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Maltese - Small Breed Dog Profile

Updated: Feb 21

two white maltese dogs

At Mary Puppins luxury dog home boarding, we absolutely LOVE Maltese! They are such fantastic small breed dogs - fun, playful and sweet.

The Maltese, an enchanting small breed dog, is celebrated for its elegance and charming personality.

In this article, we will explore the breed's origins, intended role, physical characteristics, personality traits, grooming and exercise requirements, age range, measurements, and common health conditions of the Maltese.


“Maltese are a member of the ‘Toy’ breed group. Toy breeds are small companion dogs, commonly referred to as ‘lap dogs’. Most toy breeds love attention and can be very friendly and affectionate. They don’t require a large amount of exercise. Maltese are very bright, friendly and affectionate.” - PDSA


Origin of the Maltese

The Maltese breed boasts an ancient history that dates back over two millennia. These enchanting dogs originated on the Mediterranean island of Malta.

They were cherished as companions by nobility and royalty, with their history intertwined with emperors, queens, and aristocracy.

Purpose of the Maltese

Maltese dogs were initially bred for companionship and were highly favoured by the upper classes.

Their primary purpose was to provide love and friendship to their owners, making them lapdogs and cherished pets.

The Maltese, an enchanting small breed dog, is celebrated for its elegance and charming personality.

In this article, we will explore the breed's origins, intended role, physical characteristics, personality traits, grooming and exercise requirements, age range, measurements, and common health conditions of the Maltese.

Maltese Physical Characteristics

The Maltese is renowned for its elegant physical features. They have a small, compact body with a long, flowing white coat.

Their coat is typically pure white, and it drapes gracefully. Their expressive eyes, distinctive black nose, and lips contribute to their unique and endearing appearance.

Maltese Personality Traits

Maltese dogs are celebrated for their friendly and affectionate personalities.

They are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and lively disposition. These dogs are known to be alert, enthusiastic, and eager to please.

They form strong bonds with their owners and thrive on human interaction.

Maltese Dog Grooming Requirements

High dog grooming needs due to their long, silky coat. Regular brushing and professional grooming are essential.

Grooming Maltese can be quite demanding due to their long, silky coat.

Regular brushing is required for their fur to be healthy and tangle-free.

Their coat should be kept clean and may require regular trimming.

Eyes and facial hair should be cleaned to prevent staining, and their ears should be checked for cleanliness to avoid infections.

Maltese Dog Walking and Exercise Requirements

Maltese have low to moderate exercise needs, including short dog walks and indoor dog enrichment play.

Maltese dogs are relatively active for their size and enjoy playtime and short walks. While small, they require regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight and maintain good well-being.

Their adaptable nature means they can thrive in both apartments and houses.

Maltese Breed Characteristics

Maltese are affectionate, gentle, and well-suited for indoor living. Known for their elegant appearance.

Maltese dogs are known for their friendly and sociable nature. They tend to get along well with children and other pets, making them excellent family pets.

They are often described as having a "big personality in a small package."

Maltese Age Range

Maltese typically live between 12 to 15 years. They often maintain their playful and loving personalities well into their senior years.

Maltese Measurements

Maltese typically measure: Height: 8-10 inches (20-25 cm); Weight: 4-7 pounds (1.8-3.2 kg). Maltese dogs are small and elegant.

Maltese Health Issues

Maltese dogs can be prone to specific health conditions, including dental issues, respiratory problems, and luxating patella.

Their delicate structure and petite stature make them potentially prone to injury.

Regular dental care and health check-ups are essential to maintain their well-being.

What is the typical lifespan of a Maltese?

Maltese dogs are expected to live as long as 12 to 15 years, with an average age of up to 13.5 years old. This age is longer than the average lifespan of most dog breeds, which is around 10 to 12 years.

One of the reasons for their longevity is their small size, which means they grow and age normally and are less prone to developmental diseases that affect larger dogs.

However, this does not imply that Maltese dogs are free from health problems that can shorten their lifespan.

Some common causes of death in Maltese dogs are heart disease, cancer, liver disease, kidney disease, and trauma.

To help your Maltese live a long and healthy life, you should provide proper care and regular check-ups with the veterinarian, feed them a well-rounded diet, keep them at a healthy weight, exercise them moderately, and protect them from accidents and injuries.

Are Maltese good with children and other pets?

Maltese dogs are generally peaceful and friendly with everyone, including children and other animals.

They are playful lively, and enjoy games of cleverness and dexterity.

However, they are also very delicate and sensitive, and they can be easily injured or frightened by rough handling or loud noises.

Therefore, they are unsuitable for families with young or rambunctious children who may not know how to treat them gently and respectfully.

Older children who are calm and careful can get along well with Maltese dogs as long as adults supervise them.

Similarly, Maltese dogs can coexist peacefully with other pets, especially if they are socialised from an early age.

However, they may not tolerate larger or more aggressive dogs who may see them as prey or toys.

It would help if you always kept your Maltese on a leash or in a fenced area when outside, as they can be vulnerable to attacks by bigger animals or birds of prey.

How should I groom a Maltese's long coat?

Maltese dogs have a beautiful white coat that is silky and straight. However, this coat also requires a lot of grooming to make sure it stays healthy and tangle-free.

It would be best to brush your Malteses' coat daily with a pin brush or a comb to remove dirt, mats, or loose hair.

You should also bathe your Maltese once a month or more often if they get dirty or smelly.

Use shampoo formulated explicitly for white coats, and rinse accurately to avoid detritus that can cause irritation or discolouration.

It would help to often trim your Malteses' nails to prevent cracking or splitting.

You may also need to cut the hair around their eyes, ears, mouth, feet, and rear end to keep them neat and sanitary.

Some owners prefer to clip their Malteses' coats short for easier maintenance, but this is optional and depends on your preference.

If you choose to do so, you should use professional clippers or scissors and follow the natural contours of your Maltese's body.

You can also take your Maltese to a professional groomer every few months for a more thorough grooming session.

In summary, the Maltese is an elegant and affectionate small breed dog with a rich history.

Their origins, role as companions, physical traits, grooming and exercise needs, age range, measurements, and potential health conditions make them a beloved choice for individuals and families seeking a loyal and elegant furry companion.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. For specific veterinary dog health advice, contact a veterinary pet healthcare provider

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mary puppins expert small dog breeds uk

Kate Phillips, Chief Editor

BSc (Hons), MSc

Kate is the UK's very own Mary Puppins, a professional Dog Nanny and expert in small breed dogs. With over 30 years' experience and successfully helping high profile celebrity pet parents raise their furry families, Kate shares her top tips with you. Kate guides readers on small breed dogs, dog health, dog training, dog nutrition, dog food, dog walks, dog accessories, dog enrichment, rescue dogs, dog behaviour, dog grooming and the best products for dog mums and dog dads to create the ultimate luxury lifestyle for their small dogs.


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