Cutest Dogs in the World: Chihuahua Vs. Maltese

Written by Katelynn Sobus

Published: May 9, 2023

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When comparing the Chihuahua vs the Maltese, which is cutest? Both are small, doe-eyed pups with big personalities.

Maltese dogs have fluffy white coats, floppy ears, and can be quite protective despite their small size. Chihuahua coats come in a plethora of colors and even two lengths. They’re courageous and energetic.

In this article, we’ll talk about Chihuahuas vs Maltese dogs, what’s cute about them, and who would win a beauty pageant!

Two long-haired chihuahua puppies

Chihuahuas have two coat types: longhair and shorthair.

What Makes Chihuahuas Cute?

Large Eyes

Chihuahuas have been bred to have big eyes, similarly to Maltese and many other small dog breeds. The reason they’re bred this way is to trigger an instinctive response in humans.

When we see animals with large eyes, we’re reminded of human babies–who we’re naturally predisposed to care for and find cute!

Adorable Coats

Maltese dogs have a singular coat color, but Chihuahuas have many! These include:

  • Black
  • Black and tan
  • Blue and tan
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate and tan
  • Cream
  • Fawn
  • Fawn and white
  • Red

Chihuahuas also have two coat types: short hair and long, wispy hair. 

Upright Ears

Chihuahuas have large, upright ears–kind of like cat ears, but larger! Their ears stand naturally upright as they age and are super cute!


Chihuahuas are five to eight inches tall and weigh under six pounds. If you like small dogs that are easy to carry or walk on leash, a Chihuahua might be perfect for you! They’re also quite cheap to feed when compared to larger breeds.


Chihuahuas have cute, high-pitched voices. They do tend to bark a lot, so consider whether you’ll find this cute!

Personally, I like vocal pups. But, I do recommend teaching a “quiet” command for when you need some peace and quiet.

Also, provide your Chihuahua with plenty of exercise and mental enrichment. A bored dog is more likely to bark excessively.


Chihuahuas love to snuggle up to their favorite humans or even other pets! Part of this is that they’re very loving and can be clingy. Another part is that Chihuahuas feel cold easily, so they might cuddle close to absorb your body heat as well.

High Energy

Chihuahuas have a lot of energy in their little bodies! They most likely won’t do well with intense exercise such as running or long hikes, because they do have short little legs.

But, they do need plenty of daily exercise in the form of daily walks and play.


Chihuahuas are maybe one of the bravest dog breeds! They can be more courageous than some dogs ten times their size.

They can also be quite boisterous and some Chihuahuas are reactive. It’s important to train your Chihuahua just like you would a large dog, socialize them, and make sure they feel confident and happy in public spaces.


Lastly, Chihuahuas are smart! They can sometimes outthink their people, even, which presents some training challenges.

Like we discussed above, it’s just as important to train your little dogs like Chihuahuas and Maltese as it is to train larger pups. The same methods will also work–keep training positive and engaging, and avoid punishments and aversive training methods.

Maltese dog with long hair.

Maltese have long, white coats. Sometimes, they have black points.

What Makes Maltese Cute?

Round Eyes

Maltese dogs have big, round eyes, similar to Chihuahuas. They’re dark in color and really stand out against their white coats.

Long, White Coat

Maltese fur is longer than even long-haired Chihuahua fur. Like human hair, it’s constantly growing and sheds very little.

Unlike the plethora of Chihuahua fur colors, the Maltese breed standard accepts only white coats. It also specifies that Maltese dogs may have black points.

Floppy Ears

Unlike Chihuahua’s big ears, Maltese ears are almost hidden by their fur. They’re floppy with long fur that just blends right into the rest of the coat.

Tiny Size

Maltese are just slightly bigger than Chihuahuas, standing seven to nine inches at the shoulder and weighing under seven pounds.

High-Pitched Bark

They also have cute, high-pitched barks. But, Maltese are less prone to excessive barking than Chihuahuas.


True lapdogs, Maltese love to cuddle and are very affectionate toward family. They might be more stand-offish around strangers due to their protective natures.


Maltese make great watchdogs, even if they’re unlikely to be successful guard dogs. They strive to keep their families safe!


They’re also headstrong and can be difficult to train. This is partially because they’re very smart and have their own thoughts about how to do things.

A long-haired chihuahua on a white background

Chihuahuas are prone to health problems such as luxating patella, dental disease, and epilepsy.

Chihuahuas vs Maltese: Pulling Back the Curtain

Not everything about dog ownership is cute. What are some less adorable aspects of each breed, and what care do they need day to day? Keep reading to find out!


Both types of Chihuahua should be brushed weekly. Pay extra attention to long-haired Chis, as their fur can develop painful mats if not combed all the way down to the skin in all areas.

Maltese require daily grooming unless their fur is shaved short. Because it’s so long, it can quickly develop tangles and mats.

Remember that these dogs are small, so be gentle with the comb. Don’t try to pull through tangles, but instead work them out gently with your fingers or trim them out with scissors if necessary.

Chihuahuas and Maltese should both be bathed regularly, have their nails trimmed monthly, and their teeth brushed daily.


Both breeds are energetic and require daily walks alongside playtime to stay fit. Walks also provide your dog with mental stimulation through sniffing, which is very enriching for them.

Neither breed should be expected to keep up with vigorous exercise. Learn the signs of overexertion, such as excessive panting or drooling, and stop when your pup needs to!


Maltese and Chihuahuas are stubborn, intelligent breeds. They can learn so many things, but it takes patience and dedication.

Avoid punishments and aversive training methods, and instead focus on rewarding good behavior and redirecting poor behavior. Keep training sessions short, fun, and rewarding!


Both breeds are prone to the genetic health issues common in small dogs, like luxating patella and dental disease. They’re also prone to eye and heart conditions.

Maltese are prone to liver problems and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). Chihuahuas are prone to epilepsy.

If you aren’t rescuing a dog (which I highly recommend!), it’s important to screen for a reputable breeder. Never shop with a breeder who doesn’t perform all recommended health testing and publish the results for easy access.

Prettiest / Cutest Dogs - Maltese puppy running on grass

Maltese need haircuts every four to six weeks, and most people opt to bring them to a professional groomer.

Are Chihuahuas or Maltese Cuter?

So, now it’s decision time. We’ve been over everything cute about these breeds, as well as how to care for them and some less desirable traits. Who do you think wins in the Chihuahua vs Maltese showdown?

In all honesty, it’s very subjective! Do you like the longhaired, fluffy fur of the Maltese? Or the giant Chihuahua ears?

Can you put up with a Chi’s regular barking, or do you prefer a more moderate barker like a Maltese?

Are you okay paying a groomer every four to six weeks to get your Maltese a haircut, or would a short-haired Chihuahua be easier on your finances?

Can you dedicate the time both of these dogs need to thrive? Or do you spend too much time away from home, and should consider another pet?

Everyone will have different answers, and I personally think this is great–it means that there are great homes out there for both breeds!

Remember to carefully consider all aspects of dog adoption before making the commitment. After all, everyone likes having a cute pet–but they’re living beings, not just accessories. Both Maltese and Chihuahuas require an investment of time, energy, money, and love in order to thrive.

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About the Author

Katelynn Sobus is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on pets including dogs, cats, and exotics. She has been writing about pet care for over five years. Katelynn currently lives in Michigan with her seven senior rescue cats.

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