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Are Maltipoos More Aggressive than Other Dogs? Vet-Verified Temperament, Reasons & Advice

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 6, 2024 by Dogster Team

maltipoo dog walking at the park

Are Maltipoos More Aggressive than Other Dogs? Vet-Verified Temperament, Reasons & Advice

VET APPROVED

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSC GPCERT (OPHTHAL) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Any dog that gets proper socialization and training will usually be well-behaved, and Maltipoos match that ideal. Generally speaking, this mixed breed is loving, playful, and gentle. But of course, there can be exceptions to the rule.

Just like any other dog, if a Maltipoo is not given adequate training or opportunities to socialize, they will show aggressive tendencies on occasion. Dogs often exhibit aggressive behaviors as a way to communicate, to show that they feel threatened. Remember that dogs will only become aggressive when they feel like they have no other choice.

This article covers a few causes of Maltipoo aggression, so keep reading to learn more.

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Typical Maltipoo Temperament

Overall, the Maltipoos is a gentle, loving breed. They love to give and receive affection equally. They can have a big personality due to their Poodle heritage but can be somewhat laid-back due to their Maltese background. They are easy to train and have a low prey drive, making their temperament ideal for first-time dog owners.

Maltipoos have abundant energy, but they are just as eager to sit on your lap as they are to play fetch. They are great with children and the elderly and are vigilant dogs that will bark at anything they find suspicious, but they will rarely show any signs of aggression.

maltipoo in the beach
Image Credit: Trevor Fairbank, Shutterstock

Most Common Displays of Aggression in Maltipoos

Aggression is a complex behavior and is considered uncharacteristic of Maltipoos as a whole. If your Maltipoo is exhibiting signs of aggression, there are many possible causes.

Paying attention to your dog’s body language will help you identify subtle warning signs that your dog is feeling uncomfortable in a given situation. Common signs include: yawning, licking their lips, looking away, tensing their body, lifting their front paw, and tucking the tail under their body.

If the situation is not resolved, your Maltipoo will show more obvious signs of aggression that are relatively easy to identify. The most common ones are growling, lifting their lip, lunging, nipping, and biting. Nipping and biting may sound like the same things, but they are not. Nipping is a quick, puncture-less snap of the mouth. Your Maltipoo’s teeth may or may not come in contact with your body. Conversely, biting is an intentional locking of the jaw onto your body. The teeth may puncture the skin, and your Maltipoo may refuse to release you. This is significantly more dangerous (and more painful) than a nip.

Again, this behavior is not typical of Maltipoos. If your Maltipoo is behaving aggressively, there is likely a root cause that needs to be identified. Professional intervention will often resolve the problem quickly and effectively.

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4 Reasons for Your Maltipoo’s Aggressive Behavior

Several factors can trigger aggressive behavior in canines. When determining the cause of your dog’s behavior, consider all possibilities, and consult with your vet or canine behaviorist.

1. Fearfulness

In most cases, Maltipoo aggression will result from your dog being afraid. Essentially, your Maltipoo feels like they have no other choice than to show aggression so what frightens them will disappear.

This can result in displays of aggression when you are walking them, greeting other dogs or people, or grooming them or during a vet consultation. Aggression can be triggered by a real threat or something that your dog perceives as a threat. Two dogs may react very differently to the same situation.

maltipoo training with owner
Image Credit: Tadogami, Shutterstock

2. Territorial Aggression

Maltipoos that have not been adequately socialized can display aggressive behaviors related to territoriality. They perceive other dogs and people as threats and will show signs of aggression to make intruders go away. In some dogs, usually of other breeds, this behavior is desired and reinforced; however, this is not typical of Maltipoos and their owners.


3. Environmental Factors

It has been observed that the environment in which a dog grows and lives can influence the way that they interact with other dogs. Maltipoos that don’t live with other dogs and whose owners have never had a dog are more likely to show aggressive behaviors.

maltipoo training fetch
Image Credit: marketlan, Shutterstock

4. Health-Related Aggression

It is imperative to consider all possibilities when investigating the root of your dog’s aggression because there is always a chance that a medical condition is the cause. This is especially true if aggression is uncharacteristic of your Maltipoo, and they suddenly appears hostile or withdrawn.

When dogs are sick or in pain, they often feel vulnerable. This can cause them to lash out more often, which can be interpreted as aggression. If you suspect your dog is unwell, reach out to your vet as soon as possible for an evaluation.

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How to Manage Your Maltipoo’s Aggression

If your Maltipoo is behaving aggressively, ruling out a medical issue should be the first thing you do. Once your vet has determined that there are no health concerns causing your dog’s aggression, you can start working on their behavior.

Regular training and socialization will be vital to curbing some aggressive tendencies before they can take root. Thankfully, Maltipoos are intelligent and eager to please, so training them is generally not difficult. The sooner you tackle this problem, the better.

Here are a few things that you can do to help keep your Maltipoo from behaving aggressively.

  • Provide treats for good behavior. Maltipoos respond well to positive reinforcement, so when they behave in the desired way, give them a treat.
  • Socialize your Maltipoo. Following your vet’s or canine behaviorist’s advice likely means exposing them to new people, dogs, and settings. The more they learn to adapt to new situations, the less aggressive they will be when their environment changes. Be sure to supervise them closely while socializing.

If you struggle with your Maltipoo’s behavior, consider enrolling in professional training courses. Training classes are most effective when the dog and the owner both attend.

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Final Thoughts

Maltipoos are not known to show aggressive behaviors often. In fact, they are considered gentle, loving dogs that are eager to please their owners. There may be instances in which a Maltipoo behaves aggressively, though, and we recommend that you don’t overlook it, but rather seek professional help. Proper training and socialization will help minimize this behavior before it becomes a problem for you and your dog.


Featured Image Credit: Irsan Ianushis, Shutterstock

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