To people who love the breed, few puppies are more adorable than those of the Maltese. Their shaggy white faces with black button eyes have delighted families for millennia. Maltipoo puppies are undoubtedly adorable, as well. But the difference between them and Maltese puppies is more than just fur deep.
The Maltese is a registered breed with a breed standard. Unlike the maltipoo, the Maltese has a history that spans around 2,800 years. The breed has had the same appearance for much of that time, which we know thanks to ancient Greek ceramic artwork. Maltipoos, however, for all of their cuteness, are not an actual breed. They are crossbreeds or mixed breeds that have no history and no consistency of size, color, coat or temperament. Lack of breed status should not prevent you from enjoying your maltipoo puppy, if you already have one. If you are planning to buy a maltipoo, avoid any seller who insists that maltipoos are purebred dogs and want to charge you purebred prices.
Maltipoos can inherit their coat type from either their Maltese parent or their poodle parent. You might get a silky coat like the Maltese, a tightly curled and frizzled poodle coat, the poodle coat variety that develops long mats (called “cords”), or a coat that combines a number of these traits. In addition, the maltipoo can come in a huge variety of colors and markings. This coat variety makes them different from the Maltese, which has one type of coat -- a long, silky coat without an undercoat, and one color -- white. Although a very few Maltese have light tan or lemon-colored markings on the ears, any deviation from white is undesirable, according to the breed standard.
The Maltese is a tiny breed. The American Kennel Club places it in the toy group, with a desired weight of under 7 pounds. The preferred Maltese weight is between 4 and 6 pounds. Because the maltipoo is produced using a Maltese and either a toy poodle or a miniature poodle, the maltipoo can reach up to 14 pounds. That means that a large maltipoo can weigh two to three times what a Maltese is supposed to weigh!
Most maltipoo breeders probably genuinely love their dogs, take excellent care of them, and enjoy providing the public with healthy, happy puppies. However, they are not breeding to a standard, and because maltipoos have no consistent genetic makeup, it is impossible to do any meaningful health testing beyond examination for things like slipping patellas or visible skin problems. The inability to improve any maltipoo health conditions makes responsible maltipoo breeding difficult at best. While not all breeders of purebred Maltese are responsible, those who breed their dogs for competition in shows are more likely to follow the ethical standards of the club that oversees their breed. Be patient and take time to research responsible breeders, animals shelters and rescue organizations to find the cute and healthy puppy meant for you.