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Maltese is a cute and adorable breed with a luxurious and silky hair coat. These bright and cheerful small dogs are quite easy to carry. They are usually gentle towards children and can become best buddies of older children in no time. This toy breed is often associated with regality as well.

This dog breed is believed to have descended from Spitz-type European dog breeds. Evidences indicate that ancient Egyptians used to worship the refine dogs. Ancient poets, historians and Greek and Roman philosophers have mentioned this dog in their literatures too.

In earlier times, these dogs were believed to have healing powers. Treatment used to involve placement of the dog on the lap or chest on the patient to cure the ailment.

Physical Appearance

Maltese dogs are small in size and compact in build. The pendant-like, low set, drooping ears are usually heavily feathered. The typical Maltese nose is black in color. The expressive dark, round eyes surrounded by dark rims give away their lively and alert temperament. The silky, long hair coat is the main source of attraction that magically pulls everyone towards these dogs.

Color: Maltese dogs are pure white or cream in color.
Height: These dogs are usually 8 to 10 inches in height. Female Maltese may be a bit shorter, that is, 8-9 inches in height.
Weight: The ideal weight for Maltese dogs as well as bitches should remain less than 7 pounds. It can range between 4 to 7 pounds.

Health Problems

These dogs are sensitive to heat and should not be left in the sun for long. Sun exposure tends to cause sunburn along the hair parting.Plus, during rainy season, they should not be exposed to the damp environment as they tend to develop chills quite easily. Moreover, these dogs are susceptible to eye problems such as
Progressive Retinal Atrophy and eye infections.

Maltese dogs have delicate bones. Hence, they are prone to slipped kneecaps. Weak digestive system in these dogs can cause digestive problems from time to time. Dental issues are also quite common in these dogs. Hence, it is often recommended to feed them dry food along with the usual food as it does cause dental problems. Other health issues include respiratory and skin disorders.

Life Expectancy: The average lifespan of these wonderful companions is around 12 to 14 years.
Litter Size: The average litter size Maltese breed is 3 puppies.

Grooming Requirements

The straight and luxurious Maltese hair coat requires daily grooming. Careful brushing and combing is essential to maintain the coat in its original soft and silky condition. The coat tends to become fluffy and wavy when it is trimmed. Otherwise, the long coat is straight and flowing.

Hair trimming can be done every few weeks. In case of long hair, the hair on the head can be tied nicely to keep the hair away from eyes and enhance his appearance as well. They do not have undercoats and hence do not shed. Bathing or dry shampooing can be done on a regular basis to retain the shine of the coat.

Their nails should be trimmed at least once in a month’s time. Maltese dogs are prone to tearing and hence require daily eye cleaning to avoid peach colored staining on the white hair. As these dogs have long hair, it is essential to clean their ears regularly to remove the dead skin as well as hair from the inside of the ears to avoid infections. They are prone to periodontal issues as well. Hence, tooth brushing is another significant aspect of Maltese grooming.


Maltese dogs are generally well mannered, gentle, intelligent, energetic, playful, loving, trustful and brave in temperament. They are so active and energetic that even old age does not seem to affect their lively temperament. These smart dogs are intelligent enough to learn new tricks and commands quickly. Thus, these obedient dogs usually respond well to basic obedience training.

They are prone to excessive barking especially when neglected or left alone. They usually get along well with children unless teased unnecessarily. Same is the case with other pets in the house. It has been observed that pampering these dogs too much tends to make them over dependent and insecure.

Key Points

These dogs are well suited for apartment dwelling as they do not require vigorous physical activities. Simple daily walks are sufficient to keep them in good health. The Maltese dog breed is not suitable for hot and damp climates.

Therefore, indoor activities should be preferred over outdoor activities. Besides, difficulties might be encountered in terms of housebreaking. These lovely and cuddly dogs are quite fragile and need to be handled carefully, especially when around kids.