- Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
- Extra training required
- Generally healthy breed
- Enjoys active walks
- Needs under an hour of walking a day
- Small dog
- Some drool
- Requires grooming every other day
- Quiet dog
- Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
- Generally friendly with other dogs
- Gets along with other pets with training
- May need additional supervision to live with children
- Needs a small garden
- Can happily live in the city
- Can be left occasionally with training
The Maltese breed can be prone to:
- Patellar luxation
- Portosystemic shunt
- Mitral Valve Disease¹ which is where the heart valves become diseased and don't work properly.
- Chiari malformation syringomyelia² which is a condition where fluid-filled areas develop around the spinal cord causing pain.
- Cataracts³ which is a condition where the lens in the eye becomes cloudy and this can result in blindness.
Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing:
None but there are several recommended schemes that the Kennel Club recommends which can be found here.
¹C. M. Lee, 'Genome-wide association study of degenerative mitral valve disease in Maltese dogs', Jan 2019, Journal of Veterinary Science
²S. Sanchis‐Mora et al, 'Dogs attending primary‐care practice in England with clinical signs suggestive of Chiari‐like malformation/syringomyelia', 2016, Vet Record
³S. A. Park et al, 'Clinical manifestations of cataracts in small breed dogs', 2009, Veterinary Ophthalmology
Despite their small size the Maltese is a comparatively robust little dog who as long as they are well-bred and socialised, are active, friendly, trusting and alert. They bond very closely to their owners and will want to go everywhere with them.
History and Origins
Country of Origin: Malta
This is one of the earliest of the small companion dog breeds and they may well have existed in Malta for hundreds of years, although the earliest records are from the early 1800s where they became known as lapdogs of the nobility - and were frequently seen in the paintings of the time. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries they became increasingly popular both in Malta and wider afield, and thanks to both their appearance and their temperament they quickly found fans around the world, first appearing as a show dog in England in 1859.
Did you know?
- The Maltese was loved by royalty and it is said that when Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded, her loyal Maltese was hiding under her skirts and was only discovered after the execution.
- Maltese’s have been known by many names over the years including: Melitae Dog, Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta, Roman Ladies Dog, The Comforter, Spaniel Gentle, Bichon, Maltese Lion Dog and the Maltese Terrier.
- They’re very good jumpers and are known to have no real fear of gravity!
- There was a millionaire Maltese called Take Trouble who was worth $2 million.