Which of these small but beautiful breeds would best suit your home?
Let’s compare every aspect of these two popular breeds to see which one is the best for you.
Maltese vs Yorkie History
Before we look at the appearance and personalities of the Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier, let’s take a look at their history.
Comparing the history of breeds can be a fun way to see if they have similar origins.
Plus, it can be interesting to tell people exactly where your breed came from!
Let’s take a look at the differences between the Yorkie’s history and the Maltese’s.
The Maltese breed originated in Malta.
Throughout the ages, the Maltese became a beloved lap dog, as well as a symbol of status, especially in Ancient Rome.
Although, we have Chinese breeders to thank for keeping the Maltese breed alive after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Even though the Maltese breed has made its mark very far back in history, it remains just as popular in the modern age.
Yorkshire Terrier History
The Yorkie is another breed that has an interesting history.
This breed was developed in Yorkshire, England, and was originally used to kill rodents in factories and mines.
However, they were later used as lap dogs for Victorian women.
The Yorkie is thought to be a mixture of various Scottish terrier breeds.
As it became more fashionable with upper classes, its purpose changed more to a companion breed than a hunting breed.
Maltese vs Yorkie Appearance
So both of these breeds have quite different histories.
But what about the rest of them?
How different are their looks?
The Maltese is a toy breed that measures between 7 and 9 inches tall when fully grown and weighs under 7 pounds.
They have long, straight, white fur that covers their whole bodies withstandout black noses and big, dark eyes.
Their fur colors can be white, white and lemon, or white and tan.
The Yorkie is also a small dog.
It measures between 7 and 8 inches at the shoulder when fully grown and usually weighs around 7 pounds.
So these two breeds are very similar in size.
However, while the Maltese is a light-shaded dog, the Yorkie is a little darker.
The Yorkshire Terrier can be black and gold, black and tan, blue and gold, or blue and tan.
Which of these two breeds do you think is cuter?
Maltese vs Yorkie Temperament
Temperament is just as important as anything else when choosing your next canine companion.
Let’s compare the temperaments of the Maltese breed and the Yorkie to see which might suit your family best.
Just because these two breeds are small doesn’t mean their personalities match their size!
Duffy et al. suggested Yorkshire Terriers actually scored higher than every other breed they looked at for stranger aggression.
They also suggested Yorkies scored higher than average for owner aggression and aggression toward other dogs.
In a 2014 study, Serpell and Duffy suggested toy breeds, including the Maltese, showed a higher level of aggression than other breeds.
Socialization Stops Aggression
However, socialization from a young age is a great way to minimize this potential for aggression.
Although aggression might not seem such an issue in a small dog, it’s still important to control it.
Yorkies have the typical feistiness of terriers and can have a stubborn streak.
This is similar to the Maltese!
They are a social breed that makes great watch dogs but can have that same stubborn personality!
As popular lap dogs, both the Maltese and Yorkie breeds will want to spend most of their time with you.
So make sure you’re ready for a devoted pup!
Maltese vs Yorkie Training
If you’re planning on getting a small dog, you’ll need to know how well they respond to training.
Even small dogs can get some bad habits if not taught how to behave properly!
Both the Maltese and the Yorkshire Terrier are intelligent breeds.
This means they can do well when being trained, especially using a positive, reward-based system.
The Maltese can have a stubborn streak but is generally pretty agreeable when being trained.
They are also extremely outgoing, which will only flourish more with proper socialization and training.
The Yorkie can be a little more on the stubborn side.
However, they love their owners, and can try hard to please you when trained properly.
Because they can be very loyal, and potentially territorial, it is even more important to socialize your Yorkie from a young age.
This socialization will help both the Maltese and Yorkies to be as happy and confident as possible as they grow up.
Both dogs are great candidates for dog sports like obedience and agility.
And Yorkies are even known for their use as service therapy dogs, which shows just how well they can take to training!
Maltese vs Yorkie Exercise
Even though the Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier are small dogs, they still love regular exercise!
Because they’re smaller than most dogs, this can actually be achieved even if you don’t have a ton of space in your home.
The Maltese breed will be happy with just a daily walk or an active play session with you!
These are both great options, because not only does it keep your Maltese fit, but it also gives your dog some quality time with you.
Yorkies are very similar.
They will benefit from a couple of fast-paced walks each day or an energetic game of fetch!
Just like the Maltese, the Yorkie will love the chance to spend some time with you while burning off some energy.
Maltese vs Yorkie Health
If you’re looking for a long-term family companion, you’ll want to know if there are any health issues you should know about.
Generally, a healthy Maltese will live for between 12 and 15 years.
While a healthy Yorkie should live between 11 and 15 years.
These two breeds have relatively similar life expectancies, but can the same be said about the health issues they experience?
Most dog breeds experience some common health issues.
Some of these can be avoided with health screening, but others are harder to get away from.
The Maltese is prone to some health conditions, including:
- degenerative mitral valve disease
- liver problems
- eye problems like cataracts.
These health problems aren’t guaranteed when getting a Maltese but are good to learn about, just in case your Maltese is one of the unlucky ones.
Yorkshire Terriers are generally seen as a healthy breed.
However, there are some health issues they can be prone to.
These include eye problems and luxating patella.
These are health problems, much like those of the Maltese, that can be screened for.
You should look into the health of your puppy’s parents before getting it to ensure you’re getting the healthiest pet possible!
Choosing a responsible breeder will help with this.
Because the Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier are toy breeds, we need to take extra care of their dental health.
Toy breeds have the same amount of teeth as larger breeds but much less space to fit them all in!
Therefore, their teeth grow very cramped together and can be crooked.
This can lead to unhealthy buildup of plaque.
Both of these breeds need owners who can dedicate time to brushing their teeth every single day.
Or if your dog doesn’t like getting its teeth brushed, you can use dental chews or toys.
As well as dental care, care of your dog’s fur is a large part of a healthy pup.
And the Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier both have very beautiful fur to care for.
The Maltese needs daily brushing to prevent any tangles but will also need regular baths.
Their nails should be trimmed regularly, but also check their ears for excess wax regularly!
The Yorkshire Terrier’s hair is much like our own.
Therefore, just like ours, its fur should be brushed every single day.
They will need bathing every week and will also need their ears checked regularly.
The fur on both breeds can grow very long, so you might want to consider trimming the fur on their face or even taking them to a groomer every now and again.
This can help avoid any irritation for your little pup.
We’ve got a few more breed comparisons that you might want to check out!
Which one is your favorite?
Which Breed Makes a Better Pet?
So have you decided which breed would be best for you?
Both breeds look quite different and have very unique backgrounds, but they do have some similarities!
Maltese and Yorkies are a great choice for people who don’t have much space, as they don’t need a crazy amount of exercise.
They’re both social, although the Maltese a little more so.
This means they’re great for families that want to spend lots of time with them.
However, they do need people who are dedicated to spending this time on training, socializing, and caring for them.
Have you ever had a Maltese or Yorkshire Terrier?
Which one do you think is your favorite?
Let us know in the comments section!
References and Resources
James Serpell, Deborah Duffy. Dog Breeds and Their Behavior. Domestic Dog Cognition and Behavior. 2014
Deborah Duffy et al. Breed Differences in Canine Aggression. Applied Animal Behavior Science. 2008
Brook Neimiec. Canine Based Dental Radiology. Topics in Companion Animal Medicine. 2009
P. Tisdall et al. Congenital Portosystemic Shunts in Maltese and Australian Cattle Dogs. Australian Veterinary Journal. 1994
Chang-Min Lee et al. Genome-Wide Association Study of Degenerative Mitral Valve Disease in Maltese Dogs. The Korean Society of Veterinary Science. 2019
Greg Harasen. Patellar Luxation. The Canadian Veterinary Journal. 2006
I. Walde. Retinal and Corneal Dysplasias in the Yorkshire Terrier and Other Dog Breeds in Austria. Tierarztliche Praxis. 1997
Mike Rhodes et al. Parotid Duct in Transposition in Dogs: A Retrospective Review of 92 Eyes from 1999 to 2009. Veterinary Ophthalmology. 2011