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Malchipoo: Maltese Chihuahua Poodle Mix [Breed Guide]

A Maltese dog, Chihuahua, and a Poodle with text at the bottom reading "Malchipoo"

What do you get when you mix a Maltese, a Chihuahua, and a Poodle? You get the Malchipoo!

As you’ll soon learn, the result of that combination can best be described as a lovable lapdog.

You may have never thought of getting a Malchipoo before, but they definitely bring a lot of appealing qualities to the table.

What is a Malchipoo?

The Malchipoo is a mixed breed that features the traits of a Maltese, a Chihuahua, and a Poodle. There are two ways for breeders to produce Malchipoos. They can either pair a Malchi with a Poodle or breed a Maltipoo with a Chihuahua (the Chihuahua Maltipoo mix).

For clarity, Malchis are the offspring of Malteses and Chihuahuas (Maltese Chihuahua mix). Meanwhile, Maltipoos are the results of breeding Malteses with Poodles.

Apricot Maltipoo sitting upright with a blue background
The Maltipoo is a mix between a Maltese and a Poodle.

The Malchi dog and the Maltipoo are both considered a designer breed. The Malchipoo is not to be confused with a Malshipoo, a mix between a Maltese, Shih Tzu, and Poodle.

Even though they are “poo” dogs, the Malchipoo is a Doodle breed.

The product of incredible parents

Malteses are famous for being show dogs. Chihuahuas are small dogs that are known for their unique brand of spunkiness. Not to be outdone, Poodles captivate dog lovers with their distinctive appearance and sharp intellect.

Now, imagine those traits rolled into one mixed breed. That should give you an idea of why the Malchipoo is highly coveted.

History of the Parent Breeds

To fully understand why the Malchipoo has become such a lovable mixed breed, we need to take a closer look at the origins of its parent breeds. Let’s do exactly that in this section of the guide.


White, long-haired Maltese sitting down with a blue background

The origin of the Maltese can be a bit fuzzy. Many avid fans of this small dog insist that the Maltese originated from its namesake of Malta. Others believe that the roots of the breed above can be traced back to the Alps [1]

Although there are disagreements surrounding how old the Maltese breed actually is, everyone agrees that it has been around for a remarkably long time. Previously unearthed pieces of evidence even suggest that the Maltese have been around since the days of the ancient Egyptians.

The Maltese as we know it today came to be around the time of the Roman Empire’s peak. The members of Roman high society were commonly seen with Malteses in tow. Stories passed down over centuries say that the Roman emperors are responsible for creating the Maltese’s signature all-white coat [2]

Such is the popularity of the Maltese breed that not even the demise of the ancient empires in the west could affect its rise to prominence. Breeders in Asia took a liking to the Maltese and started pairing it with other dogs to see what would come about.

The Maltese would not disappear from the European aristocratic scene for long. Historical figures such as Mary Queen of Scots and Marie Antoinette were known lovers of this adorable breed. Even the renowned philosopher Aristotle found the Maltese’s charms to be irresistible.

The enduring appeal of the Maltese is evident. Its charms also remain on full display in the Malchipoo.


Chihuahua standing with one leg up and head tilted sideways

If you’re aiming to learn more about the lineage of the Chihuahua breed, experts suggest that you look south of the border. Many believe that the Chihuahuas were the favorite pets of Mexican royalty.

Members of the Mexican royal family apparently used Chihuahuas as substitutes for hot water bottles due to their small size [3] They would use the dogs to warm areas of the body of someone injured or sick.

Just like Malteses, Chihuahuas are believed to have ties to ancient kingdoms. In this case, they have been associated with the kingdoms that ruled during the pre-Columbian eras [4]

Given the societies they have been linked to, it should come as no surprise that Chihuahuas are considered among the oldest dog breeds in the Americas. Chihuahuas are also believed to have relatives that roam the wilderness. Many scientists suggest that fennec foxes are the ancestors of the Chihuahuas we know and love today.

Chihuahuas may not be adept at surviving in the wild, but that’s fine because we welcome them with open arms. Malchipoos that are bred from Chihuahuas have also become widely adored by dog lovers all over the world.


Grey Miniature Poodle wearing a green sweatshirt
Miniature Poodle

Poodles are best known for being fashionable dogs. You’ve probably seen Poodles with impeccably styled coats appear at fashion events, and they have even been immortalized in the pages of fashion magazines.

Despite the modern Poodle’s reputation for being the fashionista’s favorite dog, the origins of this breed are considerably less glamorous. Breeders first took an interest in Poodles due to their retrieving prowess. Hunters relied on Poodles to retrieve the ducks and other game birds they took down [5]

Poodles are especially adept at retrieving waterfowl. Even the breed’s name, when translated to German, means “to splash in the water.”

The Poodle that we are familiar with originated in Germany. However, carvings depict dogs that look similar to Poodles found on ancient Roman tombs [6] That suggests that Poodles have been around a bit longer than we know for sure.

Of course, the Poodle is most commonly associated with the French. France’s love affair with the Poodle is well documented. There’s a reason why the Poodle is the country’s national dog, even though it didn’t originate there.

The French are hardly alone in terms of being fans of Poodles. For an extended stretch during the 50s and 70s, the Poodle also became the top breed in the United States.

The Poodle has adoring fans everywhere it goes. Soon enough, that will also ring true of the Malchipoo.


The Malchipoo features a distinctive look that has garnered many fans. Let’s use this opportunity to discuss the specific aspects of the Malchipoo’s appearance.

Coat Type

Brush your hand against the coat of the Malchipoo, and you’ll notice the slight curls it inherited from its Poodle parent. Although there are small curls in the Malchipoo’s coat, its covering still has a silky quality. Owners don’t have any issues snuggling up to their Malchipoos because their coats present such a pleasing texture.

In terms of length, the Malchipoo’s coat tends to be on the long side. Frequent brushing is a requirement if you’re caring for a Malchipoo.

Malchipoos take after their parents because they hardly shed at all. Their hair is also not known to trigger allergies in people. They are considered hypoallergenic dogs.

Coat Colors

Coat colors for Malchipoos are pretty varied. White is this mixed breed’s most common coat color, but you’ll also see numerous other alternatives.

Other examples of Malchipoo colors include:

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Chocolate
  • Cream
  • Fawn
  • Gray
  • Red
  • Silver

Malchipoos that sport coats with multiple colors are also fairly common. Markings are also frequently found on Malchipoo coats. Expect to see some black, fawn, and merle markings on many Malchipoos.


Malchipoos are small dogs. How small exactly are we talking about? You can find out more below.


Upon reaching adulthood, the female Malchipoo grows to around 8 to 10 inches. That puts them slightly above the female Maltese when it comes to height.

Male Malchipoos are slightly taller at 10 to 12 inches when they reach adulthood. However, they are still shorter compared to Standard Poodles.


Malchipoos are easy to carry around because of how light they are. Female Malchipoos will often top out at close to 8 pounds. Their male counterparts are just a bit heavier on average at 10 pounds.

Traits & Characteristics

Visual summary of the traits and characteristics of a Malchipoo dog

Temperament and Personality

Before getting any dog, it would be wise to evaluate its personality and see if it meshes with your home setup and lifestyle. So, what can you expect from the Malchipoo?

One of the main selling points of the Malchipoo is the fact that it is a cuddle monster. It loves to be around its owners, and you don’t have to do much pleading to get it to lie down by your side. This affectionate breed is perfectly content to spend hours of the day just hanging out with its owners.

These mixed dogs are also good with kids, which makes them good family dogs. They take more after their Maltese and Poodle parents in that regard. Malchipoos also get along with other dogs just fine, but you should monitor interactions closely.

When placed in the company of people they don’t know, Malchipoos tend to be more cautious. Their watchdog instincts kick in, and they prioritize protecting you from the stranger. Show your dog that the stranger is not a threat to calm them down.

Once your Malchipoo realizes that the stranger is not someone they need to fear, they will calm down. They won’t approach to initiate an interaction, but they will be open to it.

Malchipoos are not very demanding when it comes to exercise. Taking them out for regular walks and playing with them consistently is enough to keep them happy. If you have kids at home, they can handle playtime for you.

Trainability is not a major concern for Malchipoos. They’ve inherited their Poodle parents’ sharp wit so they can pick up on lessons quickly.

Barking is a minor issue with Malchipoos. It would be best if you aimed to curb that behavior while training your pet.

Common Health Issues

We all want our canine companions to hang around for as long as possible. To increase your Malchipoo’s chances of leading a long and healthy life, you need to watch out for certain health problems.

Malchipoo owners must always be wary of their pets suffering from patellar luxation. For those unaware, patellar luxation occur when your dog’s kneecap slips out of its position between the femur and the tibia.

Around 7 percent of puppies [7] suffer from patellar luxation. Small dogs such as Malchipoos are susceptible to them.

Patellar luxation varies in terms of how severe they are. They are evaluated by grade, and the ones that range from Grade II to Grade IV are considered serious.

Grade II, III, and IV patellar luxation cause long-term problems for Malchipoos. Your pet will need to undergo surgery if they are diagnosed with those severe patellar luxation. At a minimum, you should have your Malchipoo’s kneecaps evaluated while they are still young so you can prepare for future problems.

It would be best if you also took your young Malchipoo to the veterinarian for a cardiac exam. That’s because this breed is known to suffer from a condition known as patent ductus arteriosus. The condition above is also commonly referred to as PDA.

Patent ductus arteriosus warrants genuine concern because it can eventually lead to heart failure. It also causes weakness and breathing issues in affected puppies.

Veterinarians can detect PDA in dogs through heart murmurs [8] They will then run tests such as X-rays, electrocardiograms, and cardiac ultrasounds to confirm the problem.

If the veterinarian confirms that your Malchipoo has patent ductus arteriosus, they will recommend surgery to treat it.

The role of a good breeder

A reputable breeder will test the litter’s parents to help lower the risk of passing any health issues to the puppies. Irresponsible breeders will pay no mind to the health of their puppies and are just looking for a paycheck.

You should take time to ask a lot of questions regarding health and testing before picking out your Malchipoo puppy!


Malchipoos are long-term companions. As long as you take good care of your pet Malchipoo, they should stick around for a long time.

The average lifespan for a Malchipoo is 12 to 18 years. For context, the average lifespan for most dogs is 10 to 12 years.

Since Malchipoos are great with small children, getting a Malchipoo for your child is an excellent idea because you can watch them grow up together. Your pet Malchipoo can be your child’s first best friend, and things can stay that way for a long time.


We noted earlier that training a Malchipoo is not a difficult task. Malchipoos are easy to train because they understand commands quickly. That said, getting them to follow those commands requires some firmness on your end.

Do not allow your Malchipoo’s stubbornness to get in the way. When you issue a command, do so with authority, so your pet follows without fail. It would be best if you also utilized positive reinforcement to get the commands to stick in your pet’s head.

Malchipoos are not suited to become hunting dogs, but you can teach them some neat tricks. You can also capitalize on their athleticism and train them for competitions.

Final Thoughts

The Malchipoo is the result of mixing three affectionate dog breeds, and it shows. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a dog that loves cuddling more than the Malchipoo. Whether you’re living by yourself or with a handful of family members, a Malchipoo will be an ideal addition to your household.

Kevin is a proud Bernedoodle owner and Doodle dog fanatic. Read how a chance encounter with two Bernedoodles spurred a lifelong passion here. If you want to get in contact with Kevin, you can send him a message.