breeders argue that crossbreeding brings in genetic faults from both breeds. It is important to remember that it is still possible for maltipoos to inherit genetic disorders and diseases from their parents.

Some of the genetic problems that can be found in Poodles are:

While the Maltese is generally a healthy breed, some of the genetic problems that can occur include:

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: The same degenerative eye disease that affects Poodles
  • Respiratory problems: Usually worse if the animal is living in damp conditions

Lifespan

Maltipoos have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years due to their modest size and lack of health issues. Many things influence this timeline, including the dog's food, activity level, genetics, and overall health.

Grooming

Considering maltipoos are such a good-natured crossbreed, grooming is often relatively simple for these dogs. Use a slicker or pin brush since their coats are thick and shiny, and must be kept in good shape. This should be as relaxing for the dog as it is for you, and you may help the dog by using a dog-safe detangling spray.

Cute Maltipoo puppy at a dog groomer

Brush out any clumps or mats using the spray to make it easier to brush them out. If you don't notice any mats before getting your Maltipoo wet, you might be surprised to learn that mats can only be eliminated by cutting the clump out, leaving a bald place in the dog's fur.

Fun Facts About the Breed

  • Maltipoo dog breeds are usually non-shedding and known to be hypoallergenic.
  • Crossbreeds tend to be at lower risk for diseases than purebred dogs.
  • The breed is an indoor companion and cannot tolerate long periods of sun or cold.
  • A Toy Poodle is most commonly matched with a Maltese, while some breeders will use a Miniature Poodle instead, resulting in larger puppies.

Purchasing or Adopting a Maltipoo

If you're looking for a maltipoo puppy, a good place to start is the website of the Maltipoo Club of America. They have a breeder directory available as well as helpful tips on how to find responsible breeders with quality dogs. Expect to pay around $800 to $1,000, though dogs from popular breeders may cost as much as $4,000 or more.

Little cute maltipoo puppy

Rescue Organizations

If you would prefer a rescued dog, you can search on PetFinder and Save-a-Rescue. You can also contact these breed-specific Maltese, Poodle, and maltipoo rescue organizations:

Is a Maltipoo the Breed for You?

If you're searching for a small, hypoallergenic dog you can cart around with you anywhere with a fun demeanor, this could be the mix for you. Maltipoos are not meant to be left alone for long periods of time, so do not bring one home unless you have enough time to spend with them. They are most recommended for those who are elderly, work from home, or have someone at home for the majority of the day. Or, if you can take your dog with, that's also acceptable. Overall, this is one of the most fun-loving small dog companions.

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Maltipoo Designer Cross 101: Who Are These Adorable Pups?