Maltese Dog Breed Information

Despite of its small size, Maltese has gained reputation as a brave dog. This small and hardy dog has silky hairs, and a compact & fine boned body. If you are looking for being owner of this lively and playful dog, the article is for you:


Breed Name Maltese
Origin Central Mediterranean Area
Other names Maltese Lion Dog, Roman Ladies dog, Cokie, Spaniel Gentle
Life span 13-16 years
Breed group Gun Dog, AKC Toy, Companion dog
Size type Small
Breed type Purebred
Height Males: 21 – 25 cmFemales: 20 – 23 cm
Weight 5—8 pounds
Temperament Charming, gentle, playful, fearless, affectionate
Coat color White
Coat characteristics Silky, long and straight
Feeding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals
Litter size 4 puppies
Training requirements Moderate
Living condition These dogs are energetic but can do well in apartments if exercised properly
Exercise requirement Moderate
Health concerns Portosystemic liver shunt, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Hypoglycemia, White Dog Shaker Syndrome, Collapsed trachea, Reverse Sneezing
Grooming needs High
Bred for Companionship
Similar dogs Yorkshire Terrier, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested
Clubs recognitions CKC: Continental Kennel ClubFCI: Fédération Cynologique InternationaleAKC: American Kennel ClubUKC: United Kennel Club

KCGB: Kennel Club of Great Britain

CKC: Canadian Kennel Club

ANKC: Australian National Kennel Club

NKC: National Kennel Club

NZKC: New Zealand Kennel Club

APRI: American Pet Registry, Inc.

ACR: American Canine Registry

DRA: Dog Registry of America, Inc.

NAPR: North American Purebred Registry, Inc.

ACA: American Canine Association Inc.

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 Some interesting facts about Maltese:

  • Maltese has been a royal dog since they are owned by aristocrats in more than 28 countries.
  • Despite of their small size, these dogs are known for their bravery.
  • Greeks used to commemorate their Maltese dogs with tombs.
  • White long and silky coat of Maltese makes them distinct and adorable.
  • Maltese dogs are not considered to be very friendly to kids and children. It is advised not to have a Maltese dog in your family if you have a child.
  • According to Charles Darwin, Maltese originated as a solid breed in 6000 B.C.
  • Maltese dogs are excellent jumpers.
  • Maltese is a hypoallergenic dog.
  • Josephine Bonaparte, Marie Antoinette, Queen Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scots, and Queen Victoria had a Maltese pet at some stage in their lives.

Is Maltese the right breed for you?

Maltese is suitable for you if you want to deal with a dog who is: Maltese is not suitable for you if you want to deal with a dog who:
  • Very small
  • Very playful and is one of the brightest of the toy breeds
  • Is friendly with other pets and people
  • Has expressive eyes which make him cute
  • Sheds minimally


  • Is fragile and can be easily injured if proper care is not taken.
  • Needs to be handled carefully and requires a great attention.
  • Suffers from separation anxiety when left alone for long hours.
  • Difficult to potty train.
  • Requires a high degree of grooming.
  • Is not good with kids


Some famous Maltese Dogs:

  • Trouble is a famous Maltese and one of the richest dogs as well.
  • Famous WWE wrestling star and TV personality Torrie Wilson has a Maltese named Chloe.
  • American actress Eva Longoria has a famous Maltese whose name is Jinxie.

1. History:


The history of Maltese can be traced 2000 years back. The dog has found mention in the works of various writers, painters and artist in ancient Greek, Rome and Egypt cultures. However, the exact origin of the dog is doubtful. According to some people, the dog was originated in the Isle of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea while some believe that the dog was developed in Italy. Some people also say that this dog originally belonged to Asia. According to a famous belief, these dogs had the ability to cure illness in people when placed on the pillow of a sick person.

The dog had gained reputation among French aristocracy by the 15th century. Maltese reached in the British Isles during the rule of Henry VIII. Maltese was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria and Mary Queen of Scots. Despite of surviving Dark Ages and the fall of the Roman Empire, the Maltese was almost vanished in the 17th and 18th centuries as a result of attempts which were made to breed him to make him equal to the size of a squirrel. To save the breed, breeders mixed miniature spaniels, poodles, and East Asian miniature dogs with it. Consequently, various new breeds were formed.

In the US, Maltese were first seen in late 1800s. The Maltese got AKC recognition in 1888.

2. Description:

The square, compact body of Maltese is completely covered with long, flat, silky and white hairs. If hairs of Maltese are not cut, they can grow to a height that they will nearly touch the ground. The dog is famous for its cute facial expression and unusual coat. Maltese has round, black eyes, dropped ears and a long tail which is carried over the back. The coat of the Maltese is pure white with light tan or lemon hue on the ears in some dogs.

Slightly rounded skull, a black button nose, a finger-wide dome, and brown eyes are basic characteristics of this dog. Maltese have an expressive face.

 3. Personality:  

Maltese is known for its lively personality and takes well to training because of its people oriented nature. Maltese easily become friends with everyone they meet. These dogs have a charming, sweet, and gentle personality.

However, the temperament of a Maltese dog is affected by a number of factors such as training, socialization, and heredity. The dog is devoted to its master, and is highly intelligent and learns tricks easily. Before buying a Maltese dog, it should be ensured that you meet any one of dog’s parents so that you can have an idea of the temperament of the puppy. The trust and affection this dog shows towards any living being makes him a really wonderful companion. The dog loves to play a lot.

Improper upbringing of these dogs may result in negative behavior from their side. It is important to provide these dogs independence and proper training. Positive reinforcement will also work great.

4. Health:

Despite of having a good health, Maltese are likely to suffer from some diseases at any stage in their life. A breeder who gives you an assurance of good health of both the parents is more likely to provide you a healthy Maltese pup. Following are the conditions which can affect a Maltese at some point in his life:

  •  Patellar luxation: Also known as the floating kneecap or trick knee, this disease is caused by the slipping of kneecap from its normal position. The disease is more common in small dog breeds. Sometimes, the dog can live normally with the disease. Patellar luxation of severe degree can be treated by surgery.
  •  Portosystemic liver shunt: It is a renal disorder and occurs when the blood bypasses the liver due to an abnormal blood vessel. This process doesn’t allow the blood to be cleansed.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): It is a degenerative eye disease.PRA can gradually cause blindness as a result of loss of photoreceptors at eye’s back. It is important to buy a Maltese puppy by a breeder who has got his dogs’ eyes certified by a veterinary ophthalmologist.
  • Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar is the reason behind this disease. Symptoms include weakness, seizure like episodes, confusion, and a wobbly gait. It is important to talk to vet if you notice any of these symptoms.
  • White Dog Shaker Syndrome: White Dog Shaker Syndrome primarily affects white dogs. Lack of coordination and fast eye movements are the common signs. However, your dog doesn’t feel any kind of pain in this condition but it is important to talk to your vet and look for treatment options.
  • Collapsed trachea: As the name suggests, the condition includes the collapse of trachea. You dog will suffer from a chronic, harsh and dry cough in this condition. Medication and surgically treatment are available for correcting the condition.
  • Reverse sneezing: It is not a disease and there is nothing to worry about it. It results from the extra excitement which your dog shows while eating or drinking something. Your dog should be gently stroked to make him calm to stop reverse sneezing.

5. Feeding:

The amount which should be fed to a Maltese depends on the age, activity level and metabolism of the dog. You can feed dry or canned food to your dog. Maltese need a lot of nutrition in their meals. Feed him the meals which have meat as its primary ingredient as meat is a good source of protein which is a required for the growth.

Recommended daily amount for an average Maltese dog is 1/4 to 1/2 cup of high-quality dry food a day. You are advised to keep an eye on the amount of food you are feeding to your dog.

Some Maltese have weak digestive systems and can prove fussy eaters. Teeth or gum problems in Maltese can lead to eating problems.

Also provide your Maltese fresh water only.

6. Grooming:

Maltese don’t shed heavy and have a pure white, straight and silky coat which touches ground when not cut for long. Since, Maltese has a white coat, it becomes dirty easily. Also, they are more prone to tear stains on their face. Your Maltese should be brushed and combed daily so that it coat remain clean and dandruff free. They must be bathed weekly so that their coat remains white.

If your Maltese has developed mats, you can use your fingers to work on the mat. You can also use a coat conditioning oil and detangler spray. Make sure that you have removed mat before taking you dog to bath.

Ears of your Maltese dog should be checked at least once in a week. If his ears are sensitive or have a foul smell, it is time to take him to the vet. Also, hairs in the ears of Maltese should to be removed. You can also take help from a professional groomer for plucking hairs.

If nails of your dog are not trimmed naturally, you should trim them at least once in 15 days. Proper care should be taken while clipping the nails.

Since the dog has a white coat, stains from tear are a big problem and you should take every step to remove those stains. You can also take your dog to the vet to find the reason for excessive tearing. You can use various products which are available in the market for whitening the coat of the dog. But make sure that you buy good quality product so that they don’t damage the hair.

Teeth of your dog should be bushed ever second or third day to avoid the deposition of tartar and bacteria build up. It will also avoid foul smell and gum problems.

Provide your Maltese enough sunshine so that its black nose doesn’t turn pink. Nose of female Maltese can turn pink when she is in heat. Grooming of the dog should be filled with praise and rewards.

7. Care and living:

Maltese loves to go on a walk and enjoy outdoor games. Since, these dogs love to exercise and are also active indoors; it is not hard to keep the dog in shape. The bones of the dog are developing till the age of 8 months, so it is not recommended to go with him on ling walks in this period. These dogs can do well in apartments, and can’t tolerate extreme heat or cold.

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