breed
breed

Maltese

avatarChristy McDowell, LVT, VTS (ECC)

Height8 - 10"
Weight4 - 6 lbs
TypeToy
Life Expectancy12 - 15 years
Area of OriginMalta

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

For over 2,000 years, the playful and endearing Maltese has been a popular lapdog of royals and ladies of court. They are easily identified by their flowing, white fur. Although they appear to belong in the terrier group, Maltese are spaniels. As such, they are playful, friendly, and love to spend time with their families. Despite their tiny size, they are great watchdogs who will bark at any unexpected noises.

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

Where Are Maltese Dogs From?

The Maltese breed has been a popular lapdog of nobles and royalty for many centuries. As their name suggests, they originated on the small island of Malta, south of Sicily. They are a member of the group known as bichons, which are dogs from the Mediterranean that share ancestry with Portuguese Water Dogs and Poodles. The small stature of the Maltese was ideal for ladies of nobility to carry them in their sleeves and pockets. Despite that small size, they are very hardy and adaptable dogs that enjoy agility and obedience competitions as much as providing companionship.

Where Are Maltese Dogs From?

The Maltese breed has been a popular lapdog of nobles and royalty for many centuries. As their name suggests, they originated on the small island of Malta, south of Sicily. They are a member of the group known as bichons, which are dogs from the Mediterranean that share ancestry with Portuguese Water Dogs and Poodles. The small stature of the Maltese was ideal for ladies of nobility to carry them in their sleeves and pockets. Despite that small size, they are very hardy and adaptable dogs that enjoy agility and obedience competitions as much as providing companionship.

Care

What Kind of Diet Does a Maltese Need?

Maltese do best with any high-quality dog food. They can be picky eaters; trial and error may be necessary to find the right diet. Caloric intake is important to monitor so they do not become overweight, especially if treats are used for training. Discuss any dietary concerns with your veterinarian.

Caring for a Maltese

What Kind of Diet Does a Maltese Need?

How Much Grooming Does a Maltese Need?

Are Maltese Healthy Dogs?

How Much Training Does a Maltese Need?

How Much Exercise Does a Maltese Need?

What Kind of Diet Does a Maltese Need?

Maltese do best with any high-quality dog food. They can be picky eaters; trial and error may be necessary to find the right diet. Caloric intake is important to monitor so they do not become overweight, especially if treats are used for training. Discuss any dietary concerns with your veterinarian.

What Are the Physical Characteristics of a Maltese Dog?

The Maltese is tiny and delicate in appearance. The average height is 10″ for males and 8″ for females. They generally weigh 4 – 6 pounds.

Maltese have dark, expressive eyes with black rims. Their ears are naturally floppy and covered with long, draping fur. Their heads are rounded and of medium size, with a moderately long muzzle ending in a black nose.

The Maltese body is small and sturdy, but their bones are relatively delicate.

The Maltese tail is long and carried up over the back, with fur draping to the side.

Maltese forelimbs are straight and finely boned. The feet are compact with black pads. Long fur between the toes is typically trimmed.

The long, flowing, white coat is a distinguishing characteristic of the Maltese. Their fur is single layered, without an undercoat. The hair on top of the head is commonly tied in a top-knot for convenience and cleanliness.

Maltese hindlimbs are well muscled for their size, with stifles and hocks moderately angulated.

Maltese Facts

1

Publius, a 1st century Maltese governor, had a Maltese dog named Issa. She was such a beloved pet that many poems and paintings depicted her likeness.

2

The Greeks devoted tombs to their Maltese dogs, and they are depicted in many Greek paintings and sculptures.

3

In the 16th Century, a Maltese was sold for the current equivalent of $2,000.

Other Breeds to Explore

Choosing a Bichon Frise
Choosing a Brussels Griffon
Choosing a Havanese

References

  • Maltese Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., 2020.
  • American Kennel Club. The Complete Dog Book. Random House Digital, Inc., 2006.
  • Morris, Desmond. Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of Over 1,000 Dog Breeds. Trafalgar Square, 2002.
  • Wilcox, Bonnie and Chris Walkowicz. The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World. T.F.H Publications, Inc., 1995.

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