Other than the fact that the West Highland white terrier and the Maltese are both white, small dogs, they don't have a lot in common. The former evolved as a vermin hunter, while the latter's long history has always been that of been a companion animal. This hybrid canine, sometimes referred to as the Highland Maltie, inherits the temperament of both parent breeds, but one type may dominate the other.
Westie Maltese Temperament
The American Kennel Club describes the West Highland white terrier as "entertaining, happy and loyal," while the Maltese is "charming, gentle and playful." The Westie, as he's commonly known, isn't a lap dog. He's affectionate, but needs to stay on the go in case he's missing something -- such as that squirrel in the backyard. The Maltese, on the other hand, is a lap dog par excellence. Both breeds take well to training, but there's no comparison between the two when it comes to exercise. The Maltese' exercise needs are moderate, while the Westie requires lots of walks or participation in canine activities so that energy isn't channeled into destructive behavior. Your Westie Maltese makes a good watchdog, and should get along with other canines. He'll probably get along with cats, especially if raised with them.
While the Maltese is too small and delicate to serve as a children's playmate, that may not be true of the Westie Maltese cross. An adult Westie weighs between 15 to 22 pounds, so the crossbreed may mature at 12 to 15 pounds or more. That's a fine sized pet for older kids.
Terrier Vs. Toy
As his name indicates, the West Highland white terrier belongs to the AKC terrier group, who share certain qualities no matter their size. These include:
- Love of digging
- Hunting small creatures
- Frequent barking.
The Maltese, who weighs no more than 7 pounds at maturity, belongs to the AKC toy group. This group has less in common with each other than do the terriers, but many, like the Maltese, don't always think of themselves as little dogs. That can lead to problems, particularly when encountering actual large canines.