Maltese Breed Information
If you are looking for a small, cute dog that also makes a great friend and companion, the Maltese may be just the pet for you. Considered a toy dog, the Maltese is known by its long, white hair that has a silk-like quality.
The coat hangs softly down each side of the dog from a center part, making for a very photogenic appearance. The breed originated in the Mediterranean near Italy and the island of Malta, becoming quite popular in the United States.
Keep in mind that apart from the beauty of the breed, the Maltese is a gentle and affectionate pet as well, eager to please its owner.
People who bring a Maltese into their homes find that this breed is lively and playful and, despite its size, seems not to be afraid in most situations.
This little dog is sometimes described as “jaunty” when it moves because of its lively and energetic gait. The Maltese is one of the gentlest of breeds as well, though your pet will probably not be timid. In fact, some owners report that their Maltese is generally without fear in spite of its size. Sometimes, the Maltese can have trouble tolerating children or other dogs while being thrilled to be around older people in the family. Therefore, early socialization is essential.
They will do well in an apartment and should be reasonably easy to train. They are quite intelligent and enjoy learning, especially if the tasks are in the form of a game. They will be protective and bark at people or other animals that seem to threaten their territory.
Maltese Size and Color
Think of a small dog, considered a toy breed, and think of long, silky white hair, and you will have a good picture of the typical Maltese. The long coat generally falls to each side from a center part. They can weigh from 3 pounds to 10 pounds with adults in the 4 to 8 pound range most common.
The color should be white, though some have a light yellow or lemon tinge to the ears. The Maltese has long ears that drop down and very dark eyes. One interesting note on the appearance of this breed is that the nose can become lighter in color, even pink, in winter and then turn darker again with exposure to the sun in summer.
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Maltese Feeding and Grooming Requirements
The Maltese coat is considered hair, not fur, and shedding is seldom a problem, according to many experienced owners. In addition, those who are allergic to dogs in general may not have problems with the Maltese.
They are one of the few breeds considered hypoallergenic. Regular grooming and attention is necessary to keep the long coat from matting. However, there is no undercoat to handle. It may be necessary to watch for tear staining around the eyes, a common condition with this breed but regular cleaning should take care of most of this.
The Maltese is a very healthy breed, with few natural health problems. However, some individual dogs can be prone to progressive retinal atrophy, an eye disease that can gradually worsen. Some may have difficulty with digestion, so it may be best to consult with your breeder and veterinarian to get your pet on a proper diet. They may not tolerate very rich diets or diets that are heavy in grain content.
Maltese Exercise Needs
Though the Maltese may be subject to sunburn along the part in its long coat and does not do well in extreme cold, they will enjoy the occasional walk outside. This dog is very active indoors, doing well without a large yard. Now, the Maltese does not handle damp conditions so make sure your pet is always comfortable.
Generally, your Maltese would enjoy regular walks and love to play and jump about. Most owners say that it takes very little effort to keep this breed satisfied in the exercise department because it is so active indoors and seem to be constantly in motion.
Read More About Maltese
- Maltese : 10 Most Common Questions
- Maltese Training Guide
- Maltese Health Guide
- Owning a Maltese : Breeder Recommendations