Maltese: Dog Breed Profile and Information

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The Maltese, a gentle and fearless dog breed, welcomes everyone as a friend. Their elegant white coat gives them a look of high royalty, but appearances can be deceiving.

Even though these are purebred dogs, you can find them in shelters or rescue organizations. Care to adopt it! Don’t shop if you want to take a dog home.

This is a beautiful, vigorous dog who excels not only as a friend but also as a dog therapy and as a participant in dog sports such as agility, obedience, rallying and tracking.

But most of all, they love to be with their own people. Also, the inexperienced pet parents and the apartment dwellers will find these pups excellent fuzzy family members.


The Maltese dog is one of the oldest breeds of man”s furry friends, with a history that can be traced to at least two centuries. Artists, poets, and authors immortalized this little dog in the early great cultures of Greece, Rome, and Egypt.

Aristotle also mentioned them. The Greeks erected tombs for their Maltese dogs, while depictions of Maltese-like dogs on Egyptian objects indicate that they were admired for their ancient culture.

The Egyptians and, centuries later, many Europeans believed that the Maltese had the power to cure people of sickness and to put one on the pillow of a sick person.

This inspired one of its names—”The Comforter.” Even before the Christian period, species was prevalent in Mediterranean cultures.

The precise origin of the Maltese dog is unknown, considering his importance in history. Many claims that the breed was created from Spitz- or Spaniel-type dogs on the Isle of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea.

Others claim that he was developed in Italy, and others also believe that he came from Asia and played a role in the creation of many of the smaller Asian dogs.

The Maltese thrived wherever he came from. By the 15th century, in the arms and hearts of French aristocrats, he had found a safe position. The Maltese came to the British Isles during the reign of Henry VIII.

The Maltese had become a favoured companion for noble and royal ladies by the end of the 16th century. The little dog was Queen Elizabeth I, Mary the Queen of Scots, and Queen Victoria’s favourite.

In their portraits of beautiful people, various painters, including Goya and Sir Joshua Reynolds, featured these little puppies.

While he survived the collapse of the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages, when attempts were made to breed him to be the size of a squirrel, the Maltese were nearly killed in the 17th and 18th centuries.

In order to save it, breeders mixed poodles, miniature spaniels, and East Asian miniature dogs with the breed after this almost disastrous experiment. This caused the Maltese to become so diverse that many new breeds were developed.

Maltese are claimed by many to be the immediate ancestors of the breeds of Bichon Frise, Bolognese and Havanese.

As we know it now, English breeders produced the Maltese. Many of the Maltese in the U.S. are tracing their legacy back to English imports today.

In the late 1800s, Maltese was first seen in the U.S. In the 1870s, they were featured in the earliest Westminster Kennel Club exhibits.

Until the 1950s, the number of Maltese dogs registered with the AKC grew quite slowly. The breed has become very popular since then. Maltese are one of the most common breeds at dog shows among viewers, and the Toy Community always wins.

In the’ Best in Show’ competition, they also have an outstanding record.


At maturity, the compact Maltese can weigh no more than seven pounds, with the preference being four to six pounds.

Males should have a shoulder height of eight to ten inches, while females should have a height of eight to nine inches.

Beware of breeders who sell the Maltese “teacup” A Maltese weighing less than four pounds at maturity is more vulnerable to genetic defects and is in general at a higher risk for health.


The Maltese are a natural hotshot with a lively character he takes well to training and reacts to constructive reinforcements such as food rewards, encouragement, and play because he’s so people-oriented.

Fearless, Maltese believe that a companion is anyone they see, human or animal. Nice and cute, even with people who have no intention of spoiling them, they’re well known for always getting their way.

A variety of variables, including inheritance, training, and socialization, influence temperament. Puppies with lovely temperaments are curious and adventurous, able to approach and be carried by individuals.

Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the puppy who beats his littermates or the puppy who hides in the corner.

To ensure that they have pleasant temperaments that you are comfortable with always meet at least one of the parents, typically the mother is the one who is available.

It is also useful to visit siblings or other relatives of the parents to determine what a puppy would be like as he grows up.

The Maltese, like any dog, need early socialization when they are young, exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences. Socialization helps make sure your puppy from Maltese grows up to be a well-rounded dog.

It’s a perfect beginning to enrol him in a puppy kindergarten class. It will also encourage him to polish his social skills by welcoming visitors regularly and taking him to busy parks, shops that accept dogs, and on leisurely walks to meet neighbours.


Maltese are relatively healthy, but they’re vulnerable to some health problems, like all breeds. Not every Maltese will get any or all of these diseases, but if you’re considering this breed, it’s good to be aware of them.

If you buy a puppy, find a reliable breeder who can show you health clearance for both parents of your puppy. Health clearances show that a dog has been checked for medical disease and cleared of it.

In Maltese, health clearances for hip dysplasia (with a good or better score), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand disease should be expected from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA); from the University of Auburn for thrombopathy; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that the eyes are regular.

By reviewing the OFA web site (, you can confirm health clearances.

Patellar luxation

The kneecap is the patella. Luxation (as a bone at a joint) implies dislocation of an anatomical part. Patellar luxation is when, causing discomfort, the knee joint (often a hind leg) slips in and out of place.

This can be debilitating, but many dogs with this disease lead reasonably normal lives.

Portosystemic liver shunt

This renal condition happens when the liver is bypassed by an irregular vessel causing blood and thus not cleansed.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

A condition of the degenerative eye. A slow process resulting from the loss of photoreceptors in the back of the eye is blindness caused by PRA. Years before the dog displays some signs of blindness; PRA is detectable.

A respectable breeder would get the eyes of dogs approved by a veterinary ophthalmologist annually.


Elevated blood sugar triggers this malady. Weakness, agitation, a wobbly gait, and seizure-like episodes can be among some of the signs. Speak to your vet about prevention and care options if your dog is vulnerable to this.

White Dog Shaker Syndrome

White dogs are predominantly affected by this condition. Tremors over the whole body, absence of balance, and rapid eye movements are symptoms of the disorder.

When the dog is six months to three years old and is anxious or too excited, episodes typically start. This disorder is not painful and does not impact the personality of the dog.

If you think you have White Dog Shaker Syndrome in Maltese, speak to your doctor about options for care.

Collapsed trachea

Certain dogs are vulnerable to this disease, in which the trachea that carries oxygen to the lungs appears to quickly collapse.

“A chronic dry, harsh cough that many define as being close to a “goose honk” is the most common symptom of a collapsed trachea. It is possible to treat collapsed trachea medically or surgically.

Reverse sneezing

This is a much less extreme condition, often mistaken with a collapsed trachea which lasts just a few minutes.

When your dog is excited or attempts to eat or drink too much, reverse sneezing primarily occurs.

It may also occur when pollen or other airborne irritants are present. Secretions fall onto their soft palate from the dog’s nose, causing it to close in an involuntary response over the windpipe.

This could be really scary for your Maltese, but the reverse sneezing stops as soon as he calms down. He strokes his throat softly to help him relax.


Maltese enjoy walking or playing outdoors on a daily basis. Even into old age, they also remain playful. Since they are healthy indoors and do not need a great deal of exercise, keeping them in good health does not take a lot of effort.

Wait until your Maltese puppy is eight months old to walk really far with him as a rule of thumb since his bones are still growing.

In your fenced yard, encourage your puppy to play at his own speed before he is old, and then take him to your vet for a checkup before embarking on a regimented exercise schedule.

Housedogs are definitely Maltese and do not withstand extreme heat or cold well. Many people train their Maltese on paper so that when the weather is too hot or cold, they do not have to take them outside.


Recommended daily amount: 1/4 to 1/2 cup, split into two meals, of high-quality dry food per day. By weighing his food and feeding him twice a day instead of leaving food out all the time, keep your Maltese from being fat. By giving him the hands-on review, you can say if he’s getting overweight.

Place your hands on your body, your thumbs down your spine, your fingers spread out over your arms. He’s in good shape if you can see his ribs, but if they’re covered under a layer of fat, it’s time to put him on a diet and cut down on the number of treats you’re giving him.

There are several Maltese that has sensitive digestive systems and may be picky eaters. If your Maltese has tea, eating issues will occur.

If your Maltese has teeth or gum issues as well, eating problems can occur. Take him to the vet for a checkup if your Maltese displays distress while feeding or after eating.

Note: How much food shoud be eaten by your adult dog depends on its height, age, build, metabolism, and level of activity. Much like humans, dogs are individuals, and they don’t all need the same amount of food.

It almost goes without saying that more than a couch potato dog would be expected for a highly active dog.

The quality of dog food you purchase also makes a difference: the better the dog food, the more your dog will be nourished, and the less you will need to shake into the bowl of your dog.

Colour of the Coat And Grooming

Pure white, silky, and straight, reaching all the way to the ground, is the beautiful Maltese coat. Maltese don’t have the usual undercoat of many breeds and don’t shed a lot.

Maltese coats mat quickly on the downside and get dusty. Maltese are, however, susceptible to unsightly tear stains on their noses.

Brush and comb your Maltese coat gently every day, even though it has a sporty short trim. It helps to stop mats and to keep him clean. Beautiful as they may be, Maltese quickly get filthy and typically have to be bathed regularly.

If your Maltese has long hair and develops mats, first try using a detangler spray or a coat of conditioning oil to gently work out the mat with your fingertips.

Using the final tooth of the comb to loosen individual hairs after you have pulled the mat apart as much as you can with your fingertips.

Never try to take out the whole mat at once with the comb or brush, and make sure that before bathing your Maltese, all mats are removed as mats appear to get tighter when wet.

You should get your Maltese ears tested at least once a week. Take him to the vet for a checkup if they appear sensitive or have a bad odour. 

Maltese also develop a lot of hair that needs to be eliminated in their ears. Ask your groomer or veterinarian to do this or to teach you at home how to pluck your fur.

If your dog does not wear them down naturally to avoid painful tears and other issues, cut his nails once or twice a month. They are too long if you can hear them tapping on the floor.

Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and you can cause bleeding if you cut too deep, and your dog will not help when he sees the nail clippers coming out next time.

So, if you don’t have experience trimming dog nails, ask for pointers from a veterinarian or groomer. For most Maltese owners, tear and facial staining are major challenges.

When your puppy is four to five months old (that’s the age when their adult teeth come in), you should expect tear staining to begin. Follow these steps to stop or reduce the tear-and face-staining of your adult Maltese:

Teach your dog how to drink from a bottle of water. Water which has a high mineral content will cause staining, so consider buying your Maltese filtered bottled water.

Feed a stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowl to your Maltese, not a plastic one. Make sure your dog’s bowl is cleaned between feedings.

Consult your veterinarian if these steps don’t cover up the tear stains. Tear ducts, allergies, or other health conditions that cause excessive tearing could have clogged your Maltese.

Although there are many items on the market for whitening the fur of your dog, be very careful if you use them or other home remedies. Many of them can harm the fur of your dog, and never, never allow the eyes of your dogs to obtain any products or foreign substances.

Many people put their hair in a topknot at the top of their Maltese head to keep it away from the eyes. Make sure to use coated bands that won’t cut the hair if you plan to do this. Some individuals cut the hair of their dog short, on its head or all over, so it’s easier to groom.

To remove tartar buildup and the bacteria lurking inside it, brush your Maltese teeth at least two or three times a week. When you want to avoid gum disease and bad breath, daily brushing is even easier.

If you catch your sweet black Maltese nose turning pink, you may not get enough sunshine. Take him outside on a sunny day or take him for a car ride if it’s too cold to do so.

The sort of bowl from which he eats and drinks may also induce a shift in pigmentation. Pitch it if it is plastic. Her nose may also turn pink when a female is in sweat.

Start getting used to being washed and inspected by your Maltese when he’s a puppy. Frequently, treat his hands, dogs are touchy with their feet and look inside his mouth.

Make grooming a fun activity full of appreciation and incentives, and if he’s an adult, you can pave the groundwork for simple veterinary inspections and another handling.

When you groom, check your skin, nose, mouth, eyes, and feet for sores, rashes, or signs of infection, such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation. Face, with no redness or discharge, should be open.

Your diligent weekly inspection will help you identify possible health issues early on.

Kids And Other Pets

Most Maltese breeders would not sell puppies to young children’s families. It’s just too easy for a kid to hurt a little Maltese by dropping him, stepping on him or holding him too close.

In a family with calm older children or only adults who can handle him with the treatment he wants, he does much better.

If they are socialized with them at an early age, Maltese can get along with other dogs and cats. However, they are unaware of their small size and must be protected against taking on dogs that are ten or twenty times their size.

Groups for Rescue

Without some good understanding of what goes into owning one, Maltese are sometimes purchased. Many Maltese are in need of adoption and or promotion. There are a lot of rescues that we didn’t mention.

Contact the national breed club or a local breed club if you don’t see a rescue listed for your area, and they can point you to a maltese rescue.

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