Beloved companions to princes and princesses for well over 2,000 years, Maltese know how to behave: They are gentle, loving, obedient and well-mannered creatures that love attention and affection and know how to return to favor. However, Maltese have a fearless energy that makes them slightly more of a handful than your typical, docile lapdog. They love to run around in the yard, play chase and hop around in mud puddles. But, when playtime is over, they are superb cuddlers.
- 4 - 6 pounds
- 8 - 10 inches
Ideal Human Companions
- Families with older children
- Kings and queens
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- Long, silky coat
- Loyal and trusting
- Lively and active
What They Are Like to Live With
Maltese are perfect for city-dwellers. They are quiet, gentle, polite and happy with daily 20-30 minute walks. In fact, some Maltese even prefer small spaces (and small yards) to large ones. Great with children, especially older ones, Maltese are confident around other dogs without being overconfident—their fearlessness tends to make them self-assured rather than defensive.
Things You Should Know
Though a Maltese looks like a pet that needs pampering, they are actually quite sturdy and secure. Besides, too much pampering could make them irritable. Give them lots of love and attention and they will always respond in kind.
Maltese get along famously with children, but make sure children respect their space and play with them properly. Known for their good manners, Maltese demand a certain amount of respect and good treatment.
As you can tell by looking at them, Maltese need daily grooming. Their coat is silky and very soft, so brush with care. They do not shed too much, making them a good choice for allergy sufferers. Also remember to clean their eyes, ears and beards regularly.
Maltese can live as long as 18 years. Generally healthy, they can suffer from dental problems. Dog toys and biscuits that promote dental health can help keep their teeth strong and clean.
One of the world’s oldest breeds, Maltese have been beloved companions for nearly 3,000 years. Roman poets wrote about them and Greeks had special tombs built for them. For centuries they have pranced around palaces, frolicked in royal gardens and strolled through stately homes. Maltese made their American debut in Westminster’s first show in 1877. One year later the AKC registered the breed. To this day, they remain a popular show dog and pet.
The Look of a Maltese
Maltese are toy-sized dogs covered in long, silky white (or cream-colored) hair. They have medium-sized heads with rounded skulls, hanging ears, tapered muzzles and dark noses and eyes. Maltese carry their heads high on their long necks, and their plumed tails carry over their backs. This gives them a distinguished, aristocratic look. Since their hair hangs so low and their gait is so smooth, Maltese seem to float across the floor.
Talk About Malteses
Amazing therapy dog
I am a young person with special needs and mental health issues, and I have a Maltese as a therapy and companion dog. He is very loyal and caring and watches over me. He is the very best thing that ever happened for me.
~Mile C., owner of a Maltese
A very perceptive breed
I have a Maltese. I love this breed because they are adorable, small and so much like a human...no, wait, they are actually better than a human. They seem to know what you want and are thinking before you actually know yourself. They are very perceptive to your feelings.
I can say that he allows me to live with him. He greets me at the door with a wagging tail and can't wait to sit on my lap and lick my face. He only asks that I feed and walk him and at night he likes to cuddle on the couch and fall asleep in the crook of my knee. One thing to know is that they need to be groomed every 6 to 8 weeks if you want to have them keep that cute little Maltese style.
I would tell anyone to definitely get a Maltese. They are dedicated, smart, great with kids and they don't shed. I would positively get another Maltese - they are the best.
~Joanne L., owner of a Maltese
A Maltese is a must!
My little Maltese, Sweet Pea, is the most wonderful dog in the world. He is extremely intelligent, affectionate, loving and kind. I consider him perfect. HE is my owner and I love him with all of my heart. He has a dog stroller and he sleeps in a play pen, to keep him off the floor and away from drafts. In the evening, I pick him up and rock him while we watch TV. He is a big fan of Animal Planet and watches it with great intensity. Everyone who meets him just loves him. I would not have any other breed of dog. Love them and they will love you back 10 times more!
~K L., owner of a Maltese
A sweet therapy dog
I got a Maltese dog for my fourth birthday. We named him Tino, after Totino's pizza! I agree with the therapy dog thing -- he was a super therapy dog.
I am visually impaired and I was teased and kind of lonely while my Mom traveled for work. Tino was always there. He'd be waiting on the steps for me almost every day when I got home from school. My Mom says he'd be there a half-hour before I got home. He loved car rides. When my mom jingled the keys, he'd be right there! My mom was even closer to him than I was.
Unfortunately he passed away when I was 11. That was 28 years ago, but I still miss him and can't wait to see him again!
~Niki M., owner of a Maltese (former owner)