• Maltese Dogs
  • Maltese
  • Malteses
  • Malteses in the UK
  • Maltese in Great Britain
  • Maltese Breed
  • Maltese Dog
  • Maltese in the UK
  • Maltese Dog Breed
  • Malteses in Great Britain
Exercise Level:
Barking Level:
Good with Children:
Good with other pets:
Height: 22 - 25cm M | 20 - 25cm F
Weight: 1 - 3kg M | 1 - 3kg F
Life Expectancy: 12 - 15 Years

Searching for a Maltese?


The Maltese dog breed is a Toy Dog that is native to the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. He is one of the most ancient lap dogs in history.

The Maltese toy breed is also known as the Comforter, Spaniel Gentle, Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta, Melitae Dog, Maltese Lion Dog, and Roman Ladies’ Dog.

The Maltese, who is a lively pooch with a fun personality, was well-loved by royals, artists, and commoners alike.

This small and spunky Toy Dog that is known for retaining his puppylike personality throughout his life. He is a favourite companion breed that is specifically designed to shower love to his family.

Maltese dogs are low-shedders, thus making them hypoallergenic pets. Although energetic and vigorous dogs, they don’t need lots of outdoor exercises. The average lifespan of this dog breed is around 12–15 years.

Are you planning to keep a Maltese puppy as a family companion? Read on to learn more about this daring little dog.

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The Maltese dog breed is considered one of the ancient dog breeds. He is believed to have existed since 8,000 years ago.

This Toy Dog is depicted in several works of poets and artists in pre-Christian time. However, there is quite a debate as to how the little dog’s name came to be.

The Maltese dog used to be called "Canes Melitei." Some scholars argue that the name came from Melita, which is a town in Sicily in 25 A.D. On the other hand, Greeks and Romans believed that he was named after the Mediterranean island of Malta.

Maltese dogs were thought to have descended from a Spitz or Spaniel-type dog or a breed that is related to the Tibetan Terrier. Regardless of their bloodlines, these Toy Dogs have found their place in the hearts of French aristocrats.

The Maltese dog breed was introduced in England in the early 1300s. This small dog became a favourite amongst noble ladies because of his diminutive size.

Maltese dogs arrived in the United States in the 1800s. In the mid-1800s, breeders in the UK categorised the dog breed as a Terrier Dog because of his fearless and bold nature, and also thanks to his excellent ratter skills.

In 1906, the first American breed club for the Maltese dog breed was formed.

Not everyone agreed that the Maltese belonged to the Terrier Group. Thus, for a time, the breed was simply referred to as the Maltese dog, and later categorised as a Toy Dog because of his tiny size.

The breed is registered with the UK Kennel Club as well as the American Kennel Club. Today, this dog is one of the most popular Toy Breeds in dog shows.

What kind of breed is Maltese?

The Maltese dog breed is a purebred Toy Dog that is thought to be a descendant of Spitz-type dogs. He is thought to be the forebears of Havanese, Bichon Frise, and Bolognese breeds. This small dog is believed to have hailed from south-central Europe.

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Appearance and Grooming

The Maltese dog breed retains his puppy-like looks, which make him a favourite household pet around the world. He is well balanced with short, straight legs, nicely sloped shoulders, well-sprung ribs, and a level back.

As a Toy Dog, the breed is small in size. Male and female Maltese dogs weigh around 1–3 kilos (4–7 pounds).

When it comes to height, male Maltese dogs grow taller than females. Male dogs stand around 22–25 centimetres (9–10 inches), whilst female dogs measure about 20–25 centimetres (8–10 inches) tall.

The average litter size of the breed is around 3–8 Maltese puppies. Toy breeds quickly transition into adult dogs. It can take around 12–15 months for Maltese puppies to become fully grown.

The Maltese dog breed is characterised by his moderately round skull, black button nose, and expressive brown eyes. He has strong jaws, a broad muzzle, and long feathered drop ears.

Maltese dogs tend to get tear stains, which are emphasised due to their pure white coats. Make sure to gently clean the tear stains with a clean and damp cloth.

It is also important to observe other Maltese basic care regimens such as daily brushing of teeth as well as a weekly cleaning of ears and trimming of nails. Grooming is also a way to check for signs of infection or other skin allergies.

Are all Maltese white?

No, Maltese dogs can come in other colours. According to the KC breed standard, these small dogs sport long hair without an undercoat. However, coats with slight lemon markings are permissible.

In other kennel clubs, Maltese dogs with pale ivory or cream long silky coats are acceptable.

Do Maltese shed?

Yes, Maltese dogs shed but not heavily, which is why they are suitable family dogs for households with allergy sufferers. However, their silky white hair can get easily dirty and matted.

Make sure to gently brush and comb your Maltese puppy’s coat daily. He also needs to be taken to a professional groomer from time to time.

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Temperament and Intelligence

The Maltese dog breed gets along well with kids particularly older children. However, he is not the best furry friend for younger children as he tends to be snappy with toddlers. Nevertheless, interaction must always be well supervised.

Maltese dogs get on well with other pooches, so long as they are well socialised. But care should be taken when they are around small animals.

The Maltese dog breed is highly intelligent and has a biddable nature. He is an ideal choice for first-time dog owners as he is easy to train.

But these small dogs can be a bit hard to house-train compared to toy breeds. Be patient and consistent during training sessions for them to become fully house-trained.

This small Maltese dog is very versatile and can adapt to different environments. Maltese puppies can be happy living in a city apartment or the country, provided that they get enough mental stimulation and exercises.

Are Maltese good pets?

Yes, Maltese dogs are a good choice as family pets. They are gentle-mannered, energetic, and love nothing more than to be with their families. They form strong bonds with their owners with their affectionate nature and eager-to-please attitude.

However, the downside is that the Maltese dogs are prone to suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for longer periods.

Do Maltese like to be held?

Yes, the Maltese dog breed likes to be held. He is very devoted to his owner and doesn't mind spending most of his time cuddling with them. As Maltese puppies are small pooches, they should be handled with care because their bodies and bones are quite fragile.

Do Maltese dogs bark a lot?

Yes, Maltese are generally barkers. Despite their tiny size, they are robust dogs that are determined and fearless. They are very vocal, which may pose a problem to neighbours if they are not socialised and trained early to curb their desire to bark.

On the other hand, these toy dogs are excellent watchdogs. They are quick to alert their owners when there are strangers in the area.

Are Maltese easy to train?

Yes. Since the Maltese dog breed is a people-pleaser, he responds well to training. He is quick to learn and will not hesitate to show off tricks to entertain his family.

Surprisingly, the Maltese dog breed also excels in canine sports such as agility, obedience, rally, and tracking trials. This Toy Dog breed is also popular as a therapy dog.

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Nutrition and Feeding

The suggested serving for a full-grown Maltese dog is 1/4–1/2 cup of high-quality dry dog food per day. Make sure to measure his food properly and divide it into 2–3 meals a day, instead of a large single meal.

Other than the Maltese dog's size, different factors determine his diet (type and amount) such as age, gender, health, activity level, and metabolism.

Just to make sure that you're giving your Maltese dog a balanced diet, consult with a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist.

Here are the typical daily calorie needs of an adult Maltese dog weighing 2.2 kilos (5 pounds):

  • Senior and less active: up to 207 calories daily
  • Typical adult: up to 230 calories daily
  • Physically active/working dog: up to 260 calories daily

Since the Maltese is a Toy Dog, select a dog food that is formulated for small dogs. Your dog must be given a diet that is rich in animal protein for bone and muscle growth.

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Health and Exercise

The Maltese dog breed has an average lifespan of 12–15 years. Although this Toy Dog is generally robust and healthy, he can still suffer from genetic health conditions that are typical of his breed.

These health problems include:

Patent Ductus Arteriosus

Congenital heart disease is a result of a defect between the aorta and pulmonary artery. It should not be ignored as it can cause congestive heart failure in dogs. No cure is found for this cardiac problem, but it can be managed through surgical treatment.


Small breeds like the Maltese dog are highly at risk of sudden low blood sugar. It commonly happens when the dog skips meals or lacks sufficient amounts of food. This prevents the dog from acquiring his main source of energy, causing his body to malfunction.

Note that the Maltese dogs are known to be finicky eaters. Owners of these dogs should make dog food appetising to keep them from skipping meals.

Luxating Patella

This bone and joint disorder is caused by a defect in the patella. Dogs with this condition often suffer from difficulty in moving as it deforms the affected limb. Since it is a curable disease, afflicted Maltese can live normal lives once they are treated successfully.

Collapsed Trachea

It is a respiratory condition brought on by the weakening of the tracheal ring, leading it to collapse. It can cause exercise intolerance and breathing problems in affected Maltese dogs. As it is not curable, sticking to the suggested vet treatment is necessary.

The Maltese dog breed is an active indoor pooch. Thus, he does not require a great deal of outdoor exercise to be in good physical condition.

However, Maltese dogs enjoy romping or dashing around in the back garden and taking short walks. For their own protection, the fence should be thoroughly checked for gaps where they might squeeze through.

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Cost of Ownership

The price tag for a healthy KC-registered Maltese puppy from responsible breeders is around £1,500–£2,000. The monthly food expenses for a small dog breed costs significantly less than larger dogs. It can range anywhere from £21–£26.

Preparing to welcome a Maltese puppy in your home means purchasing his daily essentials. These include toys, food and water bowls, collar, and lead. Prepare to spend approximately £100–£300 for these items.

Maintaining your Maltese puppy's health involves visiting the vet regularly. Each vet check-up session tends to cost around £30–£60.

Contracting highly infectious canine diseases and other serious health issues is rampant among puppies. Fortunately, it can be prevented with the help of vaccinations.

You may need to pay about £100–£150 for your Maltese puppy’s vaccinations and £50–£60 for his annual boosters.

Vet care bills are usually expensive, which often hinders Maltese puppy parents from keeping their 4-legged friends in good health. By acquiring pet insurance, this problem can be avoided.

Getting a lifetime coverage costs approximately £18–£80 every month. If you opt for a time-limited package, your monthly pet insurance expenses are around £15–£20.

Maltese Breed Highlights

  • Maltese dogs are lively and energetic companion dogs that love to be with their families.
  • This Toy Dog is an excellent watchdog that is quick to alert his owners when there are strangers around.
  • Maltese dogs have low-shedding coats, so they are often referred to as hypoallergenic canines.
  • These small dogs are active indoors and do not require lots of outdoor exercises.
  • The Maltese dog breed has a biddable nature, which is ideal for first-time dog owners.
  • Due to his sense of attachment to his family, he is prone to have separation anxiety.

Are you sure the Maltese is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.

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Are ready to bring home a tiny forever-puppy like the Maltese? If still in doubt, check out other dog breeds with our Pet Finder.

The information, including measurements, prices and other estimates, on this page is provided for general reference purposes only.

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