Maltese Information & Dog Breed Facts

Collection of all the general dog breed info about Maltese so you can get to know the breed more.

Group Companion Dogs
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Maltese dog profile picture
OriginItaly flagItaly
Other Names
What other names does the Maltese have?
Maltese lion dogMaltese Dog
Breed Type
What type of dog breed is it?
Purebred

Maltese Price and Availability

Price
How much does the Maltese puppy cost? What is the price range of this puppy? What is the average price of this dog in the United States? How much money is a Maltese?
$600-$800
If you choose to purchase the Maltese, you should know that the mentioned amount of money is an average of the collected data from breeders’ sites and puppy finder places. If you have a Maltese for sale, please advertise it on a reliable website to make sure the Maltese gets to a happy place.
Availability
How easy is it to get a Maltese? How many Maltese are there in the world?
Very frequent: The Maltese is quite easy to get. There is a risk of overbreeding, as it is an extremely popular breed.

Inbreeding is common because of its popularity. A new study suggests that inbreeding contributes to the incidence of disease and health problems.

So be careful, buy from a trustworthy place or kennel and seek the help of an experienced person, a professional, to make the right decision.

Maltese Size

Size
Is a Maltese small, medium or large dog?

How big do Maltese get?

Small
Weight
How much does the Maltese weigh? How much should the Maltese breed weight? What is the normal weight of a Maltese?
6.5-9 pounds (3-4 kg)
Average Weight
What is the average weight of a Maltese?
6.7 pounds (3.5 kg)
Height
How tall is the Maltese? Maltese height:
Male: 8-10 inches (21-25 cm), Female: 8-9 inches (20-23 cm)
Average Height
What is the average height of a Maltese?
Male: 9 inches (23 cm), Female: 8.5 inches (21.5 cm)

Maltese Grooming, Hair and Care

Coat / Hair Types
What type of coat does the Maltese have? What does this canine coat/fur look like?
Feathered
Colors
What color is the breed's coat? What color is a proper Maltese's coat?
White
Grooming
How to groom the Maltese and how often?
Average: The Maltese requires average grooming effort. Cutting the dog's hair by a professional groomer isn't essential.

Brushing the dog's coat is useful to reduce shedding. Ears and eyes should be cleaned regularly to avoid infections.

Don't skip the seasonal flea treatment too. Dog nail trimming and dog bath can be helpful sometimes.

Check the local pet store for dog grooming supplies and find the best dog shampoo to keep its coat healthy and give your dog a pleasant experience of a dog bath.

If you don't have the time, skill, or money to take care of your Maltese, search for a dog groomer or clipping service in your area and book an appointment.

Maybe you're lucky to have a dog boarding service that includes grooming or walk-in dog bath places nearby.

Shedding Level
How much do Maltese dogs shed? How to control, reduce and prevent the shedding of the Maltese lion dog?
Malteses shed none to minimal. Having a puppy from this breed you don't have to be afraid of your couch or car being covered by dog hair. Maltese dogs could be the best choice if you don't tolerate dog hair.
Bath Time / Bathing Frequency
How often does the Maltese need a bath? How often should bathe this dog? Can I bathe my Maltese every day?
6-8 weeks
Rarely. Bathing your dog is beneficial to them in more ways than just one. It’s also a good time to look for unusual scratches, bumps, fleas, and other irregularities. When their hair is wet and flat against their body, these details are more visible.

For example, short-haired dog breeds can go a very long time in between baths. These short-haired breeds shed regularly and that shedding works to naturally remove excess dirt and oil. So unless your weenie dog got into the garbage can, you can probably hold off on a bath for a while.

Maltese Personality / Temperament

Temperament
What kind of personality does the Maltese have? What characteristics or traits does the breed have?
ActiveEasygoingIntelligentResponsiveDocileGentlePlayfulSweetTempered
Intelligent Rank
How smart is the Maltese? Is the Maltese breed dumb or smart?
Low to average: This canine intelligence is not the brightest one. Keep in mind that if you want to teach them any tricks, they understand and memorize new commands in 40-80 repetitions. Maltese obey the first command 30% of the time or better. So if you want to have a smart dog, you might have to reconsider your choice with this breed.

The Maltese ranks below average in the intelligence ranking of dogs.

Trainability
Are Maltese dogs easy to train? Do they go well on dog training?
Malteses are quite easy to train. Sometimes they can be challenging, but if you're consistent in teaching new commands they will obey for sure.
Playfulness
How playful is this breed?
Average: Malteses, like any other dog breed, like playing. Sometimes they bark in excitement for playing, but they are not the most playful dog breed.
Sensitivity Level
How sensitive are they? Maltese sensitivity:
They are a little bit more sensitive than other dog breeds. Soft punishment affects them emotionally. Malteses don't tolerate irregular daily routine, noisy household, and frequent guest visits really well.

They are receptive to their owner's emotions and make wonderful family companions.

Affection Level
How affectionate are they? Is a Maltese a good family dog?
High: Malteses are genuinely loyal, soft and gentle, loving and affectionate dogs toward their handlers. They enjoy quality time with their owners despite the activity and are considered great therapy dog for those in need. This breed responds strongly to their handler's emotions because they bond closely. Their happiness is your happiness.
Social Needs
How much social interaction does the Maltese lion dog need? Maltese social needs:
Malteses need a lot of social interaction. They desire to always be with someone or around people. This breed hates being left alone.
Barking
Do Maltese dogs bark a lot? Are they barkers/noisy? Why does my Maltese lion dog bark?
A lot: Maltese is a particularly loud breed. They often enjoy barking and howling loudly. If you want a quiet dog, not the best choice.

The main triggers for barking are fear, attention, alarm, boredom, greeting, separation anxiety, compulsive barking, and defense.

Watchdog Ability
Is Maltese good as a watchdog? Are they alert at night?
Malteses are average watchdogs. If they sense something different, they will alert you, but the observation isn't considered their main job.
Guarding Behavior / Territorial
Do Maltese dogs have aggressive behavior to protect their home/house/territory? Do they have guarding instincts?
Malteses strongly protect their territory. This breed is a complete security guard, so you don't have to be afraid in case of danger.
Biting Potential
Do Maltese bite humans? How likely are you to get bitten from the Maltese lion dog? What are the odds of getting bitten by a Maltese? Why do dog bites happen?

Low 🔽

The Maltese has a low chance of biting somebody. Top reasons for dog bite: protection, pain, excitement, herding instinct, being provoked. (Data based on the available online bite statistics.)
Bite Force
Does the Maltese has a hard bite? What is the bite force of a Maltese? How much bite force does a Maltese have?

Between 100 and 200 PSI 🔽

Maltese bite force: Weak. Dogs that have the weakest bite force below 200 PSI.

However, it is important to note that despite the fact that their bite force is considered the “weakest” it can still be very dangerous as all dog bites are.

They are usually not aggressive and very friendly towards children and other animals.

Mouthiness
How much mouthing/nipping/play biting does the Maltese do?
Malteses have an average tendency to nip, chew, play-bite, or herd people. It's a common habit during puppyhood, not aggressive behavior. These "bites" don't hurt, but Malteses need to be taught for a good attitude.
Impulse to Wander or Roam
How likely is the Maltese to run away? Does this breed explore or wander a lot? Does Maltese roam?
Malteses are not the biggest explorers. They have low wanderlust potential. Low chance of escaping from home with this breed.
Prey Drive
Do this canine have a strong prey drive? Does Maltese have high prey drive?
Malteses have a higher impulse to chase and catch something than other dog breeds. Cats or any other small animals might be in danger. It's a natural instinct, doesn't necessarily mean that Malteses are aggressive. Better to keep this breed on a leash.
Apartment Friendly
Is Maltese good as an apartment dog? Can they live in a flat?
Very house-friendly dog the Maltese breed. It's good if you have a small garden where he can go out and do his business, but it's not important at all. You can get enough exercise with one or two walks a day, so keeping them indoors shouldn't be a problem.
Adaptability
Are they adaptable and easy-going?
Malteses adapt very well to lifestyle changes and basically all living environments. They don't mind moving from one place to another with their owner.
Tolerates Being Left Alone
How long can a Maltese be left alone?
Malteses tend to have separation anxiety when their owners left them alone at home because they bond very closely with them.

Maltese Good With

Stranger Friendly
Are they aggressive or friendly towards/with strangers? Maltese temperament with other people:
Malteses are very stranger-friendly dogs.
Pet Friendly
Are they pet-friendly dogs? How well do Maltese dogs get along with other pets? Are Maltese dogs good with pets? What is this canine temperament with other pets?
Malteses are one of the friendliest dog breeds.
Child Friendly
Are Maltese dogs kid-friendly? Are they good with young children? Maltese temperament with children:
Malteses are kid-friendly dogs. This breed is a good choice if you have children.
Cat Friendly
How well do Maltese dogs get along with cats? Are they good with kittens? What is this fido's temperament with cats? Can they be good with cats? Can the Maltese breed live with a cat?
Malteses are very cat-friendly dogs.
Dog Friendly
Is Maltese good with other dogs? Are they dog-friendly dogs? How well do Maltese dogs get along with other dogs?
Malteses are very dog-friendly dogs. If you want more dogs in your family or you'd like to join dog meetups, the Maltese can be a great choice.
Good For First Time Owners
Is Maltese breed good for first-time owners? Do they make a good dog for novice owners? Is Maltese breed suitable for first-time owners?
Yes
Malteses are good for novice owners, due to their easy-going personality.
Office Friendly
Are Malteses good office dogs? Do Malteses make good office friendly dogs? Can Malteses be office dogs?
No
Maltese is not the best dog breed for office environment.
Senior Citizens Friendly
Are they senior citizens friendly dogs? How well do Maltese dogs get along with the elderly people? What is the Maltese lion dog temperament with senior people? Are Maltese dogs good for elderly owners?
Malteses are usually recommended for elderly people.

Maltese Health

Health Issues
Is it a healthy or unhealthy breed? Do Maltese dogs have health problems or genetic diseases?
The Maltese is a healthy breed, but there are certain health issues that you should check with your vet regularly.
Health Problems
What genetic/health problems does the Maltese breed have? What are the health issues and concerns of the Maltese breed? Most common health risks of Maltese:
Collapsed TracheaHypoglycemiaPatellar LuxationPortosystemic Liver ShuntProgressive retinal atrophy (PRA)Reverse SneezingWhite Dog Shaker Syndrome
Veterinarian Visits
How often does the Maltese breed need to go to the vet? How often should you take your dog to the vet? How often should the Maltese see the vet?
Average
The Maltese should have a complete physical check-up at least once per year. If your dog shows any symptoms, call your veterinarian.
Life Expectancy
How long do Maltese dogs live? How old can a Maltese be? What is the age limit of the Maltese? How many years can the oldest Maltese live?

What is the average life expectancy / lifespan of a Maltese?

14-18 years
The average lifespan of Maltese: 16 years
Hypoallergenic
Is the Maltese breed hypoallergenic?
Yes
Malteses do well with allergy sufferers by causing fewer allergic reaction. However there are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs in the world, there are a variety of breeds that are considered to reduce or minimize the possibility of an allergic response. Coat type isn't necessarily relevant, because most people are allergic to dander (flakes on the dog's skin) or saliva, not actually to dog hair.
Energy Level
How much energy does the Maltese have? What is the activity level of the Maltese?
Malteses have an average energy level, so if you live a semi-active life, this breed can be a good choice for you.
Activity Requirement / Exercise Need
How much exercise does a Maltese need? How much exercise do Maltese dogs require per day?
Malteses exercise need is very minimal. If you live a lazy life, this breed can be a good choice for you.
Sleeping Need
How much sleep does the Maltese breed need?
Malteses sleep 12-14 hours a day as an average dog and they're not considered a lazy breed.
Average daily food consumption
How much food does a Maltese need? What dog products should I buy? How much food does a Maltese breed eat per day? What is good dog food for Maltese? How much food should I feed my Maltese?
Recommended daily amount: 1/4 to 1/2 cup of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.
Weight Gain Potential / Prone to Obesity
How easy to gain weight for this dog? Maltese risk for obesity:
Average: The Maltese has an average risk for obesity. Daily walks should be on schedule. To make your dog happy and fit, feed him with quality dry dog food and live an active life together. Try to find the happy medium between exercise and feeding.

If you notice any weight gain, consult your veterinarian and make a diet plan. Reduce unhealthy food and snacks, and measure the Maltese's weight regularly.

Weather and Climate
Which weather condition is preferred by this dog? Can they tolerate hot or cold weather and climate?
Prefers warm weather
Dogs that prefer warm weather conditions are typically breeds that were originally bred in warmer climates.
Stinkiness
How stinky is this dog? Why does it smell bad and how to get rid of the smell?

Medium

The Maltese has an average chance of bad smell. Top reasons for dog stinkiness: infection of bad tooth/ear/skin folds, gas attacks.
Drooling Tendency
Does the Maltese drool?
The Maltese is a perfect example of a very low drooling tendency. If you're disgusted by slobber spots on your clothes, the Maltese could be a perfect choice for you. Drooling is the unintentional saliva flowing outside of the mouth. It can be completely normal or a sign of a health problem. Certain dog breeds drool minimum compared to others, just like the Maltese.

If you notice any change in your dog's drooling habit, you should contact a vet as soon as possible.

Maltese As a Working Dog

Service Dog
Are they good as service dogs? Can Maltese be a guide dog? Are they used as seeing-eye dogs?

Not really

This breed generally not used as a service dog. A service dog is a term used in the USA to refer to any type of assistance dog specifically trained to help people who have disabilities, such as visual impairment, hearing impairments, mental disorders, seizures, mobility impairment, and diabetes. Service dogs are protected under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).

Maltese is not the best breed for service purposes.

Therapy Dog
Are they good as therapy dogs? Can Maltese be a therapy dog? Are they good anxiety dogs? Can a Maltese be an emotional support animal?

Not really

This breed is generally not used as a therapy dog. A therapy dog is a dog that might be trained to provide affection, comfort, and love to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and people with anxiety disorders or autism.

Maltese is not the best breed for therapeutic purposes.

Detection Dog or Sniffer Dog
Are they good as detection dogs? Can Maltese be a sniffer dog?

Not really

They are not typically employed for this type of work, but there may be exceptional cases. A detection dog or sniffer dog is a dog that is trained to use its senses (mostly its smell) to detect substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, wildlife scat, currency, blood, and contraband electronics such as illicit mobile phones.

Maltese is not the best breed for detection purposes.

Search and Rescue Dog (SAR)
Are they good as SAR dogs? Can Maltese be a search and rescue dog?

Not really

This dog breed is not typically used as a search and rescue dog. The use of dogs in search and rescue (SAR) is a valuable component in wilderness tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events, and locating missing people.

The Maltese is not the best breed for SAR purposes.

Boat and Sailor Dog
Are they good as boat dogs? Can Maltese be a boat dog?

Not really

Maltese breed usually doesn't like being on a boat.

Boat dogs were typically bred for their strength, stamina, and water resistance, as they were often required to perform tasks such as pulling in fishing nets, and jumping into the water to retrieve ropes or lines, or helping to move cargo.

Sailor dog is a type of dog that was bred to accompany sailors on their voyages. They were typically used for three purposes: as a working dog, a watchdog, and as a companion. A boat dog is a term used to describe a type of dog that was traditionally bred and used as a working dog on boats.

Cart Pulling or Drafting Dog
Are they good as cart pulling dogs? Can Maltese be a drafting dog?

Not really

A drafting dog or draft dog is a dog bred and used for cart pulling. Dogs bred for this work have strong builds and qualities that are needed, strength and determination.

Maltese is not the best breed for drafting purposes.

Fighting Dog / Military Dog
Where Maltese dogs used as fighting / military dogs in history?

Not really

In history, this breed was not really used for combat dog.

Maltese Reproducibility

Gestation Length
How long is a Maltese pregnant?How long does it take to have puppies? How to tell if the Maltese breed is pregnant?

60-64 days

Reproductive cycle of the female Maltese: The first period called Proestrus lasts for about 9 days.

During this time the females start to attract males. You can notice by swelling vulva and bloody discharge.

The second part is the Estrus when the female is receptive for the male. It lasts for about 3 to 11 days.

The sign of the proestrus part is the soft and enlarged vulva. The discharge decreases and lightens in color.

The third part is the Diestrus. Normally, it occurs around day 14. In this period the female’s discharge changes for vivid red and coming to its end. The vulva returns to average, and she will no longer permit mating.

The fourth part called the Anestrus. The time frame between heat periods normally lasts about six months.

Litter Frequency

Once a year.

More frequent breeding is not healthy. It is very important not to buy a dog from a puppy mill, where the needs of the pups and their mothers are ignored. It's an inhumane high-volume dog breeding facility, where puppies born several times a year.
Litter Size
How many puppies can the Maltese have in a litter? How many puppies can the Maltese breed have for the first time? How many puppies does a Maltese have? How many puppies can a Maltese give birth to?
3-5 puppies

Maltese Recognition

AKC Group
Is Maltese recognized by the American Kennel Club?
Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1888 as a Toy breed.
FCI Group
Is Maltese recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI)?
Recognized by FCI in the Companion and Toy Dogs group, in the Bichons and related breeds section.
Breed Recognition
What kennel clubs and organizations recognize or register the Maltese breed?
American Canine RegistryAmerican Kennel ClubAmerica's Pet RegistryCanadian Kennel ClubDog Registry of America Inc.Federation Cynologique InternationaleKennel Club of Great BritainNorth American Purebred Registry, Inc.American Canine Association, Inc.Australian National Kennel CouncilContinental Kennel ClubNational Kennel ClubNew Zealand Kennel ClubUnited Kennel Club

Maltese Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Hypoallergenic: Malteses do well with allergy sufferers by causing fewer allergic reaction.
  • Apartment Friendly: Very house-friendly dog the Maltese breed.
  • Shedding Level: Malteses shed none to minimal.
  • Drooling Tendency: The Maltese is a perfect example of a very low drooling tendency.
  • Impulse to Wander or Roam: Malteses are not the biggest explorers.
  • Adaptability: Malteses adapt very well to lifestyle changes and basically all living environments.
  • Child Friendly: Malteses are kid-friendly dogs.
  • Cat Friendly: Malteses are very cat-friendly dogs.
  • Dog Friendly: Malteses are very dog-friendly dogs.
  • Senior Citizens Friendly: Malteses are usually recommended for elderly people.
  • Good For First Time Owners: Malteses are good for novice owners, due to their easy-going personality.
Cons
  • Intelligent Rank: Low to average: This canine intelligence is not the brightest one.
  • Tolerates Being Left Alone: Malteses tend to have separation anxiety when their owners left them alone at home because they bond very closely with them.
  • Office Friendly: Maltese is not the best dog breed for office environment.

Maltese History

The origins of this small, refined, joyful, and long-haired dog can be traced back over at least 28 centuries. It is possible that the Maltese are the oldest European toy breed. There are many theories of the exact origin, but none of them is certain. Many believe the breed was developed in the Isle of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea from Spitz- or Spaniel-type dogs. Others believe they were developed in Italy, and still, others believe that they were originally from Asia and had a part in developing many of the smaller Asian dogs. However, one thing is certain: the Maltese were widespread in the Ancient Mediterranean cultures, even before the Christian era.

According to the hieroglyphics, they were present in Ancient Egypt. Women were given Maltese dogs as companion dogs. Egyptians believed that these dogs had the power of healing and would place one on the pillow of an ill person. This inspired one of its names, ‘the Comforter’.

Although, this dog breed was found even on Ancient Greek pottery and was mentioned by the famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle, their ancestors were naturalized in Malta by the Phoenicians. Unlike many small breeds, the Maltese were not bred down from larger sizes, it has always been a very small dog.

The Maltese kept its upper-class-like prestige, in the 15th century the breed spread to France, where they became a favorite of the royal. They appeared also in England, too, where they were treated like royalty and depicted in Renaissance paintings.

In order to breed them even smaller, they were crossbred with other small dogs. Because of this attempt, the breed was almost destroyed but in the aim of saving them, the breeders mixed the Maltese with poodles, miniature spaniels, and East Asian miniature dogs. As a result, many other breeds were born, the Maltese became ancestors of the Bichon Frise, Bolognese, and Havanese.

Among other breeds, the Maltese was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1888. Maltese are one of the most popular breeds among spectators at dog shows and frequently win the Toy Group. They also have an excellent record in the "Best in Show" competition.

Rate The Maltese Breed

Maltese Comments, Reviews and Questions

  • Poppy

    Feb 3, 2022, 4:17:48 AM:

    cute

  • Mikaela

    Dec 14, 2020, 11:06:49 AM:

  • Benji

    Nov 7, 2020, 7:18:00 PM:

    Had my boy since he was 3 months old and now he's 7 years old. I've had a lot of dogs growing up and my little maltese is the best dog in the world. Great companion. He adores everyone and everyone adores him. 10/10 best doggo.