Maltese: Care & Characteristics of the Dog Breed


The Maltese is a little, loving breed of toy dog that originated in the Mediterranean and is distinguished by its distinctive silky, white hair that draws attention to its large, black eyes. Although it still need regular activity, it may make a cute lapdog. Despite being tiny, the Maltese may also be a vigilant and courageous watchdog. It can also be a suitable choice for people who desire a low-shedding dog, despite the fact that it requires complex grooming.

Breed Overview


HEIGHT: 7 to 9 inches

WEIGHT: Under 7 pounds

COAT: Long, silky

COAT COLOR: White, black points

LIFE SPAN: 12 to 15 years

TEMPERAMENT: Affectionate, alert, fearless


ORIGIN: Malta/Mediterranean region

Characteristics of the Maltese

Maltese have a propensity for showing their family a lot of love. But they might become a little protective around strangers due to their watchdog inclinations. They are a breed with medium activity levels, however they may be a little obstinate when it comes to training.

Affection Level High
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly Medium
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs Medium
Playfulness Medium
Energy Level Medium
Trainability Medium
Intelligence Medium
Tendency to Bark Medium
Amount of Shedding Low

History of the Maltese

The origins of the Maltese may be found in the Mediterranean area, notably Malta. The breed was also favored by the philosopher Aristotle and may be seen on ancient Greek ceramics.

Roman nobility maintained Maltese as status symbols and traveled with the little dogs. The Maltese was not bred down from larger dogs, unlike many other tiny dog breeds; it has always had a modest height.

The number of Maltese people declined after the fall of the Roman Empire. However, Chinese breeders preserved the breed and improved it through hybridizations with their toy breeds. The breed was initially acknowledged by the American Kennel Club in 1888, and it is still well-liked today.

Maltese Care

Maltese love to be the center of attention and require daily fun and exercise. To guarantee they have appropriate manners, kids need to receive the necessary instruction and socializing. Additionally, they require a lot of grooming.


The energy level of the Maltese is average. They should engage in vigorous walks, hikes, fetch, and other active play for at least a half-hour to an hour each day. Additionally, puzzle games and even canine athletics like agility can help keep their minds active. They don't need a lot of room to work out because of how little they are.

Due to the lack of an insulating overcoat, the breed does not survive high temperatures well. In chilly weather, it's advisable to limit your dog's outdoor activity and provide him a coat or sweater.


The silky coat of the Maltese grows continuously. For easier maintenance, many owners opt to trim the coat short, and it takes on a wavy, fluffy quality. Others keep the coat long and flowing.

This coat type need frequent care as a matter of course. If the coat is maintained long, the Maltese may need to be brushed daily or twice to three times each week. Additionally, routine trimming will be required to keep the appropriate coat length.

Additionally, the coat will require weekly to monthly baths to be clean. Weekly ear cleaning and roughly monthly nail trimming for your dog are also things you should check for. Maltese are also prone to having tear stains appear beneath their eyes. Pet retailers have remedies that may be used to help get rid of these stains. Additionally, those adorable bows or topknots you see on Maltese dogs are there to avoid discomfort by keeping the hair out of the eyes.

Finally, this breed needs good attention to dental hygiene to prevent teeth and gum problems. Aim to brush your dog's teeth daily, and take it for professional cleaning as needed.


The Maltese requires adequate and to be content and well-adjusted, just like all dogs. These dogs might be a little rebellious, but living with humans for generations has taught them how to get what they want. When given cookies and other forms of positive reinforcement, they still take to instruction quite well.

Attempt to begin socializing and training while your dog is a puppy. When your dog reaches the necessary age, sign up for a puppy obedience class. And expose it to diverse individuals, animals, and circumstances. Maltese dogs may bark excessively or bite when they feel threatened around strangers or in unusual circumstances. Therefore, it's crucial to inculcate in them comfort and confidence as well as excellent manners.

Furthermore, if left alone for an extended length of time, many Maltese show signs of separation anxiety. They could behave destructively and incessantly bark. A little bit of behavioral training can reduce anxiety. Nevertheless, it's preferable for a Maltese to reside in a home where someone is there for the most of the day.

A home with young children is not advised for a Maltese because of the dog's vulnerability as a little, sensitive creature. However, it could be a good option for families with mature older kids.

Common Health Problems

Maltese are usually healthy dogs, though they are prone to some hereditary health conditions. They include:

  • Heart issues, including patent ductus arteriosus
  • Liver issues, including and microvascular dysplasia
  • Encephalitis

Diet and Nutrition

Keep fresh water on hand at all times for your Maltese. And feed your dog a high-quality, nutritionally complete diet. The majority of owners choose to feed twice daily. A diet designed for tiny dogs may be the best option because the serving sizes are often smaller and simpler to consume while still offering a balanced diet. To avoid overeating, keep an eye on sweets and other food intake. With your veterinarian's help, determine the right kind and amount of food for your dog's size and lifestyle.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Maltese

To locate a Maltese in need of a home, search regional animal shelters and breed-specific rescue organizations. Expect to pay around $2,000 for a puppy if you go to a reputable breeder, however this can vary greatly based on lineage and other considerations. Visit the following websites for further details to get in touch with a Maltese:

  • American Maltese Association
  • American Maltese Association Rescue

Maltese Overview

  • Enjoys being a lapdog

  • Very affectionate

  • Low shedder

  • Requires regular grooming

  • Can be stubborn and defensive

  • Does not tolerate cold weather well

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Before bringing home a Maltese, take the time to research to get to know the breed. Discuss it with veterinarians, Maltese owners, reputable breeders, and rescue groups.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

There’s a whole world of potential out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

  • Are Maltese good family dogs?

    Maltese can be good dogs for families with older children who understand how to be gentle with the small breed. Younger children might be too rough with a Maltese.

  • Are Maltese aggressive?

    Maltese typically aren’t aggressive dogs. But their watchdog nature can cause them to become defensive around strangers, usually with lots of barking.

  • Are Maltese good apartment dogs?

    As long as they are taught and socialized properly so they don't bark excessively and annoy the neighbors, Maltese may make wonderful apartment pets. They don't need a lot of room to play and exercise.


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