Country of OriginItaly
Nicknames and Other NamesSleeve Dog
Maltese Terrier
The ancient dog of Malta
The Roman Ladies’ Dog
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Breed TypePurebred
GroupToy Group
Companion Group
Bred ForFamily Companion
Life Span12-15 years
Ideal WeightUnder 7 pounds (male and female)
Ideal Height7-9 inches (male and female)
Fur TypeLong, flat, silky, double coat
Common ColorsWhite, White and Tan. White and Lemon
MarkingsBlack Points
AvailabilityWiddely available
AchievementsGreek constructed a tomb for their
Suitable for ApartmentsYes
Used in World WarNo
Most Similar ToBichon Frise

Maltese, which is also known as Bichon Maltese is a small dog which is a very friendly and gentle dog. This breed is known by many names all around the world. Some of them are the Maltese Spaniel, the Maltese Lion Dog, the Ancient Dogge of Malta, the Melita Dog, the Melitae Dog, the Roman Ladies’ Dog, the Shock Dog but they are most famous as Maltese.

Maltese are covered with long and silky hair from head to foot. The skull part is slightly rounded with small and round eyes that are not set too far. The ears are droopy and are low set that is heavily feathered with long hair. The height is proportional to the legs and they have a tail which is dense with hair and plumped over the back.

Origin and History

Maltese is an ancient dog breed whose exact origin is not confirmed but it is believed that they are from Malta, a tiny island South of Sicily, Italy. They were possibly brought by Phoenicians and was spread around by them. Maltese was kept as a family companion and as a symbol of a fashion statement in its city, Malta. they were on the verge of extinction, but Chinese breeder kept on protecting them after that.

Maltese was first seen in the United State in the late 1800s. The American Kennel has recognized Maltese in 1888 as a member of the Toy group.

Is Maltese Child-Friendly?

Maltese is a very friendly and gentle dog that gets along with children very well. But, Maltese is a small dog and children might play rough sometime or younger children might fall upon them which may injure him. So, they are best suited in the house with older children who know to approach dogs and how to treat them.

Maltese is child friendly
Maltese Playing with children on the beach.
Image Source: Instagram-@maltese_melzinha

Temperament, Personality, and Behavior

Temperament: The temperament of Maltese is gentle and playful. Although they are gentle, they are not fearful of larger dogs and stand in front of them challenging and often forgets that they are small. It is very loving with family and get well with strangers if socialized and introduced properly.

Behavior: Maltese has a sweet nature and are very welcoming of guests. However, they are wary of activity going around the surrounding which makes them a good watchdogs. It is best suited to live at home where there are home parents and old retiree who stays at home often. They might face separation anxiety if they are left alone for a longer period of time.

Personality: Maltese has a charming personality as a toy breed. They are intelligent, responsive and trusting of their family members. They love spending time with their family and can sit all day long by their side. However, They need exercise at least once a day even a walk of 15 minutes will do.


Maltese is a highly trainable dog breed. With some treats and praises, it can be trained easily. But, treat them gently as harsh and force hand can scare them and may not be able to catch the task. You should be very gentle with them and the training session should not be taken long. Include playtime in its training to keep his interested and focussed.


  • Maltese is a very popular toy breed of American Kennel Club which ranks 33 out of 193 (as of March 2019) registered Breed.
  • The Greek constructed a tomb for their Maltese after its death.
  • The United Kennel Club has registered Maltese under Companion group.
  • Maltese average life span is between 12-15 years.

Health Issues

General HealthHealthy
Common Health IssuesCollapsed Trachea, Patellar Luxation,
Reverse Sneezing, White Dog Shaker Syndrome
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Vaccination RequiredCanine Parainfluenza, Rabies,
Canine Distemper,
Canine Parvovirus, Leptospirosis,
Kennel Cough, Canine Coronavirus
SheddingNone to Minimal
DroolingLow Drooler
GroomingAverage Grooming Required
Weight Gain PotentialAverage
Separation AnxietyHigh Chance
Diets and SupplementsProtein: 18%
Fat: 5%
Milk Thistle
Digestive Enzymes, Probiotics
Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The Maltese is prone to the hereditary health condition and sometimes even some canine diseases which are listed below:

  • Patellar Luxation: The patellar luxation is the health condition which affects knee cap due to the dislocation of the kneecap bones. It causes pain to the dogs and if it gets bad, they will not be able to walk. So, it should be treated on time before it gets worse.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This disease can be dangerous which can cause blindness if not treated in the early stage. This might cause due to improper balance diet.
  • Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia is caused by low blood sugar. The symptoms include weakness, a weird walk, and confusion. If these signs are seen on your dog, visit a local veterinarian.


Maltese comes in following colors and markings:

  • White
  • White & lemon
  • White & Tan
  • Black points marking on the body


Cost: The average cost of the Maltese puppy is between $500-$700. If the quality of the breeder is high, the cost may rise up to $15000.

Size: The average height of a Maltese is between 7-9 inches. The average weight is 7 pounds and sometimes even under 7 pounds.

Similar Dog Breed to Maltese

Silky Terrier similar dog to Maltese

Silky Terrier

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