Maltese Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Maltese Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Info

Being one of the earliest lapdogs in history, it is no surprise that the Maltese have remained a favorite companion through the years. They have a playful personality and are both trusting and affectionate. This breed has bright, black button eyes that shimmer with mischief and fun. Despite the small size of the Maltese, they make up for it in spirit and energy.

There is no doubt that these dogs are high maintenance. Frequent bathing and daily brushing are required to keep the Maltese’s luscious coat white and free from tangles. They don’t shed often because they don’t have double coats and are therefore considered hypoallergenic. 

Males and females do not differ much in size or stature. Both weigh 4 to 7 pounds, and their average height is between 8 and 10 inches. Their expected lifespan is 15 to 18 years, and the females have three to five puppies per litter once a year.

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What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Maltese?

Maltese are gentle, brave, affectionate dogs, lively in spirit and motion. Intelligent, energetic, and sweet, the Maltese makes a wonderful companion. However, the breed is known to be short-tempered with children and others when spoiled and untrained.

They are fast learners, so do your family and your furry friend a favor by following through with obedience school and socialization. Because of their intelligence and enthusiasm, Maltese are great candidates for lifelong learning. They will proudly show off any new skills, from running agility courses to learning tricks in the living room.

Maltese Breed Traits

Maltese Information


Males 9 to 10 inches

Females 8 to 10 inches


Males 4 to 7 pounds

Females 4 to 7 pounds

Relation with family

Affectionate, Loyal, Energetic, Intelligent, Active, Sweet tempered 

Relation with children

Happy, Affectionate, Gentle, and Playful 

Relation with other dogs


Shedding level


Drooling level


Coat type 

Single layer, silky coat

Coat length

The coat length varies according to owners choice of trimmed style

Coat grooming frequency

Daily brushing, monthly bathing, quarterly trimming

Dogs Reaction/Openness to Strangers


Playfulness level


Adaptability level


Trainability level


Energy level


Barking level


Mental stimulation needs level



15 to 18 years 

How Does the Maltese Interact with Family?

The small, spunky Maltese is known for retaining his puppy-like attitude throughout his life. The Maltese is one of a handful of similar breeds whose job has always been “companion.” They are specifically designed to love and be loved.

If you want a smart little dog to run you and your home, this is your breed. Maltese pack a lot of love into their tiny bodies and are never happier than when cuddling in their owners’ laps. That doesn’t mean these dogs don’t need exercise and training. Resist the impulse to simply carry them everywhere, pluck them out of trouble, and let your dog be a dog. In particular, the Maltese excel at learning tricks and love to show off.

The Maltese’s happy, courageous natures make him a wonderful pet for many. However, Maltese are tiny and can easily be injured if play is too rough, or they may snap at a child in self-defense if frightened or hurt. Therefore, early socialization for both Maltese and young children is essential.

How Does the Maltese Interact with Other Dogs?

The Maltese may show aggression toward other dogs of the same gender. Aside from that, though, they are of the “more the merrier” school of thought. However, the Maltese often overestimate their size and powers. They suffer from the typical Small-dog Syndrome or Napoleon Syndrome. They will not hesitate to make dogs much larger than themselves understand that they are overstepping their boundaries when they come too close.

Maltese are typically good with other pets, and they usually love to play with cats if adequately socialized or raised together. Any other animal is acceptable; however, Maltese love chasing cats and other small furry things like Hamsters, Gerbils, Rats or Guinea Pigs. 

As with any pet introduction, be sure to do it slowly and in a controlled environment to make sure they like each other. If you are a multi-pet household, make sure you know that all the animals get along well before you commit to the Maltese. As long as the Maltese is socialized as a pup, he will get along with most other pets. 

How are Maltese with Older People?

Maltese are small dogs that are an excellent fit for the elderly. Males and females weigh only 4 to 7 pounds, which is not too large and heavy for most seniors to handle. They need grooming weekly, as they have fast-growing hair. A Maltese is highly energetic and will deal with boredom or restlessness by running indoors and playing with toys. However, their favorite way to pass the time is to curl up on their owners’ laps and, if allowed, spend the entire day there.

Older adults who can cope with the grooming and daily walks can make no better choice for a canine companion. Despite their small size, Maltese’s love and loyalty make them protective of their family and property. Maltese dogs will bark to warn their owners at anyone who dares to come too close before proper introductions. 

They are also easily trained to be care dogs for any humans who show affection in return. Older people who cannot take their Maltese for walks can reach out to dog walking services to ensure their canine companions get adequate exercise.

How are Maltese with Children?

Maltese are excellent with kids. They come highly recommended as good canine buddies for children, given their size and very affectionate nature. Their outgoing personality and good looks make them fit for this role. They are kind, playful, loving, and enjoy children. The affectionate Maltese temperament means he loves playing with kids and adults, and they make for the perfect play partner for your child.

Although Maltese are rarely aggressive towards kids, they might not tolerate rough play. Children who are too young to learn how to play with dogs must not be left with the Maltese without adult supervision, regardless of how well you know your dog. The only way your pup has to defend itself against little hands grabbing its hair is to snap and maybe bite the child. 

How are Maltese with Neighbors or Guests?

Maltese are excellent watchdogs, and nobody will come to your door unannounced. Your alert canine fluff ball will let you know before they reach your front door. However, Maltese love people and will join you in welcoming guests who pose no danger. It won’t be long before your Maltese regard neighbors and frequent guests as family members.

What are the Physical Traits of the Maltese? 

The Maltese’s dark, friendly eyes stand out against a backdrop of luscious, long locks of all-white fur. While they traditionally have a long, silky coat, some people give their little dogs adorable haircuts to make them appear short-haired. These dogs have a charming, elegant gait that belies their history of being bred for the aristocracy. 

The Maltese is a toy type, “bichon” breed, covered from head to feet with long, silky, white hair falling in a mantle. It is rectangular in proportion and has a proud, elegant carriage. They keep their spunky puppy-like disposition forever, and never seem to grow up. They are Intelligent, lively and very affectionate, the Maltese is a docile companion.


Trait information




Males 9 to 10 inches

Females  8 to 10 inches


Males 4 to 7 pounds

Females 4 to 7 pounds



Flat on top and rounded at the sides 

Fairly broad in width 


Dark brown, round eyes with close-fitting black eye rims


Triangular in shape and set above the zygomatic arch


Blunt wedge muzzle, smooth black lips close fitting to the jaws. The hair on the muzzle is long and thick, forming the characteristic beard.


Large, plump black nose


A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in a scissors bite

Exercise Needs



12 to 18 years


Single silky, straight, flat coat (having no undercoat). In show dogs, the hair hangs long over the sides of the body from a center part almost, if not quite, to the ground.  Non-showing family dogs’ hair is often trimmed to 2 to 3 inches long. 

Coat color



The longhaired tail is set high and is carried gracefully and well arched over the back. The tip touches the croup or lies to either side over the quarters.


Front and hind legs are straight and parallel to one another.

How to Feed a Maltese? 

Your Maltese’s adult size determines its dietary needs through all life stages. Thus, base your Maltese’s diet on a Toy breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs throughout its different life stages. Most dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large, giant, and even toy breeds. 

It is always good to discuss your dog’s dietary needs with your vet to ensure you are prepared to deal with age-related issues as your Maltese grows. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies and all nutrition matters to ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and some of the essential nutrients are listed below:

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your Maltese from the table; all it does is add weight. Instead, follow the advice below to ensure your furry friend’s optimal health.

Despite the Maltese’s small size, it is an agile, athletic breed that needs food containing animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. A Maltese is not very active, which means it needs less food than highly active breeds. Still, your furry friend will thrive best on premium dry food because this food type contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

However, your Maltese’s daily portion depends on life stage, health, metabolism, activity level, and the brand and formula of food it eats. Feed your Maltese a food formulated for a small breed and appropriate for its life stage. Most manufacturers develop recipes for puppies, adults, and seniors, or look for a brand formulated for all life stages.

In general, adult Maltese dogs should eat somewhere between ¼ and ¾ cups of food each day. This food should be divided into two or three meals. Feeding your Maltese several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat. However, fresh drinking water must always be available for your furry friend.

Since Maltese dogs can have problems with obesity, it will be important to make sure you are feeding your dog the proper amount of food. For both adult and puppy dogs, you’ll want to choose high-quality food from a trusted manufacturer. Whichever option you choose, you’ll want to consult with your veterinarian to make sure the food you are feeding your dog is meeting their nutritional needs.

An example of premium food specially formulated for Maltese and its benefits is listed below:

The best dry dog food for your Maltese is Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Small-Breed Adult Dry Dog Food with Healthy Grains.

Your Maltese’s delicate heart will be happy to get ample taurine instead of concerning legumes. Because this food is made of high-quality, natural ingredients like chicken and lamb instead of artificial preservatives and empty calorie filler, your dog will feel full and less likely to overeat. Plus, the amino acids promote building lean muscle during exercise for an active lifestyle and healthy weight.

Below is a list of the benefits offered by the Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Small-Breed Adult Dry Dog Food with Healthy Grains:

  • Specially formulated for small breed dogs
  • Maintains digestive health, skin, and coat health
  • Contains natural ingredients like chicken and lamb
  • Produced in the USA

When Maltese are healthy and active, every day is an adventure. That’s why Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Small-Breed Adult Dry Dog Food with Healthy Grains is crafted with everything dogs need to thrive, starting with real protein as the first ingredient.

How Much Should a Maltese Puppy Eat? 

The Maltese puppies need high-quality puppy food formulated for a small breed dog. It is essential not to feed puppies all their food at once, and they should have it spread over the day. When Maltese puppies become three months old, owners can provide them with three meals per day until they reach six months, reducing the food intake to 2 meals per day. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable. Guidance for feeding puppies is listed below.

  • Maltese puppies need slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems in their Golden Years, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on a diet designed for medium-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Maltese should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times two or three times per day. Getting the puppy accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow free feeding throughout the day.
  • The exceptions are Maltese with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar because they need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule because Maltese are prone to obesity.

What are the Health Tests that Maltese Should Take?

The Maltese is a healthy, sturdy and well-muscled dog that will live a long, healthy life given proper care and nourishment. The average Maltese lifespan is 15 to 18 years, and some live up to 20 years old. However, it is essential to know that all dog breeds are susceptible to certain diseases, and the Maltese is no exception.

Although Maltese are predisposed to some hereditary health conditions, it does not mean they will have these diseases. 

The list below indicates tests your chosen breeder should have done before selling purebred Maltese puppies.

  • Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) tests, including Patella Evaluation, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and Von Willebrand’s disease.
  • Cardiac exam to check for the congenital heart disease patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
  • Bile Acid Test to rule out liver issues
  • Genetic Testing
  • Dental examination
  • Auburn University’s test for thrombopathia
  • Eye evaluation from Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF)

Other tests and Xrays: Hip and Elbow Evaluation, Patella Check, and General Health Check, including Vaccines, Fleas, and Worms.

What are the common health problems of Maltese? 

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. The Maltese have some health conditions that can be a concern. Although it is a long list of ailments, it does not mean your Maltese will develop any of these health conditions. However, even healthy Maltese should have regular veterinarian checkups. Owners should ensure the following list of health conditions are monitored throughout the dog’s life.

  • Portosystemic Shunt: A shunt is formed when blood vessels bypass the liver. A birth defect often causes it. Symptoms include poor muscle development, abnormal behaviors, and stunted growth. Treatments include diet changes and medications.
  • Patellar luxation –  It is a condition where the kneecap (in the rear legs) slips out of place and may not be present at birth. Still, the anatomical deformities that cause luxation are present at that time and are responsible for subsequent recurrent patellar luxation.
  • Eye Problems like Glaucoma, entropion, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), etc.
  • Hypoglycemia is a condition that can develop in dogs when their blood sugar levels fall too low. 
  • Periodontal Disease in dogs is caused by the build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, leading to gum infections, bone loss, loss of teeth, and other serious health problems.
  • Collapsed trachea: As adults, the tracheal cartilage of some tiny dogs can weaken, causing narrowing of the primary airway. It can cause difficulty breathing and make it difficult for the dog to wear any collar. 
  • White Dog Shaker Syndrome – Maltese with this condition, will start trembling uncontrollably, especially when they try to move or get up. Some become unable to walk at all. Some dogs with shaker dog syndrome respond to short-term treatment, whereas others may need medication to control the problem for the rest of their lives. There’s no screening test for the condition.
  • Reverse Sneezing or Paroxysmal Respiration: Reverse sneezing occurs when the dog rapidly inhales air rather than rapidly exhales air as they do with a normal sneeze. It usually occurs in response to an irritation in the nose or throat that causes a spasm.
  • Hypothyroidism:  is a deficiency of thyroid hormone. Signs of this condition can include dry skin and coat, hair loss, susceptibility to other skin diseases, weight gain, fearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changes.
  • Distichiasis: The presence of extra eyelashes in dogs is a condition where hairs grow in an unusual area on the eyelid. The hairs will generally grow out of the meibomian glands at the lid of the eyelid.
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus: This occurs when a blood vessel near the heart doesn’t completely close after birth, and it can lead to heart failure. The good news is that this condition can be surgically fixed with a high success rate. A heart murmur is often the first sign, and a cardiologist can confirm the disease.
  • Lacrimal duct atresia: Affected dogs have excessive watering of the eyes or reddish-colored tear staining of the face.
  • Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis: GME is a complex brain condition that can lead to various neurological issues. Symptoms may include blindness, seizures, and behavior changes. Treatments include steroids and chemotherapy, and their success levels vary. Dogs with GME should be treated aggressively and early.

You can minimize the chances of serious health concerns in Maltese by purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices and screening for common diseases and conditions.

What is the Exercise Need of a Maltese? 

You’ll soon learn that your new Maltese pup doesn’t care about hiking, running, or anything that involves breaking a sweat. However, don’t give in; your furry friend will try to exchange exercise time for TLC time on your lap instead. A Maltese’s energy level is high, but they don’t need as much activity as larger dogs because of this breed’s smaller size. They do, however, need about 45 to 60 minutes of exercise every day. If you don’t have a fenced yard, a good long walk on a leash will meet your pup’s daily energy requirements.

What are the Nutritional Needs of Maltese? 

The nutritional needs of a Maltese include high levels of specific nutrients as listed below.

  • Protein: Maltese need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids essential for their health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Maltese’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Maltese need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving your Maltese sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, that too many carbohydrates can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: It is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Maltese puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging Maltese by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the Maltese.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health, and other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Maltese are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for a Maltese’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Maltese. 

What is the Shedding Level of Maltese? 

The Maltese does not shed, so they can be enjoyed by people who are allergic to other breeds of dogs. In return, it is your responsibility to keep them groomed regularly to maintain their handsome appearance.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of Maltese? 

The glamorous Maltese is a high-maintenance dog. The Maltese has a silky single white coat that should be brushed daily to prevent or remove any mats and tangles. Maltese who are allowed to become matted will probably need to be trimmed short because it will be too painful to comb or brush out the mats.

As you comb or brush your Maltese, spray the coat with a mixture of coat conditioner diluted with water. This will help protect the hair from breakage and prevent static buildup. When your Maltese is dry and beautiful, pull up the hair around his face into a cute topknot or trim it, so it doesn’t fall into his eyes.

Bathe your Maltese whenever his coat starts to look dingy. With the gentle pet shampoos available, you can bathe him weekly without harming his coat. Comb the coat out thoroughly to remove all tangles before bathing. Use a whitening shampoo, followed by a conditioner for dogs with long hair. Rinse thoroughly, and then rinse again to make sure you’ve removed all the shampoo and conditioner. Use a towel to soak up as much moisture as possible, then blow-dry the coat until completely dry. 

If all of this sounds like too much work, take your Maltese to a professional groomer who can give the coat the care it needs or trim it into an easy-care puppy clip that you can manage at home.

Other essential grooming your Maltese needs include:

  • Trimming his nails every week or two.
  • Making them short enough that they don’t click on the floor.
  • Brushing his teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall dental health and fresh breath.

What is the Drooling Level of Maltese? 

If you’re a new Maltese owner, you’d be happy to find your furry puppy’s drooling is minimal. Even low-drooling dogs will drool under certain circumstances. Drooling is a natural process, and the primary triggers of drooling are listed below. However, if drooling becomes excessive a trip to the vet is recommended.

  • The thought of delicious meals like a favorite treat or meat
  • Sexual excitement, like when a male Maltese spots a female Maltese in heat, will cause drooling. Likewise, a female in her heat cycle might drool if she picks up the scent of a male.
  • Excitement and agitation make dogs drool
  • Excessive heat, especially during summer
  • Mouth and throat problems like fractures in the mouth, throat, or esophagus
  • Plaque build-up can also irritate the mouth and cause excessive saliva
  • A foreign object stuck in the throat prevents swallowing, thus causing drooling 
  • Growth in the mouth also stimulates drooling
  • Stomach upsets
  • The main symptom of diseases like kidney disease, liver problems, seizures, botulism, and rabies is drooling
  • Motion sickness and anxiety. Dogs who do not like traveling will get anxious whenever they board a car. Stress makes dogs pant and breathe with open mouths, thus causing drooling.

What is the Coat Type of the Maltese? 

The Maltese breed is single coated. With no undercoat to blow, the Maltese shed little to none. 

What is the Coat Length of the Maltese?

The silky, straight, flat coat hangs long over the sides of the body from a center part almost, if not entirely, to the ground, and it should not impede movement. The long hair on the head may be tied up in a single or double topknot or left hanging. If your Maltese is only a companion and not a show dog, you might prefer to keep its hair trimmed.

What are the Social Traits of the Maltese Breed?

The social traits of the Maltese are affection, playfulness, and friendly nature. Maltese are intelligent and learn fast, but they can be bored with long training sessions. Maltese are fun-loving and have the charm to lighten you up when you are not in a happy mood. Other social traits of Maltese are listed below.

  • Elderly-friendly: Maltese love playing with their family, from children to grandparents. They are the perfect companions for seniors in apartments because they require only food and affection. Maltese dogs are perfectly happy to spend many hours on their owners’ laps. Cuddles and kisses are the food for their souls. Their grooming might be a bit overwhelming, but that is why there are doggy parlors and walkers to ensure your puppy gets adequate exercise. 
  • Children-friendly: Maltese enjoy running around or chasing after children, and playing catch is one of their favorite games. Maltese are sensible enough to take care when young children are part of the play. However, supervision is essential in such circumstances because these dogs are small and easily hurt. Socialization is crucial for kids and dogs.
  • Family-friendly: Maltese are the perfect canine companions for active families. They are not couch potatoes and prefer to spend most of their time outside. However, once you’ve got your little Maltese tired from play, it will gladly curl up on your lap for cuddles.
  • Pet-friendly: Maltese get on well with other pets, and they typically have a particular fondness for cats; after all, they are of similar size. To ensure all the family pets get along, it would be wise to socialize them early.

How Do Maltese Interact with Strangers?

Maltese love people, but they are wary of strangers. Your Maltese will likely bark when a stranger approaches the front door to warn you of imminent danger. However, Maltese typically take their cues from their owners. Welcome a stranger into the house, and your protective canine companion will do the same. Before long, your furry friend will likely approach the stranger for some petting.

Is the Maltese Playful?

The Maltese temperament traits make him a faithful, playful dog who is everyone’s friend, including children. They never grow up. Like a puppy, the playful Maltese temperament means your Maltese will want to kiss, cuddle, and play with you all day long. If your kids want a happy-go-lucky companion to wrestle and romp with, the Maltese is a perfect choice.

Are Maltese Dogs Protective?

Maltese love their owners so much that they will protect them against any harm that comes their way. Despite their small size, they see themselves as large protectors of their human families and property. Although your Maltese’s growling and barking may not cause an intruder to flee in fear, your tiny watchdog will make sure you know of the threat.

What is the Adaptability Level of Maltese?

Maltese are as much at home in the city with moderate exercise as they are in the country, where they appear tireless. They adapt easily to any change of condition or climate. They need to live as a part of their family, going where they go, doing what they do. Sleeping on your bed or on its own, being near their people is their greatest joy.

What are the Personality Traits of Maltese? 

With their luxuriously long, silky hair, this breed is destined for magazine covers. At least, that seems to be their attitude. Maltese is a popular dog breed worldwide, and for good reasons. They’re smart, playful, and sweet. Though their demeanor is relatively mild, pet owners can rely on their innate watchdog mentality. 

Similarly, the Maltese breed is one of the most loyal toy breeds, attaching themselves to their owner on the couch and on the street. Because they love lots of affection, Maltese are prone to suffer from separation anxiety.

Maltese are unafraid, and they’ll stroll up to new dogs and people comfortably. A Maltese is an excellent option for pet owners looking for a social pup. Like any breed, Maltese benefit from plenty of socialization early on. Expose them to new people, pets, smells, and sights as soon as you’re comfortable.

What is the Temperament of Maltese Dogs?

From deep in their history, Maltese dogs love laps and their people. Honestly, their favorite place is to be wherever you are. Their intense love for their family means they may feel anxious if they’re alone for too long, leading them to bark if they get bored or worried.

If you live in an apartment, be warned: This tiny dog can carry a persistent bark that some neighbors won’t appreciate. Training and socialization are essential to help your pup be at ease with the noises that come with apartment life and lessen their need to bark.

These friendly fluff balls are like social butterflies. They love people and other pets, including cats. Because they’re about the same size as a cat, the two can get along surprisingly well. But even though they’re fearless, their small weight and height make them fragile. So, they should always be supervised around very young children and babies to ensure the pup isn’t injured or overwhelmed by rough play.

The tiny Maltese has a sweet personality that makes them excellent therapy dogs. But more than anything else, they just want a chance to be close to their humans, sit in your lap, and get cuddles and belly rubs.

Can Maltese be Dangerous?

Maltese are not considered dangerous dogs; however, the importance of training cannot be overstated. Like any other animal, Maltese may become dangerous if they are scared or have to defend themselves. Their small size takes nothing away from the sharpness of their teeth.

Fear is generally why most dogs act aggressively towards other dogs and sometimes humans, especially if they have a history of past abuse from a previous owner. Fear-based behavior is due to a lack of adequate socialization and being in an unfamiliar situation, context, environment, or experience with many dogs.

Do Maltese Ever Attack?

Maltese are generally wary of strangers and other animals, and they are instinctively devoted to protecting their families. If they perceive a stranger as a potential threat, they might act aggressively. Its reaction could include barking, growling, stiffening of the body, lunging, snapping, and as a last resort, biting. Maltese put themselves at risk because they see themselves as large, dangerous canines and attack dogs double their size. 

Can Maltese Kill Humans?

Maltese have never and will likely never kill a human. While Maltese may growl and show teeth when provoked or maltreated, killing a person would be entirely out of character for a Maltese. 

Do Maltese cope with being left alone?

Generally speaking, you can leave your Maltese alone for relatively short periods if he is trained well. Depending on your Maltese’s temperament, he might start getting into mischief if left alone for too long. Remember that Maltese are very extroverted animals who thrive on company, so being alone is counter to their preferences. They are prone to Separation anxiety.

Potty issues and any destructive tendencies should also factor into your decision. To get your Maltese to understand that you will always come home, start with leaving through the front door for brief periods with small increments and increase over time to see how your Maltese handles being alone. If you need to leave for more than an hour or two each day, you might want to reconsider whether having a dog is a good fit for you. For extended vacations, having a family member or a pet-sitter stay at your home is an excellent option, as is a boarding facility.

Can I leave my Maltese at home?

Maltese tend to become anxious and withdrawn when left alone. When left in isolation, they display signs of separation anxiety. Maltese form strong bonds with all the family members. So, when some of them have somewhere to go, the Maltese will be OK if the rest of the family or even just one family member remains at home.

Can Maltese be left alone for 8 hours?

Maltese need company and they do not enjoy spending time alone for many hours because they are predisposed to anxiety. Isolation for more than a couple of hours could cause separation anxiety. Don’t get a Maltese if you must leave him on his own for hours on end. You can, however, leave him alone for short periods.

Leaving your Maltese alone for more than four hours at a time is not recommended. If there is no other way, getting a dog walker or a sitter for a part of the day could prevent separation anxiety. Once they become anxious, Maltese tend to chew whatever they can find and dig holes wherever they can. 

How to Train a Maltese? 

Positive reinforcement training for Maltese sets the foundation early on to ensure they know the family rules and structure. Positive reinforcement rewards dogs with treats, praise, and toys for doing a good job. Teach your puppy the basics of obedience with commands like sit, stay, and come, and how to walk nicely on a leash. Maltese will need continued training and frequent mental stimulation throughout their lives to remain content. Fortunately, the Maltese are intelligent and eager to please.

Start socializing your puppy while they’re young to help them get used to interactions with other dogs and people outside their family. Take them on walks to let them meet (and sniff!) neighbors and other dogs, and enroll in puppy school. At puppy school, they’ll learn how to play nicely with other puppies, and they get to mix and mingle with other adults, all under one roof. Below is a list of ideas to make training your Maltese easier.

  • Praise good behavior by making a fuss. Your Maltese will know if you fake it.
  • Time commands wisely because corrections after the fact will confuse your Maltese.
  • Be consistent and persistent. Never let it slip because your Maltese will learn to obey only sometimes.
  • Be the pack leader and show happiness while training your Maltese.
  • Making your Maltese sit and wait for your command to start eating will confirm your status as pack leader.
  • Training your Maltese with love in your heart will avoid Maltese seeing training as punishment.

Don’t forget you’ll need to give your Maltese fair, consistent training, or you’re likely to end up with a badly-behaved dog whose favorite hobbies are escaping from the backyard and jumping on everyone who comes into the house.

How Frequently Does a Maltese Bark?

Yes, Maltese are notorious barkers that make a lot of noise when hungry, frightened, bored, depressed, or when they want to assert their dominance. Some Maltese are quieter than others, but you can always count on them to be louder than average.

Your family dog will bark mostly for territorial reasons and attention-seeking. Maltese can be clingy towards family members in the home and may bark or cry when their favorite person ignores them. Maltese do not bark without reason, but their reason could be as insignificant as an unfamiliar sound. Training and socialization can control excessive barking, but Maltese will always bark when necessary.

Below is a list of bark types that owners will learn to recognize. 

  • Maltese hate being left alone, and one way of coping with loneliness is barking. 
  • A lack of exercise and anxiety can also trigger barking.
  • Alarm barking is when your Maltese barks to alert you of approaching danger. Alarm barking can save you from danger; however, Maltese may bark before ascertaining that there is a real danger. 
  • Another type of barking is demand barking, where a Maltese feels entitled to something or your attention and would bark as a way of demanding their rights. This type can be lowered through proper training and ignoring the barking.
  • The Maltese uses arousal barking to show their frustrations.
  • Boredom barking signals that your Maltese is tired or bored due to being left alone or infrequent exercises. 
  • Frequent barking can be a nuisance to both the owner and neighbors. Some types of barking tend to be monotonous and continuous. 

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of a Maltese? 

Constant stimulation throughout the day is required to keep your Maltese happy. Brain games are a great and easy way to stimulate his mind, so be sure to rotate a few of these games throughout the week to keep your Maltese occupied.

Maltese are smart and learn fast, and they need regular mental stimulation. Maltese’s playful and intelligent nature further calls for frequent mental activity. There are different ways of mentally stimulating your Maltese, and some of them are listed below.

  • Playing with interactive games or toys, including dog puzzles and canine board games.
  • Encourage sniffing during regular evening walks.
  • Provide healthy chews like dehydrated sweet potato strips. Chewing for more extended periods calms the brain, thus lowering stress levels.
  • Hide and seek games
  • Drop and fetch games
  • Regular walks

These mental stimulation techniques should start at an early stage. Maltese who are six to 10 years and older tend to have problems with their thinking ability. The primary signs of mental disorientation are listed below.

  • Excessive anxiety
  • Frequent accidents
  • Failure to recall previously learned commands
  • Changes in sleep and wake patterns
  • Low interest in physical activities
  • Poor social skills

What are the Breed Standards of Maltese? 

The Maltese is a toy breed as cute as a button with a rounded skull, a pitch-black nose, brown eyes, and medium-length floppy ears. The tail is feathery and curled. He has a long, silky coat without an undercoat. The color of his coat is pure white, and because he doesn’t shed, he is looked upon as being hypoallergenic. Most people who own a Maltese like having the coat short to one length all around.

Some of the breed standards of Maltese are given in the table below.

Breed Standards 

Maltese Breed Information 


Pure White.


Maltese are classified as a Toy Breed

Eye Color 

The dark brown, round eyes are set not too far apart. Eye rims are close-fitting, and black, and enhance the gentle, yet alert expression


Weight is 4 to 7 pounds.


Height 8 to 10 inches at the withers

Average lifespan 

Maltese have a lifespan of 15 to 18 years

What is the General Information about Maltese? 

Today’s Maltese, weighing no more than 7 pounds (4 to 6 pounds preferred), is a bit smaller and more elegant than the “Maltese Lion Dog,” first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1888. But in most ways, it’s the same little dog that decorated the laps of Roman matrons.

To appreciate just how consistent the Maltese type has been, listen to breeder Sarah Lawrence’s description of her breed’s symmetrical lines — “The point of the withers to the base of the tail should be exactly equal to the point of the withers to the ground”— and then recall Aristotle’s “perfectly proportioned” dog of 23 centuries ago.

To round out its résumé as an ideal companion, the Maltese is known as a magnificent watchdog. As Lawrence puts it, “The Maltese does not know it is a little dog, and no one ever told them that. They think they’re Great Danes!” Longtime breeder-exhibitor Annette Feldblum told the AKC Gazette that the dog “definitely has a Napoleon complex.”

This brings to mind another Maltese legend. In 1798, Napoleon conquered Malta. It is said that one of his first acts as military governor was to select the finest Maltese dog on the island as a gift for his beloved Josephine. Whether or not the feisty little general recognized himself in the feisty little dog is, like so much about this ancient breed, shrouded in the mists of history.

Where to Buy or Adopt a Maltese? 

A purebred Maltese’s price can range between $600-and $3,000. Lower prices are generally available within shelters and rescues, but puppies from well-known breeders can cost as much as $4,000 from top breeders. 

If you want to bring a Maltese home, you should not rush. If you respond to an advertisement of “purebreds” available upon request, be prepared to be scammed. Reputable breeders typically have waiting lists for each litter born under their supervision. Being on a waiting list allows prospective Maltese owners the time to learn all about the special little puppy they will bring home soon. 

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue facility is crucial. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks. 

Be wary of breeders who only tell you the good things about the breed or make irrational promises to promote their puppies. Be especially suspicious when you are offered a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. 

Maltese puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, making Maltese a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. Do your homework before buying one of these little dogs, and you’ll be well rewarded with a beautiful companion dog.

The best way to ensure you get a healthy Maltese puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed. The Maltese is recognized by the AKC, UKC, and FIC, listed below, along with other registered kennel clubs that might put potential Maltese owners in touch with reputable breeders. Note that the American Maltese Club has a listing of members who have agreed to and signed the AMSC’s Code of Ethics. This listing should be used for reference only and due diligence is your responsibility.

  •  American Maltese Association 
  • American Canine Registry
  • American Kennel Club Marketplace
  • America’s Pet Registry
  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • Dog Registry of America Inc.
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • American Canine Association, Inc.
  • Australian National Kennel Council
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • National Kennel Club
  • New Zealand Kennel Club
  • United Kennel Club
  • Europetnet
  • Maltese Mystique (Nebraska)
  • Princess Puppies (Los Angeles)

If you manage to track down Maltese breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents so that you can get a feel for their temperament. Maltese puppies are often peppy and playful, all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes. 

It might take some time to find a legitimate breeder, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any documentation necessary.

You might find a Maltese puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad, but not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries will enable the importation of Maltese may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Maltese is fully vaccinated and providing all the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation, and it will be your responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What are the Rescue Clubs for Maltese? 

There are millions of homeless dogs worldwide; many are purebreds needing homes. Adopting a Maltese can be life-changing, not only for the dog but also for the adopter. If you prefer adoption over purchasing a pup from a breeder in the U.S., then your first stop should be the American Maltese Club website where you will find a link to a list of recommended facilities where you might find the perfect little Maltese to rescue. A Maltese rescue group is an excellent idea if you want to adopt an older dog or even a Maltese mix. Similar sources are listed below for Canada, the UK, and Europe.

Maltese mixes adopted from a shelter may share physical characteristics of the breed, but their temperament may not match the breed standard. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog’s personality through a series of evaluations; even if the dog’s temperament does not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home. 

The adoption fee for a Maltese from a rescue group or animal shelter will probably be between $300 and $400. Most dogs from rescue groups and shelters will be vaccinated, microchipped, spayed/neutered, and vetted before adoption

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter and ask if they have any Maltese or related mixes available for adoption. If not, you can always put your name on a list so that when one comes in, you’re the first one they call.

Below is a list of registered rescue centers and kennel clubs to reach out to for guidance.

  • American Maltese Association Rescue
  • United Kingdom Maltese Rescue – ADOPTIONS
  • Maltese Club of Great Britain
  • Canada Maltese Rescue Groups
  • Canada’s Guide to Dogs 
  • American Maltese Club (USA)
  • Maltese Rescue (California)
  • Northcentral Maltese Rescue, Inc. (Washington)
  • Southern Comfort Maltese Rescue (Tennessee)

Facebook is another resource for pet adoption. You can search for Maltese rescue groups in your region.

You can also search for adoptable Maltese online the reliable websites such as

  • AnimalShelter 

Maltese mixes may be available for adoption in shelters and rescues. If you want to adopt an AKC registered or a mixed breed Maltese, the best first step is to contact shelters and breed-specific rescues to let them know you’re interested.

Below is a list of several Maltese mixes.

  • Maltese & Poodle mix = Maltipoo 
  • Maltese & Shih Tzu mix = Malt-Tzu 
  • Maltese & Yorkie mix = Morkie 
  • Maltese & Chihuahua mix = Malchi 
  • Maltese & Pomeranian mix = Maltipom 
  • Maltese & Bichon mix =  Maltichon
  • Maltese & Havanese mix = Havamalt

What is the History of the Maltese? 

The Maltese have a long history of being a beloved lapdog, even dating back to ancient Greece and Rome. Some believe the dog was introduced to the Island of Malta by the Phoenicians before the rise of Greece. Yet, others believe the dog’s origins are in the Alps or Egypt, and some say the dog was bred from Spaniels or Spitzes. Then there are those who say they originated in Malta. Needless to say, there’s a lot of mystery behind the Maltese origin.

As Malta was conquered by different empires for 2,000 years, word about the Maltese spread. The 4th and 5th century Greeks loved the Maltese, and Aristotle referred to the breed as “perfectly proportioned.” For the ancient Romans, the Maltese were treated as status symbols. There is even a legend that Saint Paul was given a Maltese after he was shipwrecked on Malta.

When the Roman Empire collapsed, the Maltese breed was kept alive in China, where it was crossed with native breeds. The Maltese breed was refined and became a dog of nobility again throughout Europe. In 1877, at New York’s first Westminster dog show, the breed was initially referred to as the Maltese Lion Dog and was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1888.

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for Maltese? 

The prices of Maltese range between $600 and $3,000. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary, depending on the status of the breeder you select, the location, the sex of the puppy, and, of course, the demand for the breed at the time. 

The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also affect the price. You will not be hard-pressed to find this breed in a shelter, and when you do, the price could be $300 to $400, based on the cost of care provided while keeping the Maltese and extras like vaccinations and sterilizations. 

It is always best to consider annual expenses related to maintaining your Maltese and its wellbeing before making the purchase. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care and more one-time purchases like microchips, sterilization, licensing, etc. You can expect to spend about $6,900 for your dog’s first year. After that, the price will go down significantly, but it’s best to be prepared that a Maltese will be a significant amount to a family’s monthly expenses.

Food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost an average of $850. The most regular annual expenses for dogs similar to the Maltese are listed below.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would likely add a significant amount to the maintenance costs of Maltese because they need frequent professional grooming to trim and bathe the Maltese’s silken coat.

How to Name a Maltese? 

Choosing a name for your Maltese involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The Maltese’s name will mean something to the humans in the dog’s life, but for your canine companion, only the sound matters.

Maltese respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough to be confused with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and, “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into choosing a name. Spend a week or so with your new Maltese pup, and its character traits might be all the inspiration you need. Call out any name ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your Maltese will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds.

Choose a name that could sound different in regular interaction, yelling, or calling your Maltese. Below is a list of suggestions of names for your Maltese.

Maltese Breed Names

Honoring their size, color, spunkiness, etc.

Maltese Boy Names

Maltese Girl Names


Inspired by the film Elf and buddy also means friend


Lindsay Lohan and Torrie Wilson each have a Maltese named Chloe


A dog with a lot of confidence and attitude


Inspired by the soft coat and white coloring of the Maltese breed


Because your Maltese is as cute as a button


Inspired by the size and cuteness of the Maltese breed


For a dog who has more than a spark for life – they exude energy


A cute name inspired by the lovable Disney deer


The friendly white ghost-inspired name to suit your quick-moving Maltese


Inspired by Elizabeth Taylor’s Maltese; She also had Sugar


This Maltese walked down the aisle behind owner Eva Longoria


A girly name inspired by the white coloring of the Maltese

What are the Different Types of Maltese? 

There is only one type of Maltese dog, and any variations in the Maltese are related to the size rather than the breed. However, Maltese dogs are a member of the Bichon family, according to the Bichon World website.

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Maltese? 

Maltese may not be too difficult to find, but purebreds are expensive and involve long waiting lists. Finding a Maltese at a rescue center might be equally challenging because they are so popular. However, as wonderful of a dog as the Maltese may be, they aren’t for everyone. Here are some dogs that are similar to the Maltese. 

Below is a list of similar breeds that might be a good match for your family.

  • Shih Tzu: Like Maltese Dogs, Shih Tzus are also a toy breed. Both breeds are hypoallergenic. Shih Tzus are larger than Maltese dogs are. They typically weigh between 9 and 16 pounds, while a Maltese will weigh closer to 7 pounds. Maltese have white hair, and Shih Tzus have red, black, brindle, liver, or silver-colored coat.
  • American Eskimo Dog: American Eskimo dogs are closely related to the German Spitz breed. Maltese are believed to share common ancestry with spitz dogs; they have a similar point muzzle. Both dogs have white hair, and the small American Eskimo Dogs are comparably sized to the Maltese. American Eskimo dogs shed quite a bit, while Maltese dogs hardly shed at all. American Eskimo Dogs are typically more playful than Maltese dogs are. know more about American Eskimo Dog Social life care & diet information.
  • Bichon Frise: Bichon Frises are another small breed with white hair like the Maltese. Bichon Frises are hypoallergenic as well. Both breeds are very affectionate and can be more sensitive than other breeds. Maltese dogs are more territorial and more likely to bark than Bichon Frises.

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.