- Activity Level: moderate
- Grooming Level: low
- Trainability: moderate
- Adaptability: moderate
- Kid/Pet Friendly: sometimes
- Average Size: Small
- Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
- Prey Drive: high
- Watchdog: chill
- Registered?: aca, akc
Maltese Breed Profile
Did You Know?
The Maltese is a popular toy dog breed with ancient origins. Dating back over 2 millennia to Greece, it is by far the oldest toy dog breed in existence. The original breed was almost lost between the 17th and 18th centuries when attempts were made to make the breed too small. A lack of advanced veterinary care and no knowledge of how to care for a “tea-cup” size breed led to the Maltese breed almost disappearing completely. Luckily, the dog breed was saved.
The Maltese, as we know it today, is thought to be the result of British dog breeders, but it is also known that the Maltese is a direct descendant of other toy breeds like the Bichon Frise and the Havanese. The first Maltese is thought to have arrived in the United States in the latter half of the 19th century and first appeared in Westminster Kennel Club shows in the 1870s.
This is a friendly and loving dog breed. They are extremely affectionate with their family and make new friends easily. Although they may be a bit reserved around strangers at first, they warm up quickly and will love to be a part of the group. Generally kid-friendly, they will be a good playmate for your little ones, as long as they are loving and gentle with them as well. The Maltese is by far the most affectionate and cuddly toy breed there is.
The Maltese has a sensitive side. Loud noises, thunderstorms, and loud voices may make this breed a bit uneasy. They have a long flowing coat, making them somewhat sensitive to heat, but they also do not care for the cold. They are perfect for apartment living, but prefer not to be left alone for long periods of time, as they are known to long for human companionship and contact.
The health of the Maltese is generally good. The most common concerns are Reverse Sneezing and, although it may sound concerning while it is happening, it is not harmful to the dog.
The Maltese will work fine for novice owners, but obedience training is recommended. Be aware that training this dog breed will require patience and soft discipline because of their sensitive nature.
The Maltese coat is long, silky, and straight and is white in color. The Maltese is generally considered a “non-shedding” breed. Of course, one must properly maintain their coat to ensure the truth of that title. If the coat is in a short clip, brushing a few times a week is sufficient to keep their coat tangle and mat-free. If they have a longer coat, you will need to brush them every day to remove tangles and prevent mats from forming. Maltese will also need to be professionally groomed several times a year. They are also known to be “hypo-allergenic” for people who otherwise suffer from pet allergies, but the only way to ensure you will not have a reaction is to meet one.
In addition to brushing their coat and bathing them as needed, you will also need to trim your dog’s nails monthly, regularly check their ears and carefully clean them as needed, and care for your dog’s teeth regularly. Proper dental care for dogs includes brushing their teeth or using an enzyme toothpaste every day. You can supplement your efforts with dental hygiene chews as well.
The activity level of this breed is moderate, but beware of overexertion as they are very petite and can easily overdo it. They should enjoy a nice walk with their family and unwind by being their generally playful selves.
The Maltese should weigh between 3 to 8 lbs. and stand between 7 and 10 inches tall.
A Maltese generally lives 12-15 years.
Maltese were so highly praised in Ancient Greece that tombs were often built for them when they passed.