Welcome to our article about the charming and adorable Maltese breed! Whether you are a dog lover, a potential owner, or simply curious about this breed, we have got you covered. In this deep dive, we will explore the rich history and origins of the Maltese, delve into their size and appearance characteristics, discuss their temperament, trainability, and adaptability, as well as their exercise requirements and energy level. Additionally, we will explore the grooming requirements of this breed, touch upon potential health issues, and highlight some comparable breeds. Lastly, we will showcase some notable dogs from the Maltese breed. So, let’s dive right in and unravel the fascinating world of the Maltese!

History and Origins of the Breed

The history and origins of the Maltese breed are shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Believed to be one of the oldest toy breeds in existence, the Maltese has a fascinating lineage that dates back thousands of years.

Ancient Origins:

  • The Maltese breed is believed to have originated on the Mediterranean island of Malta, hence the name.
  • Ancient artifacts, including pottery and sculptures, depict small dog-like creatures resembling the Maltese.
  • These artifacts suggest that the breed has been present on the island for at least 2,000 years.

Royal Favor:

  • The Maltese gained popularity among nobility and the aristocracy during the Roman Empire.
  • Emperors such as Claudius and Tiberius were known to have a fondness for the breed, often keeping them as lapdogs.
  • The Maltese was also favored by wealthy merchants and traders throughout the Mediterranean region.

Palace Pets:

  • During the Renaissance period, the Maltese became highly sought after as companion dogs for royalty and aristocrats.
  • They were often seen in the courts of European monarchs, including Queen Elizabeth I of England and Queen Victoria of England.
  • These dogs were pampered and treated as members of the royal family, enjoying a life of luxury and privilege.

Traveling Companions:

  • The Maltese became popular among travelers, especially sailors, due to their small size and ability to adapt to different environments.
  • Sailors would often bring Maltese dogs on their voyages to keep them company during long sea journeys.
  • It is believed that the Maltese played a role in the development of other toy breeds, such as the Bichon Frise and the Havanese.

Recognition and Standardization:

  • The Maltese breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1888.
  • The AKC established a breed standard that outlined the desired characteristics and appearance of the Maltese.
  • Over the years, the breed has gained popularity worldwide and is now recognized by various kennel clubs and canine organizations.


The history and origins of the Maltese breed are a testament to their enduring appeal and charm. From ancient times to the present day, these delightful dogs have captured the hearts of people across different cultures and continents.




Size and Appearance Characteristics

The Maltese breed is renowned for its small size and elegant appearance. Despite their petite stature, these dogs possess a distinctive and regal charm. In this section, we will explore the size and appearance characteristics that make the Maltese breed so unique.


  • The Maltese is classified as a toy breed, known for its compact and dainty frame.
  • On average, adult Maltese dogs stand between 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) tall at the shoulder.
  • Their weight typically ranges from 4 to 7 pounds (1.8 to 3.2 kg), with females usually being slightly smaller than males.

Body Structure:

  • The Maltese has a well-proportioned body with a level topline and a straight back.
  • Their chest is deep and broad, providing stability and balance.
  • The breed possesses a strong, muscular neck that gracefully leads to a small, refined head.

Head and Facial Features:

  • The Maltese has a distinctive head shape characterized by a slightly rounded skull and a moderately long muzzle.
  • Their eyes are large, round, and dark in color, exuding a gentle and expressive look.
  • The breed is known for its alert and intelligent expression, which is enhanced by their dark, button-like nose.

Coat and Color:

  • The hallmark feature of a Maltese is its luxurious, long, and silky coat.
  • The hair is fine and straight, hanging down from the body in a flowing manner.
  • The Maltese coat is typically pure white, although some dogs may have slight lemon or tan markings on their ears.

Tail and Movement:

  • The Maltese has a well-plumed tail that arches over its back, adding to its elegance and grace.
  • When in motion, the breed exhibits a smooth and effortless gait, with a springy step that showcases their agility.


The size and appearance characteristics of the Maltese breed contribute to their overall allure and charm. Their small size, combined with their elegant features and flowing white coat, make them a truly captivating breed. Whether they are strutting their stuff in the show ring or simply cuddling up on your lap, the Maltese is sure to turn heads with their undeniable beauty.


Life Expectancy

When considering adding a Maltese to your family, it is important to understand their life expectancy. Like any living creature, the lifespan of a Maltese can vary depending on various factors such as genetics, overall health, and care provided. In this section, we will explore the average life expectancy of the Maltese breed and factors that can influence their lifespan.

Average Lifespan:

  • The Maltese breed has a relatively long life expectancy compared to many other dog breeds.
  • On average, a healthy and well-cared-for Maltese can live between 12 to 15 years.
  • However, it is not uncommon for some Maltese dogs to live well into their late teens or even early twenties with proper care and attention.

Factors Affecting Lifespan:

  • Genetics: Like any breed, genetics play a significant role in determining a Maltese’s lifespan. Responsible breeders who prioritize health and longevity in their breeding programs can positively influence the overall health of the breed.
  • Diet and Nutrition: Providing a well-balanced and nutritious diet is crucial for the overall health and longevity of a Maltese. Feeding them high-quality dog food and avoiding excessive table scraps or unhealthy treats can help maintain their health.
  • Exercise and Mental Stimulation: Regular exercise and mental stimulation are important for the overall well-being of a Maltese. Engaging in activities that keep them mentally and physically active can contribute to their longevity.
  • Veterinary Care: Regular check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive care are essential for detecting and addressing any potential health issues early on. Routine dental care is also crucial for maintaining their oral health, which can impact their overall well-being.
  • Environment and Lifestyle: Providing a safe and nurturing environment for a Maltese, free from hazards and stressors, can contribute to their longevity. Minimizing exposure to toxins, providing a comfortable living environment, and ensuring they receive proper socialization and love can all have a positive impact on their lifespan.


It is important to remember that while the average life expectancy of a Maltese falls within a specific range, individual dogs may have varying lifespans. By providing a loving and caring environment, along with proper vet care and a healthy lifestyle, you can enhance the chances of your Maltese enjoying a long and fulfilling life by your side.





The Maltese breed is known for its delightful temperament and charming personality. These dogs are beloved for their affectionate nature, playful demeanor, and unwavering loyalty. In this section, we will explore the temperament traits that make the Maltese such a beloved companion.

Affectionate and Loving:

  • Maltese dogs are known for their deep affection and love towards their owners and family members.
  • They thrive on human companionship and are often referred to as “velcro dogs” due to their desire to be constantly by their owner’s side.
  • Maltese dogs form strong bonds with their families and are known for their unwavering loyalty.

Gentle and Gentle:

  • The Maltese is typically a gentle and docile breed, making them suitable for families of all ages.
  • They have a patient and tolerant nature, which makes them well-suited for households with children or other pets.
  • Their small size and delicate frame mean that they may be better suited to families with older children who can handle them with care.

Playful and Energetic:

  • Despite their small size, Maltese dogs are known for their playful and energetic nature.
  • They love engaging in interactive playtime with their owners, whether it be playing fetch, chasing toys, or participating in agility exercises.
  • Regular exercise and mental stimulation are important to keep them happy and prevent boredom.

Alert and Watchful:

  • The Maltese has a keen sense of awareness and is often an excellent watchdog.
  • They have a tendency to alert their owners with their barking when they sense something out of the ordinary.
  • While their protective nature is admirable, it is important to provide proper training to prevent excessive barking and manage their alertness.

Socialization and Training:

  • Early socialization is crucial for the Maltese breed to ensure they become well-rounded and confident dogs.
  • They should be exposed to various people, animals, and environments to help them develop good manners and adaptability.
  • Maltese dogs are intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train with positive reinforcement techniques.


The Maltese’s temperament traits of affection, gentleness, playfulness, and alertness make them a wonderful choice for those seeking a loving and devoted companion. With proper socialization, training, and an abundance of love and attention, the Maltese will bring immense joy and happiness to any household.


Trainability and Adaptability

The trainability and adaptability of a dog breed are important factors to consider when welcoming a new furry friend into your home. In this section, we will explore the trainability and adaptability of the Maltese breed, including their ability to learn and adjust to different environments.


  • The Maltese is an intelligent breed that is generally eager to please their owners.
  • They respond well to positive reinforcement training methods, such as praise, treats, and rewards.
  • Consistency, patience, and gentle guidance are key when training a Maltese, as they can be sensitive to harsh or negative training techniques.
  • Basic obedience commands, such as sit, stay, and come, can be easily taught to a well-motivated Maltese.

House Training:

  • House training a Maltese may require some time and consistency.
  • Due to their small size, they have smaller bladders and may need more frequent bathroom breaks.
  • Crate training and establishing a regular schedule for bathroom breaks can help with successful house training.


  • The Maltese breed is generally adaptable to various living situations, making them suitable for apartments, houses, or urban environments.
  • They can thrive in both small and large living spaces, as long as they receive adequate exercise, mental stimulation, and attention.
  • However, it is important to note that Maltese dogs can be sensitive to extreme temperatures, so proper precautions should be taken in hot or cold climates.


  • Early socialization is essential for the Maltese breed to ensure they develop good manners and positive interactions with people and other animals.
  • Exposing them to different environments, sounds, sights, and experiences at a young age can help them become well-adjusted and confident dogs.
  • Regular interactions with other dogs and animals, as well as exposure to different people, places, and situations, will contribute to their adaptability.

Separation Anxiety:

  • Maltese dogs can be prone to separation anxiety, as they form strong bonds with their owners and dislike being left alone for extended periods.
  • Gradual desensitization, crate training, and providing them with engaging toys or puzzles can help alleviate separation anxiety.


With their intelligence and eagerness to please, the Maltese breed is generally trainable. However, patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are key when working with these sensitive dogs. Their adaptability to different living environments, as well as their ability to socialize and adjust to various situations, make them a versatile companion for many households.


Exercise Requirements and Energy Level

Understanding the exercise requirements and energy level of a dog breed is crucial for ensuring their overall health and well-being. In this section, we will explore the exercise needs and energy level of the Maltese breed, helping you determine how to best meet their physical and mental stimulation needs.

Exercise Needs:

  • Despite their small size, the Maltese breed requires regular exercise to maintain their overall health and prevent weight gain.
  • Daily exercise sessions should include a combination of physical activities and mental stimulation.
  • A brisk walk, playtime in a securely fenced yard, or interactive indoor games can help fulfill their exercise requirements.

Energy Level:

  • The Maltese is an energetic breed that enjoys engaging in playful activities.
  • They are known for their bursts of energy and enthusiasm, especially during playtime.
  • However, it is important to note that their energy levels are generally lower compared to more active breeds, making them suitable for a range of households, including those with a less active lifestyle.

Mental Stimulation:

  • In addition to physical exercise, mental stimulation is vital for the well-being of a Maltese.
  • Interactive toys, puzzle games, and training sessions that challenge their intelligence can help keep them mentally sharp and prevent boredom.
  • Engaging in activities that tap into their natural instincts, such as scent work or obedience training, can provide mental enrichment.

Exercise Tips:

  • Due to their small size, the Maltese can easily get sufficient exercise indoors, making them well-suited for apartment living.
  • Regular short walks or play sessions throughout the day can help keep them physically active.
  • Be cautious not to overexert them, especially in extreme weather conditions, as they are sensitive to heat and cold.
  • Supervised playtime with other small and friendly dogs can also provide additional exercise and socialization opportunities.


Understanding the exercise requirements and energy level of the Maltese breed is essential for providing them with a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle. Regular exercise, both physical and mental, helps keep them healthy, happy, and mentally stimulated. By incorporating activities that match their energy levels and providing opportunities for mental enrichment, you can ensure that your Maltese thrives both physically and mentally.




Grooming Requirements

Grooming is an important aspect of caring for a Maltese. This breed is known for its beautiful, long, and silky coat, which requires regular maintenance to keep it healthy and tangle-free. In this section, we will explore the grooming requirements of the Maltese breed, including coat care, bathing, and other grooming practices.

Coat Care:

  • The Maltese has a single layer coat that grows continuously, similar to human hair.
  • Daily brushing is essential to prevent tangles, mats, and the formation of hairballs.
  • Use a fine-toothed comb or a slicker brush to gently remove any knots or tangles from the coat.
  • Regular brushing also helps distribute natural oils, keeping the coat shiny and healthy.
  • Pay particular attention to the hair around the ears, legs, and tail, as these areas are prone to tangling.


  • Maltese dogs should be bathed regularly to keep their coat clean and free from dirt and debris.
  • Use a gentle, dog-specific shampoo that is suitable for their sensitive skin.
  • Take care to avoid getting water or shampoo in their eyes and ears, as this can cause irritation.
  • After bathing, thoroughly dry their coat with a towel or a low-heat blow dryer to prevent dampness and potential skin issues.

Eye and Tear Stain Care:

  • The Maltese breed is prone to tear staining, which can cause discoloration around the eyes.
  • Regularly clean the area around their eyes using a damp cloth or specialized eye wipes to remove any discharge.
  • You can also use tear stain removers that are specifically formulated for dogs to help reduce staining.

Dental Care:

  • Dental hygiene is essential for the overall health of a Maltese.
  • Regularly brush their teeth using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste to prevent dental issues such as tartar buildup and gum disease.
  • Provide dental chews or toys designed to promote oral health and keep their teeth clean.

Professional Grooming:

  • Many Maltese owners opt to take their dogs to a professional groomer for regular trimming and maintenance.
  • A professional groomer can help keep the coat at a manageable length and provide a neat and tidy appearance.
  • They can also perform other grooming tasks, such as nail trimming and ear cleaning, to ensure the overall well-being of the dog.


Proper grooming is crucial for the well-being and appearance of a Maltese. Regular brushing, bathing, and attention to eye and tear stain care are essential for maintaining their beautiful coat. Additionally, dental care and professional grooming can help keep them healthy and looking their best. By providing consistent grooming practices, you can ensure that your Maltese remains clean, comfortable, and happy.


Health Issues

While the Maltese breed is generally healthy, like all dogs, they can be prone to certain health issues. Understanding the potential health concerns that may affect the Maltese can help you be proactive in maintaining their well-being. In this section, we will discuss some common health issues that the Maltese breed may experience.

Dental Problems:

  • Maltese dogs are prone to dental issues, including tooth decay, gum disease, and early tooth loss.
  • Regular dental care, such as brushing their teeth and providing dental chews, is crucial for maintaining their oral health.

Luxating Patella:

  • Luxating patella, or a dislocated kneecap, is a common orthopedic issue seen in Maltese dogs.
  • It occurs when the patella moves out of its normal position, causing discomfort and lameness.
  • Regular exercise, weight management, and avoiding excessive jumping can help minimize the risk of this condition.

White Dog Shaker Syndrome:

  • White Dog Shaker Syndrome, also known as Generalized Tremor Syndrome, is a neurological disorder seen in some Maltese dogs.
  • It is characterized by uncontrollable tremors that affect the entire body.
  • While the exact cause is not fully understood, it is believed to have a genetic component.
  • Medication and management under veterinary supervision can help control the tremors and improve the quality of life for affected dogs.

Eye Problems:

  • Maltese dogs are susceptible to various eye conditions, including progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, and dry eye.
  • Regular eye examinations by a veterinarian can help detect and manage any potential eye issues.


  • Maltese dogs can be prone to allergies, including food allergies and environmental allergies.
  • Allergies can manifest as skin irritations, itching, and gastrointestinal issues.
  • Identifying and avoiding allergens, as well as working with a veterinarian to develop an appropriate management plan, is essential for keeping them comfortable.

Respiratory Disorders:

  • Due to their brachycephalic (short-muzzled) facial structure, Maltese dogs may be more prone to respiratory issues.
  • This can include snoring, reverse sneezing, and difficulty breathing in hot or humid weather.
  • Maintaining a cool and well-ventilated environment, as well as avoiding strenuous exercise in extreme temperatures, can help mitigate respiratory concerns.


Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, proper exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight are important for the overall health of a Maltese. By being aware of potential health issues that can affect the breed, you can take proactive measures to prevent or manage these conditions, ensuring a happy and healthy life for your beloved Maltese.


Comparable Breeds

If you are considering the Maltese breed, you may also be interested in exploring other dog breeds that share similar characteristics or qualities. In this section, we will discuss some comparable breeds to the Maltese, highlighting their similarities and differences.

Bichon Frise:

  • The Bichon Frise is a small, fluffy breed known for its cheerful disposition and friendly nature.
  • Like the Maltese, the Bichon Frise has a hypoallergenic coat that requires regular grooming.
  • Both breeds are sociable, affectionate, and make excellent companion dogs.
  • While the Bichon Frise has a slightly larger size, they share many similarities in terms of temperament and exercise needs.


  • The Havanese is another small breed with a silky, long coat, similar to the Maltese.
  • Both breeds are friendly, playful, and enjoy being the center of attention.
  • Havanese dogs are known for their adaptability and can thrive in various living environments.
  • While the Maltese has a pure white coat, the Havanese comes in a wider range of colors.

Shih Tzu:

  • The Shih Tzu is a small breed with a luxurious double coat, which requires regular grooming.
  • Like the Maltese, the Shih Tzu is known for its affectionate nature and love for human companionship.
  • Both breeds are generally good with children and make excellent family pets.
  • The Shih Tzu has a more pronounced flat face compared to the Maltese.

Yorkshire Terrier:

  • The Yorkshire Terrier, or Yorkie, is a small breed known for its long, silky coat and confident personality.
  • Both the Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier are toy breeds with similar exercise requirements.
  • While the Maltese has a pure white coat, the Yorkshire Terrier has a distinctive blue and tan coat.
  • Both breeds are intelligent and trainable, but the Yorkshire Terrier can be more independent and feisty.


  • The Pomeranian is a small breed with a thick double coat and a fox-like appearance.
  • Like the Maltese, Pomeranians are energetic, playful, and enjoy being the center of attention.
  • Both breeds require regular grooming to maintain their coat’s health and appearance.
  • Pomeranians have a more compact build and a wider range of coat colors compared to the Maltese.


While each of these breeds has its own unique characteristics, they share some similarities with the Maltese, such as their small size, affectionate nature, and grooming requirements. By exploring these comparable breeds, you can find the one that best suits your lifestyle and preferences. Remember to consider factors such as exercise needs, grooming requirements, and temperament when choosing the right companion for you.


Notable Dogs from This Breed

The Maltese breed has had its fair share of notable dogs throughout history. From beloved pets to canine celebrities, these dogs have captured the hearts of many. In this section, we will highlight some notable dogs from the Maltese breed, showcasing their achievements and contributions.


  • Malti-Poo, also known as Maltipoo, is a Maltese crossbreed that has gained popularity for its charming personality and hypoallergenic coat.
  • These dogs are a mix between a Maltese and a Poodle, combining the desirable traits of both breeds.
  • Malti-Poos have become popular as therapy dogs, agility competitors, and beloved family pets.

Sealyham Maltese Terrier:

  • The Sealyham Maltese Terrier is a crossbreed between the Maltese and the Sealyham Terrier.
  • This unique mix results in a small, sturdy dog with a playful and friendly temperament.
  • Sealyham Maltese Terriers have gained recognition for their agility skills and make great companions for active individuals or families.

Champion Charming Casanova:

  • Champion Charming Casanova was a notable Maltese show dog who achieved great success in the show ring.
  • He won numerous titles and awards, showcasing the breed’s beauty, elegance, and conformation.
  • His success brought attention to the Maltese breed and contributed to its popularity in the show dog world.

Bailey the Therapy Dog:

  • Bailey, a Maltese therapy dog, gained fame for his work in providing comfort and support to patients in hospitals and nursing homes.
  • He visited countless individuals, bringing smiles and joy to those in need.
  • Bailey’s gentle and loving nature made him an exceptional therapy dog, highlighting the breed’s innate ability to provide emotional support.

Instagram Influencers:

  • The Maltese breed has gained significant popularity on social media platforms, with many Maltese dogs becoming Instagram influencers.
  • These adorable pups have amassed large followings, sharing their daily adventures, fashion, and lifestyle tips with their dedicated fans.
  • Their charming personalities and photogenic looks have made them internet sensations, showcasing the Maltese breed to a global audience.


These notable dogs from the Maltese breed have left their pawprints in various areas, from show rings to therapy work and even the digital realm. They have showcased the breed’s versatility, beauty, and loving nature, inspiring dog lovers worldwide. Whether in the spotlight or as cherished family companions, these dogs have made a lasting impact and continue to bring joy to those around them.

The Maltese, with its elegant beauty and charming personality, is a beloved breed that has captured the hearts of dog lovers for centuries. Known for its silky white coat and gentle disposition, the Maltese is a companion dog that brings joy and affection to countless households.

You May Also Like

Related Articles

You May Also Like