Maltese looking forward

Quick Facts


under 7 pounds


7 to 9 inches at the shoulder

Average Lifespan:

12-15 years

Known For:

Tiny, charming and playful dogs that are perfect for apartments.


Welcome to the world of the delightful Maltese! This adorable breed, with its petite size and playful nature, has captured the hearts of pet lovers around the world. Originating from the Central Mediterranean Area, the Maltese’s history is as rich and fascinating as its charming personality.Β 


Known for its stunning white coat and affectionate nature, the Maltese has been a popular companion for centuries, offering joy and companionship to those lucky enough to have one by their side. The American Kennel Club ranks the Maltese as one of the most popular toy breeds, and it’s easy to see why!

History and Origin

The captivating history of the Maltese dates back over 2,800 years, with origins rooted in the Central Mediterranean Area, particularly Malta, which gave the breed its name. This ancient breed has been adored by royalty and artists alike, featuring prominently in Greek, Roman, and Egyptian art and literature. Aristotle mentioned the Maltese in his writings, illustrating the breed’s historical significance.


Throughout the centuries, the Maltese has been a symbol of luxury and adoration. Queens Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots both had a fondness for this breed. The Maltese’s presence in various royal courts across Europe furthered its popularity and contributed to its spread around the world.


One of the most famous Maltese dogs in history is “Trouble,” who belonged to the late businesswoman Leona Helmsley. Trouble made headlines for inheriting a significant portion of Helmsley’s wealth, showcasing the strong bonds between the Maltese and their owners.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

With its striking white coat and expressive eyes, the Maltese is a picture of elegance and charm. This toy breed typically weighs under 7 pounds, making it a perfect lap dog. Despite its small size, the Maltese carries itself with grace and confidence, always ready for a playful adventure.

The hallmark of the Maltese is its long, silky, and pure white coat.Β 


The coat is hypoallergenic, making the breed a good choice for allergy sufferers. While the breed standard calls for a white coat, some Maltese may have light tan or lemon hues on their ears.


The Maltese has a slightly rounded skull, a black nose, and dark, alert eyes, giving it an expression of warmth and intelligence. Its compact body and playful gait are complemented by a plume-like tail that gracefully arches over its back.


This enchanting breed comes in one size – small – but its personality is anything but! The Maltese is full of energy and enthusiasm, always ready to charm its way into your heart.

Personality and Temperament

The Maltese is known for its delightful and affectionate personality, making it an excellent companion. Full of vitality and joy, this breed loves to be the center of attention and forms strong bonds with its family. Despite their small size, Maltese dogs are fearless and confident, often displaying a larger-than-life attitude.


They are known for their playful and spirited nature, enjoying games of fetch and playful interaction with their owners. The Maltese is also known for its intelligence and responsiveness, making them relatively easy to train. They thrive on love and attention and can be quite vocal, expressing their thoughts with a variety of barks and whines.


However, Maltese can be sensitive and may prefer a calmer household. They can be a bit reserved around strangers but warm up quickly once they feel safe. Socialization from a young age is essential to help them become well-rounded and adaptable adults.

Health and Lifespan

Maltese dogs are generally healthy and robust, with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. However, like all breeds, they are prone to specific health issues that prospective owners should be aware of. Regular veterinary check-ups and a balanced diet are essential to ensure a long, healthy life.


Some common health issues in Maltese include dental problems, due to their small mouths, and luxating patella, a condition where the kneecap moves out of place. They can also be prone to eye issues such as retinal atrophy and tear staining. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is another condition that can affect smaller breeds like the Maltese.


Despite these potential health issues, with appropriate care, regular exercise, and a balanced diet, the Maltese can lead a happy and fulfilling life. Prospective owners should work with reputable breeders who screen for common health issues to ensure the wellbeing of the dog.

Care and Maintenance

Maltese grooming

Caring for a Maltese is a rewarding experience that involves regular grooming, a balanced diet, and plenty of love and attention. Due to their long, silky coats, Maltese require daily brushing to prevent matting and tangling. They also benefit from regular baths to keep their coats clean and white.


Diet plays a crucial role in the health of a Maltese. Feeding them high-quality dog food, appropriate for their age, size, and activity level is essential. Be mindful of their calorie intake to prevent obesity, a common issue in smaller breeds.


Maltese are active and enjoy daily walks and playtime. Despite their size, they are energetic and appreciate both indoor and outdoor activities. Providing them with toys and interactive games can help keep their minds stimulated and bodies active.


Regular veterinary check-ups, dental care, and keeping up with vaccinations and parasite control will help ensure that your Maltese remains happy and healthy throughout their lives.

Training and Behavior

Training a Maltese is an engaging and rewarding experience. Known for their intelligence and eagerness to please, Maltese puppies are generally quick to catch on to commands. Consistency, positive reinforcement, and patience are key when training this breed.Β 


They respond well to treats and praise, making the training process enjoyable for both pet and owner.


While Maltese are known for their friendly and affectionate nature, they can develop behavior issues if not properly trained. Small dog syndrome, where the dog believes they are the pack leader, can be a common issue. Addressing this through consistent leadership and setting boundaries is essential.


Socialization is crucial for Maltese puppies. Exposure to different people, pets, and environments helps in developing a well-rounded and adaptable adult dog. They may be a bit reserved or cautious around strangers, but with proper socialization, they quickly warm up and make friends.

Maltese and Families

Maltese with people

The Maltese is a wonderful family pet, known for its loving and affectionate nature. They form strong bonds with their family members and enjoy spending time together. Due to their small size, they are particularly well-suited to apartment living but adapt well to various living situations.


While Maltese are great companions for families, they are best suited to families with older children who understand how to handle small dogs gently. They can be a bit fragile, and rough handling can lead to injury. They also enjoy the company of other pets, particularly when socialized from a young age.


Their playful and joyful nature makes them a delightful addition to any family, bringing love and companionship to all.

Adopting a Maltese

Adopting a Maltese is a joyful experience that brings love and companionship into your home. When considering adoption, it’s important to research reputable breeders or rescue organizations. Ensure that the dog’s health has been assessed and that any behavioral issues are discussed.


Consider your living situation, activity level, and the time you can dedicate to grooming and training. Maltese are active, affectionate, and require regular grooming to keep their coats in good condition.


Adoption is a rewarding way to provide a loving home to a dog in need. Whether you choose to adopt a puppy or an adult Maltese, the joy and love they bring to a family are immeasurable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Maltese dogs good for families?

Maltese are great for families, known for their gentle, affectionate nature. They bond closely with their owners and are friendly towards children and other pets when socialized properly.

What are the grooming needs of a Maltese?

Their long, silky coat requires daily brushing to prevent tangles and mats. Many owners keep their Maltese in a shorter “puppy cut” for easier maintenance.

How much exercise does a Maltese need?

Maltese have moderate energy levels and are satisfied with short walks and play sessions indoors. They are well-suited to apartment living.

What health issues can affect Maltese dogs?

They are generally healthy but can be prone to issues such as dental problems, patellar luxation, and liver shunt. Proper care and regular veterinary check-ups can help manage these conditions.

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