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Are Korean Malteses Different Than Regular Ones? Facts & FAQ

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

korean maltese wearing a hanbok

Are Korean Malteses Different Than Regular Ones? Facts & FAQ

The Maltese dog breed is known for their elegant appearance and charming personality. However, you may have heard the term “Korean Maltese” and wondered if there is any difference between a Korean Maltese and a regular one. While they are not completely separate breeds, there are a few minor differences between the two. Keep reading as we discuss the characteristics and origins of Korean Malteses and regular Maltese dogs to help you be better informed.


The Maltese Dog Breed

The Maltese is a small, toy-sized dog with a long, silky white coat. They are friendly and affectionate, making them popular as a family pet. Their exact origin is shrouded in mystery, but many believe that it started in the Mediterranean region before the rise of Greece, while others believe that it started anywhere from Egypt to the Swiss Alps. Regardless, the Maltese is an ancient dog breed with a long history.

cute female maltese dog
Image Credit: tsik, Shutterstock

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Korean Malteses

It is important to note that no kennel clubs recognize the Korean Maltese as a separate breed from the standard Maltese. “Korean Maltese” is simply used to describe Maltese dogs that are bred or originate from Korea. However, this does not imply that they have distinct characteristics or are fundamentally different from other Maltese dogs. Any differences that do exist have more to do with the breeder than the breed.

Origin & Popularity

Korean breeders have gained a reputation for producing high-quality Maltese dogs. Over the years, they have focused on breeding dogs with specific traits, such as smaller sizes, shorter muzzles, and rounder heads. These breeding preferences have made Korean Malteses popular within certain circles, particularly in Korea and among enthusiasts who prefer their pets to have a particular appearance.

Appearance & Physical Characteristics

Korean Malteses may exhibit subtle differences compared to their counterparts from other regions. For example, breeders in Korea often aim for a more compact body structure and a shorter, more “baby doll” face. As a result, a Korean Maltese may have a slightly different head shape, a shorter snout, and a flatter face than a regular Maltese. However, it’s important to note that these variations are not exclusive to Korean Malteses, and you might find them in Maltese dogs from other regions.

Temperament & Personality

Korean Malteses share the same traits as regular Malteses, which are affectionate, intelligent, and playful dogs that thrive on companionship and human interaction. Both make wonderful family pets and excel at being lapdogs and therapy dogs due to their gentle and loving natures. They are good with children and can get along well with other pets if you socialize them early.

Care & Maintenance

The Korean Maltese has a long, luxurious coat that needs regular grooming to prevent matting and tangles. Routine dental care, exercise, and a balanced diet are essential for maintaining their overall health. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can help you detect issues early, when there is a better chance of recovery.

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Are Korean Malteses a Separate Breed From Regular Malteses?

No, Korean Malteses are not a separate breed from regular Malteses. People use the term “Korean Maltese” to refer to Maltese dogs originating from Korea or bred by Korean breeders. However, they do not have distinct characteristics that set them apart as a separate breed, as per the American Kennel Club and other organizations.

Breeders may choose Maltese parents with desired traits like a round head or small body to “selectively breed” a dog with similar characteristics. If dogs with these traits become popular, and most people in an area have them, as in Korea, people might think that they are a separate breed. However, selective breeding is different than mixing the Maltese with another breed, like the Poodle, which would create a hybrid or mixed breed, which in this case, is the Maltipoo.

Where Can I Find Korean Malteses for Adoption?

If you want to adopt a Korean Maltese, we recommend contacting reputable breeders specializing in Maltese dogs to see if they can help. You can also check with your local rescue organizations that might have one that you can adopt.


Final Thoughts

The Korean Maltese is the same dog as a regular Maltese and will have the same temperament and share many traits. In some cases, the only difference is that the dog originated in Korea or that a Korean breeder created them. Other times, it can refer to a standard Maltese that underwent selective breeding to get traits popular in Korea, like a smaller body and rounder face. However, it’s important to note—especially before you spend extra money on one—that you can likely find a standard Maltese that has the same traits simply by shopping around.

Featured Image Credit: GraceSilver, Shutterstock

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