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The Maltese Information Center

The Wonderful Maltese

The Maltese is a small white dog in the toy group, and is named after the island of Malta in the central Mediterranean Sea. 

His stature is tiny at under 7 pounds and just 8 to 10 inches in height. The coat is white, a single layer, and able to grow long to floor length. Eyes are dark and the points (nose, lips, paw pads, and eye rims) are black. 

This breed was recognized by the AKC in 1888, and is a popular canine family member. Small, friendly, and loving, the Maltese ranks in the top 30 most popular breeds.
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New Right Now:

Maltese Arthritis - Starting with adults age 6, take preventative measures. And for all Maltese age 8+ learn about this disease that affects 80% of all canines of this age. 
When a Maltese Licks or Chews at the Paws - A helpful article that covers all acute and chronic reasons, along with exact remedies. 

Also New:

When a Maltese Licks or Chews at the Paws - A helpful article that covers all acute and chronic reasons, along with exact remedies. 
Training a Maltese that Dislikes People While Out on Walks - If your puppy or dog barks at or otherwise reacts negatively to people along the walking route, this article is for you. 
The 5 Best Types of Toys for Maltese - All toys are not created equal; these 5 types can fix teething woes, boredom, chewing urges, issues with being home alone, and creating a stronger bond with your puppy or dog. 
Caring for a Senior Maltese - A great article for owners with Maltese getting close to or over 8 years old. 
The Best Treats for a Maltese - Taking a look at what to avoid at all costs, and some truly wonderful options for an extra boost of nutrition and a well-deserved reward. 
Traveling with a Maltese - Helpful tips when taking a long car ride or bringing your Maltese onto an airplane with you.

Points of Interest

  • A carving on a ceramic urn, dating back to 500 BC depicts a dog that looks very similar to a Maltese. This was found in the ancient city of Vulci, in Northern Italy. 
  • Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, mentioned this breed, 'Melitaei Catelli' in 370 BC.  He compared the Maltese to a mustelid, which is a family of animals that includes ferrets and minks.
  • Over the centuries, the Maltese has been known by several different names. Long ago, he was known as Canis Melitaeus. Throughout the 1700’s, Roman Ladies Dog, Maltese Lion Dog and Ancient Dog of Malta were all designations for this breed.
  • Maltese dogs were not always white and could be found in many other solid and parti-colors. From 1902 until 1913, colored coats were accepted in show rings in the UK and up until 1950 in Australia.
  • Maltese dogs used to be larger. In the 1700's breeders decided to focus on developing a smaller sized version.


Pronunciation: Mall-TESE
Common Misspellings: Malteze, Malltese, Maultese, Mallteese
Alternative Names: Maltese Terrier, Bichon Maltiase
Breed Group: Toy
Weight: Under 7 lbs. (3.17 kg) (4 - 6 lbs. preferred in show)
Height: 8 - 10 inches (20.32 - 25.4 cm), measured from floor to withers
Origin: Malta - A small island in the Mediterranean Sea
Date of Origin: 1400 BC or earlier
Patronage: Italy
Ancient Names: Maltese Lion Dog
Purpose: Companion lap dog
Life Span: 12-14 years
Colors, Ancient Times: All colors
Colors, Modern Day: White | Tan or lemon markings on ears are permissible
Date of recognition: AKC:1888
Maturity: Adult at the one year mark
Litter size: 2-5
Shedding: Low
Traits: Affectionate, sweet-natured, eager, alert, intelligent
Maltese dog

Is a Maltese Right for You?

The Maltese is known for his sparkling personality and ease of fitting into any family situation. Extremely dedicated to his owners, this toy breed dog makes a wonderful family companion for those looking for a small pet. 

The breed does well in both single and multiple pet households. He gets along well with children; although due to his small size proper handling techniques and care methods must be taught. 

While this is an indoor dog, he is active and can have high energy levels.  Daily walks are recommended to help keep your Maltese happy and healthy. 

The white coat requires upkeep in regard to baths, brushings, and trims. If you are new to this breed, read about the pros and cons of having a Maltese

Most Popular Pages:

Maltese dog, red background
One of the hardest things to do is to leave the house when you know that your Maltese has trouble coping. When a dog has separation anxiety, being by himself brings about feelings of isolation that can be overwhelming. 

This can be both physically and emotionally stressful for a dog. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help with this. 
Maltese dog, black background

This breed can be very sensitive to the foods he eats, including many additives that can be found in both meals and traditional dog treats. Some ingredients can cause skin and coat issues, or upset stomach, among other things.

You'll want to choose your Maltese's food carefully to ensure proper nutrition, and offer flavors that are well-received. 
two Maltese dogs

There is a lot that goes into taking proper care of a Maltese puppy or dog. However, once you fall into a schedule, you'll find that it's not that difficult to stay on track for optimal health, happiness, and hygiene. 

This article covers a great guideline to follow in regard to feeding, exercise, baths, grooming, setting up the right environment, and more.
two Maltese dogs
Housebreaking a puppy is one of the most important aspects of any training that you will do. What you teach your Maltese, and how you go about doing it, will set up a foundation for life.This joint effort between the two of you does not need to be a stressful time.

If you prep for this and make sure that everyone in the household follows the guidelines, your Maltese will be sure to find success quickly. 

Important Dental Care

You'll want to keep a close eye on your Maltese's teeth and take steps to help prevent decay.

Plaque is constantly being produced and within just 3 days can start to harden into tartar. If this is not kept at bay, it can eat away at enamel, grow under the gum line, and lead to infections and eventual tooth loss.

There are steps you can do at home, including regular brushings and offering effective dental chews. There are also some water supplements that can offer even more protection.

More Care Related Articles

You'll want to be sure to cover all of the bases, for optimal health, happiness, comfort, and safety. 
This is a very active breed, known for his high energy level.

If a Maltese does not receive enough exercise, pent-up energy can be redirected to other areas, such as chewing or barking. 
This is a relatively healthy breed with an expected life span of 12 to 14 years.

However, as with any breed, there are some diseases and health conditions that the Maltese is prone to. This includes skin conditions, White Dog Shaker Syndrome, hip issues, and eye problems. 
Over the years, coloring has been bred out of the bloodline. 

While the most common color of this breed is solid white, there are some Maltese that have lemon or even a bit of tan on the ears and this is permissible in the AKC show ring.
While all dogs will be vocal once in a while, it will be time to step in if your Maltese is barking excessively. 

With the right training, you can help your puppy or dog quiet down if he is barking at night, at visitors, or even at nothing at all. 

Grooming Information

Unless you have your Maltese with a very short haircut, you'll find that hairs can tangle quickly; and no matter the coat length, it can tend to pick up debris quite easily, so you'll want to be sure to stick to a grooming schedule. 

Solid white dogs do require a bit more care and attention to keep the coat looking pure white, clean, and shiny. Care must be given in regard to the timing of baths and any products that you use on the skin or coat. 

Check out the main Maltese Grooming page, along with other grooming related pages: 
You May Also Like:
Maltese Appearance - How the Maltese compares to other breeds, size, color, and more.
Maltese Size - A look at both weight and height, under and over-sized. 
Maltese Allergies - Immediate relief, and steps to resolve chronic allergies.
Maltese Questions - A round-up of the most commonly asked questions, leading to more detailed articles.

Specific Information Regarding Maltese Puppies

Great tips and advice for bringing a new pup home and care during the first few months. 
Estimating how big a Maltese puppy is going to be and tracking growth rates.
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