A small white Maltese
Maltese Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)8-10in (20-25cm)
Weight6-9lbs (3-4kg)
Hair Colour(s)White
Lifespan12-15 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size2-5
Barking TendencyHigh
Exercise requirements
Ease of trainingMedium
Suitability for kidsLow
Animal compatabilityLow
Aggression levelsMedium
Distress if leftHigh

The Maltese is a small and dainty but very elegant dog. The body is fine boned but sturdy with short legs and a long tail. The slightly rounded head has dark round eyes with halos of darker skin, long hairy ears and a black nose. The silky coat is long and straight, and the colouring is usually white, sometimes with some light lemon on the ears.


Malteses are cheery, playful and spirited dogs that retain a graceful appearance. Affectionate and mild-mannered, they make popular companions and family pets and thrive on love and attention. With plenty of energy and spirit, they love to play and have inquisitive and curious natures, and when well socialised tend to be quite confident. They are alert and intelligent and easy to train, especially when rewarded, although paradoxilly they can be very difficult to housebreak. However, these dogs are suitable for both novice and inexperienced dog owners. Malteses are only suitable for older and more considerate children, as they do not like to be handled roughly and may be snappy. They will usually not get along with other pets, and may even be aggressive towards larger dogs. Around strangers they tend to be polite and friendly, but can also be jealous. They make effective watchdogs, as they will bark to raise the alarm or to announce the arival of any visitors.

History & Skills

Malteses originate from Malta, from where they take their name, and have a history stretching back some 500 years. Bred as companion and lap dogs, they became a favourite of noblility and women, who often carried them in their arms, and as artists subjects. Introduced to other countries by the Crusaders, these days they are popular house pets and show dogs.

Breed Specific Ailments

Malteses tend to live between 12-15 years, and some of health problems associated with this breed include glaucoma, deafness, thyroid problems, low blood sugar, sensitivity to chemicals and drugs, dental problems, luxating patella, PRA, and entropion. They are also sensitive to temperature extremes and sunburn, and need to be kept away from damp areas.


Malteses are low shedders with proper grooming and so are suitable for those with allergies. Grooming is fairly high though and the long, silky coat should be brushed on a daily basis. In addition, the eyes and beard should be cleaned regularly to prevent staining and they should be bathed and shampood every week. Clipping may be required every couple of months, and the hair around the bottom area should be kept trimmed for hygiene reasons. The ears should be kept clean and dry to reduce the risk of any infections.

Exercise & Environment

Malteses will only live indoors, and are suitable for small homes such as apartments even without an outside area as their exercise requirements are pretty low. They will need an occasional walk as they are pretty active indoors, and they like to play. Access to a yard or garden would still be beneficial but they are sensitive to temperature extremes, sunburn and should be kept away from any damp areas.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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