Maltese dog breed characteristics and facts

Maltese dog breed characteristics and facts


Companion Dogs


8 to 10 inches tall at the shoulder


Up to 7 pounds


12 to 15 years

Maltese is a small, white, long-haired dog, loves to play and cuddle. Maltese were bred as lapdogs from the Mediterranean island of Malta. Maltese were highly appreciated as companionship pet. This breed has a playful character and enjoys running around, even though occasional activity is sufficient for their fitness and mental well-being. A short walk or a game in the yard is more than enough for them. Maltese are also low-maintenance dogs, their fur needs to be brushed only a few times per week.

Maltese dogs are highly trainable due to their intelligence. Maltese dogs try to impress their owners and can quickly grasp basic commands. It’s also very affectionate with children and a devoted companion. However, above all, they want to be with their people. There is no question that the Maltese is a great dog for those who are unfamiliar with pets, live in an apartment, or have difficulty getting out for long walks. All these characteristics make these affectionate dogs perfect competitors for all the potential pet parents looking for Maltese puppies.

Maltese Facts

  • Origin: Malta
  • Size: Small
  • Breed Group: Toy
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Coat: ong, silky, and straight white coat
  • Temperament: Gentle, affectionate, playful, and alert
  • Exercise needs: Moderate
  • Training: Intelligent and eager to please
  • Grooming: High-maintenance
  • Health: Generally healthy, but may be prone to luxating patella and etc.

Maltese Overview

The Maltese has been called by many names throughout his long history, some of them are: “Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta”, “Roman Ladies Dog”, “Melitae Dog”, “The Comforter”, “Spaniel Gentle”, “Bichon”, “Maltese Terrier” and “Maltese Lion Dog”. The Maltese, as we know him now, is what can his name be simply called.

Known for a silky white hair that covers its body, the toy dog Maltese is elegant. The coat is straight and thick and flows entirely to the ground. In the past, Maltese coat came in various colors, but in present day it is always white. When a well-constructed Maltese moves, he looks like he is walking on air flowing beneath a cloud of white hair. Since it lacks an undercoat, shedding is minimal, and it tends to be hypoallergenic to people.

Yet the Maltese is more than his coat. Finishing the image is a slightly rounded head, black nose, drop ears, dark, alert eyes, short, straight legs, and a full tail. He’s a sweet, intelligent dog who loves people. As one of the tiniest of the toy breeds, he is also an excellent apartment or condo. The Maltese is subject to his surroundings and is a vigilant watchdog no matter where he lives.

While Maltese appearance may be fragile and aristocratic, they are energetic animals. With the proper incentives, they can quickly learn new thing. Despite living for a long time as companion dogs, Maltese need ample human interaction and can develop separation anxiety. They may bark and become destructive unless they are left alone for long periods daily.

Sometimes Maltese are intolerant of small children or other dogs if other pets or people have pampered them too much. If treated this way, they may become very protective, barking and even biting if people or animals threaten their place in the home. Regardless of their tolerance, however, Maltese are not suitable for children just because they are so small. Because they are so small, children can easily be injured in not-so-restrained surroundings. As with every dog, the Maltese must be taught their place in the home and learn a few basic obedience commands. Proper socializing and basic obedience training plays a significant role.

Maltese Highlights

  • Small and easy to care: Maltese are small dogs, weighing between 4 and 7 pounds. They are an excellent choice for people who live in an apartment or small home. Maltese are easy dogs to care for; they require a few brushings per week.
  • Affectionate and playful: Maltese are known for their playful, affectionate behavior. They love to cuddle and play fetch and are excellent companions for children and other pets.
  • Good watchdogs: Maltese may be small, but they can make good watchdogs. They can bark appropriately to alert their owners whenever strangers approach them.
  • Grooming needs: Maltese have long, silky hair that requires regular brushing to prevent matting. Additionally, Maltese should be bathed and trimmed regularly.
  • Health concerns: Maltese are generally healthy, but they are susceptible to several health problems, including patellar luxation, dental problems, and eye problems.

Maltese History

The Maltese dog is one of the most oldest of the toy breeds. Artists, poets, and writers immortalized this small dog in early great cultures of Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Indeed, they were described by Aristotle. The Greeks made tombs for their Maltese dogs and also depicts a Maltese-like dog on earthenware from 600 B.C. Maltese was prized by the Ancient Egyptians as well.

Egyptians, and centuries later, many Europeans, believed that the Maltese had curative abilities and would place one on the pillow of an ill person. This inspired the second name – “The Comforter.” This breed was a common domestic animal in pre-Christian Bromeliads. Despite the worldwide recognition of the Maltese dog, there is not one exact place of origin. Most scholars agree that the breed was formed in the Mediterranean Sea island of Malta.

Some people also claim that the Maltese originates from Italy, whereas others believe he was from Asia and contributed to the development of many smaller Asian dogs. However, the Maltese thrived wherever he originated. By the 15 th century, the Maltese had found a secure place across the arms and hearts of French aristocratic. Meanwhile, in the British Isles, the Maltese arrived in the 16 th century during Henry VIII’s reign. At the end of the 16 th century as during Shakespeare’s era, the Maltese had become a popular companion for noble and royal ladies.

Rumour had it that Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria were also fans. Many painters used this tiny dog in portraits of attractive ladies. At least that’s what general opinion assumes; Goya and Sir Joshua Reynolds, the British artist, did it. The Roman Empire’s collapse and the Dark Ages had no effect on the breed’s heritage. However, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Maltese was nearly exterminated when breeding trials reduced him to the size of a rodent.

After that almost disastrous attempt, breeders saved the breed by crossing poodles, miniature spaniels, East Asian miniature dogs. As a result, the modern Maltese became so diverse that several new breeds were formed from it. It is believed that the Maltese breed was the direct ancestor of the modern Bichon Frise, Bolognese, and Havanese. According to a version, the Maltese breed, as we know it now, was developed by the English. Most of today’s Maltese in the United States go back to English imports. In the United States, the breed was first seen in the last several decades of the 19th century.

In the 1870s, Maltese were entered in the earliest Westminster Kennel Club shows, Until the 1950s, the number of Maltese registered with the AKC was increasing slowly. Since then, it has always been in vogue. Maltese are the most popular breed among dog shows spectators and frequently win the Toy Group. They also have an exemplary record in the “Best in Show” competition.

Maltese Size

Maltese should weigh no more than seven pounds, with four to six pounds being the optimal, and the males at the shoulder should be eight to ten inches and the females eight to nine inches. Aside from that, “tea cup” Maltese being offered by breeders should be included on the list. A Maltese weighing less than four pounds in maturity is more prone to genetic disorders and is vulnerable to illness.

Maltese Personality

The Maltese is a born clown with a warm personality. Because he is highly family-oriented, he is very trainable and responds well to food treats, praise, and play. Maltese pups are fearless; they think everyone they encounter, child or animal, is a friend. They are loved by all who visit them, and their own pet parents claim they always find a way to get what they want without being spoilt.

Maltese's temperament is a number of factors: heredity, training, and socialization. Maltese puppies with good temperaments are curious and playful, disposed to approach people and be held by them. Select the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the only one who beats on his littermates or the one who hides in the corner. Meet always at least one of the parents and verify that they have good temperaments with which you are comfortable. Often their mother is accessible.

Maltese Health

Overall, Maltese are healthy. However, just like all breeds, they are prone to some health conditions. Not all Maltese will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be conscious of them if you are considering this breed.

  • Patellar luxation
  • Portosystemic liver shunt
  • Hypoglycemia
  • White Dog Shaker Syndrome
  • Collapsed trachea
  • Reverse sneezing

Maltese Care

The Maltese likes a daily walk or play outside. Maltese can be quite playful well into their golden years. Since they enjoy being active and do not require as much extensive physical activity unsupervised, it doesn’t require much to keep in good overall shape. You can move around with your Maltese puppy, but until he has been with you for 8 months; that’s when his bones are fully developed.

Before starting a routine program, allow your puppy to play off-lead by himself in your fenced yard until he is an adult, and then take him to your vet for a checkup. Maltese dogs are kept inside and do not withstand harsh heat or cool. Many individuals paper their Maltese pups in order to avoid the rush for comfort or coldness.

Maltese Grooming and Coat Color

Lush white Maltese coat is pure white, soft and straight, which hangs all the way to the ground. Maltese have no undercoat, like so many other breeds, and they do not shed much. Unfortunately, the Maltese coat is very prone to mats and stains easily. Maltese also suffer from unattractive red tear stains around the eyes. Comb and brush your Maltese‘s coat gently on a daily basis, even though they have a stylish short trim he looks great in. This will aid in preventing mats from forming and keeping Maltese clean.

Although Maltese are beautiful, they get dirty quickly and most times needed bathing weekly. For Maltese with long hair that get mat often, do not use a comb to break apart the mat. Initially try your fingers gently , a detangler spray, or coat grooming oil to work out the mat. Then once you have pulled the hair apart as loosely as possible, using the end tooth of the comb loosen hair after the regular sessions. Do not attempt to pull the whole mat from the skin with the comb or brush/mat before all mats are removed before bathing your Maltese; mats get tighter when wet.

As for the ears of your Maltese, you should check them weekly. The former indicates they are sore and give off a foul smell. Furthermore, this dog breed is known for having an excess of hair in the ears, which should be removed. You can ask your groomer or vet clinic to do the procedure. Eventually, you could be taught to pluck the hair by yourself. When your dog’s nails become very long, you will hear them clacking on the floor, so trim them once a month if your pet does not wear them down naturally. Otherwise, it may cause tears and other issues.

Maltese Children And Other Pets

Maltese breeders will not sell puppies to families with young children; it is merely far too easy for a toddler to care for a tiny Maltese by dropping him, stepping on him, or holding him too tightly. They do much better in a house with quiet older children or adults only who will care for them as needed. Maltese can live with other dogs and cats if they are used to them at a young age. However, they are unaware of their small size and must be protected from competing with dogs that are ten or twenty times their size.