Yorkshire Terrier vs Maltese: Which Breed is Right for You?

Yorkshire Terrier vs Maltese: Which Breed is Right for You?

Are you considering getting a new furry friend but can’t decide between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Maltese? Look no further! In this article, we will compare these two popular dog breeds to help you make an informed decision. Whether you’re looking for a small and playful companion or a hypoallergenic pet, we’ll discuss the key characteristics, temperaments, and care requirements of Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of which breed is the perfect fit for your lifestyle and preferences.

General Overview

When it comes to choosing the right dog breed for you, it’s essential to consider various factors such as size, temperament, and grooming needs. Two popular small dog breeds that often make it to the top of the list are Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese. Both breeds have their unique qualities and characteristics that make them great companions. In this article, we will compare Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese to help you decide which breed is the perfect fit for you and your lifestyle.

Origin and History

The Yorkshire Terrier, also known as Yorkie, has a fascinating history that dates back to the 19th century in Yorkshire, England. Originally bred to catch rats in clothing mills, the Yorkshire Terrier quickly gained popularity as a companion dog due to its charming looks and delightful personality. On the other hand, the Maltese breed has ancient origins, tracing back thousands of years to the Mediterranean region. These small and elegant dogs were adored by ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans, who believed they possessed healing powers.

Physical Appearance

Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese both belong to the toy dog group, but they have distinct physical characteristics. Yorkshire Terriers are known for their long, silky, and flowing coats that come in various shades of blue and tan. They have a compact build with a well-proportioned body and a confident, upright stance. In contrast, Maltese dogs have a luxurious, pure white coat that is silky and straight. They have a slightly longer body compared to Yorkshire Terriers, with a cute, baby-doll face and expressive dark eyes.

Temperament and Personality

When it comes to temperament, both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese are affectionate and loving dogs. Yorkshire Terriers are known for their spunky and energetic nature. They are confident, intelligent, and often exhibit a fearless attitude despite their small size. Maltese dogs, on the other hand, are gentle, playful, and highly adaptable. They thrive on human companionship and make excellent therapy and lap dogs. Both breeds generally get along well with other pets and are suitable for families with older children.

In conclusion, choosing between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Maltese depends on your preferences and lifestyle. If you prefer a dog with a slightly larger body and a pure white coat, the Maltese might be the perfect fit for you. On the other hand, if you are attracted to a dog with a compact build, flowing coat, and a confident personality, the Yorkshire Terrier could be your ideal companion. Ultimately, both breeds offer love, companionship, and a delightful presence in your life.

Grooming and Maintenance

When it comes to Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese, grooming and maintenance are important factors to consider. Both breeds have long, luxurious coats that require regular care to keep them looking their best. However, there are some differences in their grooming needs that potential owners should be aware of.

Coat Care

Both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese have hair instead of fur, which means their coats continue to grow rather than shedding. This requires regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling. However, the texture and maintenance of their coats differ slightly.

Yorkshire Terriers have a silky, straight coat that requires daily brushing to prevent tangles and minimize shedding. Their hair can grow quite long, which may require occasional trimming to keep it manageable. Regular brushing also helps to distribute natural oils, keeping their coat healthy and shiny.

On the other hand, Maltese have a thick, silky coat that also requires daily brushing to prevent mats and tangles. Their hair grows continuously and can become quite long if not trimmed regularly. Some owners prefer to keep their Maltese in a shorter "puppy cut" to make grooming easier. Regular brushing and occasional trimming are essential to maintain their coat’s beauty.

Bathing and Hygiene

Both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese are generally clean dogs that require regular bathing and hygiene care. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind.

Yorkshire Terriers have a single-layered coat that is naturally more resistant to dirt and odor. They can go longer between baths, typically requiring a bath every three to four weeks. Regular brushing and wiping their eyes and ears are important for their hygiene maintenance.

Maltese, with their long and flowing white coat, may need more frequent bathing than Yorkshire Terriers. Their white hair can show dirt more easily, so they may need a bath every two to three weeks. Extra care should be taken to keep their face clean, as tear stains can be more noticeable on their light-colored fur.

Exercise and Activity Needs

Despite their small size, both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese are active and energetic breeds that require regular exercise and activity to stay healthy and happy. However, their exercise needs may vary slightly.

Yorkshire Terriers are known for their playful nature and love for activities. They benefit from daily walks, interactive play sessions, and mental stimulation. They are also adaptable to indoor exercise if outdoor space is limited. Engaging them in regular exercise helps prevent behavior problems that may arise from boredom.

Similarly, Maltese also enjoy daily walks and playtime, but they may have slightly lower exercise requirements compared to Yorkshire Terriers. They are adaptable to apartment living and can get their exercise indoors through interactive play or short walks. Despite their lower exercise needs, they still enjoy mental stimulation and quality time with their owners.

In conclusion, both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese require regular grooming and maintenance, including coat care and bathing. Yorkshire Terriers have a sleek, straight coat, while Maltese have a long, flowing coat. Both breeds also have exercise and activity needs, with Yorkshire Terriers being slightly more active. By considering these factors, potential owners can make an informed decision about which breed is right for them.

Training and Intelligence


When considering which breed of dog is right for you, it’s essential to take into account their trainability. Both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese are intelligent breeds that can be trained relatively easily.

Yorkshire Terriers, often called Yorkies, are known for their eagerness to please their owners. They are quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and rewards. With consistency, patience, and a firm yet gentle approach, Yorkies can be trained to follow commands and learn various tricks. However, it’s important to note that they can sometimes exhibit stubbornness, so early socialization and consistent training are necessary to ensure they grow up to be well-behaved companions.

Similarly, Maltese dogs are intelligent and trainable. They have a keen desire to please their owners and are generally eager to learn new commands and tasks. Maltese dogs excel in obedience training and can easily understand and follow instructions. They respond well to positive reinforcement methods and enjoy the bonding experience that training provides. However, like Yorkies, they can also display stubbornness at times, so consistent training and early socialization are crucial for their development.

Intelligence and Problem-solving Skills

Both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese are intelligent breeds that possess problem-solving skills. They are quick thinkers and can adapt to various situations. Their intelligence allows them to learn new commands and tricks relatively quickly, making them suitable for owners who enjoy teaching their dogs new skills.

Yorkshire Terriers have a sharp intellect and are known for their ability to problem-solve. They can quickly assess a situation and find solutions to challenges they encounter. This intelligence makes them excellent at tasks such as agility training, where they need to navigate obstacles and follow instructions accurately. Their problem-solving skills also make them adept at learning complex tricks and commands.

Maltese dogs are also intelligent and have excellent problem-solving abilities. They can analyze situations and find creative ways to overcome obstacles. Their intelligence and problem-solving skills make them highly trainable in various activities, including obedience training and interactive games. Maltese dogs thrive in environments that stimulate their minds and provide opportunities for mental engagement.

Obedience and Behavioral Training

Proper obedience and behavioral training are essential for both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese. While these breeds are intelligent and trainable, they still require consistent guidance and structure to become well-behaved companions.

Yorkshire Terriers can sometimes exhibit a stubborn streak, so early obedience training is crucial. They respond well to positive reinforcement methods, such as reward-based training techniques. Consistency and patience are key when training Yorkies, as they can become easily distracted. Focusing on teaching them basic commands, leash training, and appropriate behavior around people and other animals will help them develop good manners and become obedient pets.

Similarly, Maltese dogs benefit from obedience and behavioral training. They are eager to please their owners and can quickly learn commands and proper behavior with positive reinforcement methods. Early socialization is important for Maltese dogs to ensure they are comfortable in various environments and interact well with other animals and people. Regular training sessions focusing on basic obedience, leash manners, and house training will help them become well-rounded and obedient companions.

In conclusion, both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese are intelligent and trainable breeds. They possess problem-solving skills and can excel in various training activities. However, it’s important to note that individual dogs may vary in their trainability and intelligence levels. Consistent training, positive reinforcement techniques, and early socialization are key to ensuring these breeds develop into well-behaved and obedient pets.

Health and Lifespan

Common Health Issues

Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese are both small dog breeds that are generally healthy, but they are prone to certain health issues. It’s important to be aware of these common health problems to ensure the well-being of your chosen breed.

Yorkshire Terrier Health Issues

  1. Luxating Patella: This is a condition where the kneecap slips out of its normal position. Yorkshire Terriers are prone to this genetic condition, which can cause lameness and discomfort.
  2. Dental Problems: Due to their small jaws and crowded teeth, Yorkshire Terriers often suffer from dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, and tartar buildup.
  3. Tracheal Collapse: This is a progressive disease that affects the windpipe, leading to coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Yorkshire Terriers are at a higher risk for this condition.

Maltese Health Issues

  1. Portosystemic Liver Shunt: Maltese dogs may have a congenital condition where blood from the intestine bypasses the liver, resulting in impaired liver function. This can lead to various symptoms like stunted growth, poor appetite, and neurological problems.
  2. Hypoglycemia: Maltese puppies are susceptible to low blood sugar levels, which can cause weakness, seizures, and even coma if not managed properly. Regular feeding schedules and monitoring are essential to prevent hypoglycemia.
  3. White Dog Shaker Syndrome: This neurological disorder primarily affects white-coated breeds like Maltese. It causes tremors, shaking, and difficulty in coordination.

Lifespan and Longevity

The lifespan of Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese dogs can vary, but both breeds generally have a decent lifespan when well cared for.

Yorkshire Terrier Lifespan

Yorkshire Terriers have an average lifespan of 11 to 15 years. However, with proper nutrition, regular exercise, and routine veterinary care, some Yorkshire Terriers have been known to live up to 20 years or more.

Maltese Lifespan

Maltese dogs have a similar average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. With a healthy lifestyle and proper care, some Maltese dogs have been documented to live beyond 15 years, reaching their late teens or even early twenties.

Medical Care and Veterinary Expenses

Both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese may require routine medical care and veterinary expenses to maintain their health and prevent potential health issues. It’s important to consider these factors when deciding on a breed.

  1. Vaccinations: Regular vaccinations are necessary to protect your dog from various diseases. Consult your veterinarian to ensure your Yorkshire Terrier or Maltese is up to date with their vaccinations.
  2. Preventive Care: Regular check-ups, flea and tick prevention, and heartworm prevention are essential for both breeds. These preventive measures help avoid potential health issues and reduce the need for expensive treatments.
  3. Grooming: Both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese have long, silky coats that require regular grooming and maintenance. This may include brushing, bathing, and occasional professional grooming, which can add to the overall veterinary expenses.
  4. Dental Care: Due to their dental issues, it’s crucial to prioritize dental care for Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese. Regular teeth brushing, dental exams, and professional cleanings are necessary to maintain their oral health.
  5. Emergency and Specialty Care: In case of any unforeseen accidents or serious health conditions, emergency veterinary care or specialty treatments may be required. These expenses should be considered as part of the overall care and well-being of your chosen breed.

Remember, while veterinary expenses can add up, the love and companionship provided by these adorable breeds make it all worthwhile. It’s important to budget and plan for their medical care to ensure they live a healthy and happy life.

Compatibility and Living Conditions

Family and Children

When it comes to choosing between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Maltese, both breeds are generally compatible with families and children. However, there are a few factors to consider.

Yorkshire Terriers are known for their energetic and playful nature. They thrive in families that have an active lifestyle and can provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. These dogs are great companions for older children who can handle their small size and are gentle with them.

On the other hand, Maltese dogs are known for their gentle and affectionate nature. They are extremely loyal and love being around their families. Maltese dogs are well-suited for families with children of all ages, as they are generally patient and tolerant. However, it’s important to teach young children how to handle and interact with a small dog like a Maltese, as they can be fragile.

Other Pets

Both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese dogs can get along well with other pets, but it largely depends on their early socialization and individual personalities.

Yorkshire Terriers have a strong prey drive, so it’s important to introduce them to other pets at a young age and monitor their interactions. With proper socialization, Yorkshire Terriers can coexist peacefully with other dogs and cats in the household.

Similarly, Maltese dogs are generally friendly towards other pets, including dogs and cats. They can adapt well to living with other animals, but it’s important to introduce them gradually and provide them with positive experiences. Proper supervision and training can help ensure a harmonious relationship between a Maltese and other pets.

Apartment or House Living

Both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese dogs can adapt well to apartment living, making them suitable choices for individuals living in smaller spaces.

Yorkshire Terriers are small in size and don’t require a large living space. However, they are energetic and need regular exercise, so it’s important to provide them with daily walks and playtime outside.

Similarly, Maltese dogs are small and can thrive in apartments as long as they receive regular exercise and mental stimulation. They are not overly active, but still require daily walks and playtime to keep them happy and healthy.

In conclusion, both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese dogs can be great additions to a family, provided that their specific needs and living conditions are met. Consider your family dynamics, the presence of other pets, and your living situation to determine which breed is the right fit for you.

Cost and Maintenance

Initial Cost

When considering getting a new furry companion, it’s essential to take into account the initial cost of bringing a Yorkshire Terrier or a Maltese into your life. Both breeds are popular choices for dog lovers, but their prices may vary.

The initial cost of a Yorkshire Terrier tends to be higher compared to a Maltese. On average, a Yorkshire Terrier puppy can cost anywhere between $800 to $1500. This price range takes into account factors such as the puppy’s lineage, health certifications, and breeder reputation. On the other hand, a Maltese puppy usually falls within the range of $600 to $1200. However, it’s important to note that prices might vary depending on the location and availability of these breeds.

Monthly Expenses

Maintaining a dog’s health and well-being involves ongoing expenses that need to be considered. Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese are both small breeds, but their monthly expenses can differ.

Yorkshire Terriers may require a slightly higher monthly budget compared to Maltese. This is primarily due to their potential health issues, such as dental problems and luxating patella, which might require regular vet visits and special care. Additionally, Yorkshire Terriers have a long, luxurious coat that needs regular grooming, which can add to the monthly expenses if you choose to take them to a professional groomer.

While Maltese dogs also require regular grooming, their overall maintenance cost tends to be slightly lower. They are generally healthier than Yorkshire Terriers and have a lower likelihood of developing certain breed-specific health issues. However, it’s important to remember that regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, quality food, and grooming supplies are still necessary for their well-being.

Time and Effort

Another aspect to consider when choosing between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Maltese is the time and effort required to care for these breeds.

Yorkshire Terriers require moderate to high maintenance in terms of grooming. Their long, silky hair requires brushing several times per week to prevent matting and tangling. Additionally, regular baths, nail trims, and ear cleaning are necessary to maintain their hygiene. Furthermore, Yorkshire Terriers are known for their intelligence and energy, so they need mental stimulation and daily exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

Maltese dogs also require regular grooming to keep their long, white coats looking pristine. However, compared to Yorkshire Terriers, their grooming needs might be slightly less demanding. Additionally, Maltese dogs are generally adaptable and can adjust well to different activity levels. While they still require daily exercise and mental stimulation, they might not demand as much time and effort as Yorkshire Terriers.

In conclusion, both Yorkshire Terriers and Maltese are wonderful breeds that can bring joy and companionship to your life. When making your decision, consider the initial cost, monthly expenses, as well as the time and effort you can dedicate to their care. Ultimately, choosing the right breed for you depends on your lifestyle, preferences, and ability to provide for their needs.

After comparing the Yorkshire Terrier and the Maltese, it is clear that both breeds have their unique qualities and characteristics. The Yorkshire Terrier is known for its lively and adventurous nature, while the Maltese is loved for its affectionate and gentle demeanor. Ultimately, the choice between these two breeds will depend on your own personal preferences and lifestyle. If you are looking for a small and active companion, the Yorkshire Terrier might be the perfect fit. On the other hand, if you prefer a loving and affectionate lap dog, the Maltese could be the ideal choice. Regardless of which breed you choose, both the Yorkshire Terrier and the Maltese will bring joy and companionship to your life.