Lets start the breed comparsion with the appearance. Both breeds are small dogs, but Lhasa Apso is bigger, especially in terms of weight. The Lhasa Apso weighs approximatelly 14 lbs, which is 6 kg, while the Maltese only weighs arounds 6 lbs, which is 3 kg. Females tend to be slightly smaller than males. The difference in height is not so big and the average Lhasa Apso height is 25 cm and Maltese height is around 22 cm, which is 10 and 9 inches.
The size is not the only appearance difference. The most important is probably the coat and color. The Maltese has a silky and most importantly, pure white coat. The Lhasa Apso on the other hand has long and hard coat, which can be in many different colors, such as black, brownish, grizzle, golden, sandy, smoke or white.
Both breeds have very attractive and besides the color and size similar appearance. The main difference between them is in the temperament and to understand the temperament, we need to look at their history. The Maltese dog always was a very popular companion and lap dog, beloved by very old civilizations like Greeks or Romans. It was never used for any other purpose than companionship. One of the well-known duty of the Maltese was as a “comforter” to the sick people of Egypt and later, the Europeans, because people believed, that they have healing powers. On the other hand, the Lhasa Apso is not only a companion dog. While the Maltese comes from Mediterranean Basin, the Lhasa Apso is a dog from Tibet, where it was developed by the Buddhist monks in the mountains of Tibet to be a watchdog, which will be very alert and keen and that will let the monks know by barking, if they see or hear any intruders.
Even though today the Lhasa Apso is only rarely, almost never, for their original purpose as a watchdog, they still have it in them, which is creating quite a big difference in comparsion to completely affectionate and cuddly Maltese.
The Maltese is just the definition of an amazing companion and lap dog, with their fun loving, sociable, people oriented, intelligent, trainable and devoted personality. The Lhasa Apso on the other hand is perfect for people who are looking for a small dog with big dog personality. They are typically friendly with their people, around its family, but alert and suspicious towards strangers. They are alert, courageous and fearless, independent and sometimes quite bossy. On the other hand also clownish, loving, loyal and devoted. I am not going to say, which dog is better, that is impossible, because it really depends on what you expect from a dog.
Both breeds need daily exercise, but they are okay with few daily longer walks, accompanied with some playtime and fun training sessions. The exercise is not very challanging with these dogs, but what can be a little challenge is the grooming.
The continuously growing coat needs to be brushed daily to keep mats and tangles under control. Some owners choose to keep Maltese's and Lhasa Apso's hair short for easier maintenance and many owners choose services of professional groomers. If you choose one of these dogs prepare for extensive grooming. But good fact is, that both dogs are low shedding. Just like with any other breeds, you must also regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.