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Easygoing, playful and lively

About the Maltese

The Maltese has been living in the lap of luxury for well over two millennia. These pampered little white pooches are part of the history of several ancient cultures. They are experts in companionship and excel at lounging around.

Most Maltese dogs are also playful yet gentle, easily getting along with children and other dogs. Though they’re prone to lying on the sofa instead of yearning for adventure, active specimens of the Maltese will jump headlong into adventure so long as they’re accompanied by their owner.

Though they’re officially a companion dog and not intended for work, the Maltese excels as a therapy dog who brings comfort and joy to those in hospitals, retirement homes and nursing homes.

maltese dog with young boy on cushion

Maltese Breed Characteristics

20 to 25 cm at the shoulder

Up to 7 pounds

Life Expectancy
12 to 15 years

Coat Colours

Here are some of the qualities you can expect from the Maltese, rated from one to five stars. However, all dogs are individuals, and your dog may not display exactly the same characteristics.

Family Life
Friendly with Kids
Friendly with Dogs
Ease of Grooming
Exercise Needs
Prey Drive
Tendency to Bark or Howl
Good for Novice Owners
Apartment Living

Maltese Breed History

Evidence shows that the Maltese breed was abundant on the Island of Malta. While little white lap dogs have been around for thousands of years, the Maltese claims to be descended from one of the most ancient dog breeds in existence.

Many Greek and Roman philosophers, as well as other ancient poets and historians have mentioned a little white dog that was revered and celebrated. These dogs would accompany emperors and noblewomen everywhere they went.

By the 15th century, the breed had an ironclad reputation as a comforting, loyal companion animal. The French nobility had an especially deep love for the breed and spread them throughout Europe. Even Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria were fans of the Maltese.

The Maltese was almost lost in the 17th and 18th centuries due to poor breeding practices. The efforts to save the breed are said to have resulted in the creation of the Bichon Frise, Havanese and Bolognese dog breeds.

Caring For a Maltese

How to Choose a Responsible Maltese Dog Breeder

Your choice of breeder has a large effect on your dog’s quality of life. It’s best to choose a responsible Maltese breeder to ensure that your dog will be healthy and free from genetic issues. The best Maltese dog breeders will know how to produce dogs that have an even temperament and calm disposition.

A breeder should know the genetic profile of their dogs and conduct health tests to ensure that their breeding animals do not have any inheritable diseases or conditions that will affect your puppy. Try to visit your breeder so you can meet the dam and stud, as their temperament will reflect in your Maltese puppy.

Maltese FAQ

No. They are sensitive, gentle dogs who need to be with their family throughout the day.

Yes, they are considered to be hypoallergenic. They don’t have an undercoat and do not shed a great deal.

Dog Breeds Similar to the Maltese

The information is for general use only. For any specific advice or queries, please consult with your veterinarian.

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