Male vs. Female Maltese:


About Maltese Dogs: Differences in Male and Female Maltese

Last Updated on April 19, 2024 by Denise Leo. Post first published on April 19, 2024.

When considering adding a Maltese to your family, understanding the distinctions between male and female Maltese dogs can be enlightening. This popular dog breed, known for its small size and silky white coat, is a quintessential toy dog breed that captures the hearts of many. Both male and female Maltese puppies exhibit charm and playfulness typical of small dogs, but there are subtle differences that potential owners should be aware of.

Male Maltese, often affectionately named little boys, generally display a slightly larger adult size than their female counterparts. Despite this, both genders maintain the standard Maltese appearance, including a luxurious white coat. Females may sometimes appear more petite, enhancing their appeal to those specifically looking for a smaller purebred dog.

Responsible Maltese breeders are instrumental in developing these purebred dogs, ensuring they meet the breed’s standards, from the silky coat to the overall temperament. Whether you choose a male or female Maltese puppy, the joy of raising these little males or females is enhanced by their endearing nature and the breed’s status as one of the most popular small dog breeds. Understanding these differences can help you make a well-informed decision that best aligns with your lifestyle.

Before we understand the differences between male and female Maltese, you must understand a little about Maltese dog history.


Maltese Dog History

The Maltese came from Malta and used to be called “Ye ancient dogge of Malta.” They have existed for over 28 centuries and have been owned by royals worldwide. Even back in the 1500s, they could be sold for $2000.

He has always been the same size as today and is known as an aristocrat in the dog world. Despite his size, he’s fearless. He’s one of the mildest-mannered small dogs, but he also has lots of energy and is very playful.

He’s a fast learner, intelligent, clean, and refined, making him a good family dog. His silky white coat must be brushed daily and groomed frequently to prevent matting.

Differences in Male and Female Maltese

It is no secret that Maltese are loved and fancied by dog parents. It’s hard to stop talking about their charm and cuteness. Many intending Maltese owners have gender-based questions concerning Maltese. The gender differences are very subtle in Maltese, but they exist. In this post, we will answer most of the questions about the differences between male and female Maltese and whether a male or female Maltese is better.

Is a Male or Female Maltese Better?

When choosing a Maltese, it is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of both genders. Males tend to be more territorial than females during mating season and adolescence.

Males may also get aggressive with other male dogs. Female Maltese will typically play together even when mature; however, there’s always an exception since some males can live happily side by side for years while others go after each other immediately upon meeting.

Vital Stats About Maltese 

Let’s have a look at some vital stats of Maltese:



Dog Breed Group

Toy group


Lapdog, Companion dog


Gentle, Playful, Charming

Average Height

7-9 inches

Weight Range

Grooming Requirements

Energy level


Exercise requirements

Low; 20 minutes per day

AKC Breed Popularity

Ranks 37 of 197

Life Expectancy

12 - 15 years

Size: Male vs Female Maltese

The difference between male and female Maltese is not very obvious because they look so similar from afar.


The male Maltese is slightly taller than its female counterpart and should be eight to ten inches tall at the shoulder. However, like the female Maltese, its weight never exceeds 7 pounds.

  • Average height: 8-10 inches
  • Average weight: less than 7 pounds


The female Maltese is slightly shorter than its male counterparts. An adult female Maltese should be eight to nine inches tall. However, like the male Maltese, its weight never exceeds seven pounds.

  • Average height: 8-9 inches
  • Average weight: less than 7 pounds

Characteristics of Male and Female Maltese 

Male and female Malts are equally amazing, but each one has more certain traits than the other.

Maltese Male

Maltese Female


Less dominant

More dominant


More outgoing and social

Reserved, susceptible to mood swings


Easy to train but can easily distract

Easy to train and less distracted

Aggressive behaviour

Exhibit more threatening behavior

Exhibit less threatening behavior


Comparatively low

High because of high demand

Desex age

Usually before puberty

Usually before the first heat

Alpha behavior

Unlike the common belief, female Maltese are usually more dominant. They often intend to exercise their dominance in the social hierarchy, so fights between two female Maltese are more likely than fights between two male dogs. 

Female Maltese are more independent, stubborn, and territorial than their male counterparts. Male Maltese are more likely to exhibit threatening behavior. Experts will advise you not to get two female Maltese, but there’s nothing wrong with getting two males.

All-around friendliness

Male Maltese are usually more outgoing and friendly. They are also more accepting of new people, other pets, and children. Male Maltese tend to be more attached to people and form dependent relationships. They have a reliable temperament and are less moody.

Maltese Puppies
Maltese Puppies

Female Maltese usually have a more reserved temperament. They are less accepting of visitors, other dogs, and new situations. Like many females, a female Maltese is more susceptible to mood swings and is likely to have its favorite in the family. 


Both male and female Maltese are intelligent and easy to train. They learn best by positive reinforcement methods.

Female Maltese tend to be more focused during training sessions. They are less distracted and learn new things quickly. A female Maltese is more interested in getting the tasks done so she can return to her safe space. Maltese girls are a little easier to housebreak.

Male Maltese have a highly playful nature. Although they tend to learn new things pretty fast, they are easily distracted during training sessions. Male Maltese require more time and patience to adapt to new commands. 

In any case, male and female dogs can both be trained, but it’s important to start early and be patient.


Aggressive behavior depends more on your dog’s training and upbringing than gender. Every dog is individual, and male and female Maltese can be aggressive. Male Maltese are more likely to posture, threaten, and challenge as part of social-ordering behavior.

Neutering prevents aggressive and territorial behaviors. The female Maltese are less likely to exhibit threatening behavior. However, they might bark more because of mood swings and other irritations. However, both male and female Maltese are not aggressive towards humans.

Male vs. Female Maltese: Hormonal differences

Many biological differences between Maltese boys and girls are tied to their reproductive hormones. 

Female Maltese

For Maltese girls, that means the start of their heat cycle. This occurs twice a year for two to three weeks unless they are spayed.

  • A Maltese female usually has a bloody discharge during her heat cycle, which attracts male dogs. The discharge is messy, and the amount varies depending on the female. Dog diapers can help with this issue.
  • Female Maltese will likely experience some pain and cramping during the heat cycle.
  • Female Maltese might experience mood swings and exhibit anxious behavior during heat cycles.

A walk outside during heat season can become risky if male dogs are nearby.

 Male Maltese

Male Maltese are sexually active all year and do not have seasons unless neutered.

  • Once an intact male Maltese reaches sexual maturity, he will feel the need to mark their territory. He will accomplish this by urinating a small amount on different items.
  • Male Maltese will have the urge to hump or will start to lift their leg to urinate.
  • The increased hormones can sometimes lead to behavioral changes, including aggression.

Neutered Maltese boys rarely exhibit secondary sexual behavior such as humping, marking, or lifting of legs.

When Should You Have Your Maltese Spayed or Neutered?

It would be best if you had your male Maltese neutered after he has reached puberty. If you do not neuter your Maltese boy before eight months of age, he is likely to start marking his territory.

There is no dead-set answer for female Maltese regarding when you should have them spayed. Many experts recommend spaying before the first heat. Remember that Female Maltese should be spayed between seasons and not during them.

Maltese Dog
Maltese Dog

Neutering and spaying your Maltese will also ensure that your fur buddy is always on its best behavior.

Female Maltese can reproduce as young as four months old, and male Maltese can reproduce as young as six months. Vets typically suggest that you have your Maltese spayed or neutered between four and nine months. We recommend consulting your vet for a personalized viewpoint.


Price: Male vs. Female Maltese

There is a significant difference in prices between male and female Maltese pups. When we compare the prices of male and female Malteses, it seems that female puppies cost more than males in many cases.

The initial price

A female Maltese often fetches a higher price because of her breeding potential. They are truly the basis for success in any breeder’s breeding program. Many breeders are less willing to let go of their Maltese girls. Male Maltese are not in as high demand as female Maltese.

The upkeep maintenance cost

Due to breeding challenges, the upkeep and maintenance cost of female Maltese is usually higher than that of males. Also, spaying a female dog is more expensive than neutering a male dog.

Maltese Dog Life Expectancy: Male and Female

Maltese females tend to live a bit longer than males. Usually, a female with the same health as a male will live about one year longer on average. Most differences in Maltese longevity seem to be due to the effects of spaying and neutering. Spaying or neutering a Maltese can promote a longer, happier, healthier life.

Health Issues in Male and Female Maltese

Like all breeds, Maltese dogs have health concerns that potential owners should consider. One of the Maltese dogs’ more common genetic disorders is patellar luxation, a condition where the knee cap slips out of place, causing pain and mobility issues. Awareness of such health conditions is an important factor in ensuring the well-being of these small dogs. Prospective Maltese owners must seek out individual dogs screened for this and other potential genetic issues, thereby reducing future veterinary bills and ensuring peace of mind.

The joy of owning a Maltese dog, with adherence to the breed standard, is that they generally enjoy good health. With their low exercise requirements, these dogs are ideal companions for single individuals or those with less active lifestyles. Regular, gentle exercise contributes to good behavior and overall health and enhances the bond between the owner and the dog, adding to the joy of ownership. 

Educating oneself about the specific health concerns that can affect Maltese and investing in a pet insurance plan and regular veterinary care are among the best things an owner can do to maintain the health of these charming dogs. By taking these proactive steps, owners can greatly contribute to the quality of life of their beloved pets.

Both Maltese boys and girls sometimes have different sex-specific health issues. Neutering and spaying your dogs can reduce many of these health risks. The timing of both male Maltese neutering and female Maltese spaying can also impact a dog’s risk for developing certain diseases and health problems.

Female Maltese

Female Maltese may develop mammary tumors or an infected uterus. Spaying a female dog before her first heat cycle greatly reduces the risk of her developing mammary tumors.

Male Maltese

Male Maltese may develop testicular cancer and prostate issues. Neutering a male Maltese can reduce the dog’s risk of developing prostatic cancer and virtually eliminate its risk of developing testicular cancer.

Maltese Coat and Dental Care

Daily brushing of their long, silky coats not only helps to prevent severe cases of matting but is also a bonding activity that strengthens the relationship between the dog and its family. The luxurious long coat of the Maltese, with its tendency to gather tear stains, requires meticulous care to maintain its gleaming appearance. A pin brush can effectively manage their long hair, ensuring the Maltese coat remains tangle-free and beautiful. 

The need for regular dental care in Maltese dogs goes beyond mere aesthetics; it is a vital component of their overall health. Like many small breeds, they are prone to dental disease, which can affect the surrounding blood vessels and potentially lead to heart disease if not properly managed. Therefore, potential owners must establish a routine that includes regular teeth cleaning to maintain their overall health. Incorporating these practices ensures the Maltese looks its best and supports a healthy, vibrant life.

Male vs. Female Maltese: Final Thoughts?

In conclusion, these friendly dogs are popular for families and individuals whether you choose a male or female Maltese. They are admired for their status as small toy breeds and charming dispositions. Male and female Maltese both make excellent family members, particularly with older children who can appreciate their delicate nature. 

The American Kennel Club recognizes the Maltese as suitable companion animals, noting their generally amiable nature devoid of aggressive behaviors. Ultimately, choosing between a male or female Maltese should depend on the specific preferences and expectations of the potential owner. Still, either gender will bring joy and vibrancy to their new home.

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References and Further Reading:

[1] American Kennel Club, Maltese Dog Information.

Male vs. Female Maltese:
Male vs. Female Maltese:


  • Denise Leo

    My name is Denise Leo, and I hail from Australia. My journey with dogs, especially with the delightful Pomeranian breed, has been a lifelong passion extending over 50 years. I have had the honor of breeding and exhibiting close to 100 Pomeranian Champions, dedicating many years to the intricate art of dog training across various disciplines. Beyond the show ring, my experience stretches to the pastoral fields as both a Dairy Farmer and Beef Cattle Breeder, where working with dogs of all breeds has been an integral part of my daily life. This diverse exposure has deepened my understanding and appreciation for these incredible animals. I firmly believe that dogs are the most extraordinary beings in our universe, capable of offering us unconditional love that surpasses even their own self-interest. The countless wonderful dogs that have shared my life over the years have not only brought immense joy and companionship but have also profoundly enriched my existence in ways I could never have imagined. About us page