Bichon vs Maltese – Which is Better?

The Maltese and the Bichon Frise consistently appear of Animal Facts. These two similar breeds share a lot in common. But, although they are both adorable and white, the two are not interchangeable. And, once you know the defining characteristics of each, you’ll never confuse them again. Bichon vs .

What are the differences between these two beautiful, fluffy ? Today, we continue our series vs, Dog to find out the differences between the Maltese and the .

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Bichon vs Maltese Appearance

Maltese and Pretty BlondeThere are some things these two breeds have in common. Both are white, non-shedding small house dogs. It’s easy to see why the two could be confused, especially when they’re puppies, but there are significant differences in their appearance.

The Maltese are covered with silky, long, white hair that almost touches the ground and has no undercoat. You can tie up the long hair on the head in a topknot. Its hair should not be curly or kinky.

The Maltese is also the tinier of the two and should weigh between 4 and 6 pounds.

The Bichon, on the other hand, has a curly double coat. The outer coat is textured, and the inner coat is silky providing an insulating effect.

The Bichon looks like a big powder puff or cotton ball and can weigh quite a bit more than the Maltese at anywhere from 10 to 18 pounds.


These two breeds have entirely different histories. As the name implies, the Maltese breed was established in Malta, an island group off the southern coast of Italy where these royal dogs were adored for many centuries and nicknamed “Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta.”

The Bichon Frise, whose name means “small dog with curly hair”, accompanied English and Spanish sailors on voyages from the Mediterranean to the Canary Islands, where they became popular on the Island of Tenerife.

The Bichons were cherished by the Italian nobility and French aristocrats, but after falling out of fashion, they began to find work as circus performers.

Group Classification

Little White Dog - Maltese

The American Kennel Club categorizes dog breeds by their name and by their group. The Maltese and the Bichon Frise don’t share either.

The Maltese are in the toy group. Dogs in the toy group are there because of their size; they need to weigh less than 7 pounds. Their purpose, according to the AKC, is “to embody sheer delight.” Toy dogs typically like to sit in your lap, and they are a good choice for apartment dwellers.

And the Bichon is in the non-sporting group. The non-sporting group contains a diverse grouping of dogs. These dogs are sturdy and all have varying sizes, coats, personalities and overall appearance.

According to the AKC, most dogs in the group are good watchdogs and house dogs. Other breeds in the non-sporting group are the ever-popular Dalmatian, Poodle and Lhasa Apso, which we covered in our last video.

Bichon vs Maltese Personality and Temperament

TopTenz: Top 10 Most Affectionate Loving Dog Breeds Dogs 101 - Animal Facts
Bichon Frise

With a history of being cherished for centuries, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Maltese are known for being charming, pampered pooches who love to sit on your the lap. But, don’t be fooled by their royal appearance. These dogs make feisty watchdogs and lively agility competitors.

The Bichons have a cheerful attitude, are easy to train, and, because of their previously mentioned history as circus performers, love to show off and entertain with their playful antics.

Bichon vs Maltese Health and Life Expectancy

While most Maltese are healthy, they may suffer from hypothyroidism, knee joint problems, epilepsy, allergies, heart disease, dental disease and eye problems. Their biggest health problem, however, is from injury, given their small frame size. They are quite easy to injure.

The average lifespan of the Maltese ranges between 13 and 15 years.

Ozzie the bichon Frise
Ozzie the Bichon Frise

For the Bichon, dental care is important; this breed is prone to early tooth loss and gum infection. Other health concerns include allergies, bladder infections, ear infections, cataracts, and knee joint problems. As mentioned before, he’s a more sturdy dog and is better suited to be around small or rambunctious children.

The average lifespan of the Bichon is between 16 and 18 years.

So, who wins? Well, that’s up for you to decide. Which breed do you think wins? The Maltese or the Bichon Frise. Let us know in the comments.

Any other breeds you’d like us to compare? Shout ‘em out. We’ll give them a look.

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