Dog Breed profiles

Maltese Breed Profile

Maltese fact file

KC Group: Toy
Size: Small
Height: Not exceeding 25cm from ground to withers
Weight: Not stated in breed standard but usually around 3 - 4kg
Average lifespan: 14 years
Good with children?: Yes recommended
Exercise requirement: Little
Good guard dogs?: Would bark
Moulting level: Low
Grooming: Lots
Colours: Pure white, but slight lemon markings are permitted
Jogging partner: Short runs

Health

The Maltese is healthy and hardy but patellar luxation is known in the breed. This is a condition where the kneecap slips out of place, either temporarily or permanently. It is more common in small breeds and often treated with surgery.
 
There are no compulsory health tests for the breed. However, when buying a puppy you should always look for a reputable breeder. If possible, visit the breeder more than once and don’t be afraid to ask questions. A good breeder will be happy to give you answers and will be just as interested in you as a potential owner. If you have any doubts, do not buy.

Temperament

  • Maltese are merry and full of fun and despite their appearance and reputation are lively dogs.
  • Loving and friendly.
  • Outgoing and active.

Lifestyle

  • Maltese are companion dogs who want to spend time with their families so are not recommended for those who are out all day. If given their own space to retreat to, they can be left for a few hours. 
  • They do not need lots of space and are equally at home in an apartment or a large country house.
  • Their sweet nature means they are good with children but interactions must be supervised. Their small stature means they can be injured easily if play is too rough.
  • A Maltese needs around half an hour’s exercise a day. A run around the garden is sufficient but he is happy to go for longer walks too.

Trainability

  • Maltese are intelligent and obedient.
  • With a regular routine they are usually easy to house-train.

General care

  • The Maltese has a soft and silky coat which requires daily grooming. The coat is naturally long but some pet owners choose to have it trimmed shorter which will mean a trip to the groomer every four to six weeks, unless you are able to do it yourself.
  • In the past, the breed used to have problems with losing their teeth early, so it is important to keep up with their dental care.
  • Maltese are prone to tear staining so their eyes need to be checked regularly and owners should try to keep them as dry as possible.

Pros

  • Faithful and genial.
  • Adaptable to different lifestyles.

Cons

  • Requires a lot of grooming.

Did you know?

  • The Maltese is regarded as one of the oldest dog breeds. It is reported that Charles Darwin placed the origin of the breed at 6,000 BC but research suggests it could have been even earlier.
  • The Maltese does not shed his coat making him a good companion for those with allergies.