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Maltese

Maltese

An Elegant and Loving Friend

Feisty, gentle, playful

Maltese are smart, polite, and affectionate, toy dogs. These energetic dogs enjoy running, playing, and even challenging larger dogs. Maltese are typically reserved with strangers and will bark at them, but these dogs make excellent companions for their families. Their ideal human companions are singles, seniors, and families with older children. They require little daily exercise, so either a fun game indoors or a short walk will be plenty for these little dogs.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs. 

Breed Details

Height:9-10 in. Weight:6-8 lb Lifespan:12-14 years

Size
2

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
3

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
4

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
3

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
4

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
4

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Grooming: Daily brushing and regular grooming is needed every 6-8 weeks to keep her coat beautiful.

Dental: Maltese often have serious problems with their teeth, so you’ll need to brush them at least three times a week!

Ear Care: Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!

Routine Care: She is well suited to apartment life as long as she is given daily walks and short play sessions. She can have a tendency to sunburn due to her all-white coat. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. She can be taught to perform a variety of tricks to keep her mentally stimulated.

Known as one of the more gentle breeds in the toy group, the Maltese tends to get along with everyone making her the perfect playmate.

Positive Traits:

  • Trusting and affectionate

  • Gentle-mannered and easy to get along with

  • Highly intelligent, playful, and energetic

  • Wonderful companion and family dog

  • Hypoallergenic coat sheds very little

  • Good around other pets and dogs

Negative Traits:

  • Coat needs to be cared for frequently to prevent matting and tear staining

  • Can be snappy with children

  • Can be difficult to housetrain

  • Has a tendency to bark quite a bit if not trained out of this habit

  • Fragile and easily injured because of her small size

  • Prone to separation anxiety and associated barking and chewing behaviors

 

Whether you are considering adding a new Maltese to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Maltese will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. By exploring the health concerns specific to the Maltese you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. She’s counting on you to be her health expert.

Heart Disease

Liver Problems

Eye Problems

Glaucoma

Cataracts

Distichiasis

It is not entirely clear where the Maltese originated, however they were a recognized breed in Malta thousands of years ago and were once called “Ye ancient dogge of Malta.” She has always been primarily a companion pet and was kept by royalty all over the world with women seen carrying them in the sleeves of their elaborate dresses and robes. No wonder she likes to be held in your arms! She typically weighs 2 to 8 pounds and has a beautiful long and silky coat. Although small, they do require regular exercise and tend to be quite playful even when indoors. The Maltese is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 14-15 years.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Maltese shows signs of the following:

  • Fatigue during exercise, coughing, or shortness of breath

  • Coughing, especially at night or upon rising after sleeping, rapid breathing at rest

  • Slow or stunted growth; sometimes seizures after eating

  • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

  • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye

  • Cloudiness to eye lens

  • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

  • Gums that are a color other than bright pink

  • Bruises easily or bleeds a lot from a small wound

  • Misplaced or missing teeth, bad breath, hair and food stuck between teeth

  • Puppy teeth alongside adult teeth

  • On-going vomiting, weight loss, and/or diarrhea

  • Chronic vomiting or diarrhea

  • Greasy, hairless patches on skin and redness in ears

  • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

  • Easily startled, no reaction to unseen sounds

  • Care

    Grooming: Daily brushing and regular grooming is needed every 6-8 weeks to keep her coat beautiful.

    Dental: Maltese often have serious problems with their teeth, so you’ll need to brush them at least three times a week!

    Ear Care: Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!

    Routine Care: She is well suited to apartment life as long as she is given daily walks and short play sessions. She can have a tendency to sunburn due to her all-white coat. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. She can be taught to perform a variety of tricks to keep her mentally stimulated.

  • Characteristics

    Known as one of the more gentle breeds in the toy group, the Maltese tends to get along with everyone making her the perfect playmate.

    Positive Traits:

    • Trusting and affectionate

    • Gentle-mannered and easy to get along with

    • Highly intelligent, playful, and energetic

    • Wonderful companion and family dog

    • Hypoallergenic coat sheds very little

    • Good around other pets and dogs

    Negative Traits:

    • Coat needs to be cared for frequently to prevent matting and tear staining

    • Can be snappy with children

    • Can be difficult to housetrain

    • Has a tendency to bark quite a bit if not trained out of this habit

    • Fragile and easily injured because of her small size

    • Prone to separation anxiety and associated barking and chewing behaviors

     

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Maltese to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Maltese will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. By exploring the health concerns specific to the Maltese you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. She’s counting on you to be her health expert.

    Heart Disease

    Liver Problems

    Eye Problems

    Glaucoma

    Cataracts

    Distichiasis

  • History

    It is not entirely clear where the Maltese originated, however they were a recognized breed in Malta thousands of years ago and were once called “Ye ancient dogge of Malta.” She has always been primarily a companion pet and was kept by royalty all over the world with women seen carrying them in the sleeves of their elaborate dresses and robes. No wonder she likes to be held in your arms! She typically weighs 2 to 8 pounds and has a beautiful long and silky coat. Although small, they do require regular exercise and tend to be quite playful even when indoors. The Maltese is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 14-15 years.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Maltese shows signs of the following:

    • Fatigue during exercise, coughing, or shortness of breath

    • Coughing, especially at night or upon rising after sleeping, rapid breathing at rest

    • Slow or stunted growth; sometimes seizures after eating

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

    • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye

    • Cloudiness to eye lens

    • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting

    • Gums that are a color other than bright pink

    • Bruises easily or bleeds a lot from a small wound

    • Misplaced or missing teeth, bad breath, hair and food stuck between teeth

    • Puppy teeth alongside adult teeth

    • On-going vomiting, weight loss, and/or diarrhea

    • Chronic vomiting or diarrhea

    • Greasy, hairless patches on skin and redness in ears

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

    • Easily startled, no reaction to unseen sounds

Maltese Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Maltese breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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