If you take two cute, small purebred dogs and breed them, the result is the Maltipoo. That is, if the dogs in question are the toy poodle and the Maltese. These hybrid "designer dogs" make good, easily portable companions. It's hard not to fall in love with these adorable pups.
The usual cross between the Maltese and the poodle is with the toy version of the latter. If the Maltese is crossed with a miniature poodle, the resulting offspring will be somewhat larger, although still small dogs. Maltipoos range between 5 and 20 pounds in weight, standing about 8 to 12 inches high at the shoulder when full grown.
Because he's a crossbred, your maltipoo may take after one side of his ancestry more than the other. His littermates may have different coat qualities and colors than he does. Often the coat is curly, like the poodle, or it may have a slightly wavy quality. Neither breed sheds, so the maltipoo is a good choice for people with allergies, although no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic. Maltipoos need regular trips to the groomer to prevent them from becoming scruffy-looking. Whether you need to brush your dog every day depends on the type of hair coat he's inherited. Although many maltipoos are white, as per the Maltese side, the coat color runs the canine gamut.
Maltipoos make good dogs for apartment dwellers or people living in smaller spaces. They don't require a great deal of exercise -- you can even paper train them if you don't want to go for "walkies" in inclement weather. However, like many small dogs, actual housebreaking can take a little time and effort. Be patient with your pup and he'll eventually get the idea. Even little dogs benefit from obedience training. Your maltipoo might bark a lot -- "yap" may be a more accurate term -- so good training lets him know when making noise is inappropriate.
Because both breeds are companion dogs, maltipoos should be friendly and sweet little guys. Again, temperament is a mix of the individual dog's personality and particular breed traits. Poodles may exhibit some shyness or prefer to cling only to their person -- so-called Velcro dogs. Both breeds are smart dogs who want to please you. Maltipoo aficionados claim that the cross retains his puppy-like playfulness his entire life -- and certainly retains his puppy-like size.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.