The Maltese: A Complete Guide

Last Updated:

With an aristocratic aura, the Maltese are the kind of dog one would want by their side through thick and thin.

As far as canines go, this is a truly impressive breed. Exactly what qualities and traits make it so special will be elaborated further on in this article, but to summarize, you ought to know one thing for sure: Do not be fooled by the looks.

Despite its tiny body, the Maltese are an agile and vigorous breed.

Its elegance is evident in its sprightly gait, but the Maltese hold several other qualities that one cannot judge solely by its appearance. The lively personality of the Maltese beckons us humans to instantly make friends with it.

The phrase “good things come in small packages” is perhaps the aptest way to describe a Maltese.

If you’re searching for a dog that is both active and, at the same time, very gentle and calm with the world, the Maltese will be the perfect friend for you!

A very small white Maltese puppy
Maltese is a high-spirited and agile little dog.

That said and done, you need to do some homework on the breed, since purchasing a dog is a huge investment in itself.

To raise the dog and give it the love and affection it requires is an entirely different responsibility altogether.

This guide will serve as a handbook to those of you who are seriously considering getting a Maltese.

The decision is undoubtedly very promising and exciting, but there are a lot of considerations to keep in mind before you bring the puppy home.

From selecting a breeder to ensuring that you have what it takes to keep a Maltese, to taking care of it like it was your own family, this guide will lead you through every step of the way.

Without wasting any time, let us start with some basic knowledge of what to expect before and after you make this friendly fellow a part of your life.

The Maltese Puppies – Before You Buy…

If you’re reading this article, you may have already decided you want to get a Maltese.

Even if that isn’t so, there are certain things you need to be sure about before you start your search for a top-quality Maltese pup.

To get you started, here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • How much does the average Maltese puppy cost?
  • Will I be able to find a trusted Maltese breeder?
  • Do I have all that I need to raise a Maltese puppy?

Your answers to these questions will clear any doubts you might be having about bringing a Maltese into your family.

What price are the Maltese puppies?

Maltese puppies are particularly expensive, owing to their popular demand as well as their upkeep costs.

Depending on whether or not it is purebred, a Maltese pup can cost you as low as 150 euros and as high as anything north of 500 euros.

In dollars, you can expect to pay around $600 to 800 for the average Maltese pup.

How to find reputable Maltese breeders?

A Maltese with long white hair
Maltese can quite literally control its owners with its looks.

There are a lot of factors that should be kept in mind before deciding on a breeder that you can trust and are most comfortable with.

The following are some pointers that you should consider:

  • The most surefire way of finding the best breeder for a Maltese puppy is to refer to AMA (American Maltese Association).

A breeder who abides by the code of ethics of the association will leave no room for doubt about his/her authenticity.

  • Another crucial factor to be considered is the breeder’s ability and willingness to provide proof of health tests and other important certifications pertaining to breeding rights.
  • The breeder should be able to answer all queries that you may have regarding the Maltese puppy. Breeders that are genuine and honest will act more as mentors rather than as sellers and cater to all of your concerns regarding the breed.

A red flag when it comes to breeders is if they try to woo you by using the term “teacup Maltese”.

Precedence has proved that the teacup Maltese is merely a marketing ploy targeted specifically at buyers who can get easily fooled into thinking they’re being sold an exotic and rare kind of Maltese.

The best way to tell a good breeder from a disreputable one, especially if you’re searching online, is the availability of exactly the kind of puppy you want, as well as an abundance of puppies available on the website for you to choose from.

Such conveniences are only associable with disreputable breeders.

3 Little-known facts about the Maltese puppies

  • Teacup Maltese aren’t rare, they are unhealthy.

The term Teacup Maltese is widely known to be an extremely tiny kind of Maltese, even smaller in size than the normal Maltese.

However, the small size of the puppy is not something to be impressed by, but is, in fact, a matter of concern. A severely tiny puppy will usually be plagued with worrying health issues and won’t live its usual lifespan.

  • Be careful not to spoil your puppy.

Although it may look cute and easy to keep, training is as important a part of the Maltese’s upbringing as it would be for any other dog.

This is a strong-willed dog and has the potential to develop a stubborn streak if pampered and given in to more often than required.

  • It is best to keep Maltese away from young children

Owing to the tiny size of the Maltese, families with young children are advised against getting this dog as a pet.

The reason for this is that children can get excited and mishandle the little puppy, which gives rise to the risk of the Maltese being dropped or walked over by other members of the household.

Physical Traits of the Maltese

Two small Maltese dogs on a couch
The Maltese seem cute and easy to keep.

The most appealing physical trait of the Maltese is its long, silky white fur coat. Underneath that thick layer of fur is a tiny, but a compact body.

When a Maltese moves, it gives the appearance of a cloud of white fur flowing about on the floor with an effortless and fluid gait.

How big is a full-grown Maltese?

The Maltese are a light dog, weighing about 4 lbs. to 7 lbs.

As one of the shortest dog breeds, the Maltese stand only between 8 to 10 inches tall, which comes down to a height of even shorter than one foot.

What is the life expectancy of the Maltese?

The average lifespan of the Maltese breed is between 12 and 15 years.

In exceptional cases, a Maltese can live up to 18 years, which is more than most other dog breeds.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Maltese

As a dog belonging to the toy breed, the Maltese are one of the most lively, playful, and intelligent specimens of its kind.

This is a devoted lap dog that will find comfort by merely sitting next to its owner and please him or her.

Due to its friendly nature, the dog also has no trouble bonding with other animals, canine or not.

Having said that, it must be noted that this is a highly impressionable dog. The personality that a Maltese develops is largely a result of the behavior of other humans around it and the environment that it has been raised in.

Moreover, a lot will depend on the way you train your Maltese puppy. Be careful what you feed it, otherwise, it can turn into a picky eater.

Additionally, the Maltese are easy to train, and owners can teach their pets delightful tricks that not only entertain people of the household but also keep the Maltese’s mind running and occupied.

The key to raising a Maltese is to establishing certain boundaries around the house and making very clear who the Alpha is.

Failure to do so can result in the Maltese developing a personality disorder called Small Dog Syndrome, where the Maltese are led to believe that it has the dominant, upper hand against its owner.

The worst thing you could do with a Maltese is to over-pamper it or protect it excessively. Such human behaviors will induce similar qualities in the dog, except they will manifest tenfold, and can lead to excessive barking and separation anxiety.

The Maltese Diet

The ideal diet for a dog of this size is about a quarter to a half cup of good-quality dry dog food, split into two servings throughout the day.

Get a high-quality brand of dog food that is specific to this breed, and make sure that your Maltese does not overeat.

How much Exercise does a Maltese need?

Like all dogs, the Maltese need its everyday walks. These dogs have so much energy in them that only playtime cannot satiate their daily needs to roam about.

A lack of walk can translate into behavioral issues for the dog, which is why it is best for them to be let out into a fenced-in lawn.

They’re susceptible to changes in weather, particularly damp weather, but that should not keep you from taking your dog out for a walk. A simple solution to this is to get a nice little raincoat for your Maltese.

You also need to make sure that the Maltese get enough sunlight. A definite way of detecting that your dog needs some essential vitamin D is if its nose starts to fade in color. A healthy Maltese will have a pure black nose.

Moreover, the dog will mostly be found on its paws, romping about the house. Since it is also very active inside the house, you can incorporate indoor games in its playtime routine that exercise both its mental and physical functions.

The Maltese Health and Conditions

Some common health issues that the Maltese can suffer from include loss of hearing, dental issues, and shaker syndrome.

The breed is prone to several minor health problems like allergies, itchy skin, knee-joint diseases that may require expensive surgery, and other diseases related to the eye.

For a proper diagnosis, a vet might run some tests for the knees, eyes, and thyroids on your Maltese.

My final thoughts on the MalteseA small white Maltese looking at you

After having read the guide, and learned about the aforementioned tips, you would have surely come to a decision.

If you’re still at a crossroads, our final word on the Maltese might help solve the dilemma for you.

In terms of maintenance, the dog does not require a lot of stamina of physical effort on behalf of the owner.

However, rest assured that this is not a dog that can or should be left alone for long periods of time.

Giving it lots of attention and, at the same time, a lot of space to carry out its activities is one of the few efforts that you would have to make once you start living with a Maltese.

Not that giving it attention is a hard task. Complete with its quirks and goofy tricks, the minute toy dog manages to steal the spotlight, and will always beckon you to play with it.

For people looking for a faithful and active companion to stick by their side, the Maltese are the perfect lap dog.

A high-spirited and agile dog, it will excel at sports and other games that tap into its curiosity and urge it to solve a set of problems.

The Maltese thrive in an environment that induces learning and is most responsive to non-forceful methods of training.

The eyes of the Maltese would make anyone fall for this dog every time they looked at it. So be sure that once you set your eyes on a Maltese, you wouldn’t be able to turn back from the decision to bring it home.

Such is the innocence, and sheepishness of the Maltese that it can quite literally control its owners with its looks. But we can’t even complain!

The Maltese is confident and at peace with the universe, and has an aristocratic aura about it that would make anyone want to put it on their lap and show their puppy off to the world!

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3