An aristocratic-looking toy dog, with dark eyes and a pure white coat that is long and silky, the Maltese dog is a most striking dog. An adult Maltese is 25cm and under in height and weighs approximately 1.8-2.7kg.
- Category size: Toy
- Grooming requirements: Daily
- Shedding: None
- Allergies: Yes
- Noise: Vocal
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Terrier
- Alone: Less than 1 hour
- Other pets: High
- Stability as a guard: Medium
One of the oldest established breeds, Charles Darwin traced the Maltese dog breed back to 6000 BC. A member of the Bichon family of dogs from the Mediterranean area, it's known that Publius, the Roman Governor of Malta in the 1st century AD had a Maltese-type dog called Issa. The breed has been favoured by royalty and the aristocracy throughout its history and is pictured in art with Queen Elizabeth I and other royals. Mary Queen of Scots is said to have had a Maltese dog hiding under her skirts when she was beheaded.
Small, sweet-tempered and glamorous, this toy dog isn't just a pretty face – he can be feisty at times! Alert to his surroundings, he can be vocal and should be trained from young not to bark at the slightest provocation
Like many small breeds, the Maltese dog can suffer from kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place (luxating patellas). Hereditary eye disorders can also occur and so eye testing is recommended.
Half an hour's daily exercise will keep the Maltese dog content, though he is capable of more if you can offer it. He can be surprisingly game when out and about, and his past history as a one-time vermin catcher can come to the fore!
Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
Daily grooming is needed to keep the long, silky coat tangle-free. If neglected, mats will form, which will become painful for the dog. Getting a Maltese puppy to view grooming as a rewarding experience is therefore very important.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.
What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information