Comparing Breeds: Yorkie vs. Maltese

Comparing Breeds: Yorkie vs. Maltese

We all know what they say– small dog, big attitude.

When looking to adopt a small dog, both Yorkies and Maltese dogs fit the bill for tiny friends with a larger-than-life presence. Either breed is bound to be a ton of fun, but it’s essential to understand their similarities and differences in deciding between the Yorkie vs. Maltese.

In the following article, we’ll dive into the health, needs, and temperament of both breeds to bring you the most complete picture possible.

The Breeds

Both Yorkies and Maltese dogs are toy breeds, making them among the smallest pups you can own. While they’re very similar in size, there’s a lot of big differences between the two. Read on to see the breakdown!

Health and Lifespan.

Both Yorkies and Maltese dogs are long-lived, with a lifespan ranging from 11-15 years. As they are both toy breeds, topping up at 9 inches tall and 7 pounds maximum, one of their primary health concerns is the delicate nature of their bodies. When they’re very old or very young, it’s essential to caution children who may be playing with them too roughly.

Maltese dogs can be prone to knee and dental problems as they age, whereas Yorkies can be prone to collapsing trachea and herniated discs in the spine, among other things. Despite these health concerns, both dogs are generally healthy breeds, and health problems can be largely avoided by consulting with your vet about methods of prevention.

Grooming Needs

The stunning long, straight hair of both the Yorkie and the Maltese makes grooming one of its biggest concerns. Thus, they have similar grooming needs. Owners may choose to cut the dog’s hair short for the sake of ease, but whether long or short, the hair of both breeds will need a daily brush, like human hair.

Besides brushing, both dogs require a daily bath. Yorkies’ ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection. Maltese dogs have fast-growing nails that require frequent clipping, and they require more regular teeth brushing to avoid dental issues.


Maltese dogs were bred to be lap dogs and do great in small apartments. They enjoy exercise, and can even excel on agility tracks, but don’t require too much. They are extremely loyal, and happily take on the role of watchdog. They are generally adaptable and do well with kids and adults of all ages, as well as other dogs and cats.

Yorkies also do well in apartments, but not so well with children and other dogs, as they have a tendency to nip and try to assert dominance. They require a fair bit more exercise than Maltese dogs, and have stronger protective instincts. They present a beautiful loyalty to their owner, however, without proper training, they can develop bad habits.

Both dogs are prone to barking, especially if left alone too long or not given enough exercise. Plenty of positive reinforcement training can benefit either breed and help curb bad behaviors.


Both Yorkies and Maltese dogs are distinctive breeds with stand-out attributes. To simplify, you should:

Adopt a Yorkie if:

You’re looking for a tiny dog with a big personality, and you don’t have small children or other dogs.

Adopt a Maltese if:

You’re looking for a calmer lapdog who gets along with everyone, and you don’t mind a bit more grooming.

Good luck choosing your new best friend! And if you have any further questions about the breeds, send us a message in the comments below. We’ll be sure to help you find out whatever else you may want to know about these beautiful breeds.