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The Affectionate, Energetic Maltese Dog Breed: Personality, Care, Health, and Training Advice
Home Dog Breed The Affectionate, Energetic Maltese Dog Breed: Personality, Care, Health, and More

The Affectionate, Energetic Maltese Dog Breed: Personality, Care, Health, and More

by CareTips Dog
The Affectionate, Energetic Maltese Dog Breed: Personality, Care, Health, and More

The Maltese dog breed has a long and storied history as a companion dog to noble and royal families across the Mediterranean region. Their delicate beauty and sweet, gentle temperaments made them prized pets. Today, the Maltese remains a popular choice for families seeking a lively yet gentle toy breed.

Introduction The Maltese Dog Breed

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The Maltese is a small, compact toy breed weighing 4-7 pounds. They have a long, silky, white coat that hangs nearly to the ground. Their dark eyes and black button nose contrast sharply. The long, heavily feathered tail is carried over the back.


Despite their dainty size, lively, playful, and energetic. They are highly intelligent and bond strongly to their families. Tend to be eager to please and responsive to positive training methods. With proper socialization, they get along well with children and other pets.


A top choice among toy breeds, the Maltese ranks 33rd in AKC registration statistics. Their popularity extends worldwide thanks to their versatility, small size, and companionable nature. They excel in conformation, obedience, agility, and as therapy dogs.


The Maltese is affectionate, cheerful, and thrives on human companionship. They are energetic indoors but can adapt to apartments if exercised. Highly intuitive and eager to please but may be timid with rough handling. Early socialization is essential.


With proper preventative health and veterinary care, the average Maltese lifespan is 12-15 years. Some may live well into their late teens.

Coat Color

The signature coat is pure white. No other colors or markings are allowed in the breed standard. Occasional lemon or tan shading may occur around the ears as dogs mature but this is penalized in the show ring.

The Maltese is considered an ancient breed with no exact origin, though they likely arose from Spitz or spaniel ancestors. The quintessential toy companion breed. No outcrossing with other modern breeds is permitted.

Caring for Your Maltese Dog

Giving your Maltese the best care will reward you with a healthy, happy companion for years to come:


  • High-quality dry food formulated for toy breeds
  • Avoid fillers; focus on meat-based proteins
  • 1/2 to 1 cup divided into 2-3 small meals daily
  • Monitor weight as obesity is common


  • Access to safely enclosed outdoor space to play and potty
  • Indoors, provide toys for physical and mental engagement
  • Comfortable dog bed in a draft-free area of the home
  • Proper socialization to prevent shy or fearful behavior


  • Daily brushing and combing to prevent mats and tangles
  • Regular bathing every 1-3 weeks with high-quality dog shampoo
  • Nails trimmed every 2-3 weeks to maintain proper length
  • Routine dental care including brushing and professional cleanings

Preparing for Your Maltese

Here are a few tips to get you and your home ready for a Maltese:

  • Puppy-proof by keeping wires, toxins, and fragile items out of reach. Their small size leads them everywhere!
  • Invest in stain-removing cleaners for accidents during house training. Patience and consistency are key.
  • Stock up on grooming tools and accessories like brushes, combs, shampoo, nail clippers, and toothbrush. Regular grooming is essential.
  • Locate a veterinarian experienced in caring for toy breeds. Size-appropriate care is key to their health.
  • Pick out a comfortable crate for initial house training success and to prevent destruction when you are away. Can be prone to separation anxiety.

Common Health Issues:

  • Luxating patellas – loose kneecaps. Can cause lameness and arthritis.
  • Portosystemic shunt – abnormal blood vessel leads to liver problems.
  • Collapsing trachea – weak windpipe can restrict breathing. Use harness instead of collar.

Recommended Vaccines:

  • Core vaccines: Rabies, Parvo, Distemper
  • Non-core: Bordetella, Leptospirosis, Influenza
  • Follow your vet’s guidelines for the most appropriate vaccine schedule.

Finding Your Maltese (continued)

What to Look for:

  • Proof of current vaccinations and deworming. Avoid sickly pups.
  • Temperament – should be friendly and eager to engage. Make sure pup was socialized.
  • Only acquire from responsible, ethical breeders or rescues. Avoid pet stores and backyard breeders.

Naming Your Maltese

Picking the perfect name for your Maltese is fun! Here are some tips:

  • Short 1-2 syllable names are best for training purposes
  • Avoid names that sound like common commands to reduce confusion
  • Playful names like Buddy, Sammy, Coco or Dixie reflect their lively spirit
  • Inspiration from luxury brands they were associated with like Dior, Chanel, Armani
  • Check our list of popular Maltese names for more ideas

How can I stop my Maltese puppy from nipping or biting?

Redirect biting onto chew toys, never hands. Say “no bite” then ignore if it continues. Praise gentle play. Be patient – mouthing is common while teething. Never physically punish.

Are Maltese easy to train?

Yes, Tend to be very trainable using positive reinforcement techniques. Their eagerness to please makes training fun and effective. Focus on early socialization too.

How long do Maltese dogs live?

With proper preventative care, the average lifespan is 12-15 years. Some may live into their late teens or early 20s. Investing in their health pays off.

What is the temperament of the Maltese breed?

Despite their small size, lively, playful, loyal companions. They thrive on being close to their owners and are highly intuitive. Early socialization prevents shyness.

Are Maltese hypoallergenic?

While no dog is 100% hypoallergenic, shed very little and tend to release less dander. This makes them less likely to irritate allergies than many breeds.

Are Maltese good family dogs?

Yes, when properly socialized from a young age, do very well in families with children and other pets. However, their small size means young kids need supervision. They love being close to their people.

How much exercise does a Maltese need daily?

About 30 minutes of activity through short walks, indoor play and games keeps a Maltese healthy and content. They enjoy brisk walks but adapt well to apartment living if given adequate attention.

Do Maltese bark a lot?

Maltese can be prone to barking if left alone for long periods or not trained properly. Ensure they get enough companionship and use positive training to curb excessive vocalization. Meeting their needs prevents problem barking.

How often should a Maltese be groomed?

Daily brushing is ideal to prevent mats and tangles. Bathing every 1-3 weeks using a high-quality dog shampoo keeps their coat clean and shiny. Nails should be trimmed every 2-3 weeks as well. Professional grooming is recommended.

What health issues are common in Maltese dogs?

Luxating patellas, collapsing trachea, portosystemic liver shunts, and dental disease are among the most common health issues facing Maltese. Reputable breeders screen for genetic issues. Routine vet care identifies problems early.

By following our website, you can find the perfect dog breeds for you and provide them with the best possible dog care. Remember that owning a dog is a lifelong commitment that requires time, money, and patience. But it is also a rewarding experience that will bring you joy and companionship. All information in Dog care tips.

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