Maltese Dog Breed: What You Need to Know

The Maltese is a wonderful family dog

Small and adorable, the Maltese is just as sweet as possible. This small dog has a silky coat that grows long and lovely. It’s a tiny dog with a very compact body and a very big personality. It’s not uncommon to see a Maltese with hair that’s a bit bushy and curled but if you plan on making yours into a show dog, you will want to ensure that their fur is cut long and hangs very straight. Since the average owner of this particular breed is just a family that wants a little lap dog to keep at home for entertainment and love, a shorter ‘do is more appropriate because it allows for easier grooming.

It’s been said that Maltese is an Italian dog with a little bit of miniature spaniel and poodle heritage, though it’s not something that has been confirmed completely. Its name derives from Malta, which is the location it was first officially recognized as a breed, and it’s the breed that many royal families choose to call their own across the world. If you’re considering this breed for your family, there are a few important points that you will want to consider ahead of time.

Temperament and Personality

The Maltese is a darling little dog, and we’d go so far as to call it a spirited little darling. This is a dog with a big personality despite not having a very big body. It’s a playful dog that wants to spend as much time enjoying your love and attention as possible. It’s sweet and very gentle, which makes it a dog that’s great with kids both large and small, and it loves just about everyone. Play a game with this breed and it will fall madly in love with you for the rest of its life. It has a very trusting personality, which means it needs to live in a home with people that will not let him down. The Maltese is very intelligent, too, so it can be easily trained and taught to obey, but it does need a very dominant master or it will learn quickly that it can get away with many things and that never ends well.

If this breed is allowed to think that he runs the house, he will begin to suffer from something called Small Dog Syndrome. Laugh, but it’s real. The dog will take over the role as master of the house and it will begin to exhibit numerous behavioral issues, making it dangerous to leave the dog around your kids or even certain adults as he can become aggressive.This sweet breed is your quintessential lap dog in that it wants to cuddle, it loves to sleep and it loves affection. It wants to give affection and receive affection, so be sure that you are able to give your dog as much attention as possible.

Potential Issues

No one is perfect, and the Maltese is no exception to that rule. This sweet dog is cute and lively, fun and fearless, but it’s also a dog and that means that it has a few potential issues of its own to work out. For one, many owners state that this breed is not as easy to housetrain as other dogs. It, for some reason, feels the need to just go to the bathroom wherever it sees fit and has no real issue with the fact that it’s supposed to go outside. It can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. The key to successfully potty training a Maltese is to keep consistent with the rules and create a very specific potty schedule. This repetition helps the dog learn the rules.

Another issue is that this is not a dog that is fond of sudden and sharp noises. It causes the dog to become very suspicious and could cause him or her to go on a tangent barking, and it’s not always easy to stop. Having once had a Maltese, anytime someone pulled into our drive and he heard the door shut he became overwhelmed, suspicious and alarmed and barked for 10-15 minutes at a time.

Finally, this is not a dog you want to give table food to at any point. This particular breed often prefers to eat table food to dog food and is very likely to actually stop eating dog food in favor of table food in an effort to have what he wants and to have it his way. This can backfire significantly and cause your dog to become a very picky eater and potentially cause some health issues.

Size, Lifestyle and Expectations

The Maltese is not a large dog. In fact, you can count on the fact that your dog will stand anywhere form 8-10 inches high and weigh between 6 and 9 pounds. These are very small dogs, and it is important that you always keep an eye on this dog as it’s likely to get stuck in places that it might not be able to get out and if a small child were to fall on top of the Maltese it can lead to health issues or even death. This is also a long-living dog, which means you’re getting yourself into a 15-18 year commitment with this breed.

The Maltese might not be a large dog, but it loves to exercise. It needs to be taken for a walk on a daily basis, and it needs to play. Playtime is its preferred method of exercise, which means you can kill two birds with one stone when you give this little dog some one-on-one activity and love. It’s important to note that a Maltese not taken on at least one walk a day is very likely to behave inappropriately at home, which means it’s time for everyone to get out and exercise.

The good news is that the Maltese can live just about anywhere. It is not the kind of dog that requires a huge yard in which to run and play. It’s the kind of dog that is happy in a small house, a large house, a house without a yard and a house with a yard. They are very adaptable.


The one thing that people consider when looking at the Maltese as a potential pet is grooming. This breed requires a daily brush and it also requires that you clean his eyes on a daily basis so that they do not become overwhelmed with dirt and goop and so that they remain healthy. With such a long beard, it’s also important that your dog’s beard is cleaned after every meal to prevent stains and stench. This is a dog that requires frequent bathing and shampooing, and it’s what you might refer to as a high-maintenance dog.

Maltese Health Concerns

The biggest issue with the Maltese is that this dog is prone to a number of breed-specific health concerns. One is sunburn where the hair parts. Additionally, the Maltese is more likely to develop eye issues, skin conditions and even respiratory issues over time due to its small size and genetics. These are also dogs that have poor oral health, which means that frequent visits to the vet to ensure that the dog is healthy are a must. Though dry food can help with dental issues, too.

Photo by Getty Images

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.