Male vs. Female Maltese: What’s the Difference?

Male vs. Female Maltese

When it comes to choosing the right pet for you and your family, many questions come to mind. Of these questions, one of the most important is which breed is best and more compatible with your lifestyle or that of your family.

After the breed is decided, the next question tends to be what sex do we go for? And which one is actually better?

The differences between male and female Maltese are not very obvious. If bred properly, they’re hard to tell apart by size, and their behaviors seem to be more distinctive due to individual personalities rather than gender differences. Gender differences in Maltese are very subtle, but they exist. 

In this article, we will highlight the differences between male and female Maltese, but before then, let us take a brief look at the similarities between the genders.

Similarities Between Male and Female Maltese

Appearance 

Aesthetically speaking, there is little or no difference between male and female Maltese. They appear the same and can be used for the same appearance-dependent purposes.

Neutering/Spaying

The reproductive organs of both male and female Maltese need to be taken out at an early age – about six months.

Neutering is the process of removing the testicles of a male dog, while spaying refers to the removal of the uterus of a female dog.

This is a somewhat mandatory procedure for both genders to avoid extreme discomforts during heat periods and to increase the life expectancy of your pet.

Lifetime Expenses

Due to their similar size, both male and female Malteses consume similar amounts of food, require similar amounts of grooming, and other living expenses.

Male vs. Female Maltese: What Are the Differences?

I’ve talked to several veterinarians and dog experts to find out the differences between male and female Maltese and help you decide which might be the best for you and your family.

These are some of the main differences between male and female Malteses:

  • General perception
  • Alpha behavior
  • Friendliness
  • Independence
  • Training
  • Mischief
  • Price

General Perception

Males

When it comes to male Maltese, there’s a misconception prevalent amongst people not used to the breed that they’re not as sweet and jovial as their female buddies.

Nothing can be further from the truth. The males are as sweet as the females. Many dog owners have even come to realize that males are more adorable and cuddly. This is one of the open secrets of the Maltese universe. 

Another open secret within the Maltese universe is that both male and female Maltese can be dressed up to look good.

This is contrary to the perception of most intending Maltese owners that want female Maltese that they can dress up. A bow looks just as good on a male Maltese as it looks on his female counterparts.

Another worry for potential Maltese owners is the fact that the males come cheaper than females. But all these can be understood better when you know dogs and how dog breeding works.

Females

According to breeders, most of the calls that are made by potential owners for Maltese are in search of “sweet little girls.” The perception that females are more affectionate and cute is predominant among potential owners.

Many owners want a female Maltese they can dress up in cute little clothes and bows to take cute pictures with.

Other potential owners don’t want to be associated with the risk of secondary sexual behaviors displayed by male dogs. However, experienced breeders and dog owners know most of these perceptions to be inaccurate.

Alpha Behavior

Males

Contrary to what you might think, a male Maltese isn’t more likely to show alpha behavior than a female Maltese.

Actions like raising one leg to pee in an attempt to mark territory, humping, and involving in territorial fights are all examples of alpha behavior. They are also called secondary sexual behavior and are more predominant in females. 

Although, a male Maltese’s tendencies to display aggressive behavior depends on if he was neutered early enough or not.

If you still notice your male Maltese raising a leg up to pee and mark territory after he was neutered early, it might just be a learned behavior from other dogs. Any dog can learn to do what he observes from other canines.

Females

In the canine world, females are at the top of the hierarchy, so they’re more likely to exhibit alpha behavior. Because of her position in the hierarchy, a female Maltese is prone to being territorial and defensive.

She’s more likely to want to exact dominant behavior like humping, raising her leg to pee, or getting in fights. The chance that you’ll find two female dogs fighting is higher than that of males. 

This is especially true if she hasn’t been spayed or wasn’t spayed early enough. Female Malteses are more likely to portray aggressive behavior than their more agreeable male counterparts.

For these reasons and others, most breeders will advise you not to get two females, but there’s nothing wrong with getting two boys. 

Friendliness

Males

Males are usually more outgoing and accepting of new people and other dogs as well. They tend to be more attached to people and form solid dependent relationships.

They are more socially confident, reliable, and less moody. They seem to take quicker to kids and enjoy fun games with the older kids in the household.

Females

Females like their safe space; this could be a spot on the couch or a corner they consider theirs. They tend to be more reserved in the presence of visitors and other dogs, as well as in new situations.

They usually don’t take strangers coming into their spaces without proper introductions very lightly.

Also, a female Maltese is more susceptible to mood swings. She could be lively and affectionate today and then withdrawn and cranky tomorrow.

There’s just no predicting her sometimes! A female is also likely to have her favorite in the family. She would sometimes stick to her favorite to the exclusion of all others. 

Independence

Males

Male Malteses are more loving and affectionate towards their human companions. They continuously seek your attention and always want to be around you.

Even when mature, they have a playful approach to everything and tend to be more dependent on your help for their safety and well-being. A male Maltese favorite spot is likely to be right beside you despite his age and maturity.

Females

The female Maltese is usually more independent. They could come to you when they seek attention, but immediately they’ve had their fill of the attention, they retire to their safe space.

Female Maltese tend to be more mature and handle themselves better in your absence, so they are more reliable to stay at home while you’re away for a short time. 

Training

Males

Because they aim to please, male Maltese tend to learn new things pretty fast. They are the perfect pets to train using positive reinforcements like treats and petting to get the job done.

However, due to their general playful nature, they tend to be more distracted during training, therefore requiring more time and patience to adapt to new commands. 

Females

As intelligent dogs, they learn very fast. A female Maltese is more interested in getting the tasks and laps done so she can return to her safe space. For this reason, they tend to be more focused during training.

As a result, females are a little easier to housebreak. Also, the training commands are more likely to stick on a female Maltese faster than her male counterpart.

Mischief

Males

Generally, male Malteses are more prone to mischiefOpens in a new tab. than their female counterparts because of their playful nature. Regardless of his age, a male Maltese is more likely to display puppy-ish behavior and act silly.

The saying “boys will always be boys” seems to apply in the case of male dogs as they tend to be more playful and fun well into their adult years.

Females

Female Malteses are more reserved and dignified as they mature. This could be as a result of the position they occupy at the head of the canine hierarchy.

They try to avoid anything that could bring unwanted attention. When a female Maltese has gotten to maturity, she tends to be less mobile and less playful, thereby cutting her chances of running into mischief.

Price

Males

Male Malteses are less expensive than female Maltese. In many cases, the difference in price could be as much as a thousand dollars.

Because of the general misconception hovering around male Maltese, they are not in as high demand as female Maltese, and that contributes to their price. 

Females

Female Malteses are more expensive to acquire, partly because they are in higher demand but also because breeders are less willing to let go of their females compared to their boys.

This is so they can produce the next generation of litters. This also explains the huge disparity in prices between male and female Maltese puppies.

Other breeders tend to reserve only the highest quality females for themselves, especially show breeders. These breeders don’t just breed to sell; they breed to have something to show and then to produce the next generation.

So as puppies are born, most of the males are immediately placed on sale while the females are reserved.

Finally, whichever gender you choose to own, your Maltese is likely to be as a pet as they are reputed to be. All a Maltese needs to function happily in a home are food, love, care, and proper training.

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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