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Maltipoos are a cross between a Maltese and a poodle. These tiny dogs when no more than 15 pounds fully grown and may be white, black, red, apricot or brown. They have a curious, friendly temperament, and can be easily trained when they are young. Maltipoos make a great pet for people of all ages.
A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Maltipoo
The Maltipoo, a crossbreed between a Maltese and a poodle, is so cute you may mistake it for a stuffed animal on first sight. Full-grown Maltipoos weigh no more than 10-15 pounds, so they’ll always look fluffy and toy-like.
All crossbreeds may look quite different from each other and their parents. All Maltipoos are tiny, but other traits, like color, disposition, coat type and health vary. This crossbreed usually lives to be around 15 years old, with the right care. Maltipoos may be apricot, black, brown, white or red.
What is a Crossbreed?
People have crossbred dogs for centuries, hoping to create the most attractive, healthy and well-tempered canine. The Doberman Pinscher and Affenpinscher, among other current AKC breeds, were developed because of crossbreeding. And animal shelters contain plenty of crossbreeds not engineered by humans, aka mutts.
Maltipoos, Cockapoos and other “designer dogs” have gained popularity since the 1990s, due to pet owners’ desire for unusual and highly attractive dogs. Some breeders ascribe certain characteristics to their dogs that may or may not be true.
For example, crossbreeds are often described as hypoallergenic. It’s one thing to describe a pillow as “hypoallergenic,” but it is virtually impossible for an animal to exhibit that characteristic.
Always buy from reputable breeders who screen puppies for hip dysplasia and other common genetic disorders. The breeder should provide proof that the dog’s parents are healthy enough for breeding.
Breeders should have certifications from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation and other organizations indicating that parents and pup are free from health and genetic problems. Avoid any breeder who can’t show your proof that their dogs are healthy.
Like most toy breeds, Maltipoos tend to yap, and you’ll hear them even if you’re in another room. If you want a quiet dog, look elsewhere.
Maltese dogs and poodles are naturally friendly. A dog’s personality depends on the genes inherited from the parents, especially the mother, and how you train and socialize him when he’s a puppy.
If you visit a breeder and a puppy growls, hides, or his parents prevent you from petting him, look for another dog, or better yet, go to another breeder.
Your Maltipoo will be active and happy. Maltipoos love going for walks, playing with balls, and exploring, both indoors and outdoors.
You can begin training your Maltipoo when she is eight weeks old. Maltipoos are smart and curious and learn quickly, but they’re also stubborn. If you wait until your puppy is a few months older before training her, you’ll have a tougher time getting her to do what you want.
It’s a good idea to enroll your puppy in an obedience training class. Ideally, your pup should be no older than 12 weeks when training begins. You will need to vaccinate your puppy for kennel cough and other conditions before entering them in a class with other dogs.
Train your dog at home with the help of friends and family if you don’t want to enroll your puppy in formal obedience classes. As long as Maltipoos are socialized as pups and learn to be around people, they will grow up to be friendly and even-tempered.
Vaccinations and Health
Talk to your vet about necessary vaccinations as soon as you get your pup. Vaccines required for most puppies include:
- Canine Hepatitis
- Canine Parainfluenza
- Kennel Cough
- Lyme Disease
- Leptospirosis (a bacteria found in water and soil)
You shouldn’t bring your puppy out in public places until he’s received all necessary vaccinations.
Maltipoos are susceptible to an eye disorder called Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, which eventually causes blindness, and White Shaker Syndrome, which causes tremors in all-white dogs. Other common problems are a collapsed trachea (common in small breeds) and luxating patella (slipped kneecap).
Long-haired Maltipoos need daily brushing, although some dogs will only require brushing two or three times a week.
Curlier dogs may need to visit a pro groomer every month or so, but you can perform some upkeep by using clippers at home.
Your dog’s hair needs regular brushing, shampooing, and grooming or it will turn into a tangled mess. Matted hair may cause skin infections at the root.
Use a vet-recommended ear solution to clean your dog’s ears regularly. Trim nails every week or so and brush your Maltipoo’s teeth with a vet-recommended toothpaste every few weeks.
You can give your pup a bath starting at eight weeks, although you can wipe him with a lukewarm washcloth at four to eight weeks.
Most Maltipoos need a bath every three weeks to maintain their coats. If your dog tends to get dirty a lot, you can bathe him more often, but don’t overdo it. Too much bathing will dry out your dog’s coat and skin.
You should gather the following items before washing your dog – canine shampoo and conditioner, two clean washcloths, a large fluffy towel to dry your pet, sterile gauze pads and tweezers (for cleaning and grooming the ears), leave-in coat conditioner and a wide-tooth dog comb.
Fill your kitchen or bathroom sink with warm water before placing your pup in it. Lower your pet into the sink with one hand, slowly, so he will feel safe and get used to the water. Soak his coat with warm water, preferably with a spray nozzle, although you can do this by hand by splashing the water or use a small cup.
Use shampoo once the dog is wet. Lift up layers of the coat to make sure; the poodle part of the dog is water-resistant, so you want to check that he is thoroughly soaked before adding shampoo. Shampoo and gently scrub all parts of the animal, including the underbelly, tail, and genitals.
Keep water away from the eyes and ears. Gently clean around the eyes with a warm washcloth. Thoroughly rinse all the shampoo off, then use a conditioner to moisturize the coat.
Rinse off the conditioner. You may need to cleanse the coat twice with lukewarm water to ensure all solution is gone. Any remaining shampoo or conditioner will clog the pores.
Food and Treats
Free-feed your puppy for the first two or three months after he’s finished weaning. You can feed your puppy kibble, wet food, or a combination of both to find out what he likes. If there’s some food left in the bowl, empty it and add fresh food instead of merely adding more food.
Lead your puppy to the bowl a few times a day until he learns where it’s located. You should stop free-feeding your pup at three months, and feed him three times a day, with a limited amount of treats throughout the day. Treats should be used as rewards, not as bribes.
Feed Maltipoos two or three times a day when they are a year or older. Continue to give them treats as rewards for good behavior.
Choose Quality Food
The brand you choose should have no fillers or chemical additives. The ingredient list on the label should include real meat, vegetables, whole grains or other natural foods. Lamb, turkey, bison, chicken and fresh-caught fish are excellent choices for Maltipoos.
Look for nutrients like Glucosamine, which strengthens cartilage and joints; Omega 3 fatty acids for a healthier coat, and blueberries or other antioxidants for a better immune system
Maltipoos are easier to house train than many breeds. Start training your pup between eight and 12 weeks. A three-month-old puppy can only go three hours without urinating. Puppies can hold their urine for an additional hour each month up until they are eight or nine months old.
At nine months, they can hold urine for eight hours, and that is the limit, not only for Maltipoos but for all dog breeds. Take your dog outdoors (or use pee pads if you train indoors) as soon as he wakes up in the morning and 20 minutes before he goes to sleep.
Maltipoos have a bowel movement about 20 minutes after eating, so take them outdoors 15 to 20 minutes after a meal. Take your puppy out for a potty break every eight hours for a pup that’s eight months or older. A two-month-old needs a potty break every two hours, a three-month-old every three hours, and so on until they are eight months old.
As time goes on, you’ll be able to tell when your dog needs a bathroom break. He may bark, run around in circles or display other attention-seeking behavior.
Spaying and Neutering
You should spay or neuter your dog at or slightly before sexual maturity. Traditionally, dogs have been neutered or spayed at or around the six-month mark, though this is now being challenged by some experts.
If you don’t spay your female dog, she will experience her first heat at six months old. You will find that she sheds a lot, and some blood will be dispersed along with her urine. She will have the desire to mate and may become clingy or experience changes in appetite.
Heat lasts two to four weeks, and most female Maltipoos cycle twice a year. Dogs don’t go through menopause, so heat cycles continue for the life of the dog.