Can Maltese Dogs Be Brown Or Black? (Plus 13 Maltese Mixes That Are)

Maltese are known for their beautiful white coat. But tastes are different and maybe not everyone likes white dogs. Besides, a white coat is also harder to keep clean. You would like to have a Maltese but without a white coat? Do Maltese also come in brown or black?

Purebred Maltese is only available in white. A maximum of some shades in certain colors is allowed. However, if you do not want to go to dog shows and it is not important to you to have a purebred dog, you can look for Maltese mixes. These are also available in brown or black. There are also close relatives of the Maltese that do not have a pure white coat.

So you will not find a purebred Maltese that is brown or black. But Maltese mixes can also be very beautiful and lovable dogs.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some popular Maltese mixes with brown or black coats that you might consider. We will also show you some Maltese mixes with coat colors other than white, brown, or black.

But first, we will clarify why Maltese generally have a white coat and how the coat color is inherited in mixed breed dogs. Finally, we will also go over the Maltese’s close relatives and tell you which ones are available with other coat colors.

Why Are Maltese Always White?

The friendly Maltese are a very old breed of dog. Although they have been recognized as a dog breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) only since 1888, they have been around much longer.

The first known records and paintings of Maltese go back to the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Ancient Greek vases were found on which Maltese were depicted. These vases are well over 2,000 years old.

And even then the Maltese were described as we know them today. They have always had a pure white coat. And with the recognition of the Maltese as a dog breed by the AKC, this rule was carved in stone.

Nowadays, the breed standards of all major dog breeders’ associations stipulate that Maltese must be white. Even if it were biologically possible for Maltese to have offspring with brown or black coats, by definition they would no longer be considered Maltese.

If you want to know more about the white coat or about the history of Maltese, we have an interesting article about it here.

How Is Coat Color Inherited In Mixed Breed Dogs?

Coat color in dogs, like hair color in humans, is determined by genes. I won’t bore you with technical details about genetics, but we will discuss a few simple basics in this chapter.


A gene is a section of DNA in which a hereditary trait is specified, which determines a certain characteristic of the living being. DNA is divided into chromosomes, and each chromosome contains many different genes.

Dogs have a total of 78 chromosomes. For comparison, humans have only 46, but the number says nothing about the information content – otherwise, the plant horsetail with its 216 chromosomes would probably be superior to us.


The position of a certain gene in the DNA is called gene locus or, in simplified terms, gene. For each of these genes, the body has two copies, one from the chromosomes of the mother and one from the chromosomes of the father.

This means that each dog – and each human – can have only two of many possible expressions for each gene. Mutation can cause different types of a gene to occur in the gene pool of a species.


These different types are called alleles. There is then a wild type, i.e. the original expression of the gene, and a few or even many variants.

These alleles, i.e. the special expressions of a gene, are inherited by the dog from its parents. He gets one allele from each parent, so he has a total of two alleles per gene.

The alleles of a gene inherited by a living organism are written as a combination of two letters, for example, B/b. One of these alleles can then be the dominant allele. The dominant alleles are written in capital letters.

This means that the dog has inherited the B allele and the b allele. We will look at these two in more detail below as an example.

One of these alleles can be the dominant allele, which suppresses the expression of the recessive allele. In principle, this is also how the coat color of dogs is decided.

An Example: The TYPR1 Gene

Let’s look at an example: The TYRP1 gene contains the blueprint for a protein that is needed for the formation of black pigment. For this gene, for example, there are the alleles B and b.

The B allele stands for a functioning TYPR1 gene, so the dog can form the black pigments and will have a black coat.

The b allele stands for a mutation, i.e. a defective variant of the TYPR1 gene. Since the TYPR1 gene does not function properly, the dog will lighten and will have a brown coat color.

Since only one of the alleles of each parent is inherited, it can also happen that a dog has a completely different coat color than its parents. So for example the coat color of the grandmother or the great-grandfather.

The following table shows which possible alleles and therefore coat colors can arise in the offspring, depending on which alleles of the TYPR1 gene its parents have.

B/B : black B/B: blackB/B: black
B/B : black B/b: blackB/B: black
B/b: black
B/B: blackb/b: brownB/b: black
b/b : brown B/B : black B/b: black
b/b: brownB/b: blackB/b: black
b/B: brown
b/b : black b/b : brown b/b: brown
B/b: blackB/B: blackB/B: black
B/b: black
B/b: blackB/b: blackB/B: black
B/b: black
b/b: brown
B/b: blackb/b: brownB/b: black
b/b: brown
Puppy’s possible alleles and coat colors depending on parents alleles

Of course, this is only a simplification, since even more genes play a role in the exact coat color. But I hope I could make the principle clear.

Coat Patterns

Perhaps you ask yourself now, how it can come then to different colored fur with dogs. So variations like merle, current, ticking, or piebald.

These variations are also caused by genes. The different coat patterns each have their own gene because it works like a switch.

So, for example, there is a merle gene. This gene decides whether a dog has a merle pattern in its coat or not.

Which Gene Colors The Maltese White?

Last but not least, we will tell you which genes make the Maltese white. But that’s enough about genetics.

You might now think that there is a gene that decides the white coat color. And you are right, but this is not the reason why our Maltese has a white coat.

There is also a gene for the color intensity, the so-called I-locus or intensity locus.

This gene regulates the amount of phaeomelanin in your dog’s coat. Intense phaeomelanin provides an intense red, yellow, or orange portion in the coat color.

In Maltese, phaeomelanin is so low in intensity that it is not visible to us. Therefore Maltese look white. Actually, however, one should rather say that they are extremely hydrogen blond.

You just can’t see their coat colors because they are so genetically bleached out.

Which Maltese Mixes Are There With Brown Or Black Coats?

There are many Maltesesr hybrids, and some of them have really cute names. Often you can already tell from the name, from which breeds they were created.

If you have read the chapter about genetics carefully, it will not surprise you that these mixed breeds can also have other coat colors than white. It simply depends on their parents.

Let’s look at a few examples of Maltese crossbreds, which can also have a brown or black coat. You will see, there are incredibly different Maltese mixes. Maybe there is also something for you.

Boston Malterrier

The Boston Malterrier is a mixed breed of Boston Terrier and Maltese. It has a height of 10-16 inches and weighs 9-22 lbs.

The coat of the Boston Malterrier can be black or white. It is long, has an average density and has a wiry texture.


The Cairmal is a crossbreed of two small dogs, the Cairn Terrier and the Maltese. He grows 10-13 inches tall and weighs 10-15 lbs.

Their coat can be black, white, cream, silver, red, or brindle. They have a dense, wiry coat with medium length.


The Cav-A-Malt is a mix of two of my favorite breeds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Maltese. It will grow 10-12 inches tall and can weigh 10-13 lbs.

Their coat can be red, brown, black, white, or pied. They have a long, dense, and wavy coat.


The Cortese is a mixed breed of Welsh Corgi and Maltese. It grows 9-11 inches tall and weighs 5-22 lbs.

Their coat can be black, brown, red, blue, or white and is similar to the Maltese, as it is long, dense, and straight.


The Havamalt is a mixed breed of Havanese and Maltese. It grows 9-12 inches tall and weighs 5-12 lbs.

They have a long, dense, and wiry coat that can be black, white, cream, grey, silver or red.


The Malchi is a hybrid of the very small Chihuahua and the slightly larger Maltese. Despite this, it can grow 5-12 inches tall and weighs 12-14 lbs.

Malchis have a long, average dense and wavy coat that can be fawn, white, black or cream.


The Malteagle is a hybrid of the Beagle and Maltese. Also an interesting combination. It is one of the larger Maltese mixes at 9-15 inches tall and weighing 15-22 lbs.

They have a long, dense, and straight coat in the colors black, brown, cream or white.


The Malti-Pug is a mixed breed of Pug and Maltese. It has a size of 9-12 inches and weighs 10-13 lbs.

They have a medium-length, average dense, and straight coat in the colors white, red, black, or fawn.


The Maltipom is a mixed breed of Pomeranian and Maltese. It is one of the smaller Maltese mixes, measuring 7-8 inches tall and weighing 3-8 lbs.

They come in white, cream, black, brown, or fawn. Their coat is long, dense, and straight.


The Malti-Poo is a mixed breed of Poodle and Maltese. It grows 8-14 inches tall with a weight of 5-20 lbs.

They come in white, black, grey, brown, cream, blue, or silver. Their coat is medium length, average dense, and wavy.


The Mauxie is an interesting hybrid of Dachshund and Maltese. It grows 7-9 inches tall with a weight of 10-20 lbs.

Mauxies come in a relatively wide range of colors such as silver, sable, brindle, isabella, brown, or cream. They have a long, average dense, and wavy coat.


The Scottese is a mixed breed of Scottish Terrier and Maltese. He grows 9-10 inches tall with a weight of 7-22 lbs.

They come in brindle, fawn, black or white and have a long, dense, and straight coat.

Silky Cocker

The Silky Cocker is a mixed breed of Cocker Spaniel and Maltese. It grows 10-12 inches tall with a weight of 12-16 lbs.

They come in black, red, cream or brown and have a long, normal dense, and wavy coat.

Which Close Relatives Does The Maltese Have?

Would you rather have a purebred dog? One that looks similar to the Maltese, but does not have white fur. Well, then let’s take a look at the Maltese’s close relatives.

Maltese belong to the Bichons. Besides the Maltese, three other breeds are also included. In addition, there are two breeds that are classified as related but do not belong to the Bichons.

There should be something suitable. But I have to disappoint you a little bit because most of the Bichons are actually also completely white.

But there is one exception. Or even two, if we add the breeds classified as related.

First, let’s look at which breeds belong to the Bichons at all. The Bichons include:

  • Bichon Frise
  • Bolognese
  • Havanese
  • Maltese

There are also the two related breeds mentioned above:

  • Coton de Tulear
  • Löwchen

But now we solve the mystery, which of these breeds are also available with a coat color other than white. These are the Havanese and the Löwchen.


The Havanese, as the name suggests, have their origin in Cuba. It is a small dog that grows only 8-11 inches tall and weighs 10-15 lbs.

I think it looks quite similar to the Maltese. Except for the coat color, of course. Havanese come in black, brown, red, cream, fawn, blue, brindle, sable, and silver coat colors. Quite a large selection, isn’t it?

One difference from the Maltese is that the Havanese’s coat texture is wavy. So he does not have such a nice smooth coat like the Maltese.

Havanese are really beautiful dogs that also have a very pleasant temperament. They get along well with children, other dogs, and even with cats. A real family dog!


The Löwchen looks a little different, at least visually. In the 15th century, lions were the favorite dogs of the European nobility. You can still see the nobility in him today.

Like the Havanese, Löwchen also have a pleasant personality, which makes them well suited as a family dog. Löwchen grow to be 12-14 inches tall and can weigh 8-18 lbs.

Their coats come in black, white, brown, fawn, silver, brindle, sable, and red. The coat of the Löwchen is slightly shorter than that of the Maltese, but it is also straight.

So if you are up for something special, you might want to take a look at the Löwchen.

Final Thoughts

Maltese do not come in brown or black coats. This is simply determined by the dog breeders’ associations.

If a Maltese does not have a white coat, then he is not a Maltese.

However, if you are looking for a Maltese-like dog in a different color, you should look at Maltese mixes. There are so many of them and so many are really beautiful and pleasant dogs.

You can also take a closer look at the Maltese’s relatives, the Bichons. Many of them are white as well, but they all have similar great personalities to the Maltese.

Whether you end up giving a Maltese or another dog a new home, we wish you all the best with your new family member!