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Maltese Dog Breed Information

Size 8-10 inches (20-25 cm)
Weight 4-8 lbs (1.8-3.6 kg)
Origin Malta
Color White
Lifespan 12-14 years
Suitable as Companion dogs, therapy dogs and family dogs
Personality Lively, loyal, brave, confident

Malteser Photo: Olga Aniven/Shutterstock

Breed Characteristics

The Maltese enjoys its life as a lapdog, being pampered and admired. But these dogs have another, wilder side. They love running and playing, and are brave and confident - they’re not afraid of big dogs. Mollycoddling these dogs won’t do any good, and will only result in stress and unhappiness.

Top Activities

Playing Fetch, Search and Sniff, Dog Fishing


Malteser Photo: Olga Aniven/Shutterstock

Pros and Cons


  • Suitable for beginners
  • Doesn’t shed a lot
  • Doesn't need lots of exercise
  • Can use a litter box
  • Possibly suitable for people with allergies


  • Can be stubborn
  • Barks often
  • Lots of grooming required
  • Can be overprotective
  • Doesn't deal with wet and cold weather

Malteser Photo: deviddo/

Hypoallergenic Dogs?

Maltese dogs have no undercoat and hardly shed at all. This makes them suitable for some people with pet hair allergies.


The Maltese is a small, compact dog with an almost rectangular body. Their silky white fur can sometimes grow down to the floor. Their movements are very soft, lively and fluid. When they trot around, they almost look like they’re gliding above the ground.

Malteser Photo: deviddo/


Health and Care

Maltese dogs are generally healthy and robust dogs. They can develop knee problems if they get overweight. You should also regularly have their eyes checked, as their long fur can irritate their eyes.

Malteser Photo: deviddo/

History and Origin

The Maltese is one of the oldest toy dog breeds. Its origin isn’t completely clear. The story goes that they were discovered by Phoenician merchants and seafarers on Malta in around 1,500 BC. Other sources claim they come from the Croatian island of Mljet or the Sicilian town of Melita. This much is certain: from the Mediterranean, this charming dog breed quickly took over all of Europe, where they were especially loved as lapdogs by wealthy women.

Where Does The Name Come From?

Even if the Maltese comes from the island of Malta, its name probably comes from the word “málat”. This word means harbor and refuge. The Maltese mostly lived around harbor areas, where they “took care of” mice and rats, which often plagued these areas.

Comparable Breeds

Video: Is a Maltese the Right Dog Breed for Me?

Maltese Dog Breed

(Video opens on YouTube)


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