A Maltese and Bichon Frise have more in common than just their distinctive white coats, read on to discover more about these loveable, loyal breeds.
Maltese vs Bichon history
The Maltese is one of the oldest Toy breeds, dating back around 2,000 years. The ancient Greeks loved these cute canines so much they even built tombs for their beloved Malteses when they died and the breed is also mentioned in the writings of Aristotle. While their origin is not known for certain, they inherited their name from the mediterranean island of Malta but some dog historians believe Malteses originate from Italy or even Asia.
Maltese dogs have been dubbed with many nicknames including “The Comforter”, a title they earned from the ancient Egyptians who believed that a Maltese could cure people of disease and would place a dog on the pillow of a sick person. Later, they became a favourite of royalty across Europe and were adored by French aristocrats.
Maltese dogs were brought to the UK during the reign of Henry VIII. The were favoured by notable historic royals including Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Victoria, and featured in paintings by Goya and Sir Joshua Reynolds.
It’s thought that the Maltese is an ancestor of the Bichon Frise. The Bichon dates back to the 14th century when French sailors brought the dogs home from Tenerife. Bichons were also favourites of French royalty – King Henry III adored his Bichon so much that he carried him in a special basket that hung from his neck. The breed was a favourite of the Spanish royal family and is also featured in paintings by Goya.
Maltese vs Bichon appearance
Malteses are most recognised for their silky white hair that covers their body and falls to the floor. Many years ago, a Maltese came in many colours but now the breed is famous for its elegant white locks.
A Maltese’s coat is straight, or sometimes wavy, and thick. They don’t have an undercoat and as a result, they don’t really shed. That said, Malteses do need to be groomed and bathed regularly as their coat can mat easily and become dirty. Although their coat protects their skin they can also get sunburnt where their hair parts on their body.
Maltese vs Bichon size
Both dogs are small in size but Bichons are larger than Maltese. An adult Maltese weighs only 3 kg whilst Bichons weigh 3-5 kg. Maltese males are 20-25 cm tall and females are 20-22 cm tall. Bichon male and females are just a bit taller at 22-27 cm.
A Maltese has a slightly rounded head, black nose, drop ears and dark, alert eyes.
You could be forgiven for mistaking a Bichon Frise for a Poodle with their baby-doll face and fluffy, white coat. Their luxurious locks are product of a thick double coat; their undercoat is soft and dense and their outercoat stands away from the body giving them a powder-puff appearance.
Bichons are always white although they can be cream or pale yellow as puppies. They have a small, compact body with black eyes and nose. Their coat gives them a ‘puffy’ appearance and they have a curved, well-plumed tail.
Both Maltese and Bichon Frises are are classified as Toy dogs by the United Kingdom Kennel Club.
Both dogs are good breeds for people with allergies since Bichons shed only shed a little and what they do shed gets caught in their undercoat rather than falling on the floor. They also require a lot of grooming. A Bichon’s coat needs to brushed or combed frequently or it will lead to mats. They will need to be bathed regularly, as like a Maltese, their white coat has a tendency to get dirty.
It’s also important to keep a Maltese and Bichon’s eyes clean as mucus can accumulate in their eyes and lead to eye problems.
Maltese vs Bichon personality
Although in size, the Maltese doesn’t small in personality. They’re a lively, playful dog breed and are friendly and sweet natured. They are intelligent dogs that are easy to train and respond well to positive reinforcements like food and praise.
With a long history as a companion dog, they are very devoted to their owners people and require a lot of attention. Like any other dog, they can suffer from separation anxiety if they are left alone for hours, may show anxious behaviour such as becoming destructive or barking excessively.
A Maltese doesn’t require a lot of exercise but they like to go on walks or play outside. Though like many other dog breeds, it’s best to wait until your Maltese puppy is eight months old to walk very far because their bones are still developing.
Due to their size, the Maltese are well suited to live in small homes like flats or apartments, and, since they’re so loyal, they also make good, albeit small, watch dogs.
With their happy demeanor and gentle, affectionate personality, a Bichon makes a wonderful family pet. They also make great therapy dogs for hospital or nursing home visits, as they are always kind and friendly.
Like a Maltese, Bichons are also highly intelligent and easy to train. They love to play and have a lot of energy but will suit living in small dwellings, too. They’ll get along with other animals but are also very loyal and will alert you if a stranger is at the door.
But don’t overprotect or baby your Bichon. They have a natural independent streak but if they’re spoilt, they can become shy and fearful.
Maltese vs Bichon and family
Bichons make wonderful family pets and will be great companions for children. They’re very tolerant of loud behaviour, too. They’ll also get along with other dogs and animals and would suit a multi-pet household.
Due to their small size, a Maltese wouldn’t suit a family with young children as the dogs can be injured easily. They’re less tolerant of children and other animals and wouldn’t suit a multi-pet household, either.
Maltese vs Bichon health
Malteses and Bichons can live 12-15 years. They both can be prone to eye conditions and need to groomed and cleaned regularly. A Maltese can have digestive problems and if they are showing discomfort, should be checked out by a vet. They can also suffer from knee joint issues, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and White Dog Shaker Syndrome. Bichons can suffer from bladder stones and infections, allergies and joint issues.