What are the differences between Maltese and Havanese dogs?

Written by krystyna rittichier
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What are the differences between Maltese and Havanese dogs?
Maltese puppies look much like white Havanese puppies. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The Maltese and Havanese dog breeds are similar in many ways. Subtle differences in appearance and temperament make the breeds better suited to different owners. Maltese are frequently used as show dogs but also make a good family pet because of their temperament. Havanese are also good for families because they are playful, sturdy and low maintenance. The Havanese breed is less prevalent in the United States, so finding a breeder may be more difficult, and the price of the pet may be higher.

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Havanese are sturdy little pets, and despite their size, they are always up for a bit of roughhousing with people and other dogs. Maltese are also very playful, though they are slightly more fragile in temperament. Havanese tend to wear a more happy-go-lucky expression while Maltese tend to be slightly more subdued. Both dogs are full of energy and tend to fit well with families.

What are the differences between Maltese and Havanese dogs?
Havanese dogs care very much to please their owners. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)


During training, both breeds learn well and tend to enjoy the training process. Their training needs differ slightly because each has behaviours you need to break. Usually it is a dog's training, and not the natural behaviour of the breed, that is the cause of bad behaviours. Havanese tend to develop separation anxiety because they can become very dependent on happy times with the owner. Maltese have a tendency to become finicky eaters if they are given too many table scraps.


Havanese come in a variety of colours while the Maltese breed has all white fur. Maltese have straight silky hair when groomed and uncut, and Havanese have curl to their fur. Havanese tend to be slightly larger and sturdier than Maltese. The Maltese breed has a finer bone structure and a slightly thinner snout than the Havanese. Both have curled tails and fur that covers their eyes.

What are the differences between Maltese and Havanese dogs?
Maltese dogs are the show dogs of the two breeds. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)


Both Havanese and Maltese are good for allergy sufferers because they do not shed very much. However, the Maltese generally need more grooming than the Havanese breed. Havanese should be brushed once or twice a week; it's recommended to brush Maltese daily. Also, the Maltese breed has a white coat that can easily become stained. To prevent staining of facial fur, a Maltese should have its eye areas cleaned off daily.

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