Small Dog Breeds > Maltese

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Maltese

The Maltese is a small dog breed commonly thought to have originated from the island of Malta dating back to 500 BC. The dog has had several names in the past, including: the “Roman Ladies’ dog,” the “Maltese Lion dog,” and the “ancient dog of Malta.” The dog is also thought to be a descendant of a Spritz-type dog from Swiss Lake Dwellers. Others have postulated that the dog is a descendant of the Tibetan Terrier.


Maltese are very playful and lively. They’re also bred to be cuddly companion dogs. Some of the dogs may get slightly aggressive toward smaller children, so supervision is suggested. The dogs love humans and love to stay near them. The dogs may suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for several hours. The dogs thrive indoors and in small yards and are ideal for apartment dwellers. Conversely, they do have a tendency to bark constantly. In some countries (e.g. South Korea and Australia), Maltese dogs are among the top dumped dogs.

The dogs have black button noses, brown eyes, and slightly rounded skulls. They are a compact dog whose length roughly equals their height. The dogs weigh from 3 to 10 pounds and stand 7 to 12 inches at the withers.

Coat and Color

Maltese dogs have a long, silky coat but no undercoat. There coats come in only one color: pure white. Despite the breed’s long hair, they have little or no shedding and are hypoallergenic.

The Maltese's hair should be brushed every other day and their teeth should be brushed weekly.
Height 7-12" at the withers
Weight 3-10 lbs
Life Span 12-15 years
Temperament Playful, lively
Hypoallergenic Yes
The breed’s most common ailment is tooth problems. Regular veterinary visits are necessary to prevent cavities from becoming infected and resulting in tooth loss. Some of this can be minimized by weekly teeth brushing with a sof-bristled tooth brush and dog toothpaste.

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