What Is the Difference Between a Maltese and a Bichon Frise?

A Maltese and a Bichon Frise look alike, but a Maltese tends to be smaller than a Bichon Frise. Most Maltese dogs are between four and seven pounds, and they stand between 8 and 10 inches tall. Most Bichon Frise dogs are about 7 to 12 pounds and stand between 9 and 15 inches tall.

Both Maltese and Bichon Frise dogs are white, but their coats are slightly different. A Maltese's coat tends to be long and silky, while a Bichon Frise has a dense coat. In addition, some Bichon Frise dogs have tints of apricot or cream colors in their coats.

Maltese and Bichon Frise dogs also inherit different health concerns. Health concerns for the Maltese dog breed include a collapsing trachea and portosystemic shunts. Health concerns for the Bichon Frise breed include urolithiasis (urinary stones) and cataracts.

In addition to their physical differences, Maltese and Bichon Frise dogs are also classified differently by the American Kennel Club. The Maltese is in the toy group and the Bichon Frise is in the non-sporting group.

When giving birth, Maltese and Bichon Frise dogs have different litter sizes. The litter size for a Maltese is usually three puppies, while the litter size for a Bichon Frise is four or five puppies.