Breed Information

All About the Beautiful and Loyal Maltese

Maltese photo by: Letheravensoar
Maltese photo by: Letheravensoar
Maltese photo by: Tanakawho
Maltese photo by: Rachel Kramer

“Some of our greatest historical and artistic treasures we place in museums; others, we take for walks.”.”

- Roger Caras

Bones Chart

0 - 5 Bones

General Breed Health
Easily Housebroken
Low Maintenance
Good w/Other Pets
Non Shedding

What we LOVE about the Maltese


Watch Dogs-They make keen watch dogs! A Maltese will definitely not be shy about alerting you to knocks on the door or the slightest noise outside of the house.

Size- The average Maltese ranges anywhere from 3 to 10 pounds. They are quite lively, but thanks to their size, they do well with apartment living.

Friendly- The Maltese is a loving dog in family life and enjoys the company of people. Despite it's small size, they can be 'scrappy' with other animals they perceive as threats. They can also be rather unfriendly to small children. Proper socialization is vital for this breed.

Trainability- The Maltese is a quick learner who loves nothing more than pleasing it's owner. They do well in agility competitions and learn new tricks very easily. Housetraining can be challenge with smaller dogs, so keep that in mind as something you may need to be prepared for.

Excitability- More excitable than you might think, a Maltese has very little awareness for the limitations of it's own size. Don't be surprised when this little dog fearlessly bolts off to attack a dog much larger than himself. This small dog should always be harnessed when away from home.

Why not consider Adoption First? With the popularity of small dogs increasing, so too has the number of breeders... and the population of unwanted dogs is ever increasing.

To find a Maltese near you in need of rescue, check out or a similar site that's linked to shelters and rescue groups. 

Most people are surprised to learn the number of pure bred dogs in need... that are living right in their own back yard. Adult dogs and puppies alike. Our dog adoption page is filled with lots of information, most of which you probably never know. Check it out!

Have you also prepared yourself for…

Housebreaking Difficulties- Clearly intelligent, but easily as stubborn, the Maltese can be quite a challenge in the housetraining department. You'll need to be very patient with your Maltese and probably clean up several messes in the meantime. Small dogs come with small bladders. We recommend using only positive training techniques.

Maintenance- A Maltese is one of the highest on the list of dogs with maintenance needs. Frequent grooming can be an expensive obligation. Without regular brushing, the silky hair of this little white dog will easily become matted. To prevent tear stains, the hair around the eyes will need daily attention.

Separation anxiety is common- He will show you his frustration by destructive chewing and barking or by having "accidents" on your furniture. This is probably not the breed for you if you work long hours and would have to leave him home alone.

Fragile- Toy breeds are fragile. Many of the injuries commonly seen in toy breeds are caused from being stepped on, sat on or mishandled. Jumping or falling accidents are also common. We highly recommend Pet Steps if you own or plan to own a toy breed dog.

Because of their fragility, Maltese are not well suited for families with small children.

Disregarding the hype- There is technically no such thing as a ‘tea cup’ Maltese. This is an invented term used to market tiny dogs and sell them for ridiculous prices. Don't let the hype fool you into thinking that smaller means better.

Smaller dogs (under 4 pounds), dubbed 'tea-cup', 'mini' or 'pocket' are at even greater risk of broken bones due to falls. These are "High Risk" dogs that are more likely to suffer from genetic health disorders and complications during routine veterinary anesthesia for spaying/neutering, teeth cleaning, etc.

Maltese Health Issues

Hypoglycemia is a matter of concern for the owners of these small breed dogs. Often their tiny bodies are unable to properly regulate blood sugar. Symptoms range from lack of energy, shivering, loss of coordination to coma or even death.

Luxating patellas- A painful joint condition that causes kneecaps to pop in and out of place is common among many breeds, including the Maltese.

The use of Pet Steps has been shown to significantly reduce the wear and tear on joints that can lead to many common joint diseases.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy- PRA is a degenerative disease of the retina that will eventually lead to blindness. It is genetic and there is no treatment.

Maltese are prone to other genetic health disorders as well, the most common of which is the liver shunt. Possible symptoms to look for include- poor muscle development, failure to grow, strange behavior, unresponsiveness and seizures.

Oral Health Issues Small dogs need special attention paid to their teeth and gums. Bacteria from dirty teeth is like poison. Once it enters the blood stream it can cause heart, liver and kidney disease much faster in tiny dogs.

Please read our FAQ page to learn why you should NEVER buy a puppy from a pet store.


Maltese Pictures

100 Original Paintings and Dog Art Garden Flags with Maltese and Other Breeds

Learn more about me, my art, the mission of this site and Rescue Dogs Are Better here.

We also welcome you to contact us if there are any other questions we can answer for you about anything you saw or read on this site.

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