The Maltichon -- also known as the Maltese frise -- isn't a purebred dog. He's a cross between the Maltese and the bichon frise. As designer dog mixes go, the Maltese and bichon frise share similar qualities. Both breeds are small, white lapdogs. When the two are bred together, it can be hard to tell which parent a Maltichon favors. The American Kennel Club classifies the Maltese as a toy breed, while the bichon frise is listed in the non-sporting group.
The Maltese tops out at 7 pounds, with 4 to 6 pounds the preferred size, according to the breed standard. There's no AKC height standard for the Maltese, but most stand 8 to 10 inches at the shoulder full-grown. The bichon frise standard specifies that mature dogs must stand between 9 and 12 inches tall at the shoulder, but it doesn't specify a weight limit. Usually, the bichon frise ranges between 10 and 18 pounds. As a mix of the two breeds, the Maltichon falls somewhere in between. Expect a Maltichon to grow slightly larger than the Maltese and somewhat smaller than the bichon frise.
The Maltese coat hangs long and straight, with no undercoat. The bichon frise sports a soft undercoat with a curlier topcoat. Ideally, the bichon frise's coat brings to mind a powder puff. Mixing the two breeds can result in either type of coat, or a shorter, curlier version of the Maltese coat. Neither breed sheds much. Because you don't have to worry about the exacting grooming standards demanded for a purebred show Maltese or bichon frise, your groomer can keep your Maltichon comfortable in an easy-care puppy clip.
Neither the Maltese or the bichon frise was bred for any purpose other than loving companionship. No matter which breed the Maltichon favors, he should be happy and good-natured. If you have children and want a small dog, the Maltichon makes a better choice than the Maltese because of his larger size. He should also get along with feline and smaller canine members of the family. Big dogs can accidentally injure a small dog like the Maltichon. Your little white buddy makes a good watchdog, although he might overdo the barking.
While both Maltese and bichon frises are playful and alert, neither requires excessive amounts of exercise. The mixed breed's small size makes the Maltichon a good choice for apartment or city dwellers. A walk around the block a couple of times a day, and some indoor or outdoor playtime, should satisfy his exercise needs. Because the Maltichon craves company, he's not the best dog for a busy person unless he's able to accompany you much of the time.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.