Help Stop Puppy Mills   |   PetFinder   |   Rabies Challenge Fund   |   Dog Training Software   |   QR Code Dog Tags   |   Dog Breed DNA Testing
Breeds Home > Breed List > Maltese

Maltese Breed Information


Recognized By: ACR , AKC , ANKC , APRI , CKC , CKC , FCI , KCGB , NKC , NZKC , UKC
Mispellings: Maltease, Malteze, Malteese, Maltess, Matese, Meltese, Maltise

Caring for a Maltese

Feeding: If fed table scraps, the Maltese can quickly become a picky eater. Some may have a weak stomach and have trouble digesting most types of food.

Living with a Maltese

Personality: The Maltese has a bold and feisty personality.

Temperament: Despite its small size, the Maltese appears fearless having a great sense of trust and loyalty. They are spirited, affectionate, responsive dogs among one of the mildest mannered small dogs. This breed also tends to be shy around strangers.

Family Dog: The Maltese does well with other animals.

Shedding: The Maltese is a very low shed breed making them a good choice for allergy sufferers.

Grooming: The coat of the Maltese requires gently combing or brushing at least every few days. Their white coat may be difficult to keep clean in some places. If you have a Maltese as a pet you may choose to clip their coat for ease of maintenance, but remember you are losing an essential trait of the breed. They need to have their eyes and beard area cleaned daily to prevent staining. They should be bathed or cleaned with a dry shampoo regularly making sure they are kept warm and dried thoroughly afterward. The ears of the Maltese should be clean regularly. They hairs growing inside the ear canal should be plucked.

Training: The Maltese is a very intelligent breed making them good at new learning commands but may be difficult to housebreak.

Behavior: Take care not to allow the Maltese to develop Small Dog Syndrome or human induced behaviors. This may make they believe they are the pack leader and cause behavior problems including snapping. They should not be over-pampered or protected as this can lead to jealousy, separation anxiety, guarding, and obsessive barking.

Barking: The Maltese may bark a lot and are quick alert you when they hear a suspicious noise.

Weather: The Maltese may get the chills easily when it is cold and experience discomfort in hot weather. They should be kept out of damp areas. With this small breed it may be best to indoor train them to avoid having to go outside during extreme weather conditions.

Exercise: The Maltese makes a great pet for people with limited space. Their exercise needs are not very great and can easily be met with some running and playing indoors. The Maltese will also be happy with a short walk or time in the yard.

Living Conditions: The Maltese makes a great apartment dog as they are very active inside and do not need a large yard.

Maltese Appearance

Appearance: The Maltese is a small, compact dog with a squarely built body covered in a luxurious silky white coat that hangs down to the ground on either side of the body. The Maltese has an alert expression. They are classified as an affectionate, eager and vigorous dog, with a smooth, flowing gait. When trotting, the Maltese should appear as if they are floating over the ground.

Size: The Maltese should be between 8 to 10 inches tall and weigh between 4-7 pounds when fully grown.

Companionship: The Maltese has been bred to be a lapdog and it fills this role perfectly. Despite it lapdog tendency the Maltese is also very energetic and loves to run and play.

Head: The head of the Maltese is medium in length and directly proportionate to the overall size of the dog. The top of the skull is slightly rounded with a moderately defined stop.

Nose: The Maltese has a black nose with open nostrils.

Eyes: The Maltese has large, dark, round eyes with black rims that enhance their gentle, alert expression. They should not be set not too far apart.

Ears: The Maltese has long pendant ears that are rather low set and covered with a long, heavily feathered coat that hangs close to the head.

Muzzle: The muzzle of the Maltese is medium in length about one-third of the overall length of the head. It should be fine and taper slightly toward the nose.

Teeth/Bite: The teeth of the Maltese meet in an even, edge-to-edge bite or scissors bite.

Neck: The neck of the Maltese should be long enough to promote high carriage of the head.

Body: The Maltese has a small, compact body with the overall height at the withers being approximately equal to its overall length. The topline is level with well sprung ribs, a fairly deep chest, taut loins and a slight tuck up. They have a fine but sturdy build allowing them to appear like they float when moving.

Forequarters: The fine-boned forelegs of the Maltese are straight with well-knit pasterns and covered in a nicely feathered coat. The shoulder blades are sloping allowing the well-knit elbows to be kept close to the body.

Hindquarters: The Maltese's rear legs are fine-boned and covered in nicely feathered coat. They are strong and moderately angulated at stifles and hocks.

Gait: The Maltese has a smooth, flowing gait. When viewed from the side, they appear to be moving very quickly for their size. The forelegs move straight and free from the shoulders keeping the elbows close. The rear legs move in a straight line.

Feet: The Maltese has small, round feet with black pads.

Tail: The Maltese has a plume tail covered in a thick layer of fur. It is carried over the back gracefully usually off to one side.

Color: The coat of the Maltese should be white in color although light tan or lemon on the ears is also accepted.

Coat: The Maltese is known for its long, silky, dazzling white coat which covers their entire body and hangs down almost touching the ground on either side. They have a single coat that should not be curly or wavy. The coat should appear shiny and thick being approximately 8½ inches (22 centimeters) in length. The hair on the head may be tied up in a topknot.

Maltese Facts

Category: Gun Dog, AKC Toy

Life Expectancy: The average life expectancy for the Maltese is 15 to 18 years.

Maltese Health

Health: The Maltese is prone to patellar luxation, slipped stifle, open fontanel, hypoglycemia, hydrocephalus, distichiasis, entropion as well as other skin, respiratory, eye and dental problems. More rare conditions seen in the Maltese are deafness and white shaker-dog syndrome. They are also prone to sunburn along the top of their back where their coat parts.

Dental Health: The Maltese needs to have a diet of dry dog food and dental biscuits or chews to help their teeth stay strong and healthy.

Maltese History

History: The Maltese is one of the oldest of all dog breeds. The Maltese originated from the island of Malta where the core of their population remained for centuries. By the 14th century, the Maltese had made its way to England. Two dogs originally believed to be presents for Queen Victoria became the first of the breed to be exhibited in England. Around this time the Maltese was also commonly known as The Maltese Terrier. In 1830 a painting was created and titled 'The Lion Dog From Malta - Last of His Race'. This suggests that the Maltese may have been in danger of extinction around that time. It was around 1877 that the first Maltese was shown in the United States. Here they were commonly referred to as the 'Maltese lion dog'. The Maltese was first recognized by the AKC in 1888. The Maltese has been gaining in popularity and is now one of the most popular toy breeds.

About | Contact | Help | Donate | Links
Advertising | Website Design

Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Scams

Sites We Love:
PetFinder | Rabies Challenge Fund