Maltese vs Yorkie: Which Breed is the Right Fit for You?


Choosing the perfect furry friend to welcome into your life is both an exciting and important decision. Among the many small dog breeds, the Maltese and Yorkie (Yorkshire Terrier) are two popular options that often top the list for potential pet owners. Both breeds are charming, lovable, and make excellent companions, but they have distinct differences that might make one more suitable for your lifestyle than the other. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key differences and similarities between Maltese and Yorkie breeds, helping you make an informed choice.

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History and Origins

Maltese: A Legacy of Nobility

The Maltese breed boasts a rich and ancient history, tracing its roots back over two millennia. Originating from the Mediterranean island of Malta, these dogs were cherished by aristocrats and royalty for their elegance and affectionate nature. Throughout history, Maltese dogs have been depicted in art and literature, symbolizing purity and grace.
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Yorkie: From Working Class to Royal Companions

Yorkshire Terriers, or Yorkies, have a more recent origin story. In the 19th century, they were bred in Yorkshire, England, primarily for their rat-catching skills in textile mills. Despite their humble beginnings, Yorkies quickly caught the eye of the Victorian elite due to their striking appearance and spirited personality, transitioning from working dogs to beloved companions.
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Physical Characteristics

Size and Appearance

Both Maltese and Yorkies are classified as toy breeds, making them ideal for apartment living and travel. However, their appearances and physical characteristics are quite distinct:


  • Size: Maltese dogs typically weigh between 4 to 7 pounds and stand about 7 to 9 inches tall at the shoulder.


  • Coat: Known for their stunning, all-white coats that are straight and silky, giving them a luxurious appearance.


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  • Eyes: They have dark, expressive eyes that stand out against their white fur.


  • Ears: Their ears are floppy and covered in long fur, which adds to their gentle and elegant look.


  • Overall Look: The combination of their small size, silky white coat, and expressive eyes gives the Maltese an elegant and gentle appearance, making them look almost regal.



  • Size: Yorkshire Terriers generally weigh between 4 to 7 pounds and stand about 7 to 8 inches tall at the shoulder.


  • Coat: They have long, silky hair that comes in a variety of colors, including tan, blue, and black, which often requires regular grooming to maintain its shine and texture.


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  • Ears: Yorkies have perky ears that add to their alert and spirited appearance.


  • Frame: Despite their petite size, they have a compact, muscular frame that gives them a sense of robustness and strength.


  • Overall Look: The Yorkie's combination of silky, colorful hair and compact, muscular build gives them a lively and spirited appearance, making them look both elegant and energetic.


In summary, while both breeds are small and suited for apartment living, the Maltese exudes elegance with its white, silky coat and expressive eyes, whereas the Yorkie presents a lively and spirited look with its colorful, silky hair and perky ears.

Caring for Maltese and Yorkie Dogs

Grooming Needs

Both Maltese and Yorkies require regular grooming. Maltese dogs need daily brushing to prevent their silky, white fur from matting. Regular baths are necessary to maintain their coat's softness and whiteness, and their ears should be checked and cleaned frequently to prevent infections. Yorkies also need daily brushing to keep their long, silky hair tangle-free. Their coat requires careful grooming, often including professional trimming. Both breeds benefit from regular dental care to prevent common dental diseases.
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Dietary Needs

A balanced diet is crucial for both breeds. High-quality dog food appropriate for their size and age is essential. Dry kibble can help clean their teeth and prevent dental issues. Monitoring their weight and avoiding overfeeding is important to prevent obesity. Always provide fresh water to keep them hydrated.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Both Maltese and Yorkies need regular exercise to stay healthy. Daily walks and playtime are essential for burning off energy. Interactive toys and games provide mental stimulation, preventing boredom. Maltese enjoy gentle play and short walks, while Yorkies, with their adventurous nature, may appreciate longer play sessions and varied activities.
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Health and Regular Check-Ups

Regular veterinary check-ups are important for monitoring their health. Essential care includes vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, and regular deworming. Maltese can be prone to genetic conditions like luxating patella and heart issues, while Yorkies may be susceptible to tracheal collapse and dental problems. Working with a veterinarian to manage these potential issues ensures a long, healthy life for your pet.

Small Dog Clothes for Yorkie and Maltese

Both Maltese and Yorkies can benefit from wearing dog clothes, especially in cooler climates. Their small size and fine fur make them more susceptible to cold weather. Sweaters, jackets, and raincoats can help keep them warm and comfortable during walks. Additionally, wearing clothes can protect their fur from dirt and tangling. Ensure the clothing fits well and is made from comfortable, non-irritating materials.
In summary, taking care of Maltese and Yorkie dogs involves dedicated grooming, a balanced diet, regular exercise, mental stimulation, consistent veterinary care, and appropriate dog clothing. With the right attention and care, these breeds can thrive as loving, healthy companions.
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Ideal Owners for Maltese and Yorkie Dogs

Maltese dogs are ideal for individuals or families looking for a gentle and affectionate companion. They are well-suited for apartment living and smaller homes, making them perfect for those with limited space. Older adults and retirees, who can dedicate ample time to their grooming and care, will find Maltese dogs to be loyal and loving pets. Additionally, Maltese dogs are generally friendly with children, provided the kids are gentle and respectful towards them.
Yorkies, on the other hand, are great for active individuals or families who enjoy engaging in various activities. They thrive in both urban and suburban settings and are perfect for people who appreciate a small dog with a strong, protective personality. Yorkies need regular exercise and mental stimulation, making them an excellent match for owners who can provide an active lifestyle. Yorkies can also be good with children, especially older kids who understand how to handle small dogs properly, though they may need supervision around very young children due to their small size and spirited nature.
Both breeds require owners who are committed to regular grooming, health care, and providing the love and attention these affectionate dogs crave.
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Finding Your Perfect Companion

In conclusion, whether you choose the elegant and gentle Maltese or the spirited and loyal Yorkie, both breeds offer unique qualities that make them wonderful companions. Your decision should be based on your living situation, lifestyle, and personal preferences. With dedicated grooming, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and consistent veterinary care, both Maltese and Yorkie dogs can thrive as loving, healthy members of your family. Whichever breed you choose, you're sure to gain a devoted and affectionate friend who will bring joy and companionship to your life.