The Ultimate Guide: Maltese

7 minute read
Post Thumbnail
The Ultimate Guide_ Maltese
By LITTLE PUPPY PAWS | February 22, 2023
Share on

The Maltese are a gentle but playful breed that has captured the hearts of families worldwide with their cuddly appearance and outgoing personality. This breed has noble roots and is truly an amazing animal. But what must you know about this breed to make sure they are properly cared for?


The Maltese have happily traded in their traditional position at the foot of the throne for a cozy spot on the couch in modern times. However, Maltese still take pleasure in being in the spotlight. With hundreds of organizations devoted to the breed’s popularity, this breed is a favorite of dog show enthusiasts.

What is a Maltese?

The Maltese have had many names throughout its long history, including the Melitae Dog, Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta, the Roman Ladies Dog, The Comforter, the Spaniel Gentle, the Bichon, the Maltese Lion Dog, and the Maltese Terrier. Today, they are known as the Maltese.


This classy toy dog breed is known for the silky white hair that covers its body. The coat is thick and straight and reaches the ground ultimately. Maltese used to come in various colors, but nowadays, they are only ever white. A well-built Maltese moves with the appearance of floating beneath his white hair cloud. The Maltese shed little because he lacks an undercoat, and many believe the breed is hypoallergenic.


The Maltese, however, is more than his coat. The creature’s slightly rounded skull completes the picture, black nose, drop ears, dark, watchful eyes, short, straight legs, and a graceful tail. He is a loyal, sweet, intelligent dog who loves his owners. He’s also a good choice for apartment or condo living because he’s among the smallest toy breeds. The Maltese are intelligent dogs who make a good watchdog wherever he lives because he is sensitive to their surroundings.


Maltese can be very spirited despite their appearance of delicacy and aristocracy. If their efforts are appreciated, they pick up new skills quickly. Maltese need a lot of human interaction and experience separation anxiety because they have a long history of being companion dogs. They can bark and become destructive if left unattended for several hours daily.


Every breed is flawed, and Maltese occasionally have issues with other dogs or young children, especially if their owners have overindulged them. If this happens, they may become fiercely protective, barking or even biting if they feel their relationship with their beloved human family is in danger from other animals or people.


But because they are so tiny and easily hurt, even tolerant Maltese is not a good choice for households with young children. Like all dogs, they must be taught their proper place in your home and undergo basic obedience training and appropriate socialization.

Where Did the Maltese Come From?

A toy breed with a history that dates back at least two millennia, the Maltese dog is one of the oldest. In the ancient, great cultures of Greece, Rome, and Egypt, artists, poets, and writers immortalized this small dog. Aristotle made mention of them. In contrast to the Greeks, who built tombs for their Maltese dogs, the Egyptians appear to have valued these canines based on depictions of them in artifacts. Many Europeans believed the Maltese had the power to heal people of disease and would put one on a sick person’s pillow. This belief originated with the Egyptians and spread throughout Europe centuries later. Because of this, one of its names, The Comforter, was inspired. Even before the Christian Era, the breed was common in Mediterranean cultures.


The Maltese dog’s origins are unknown, despite his prominent place in history. Many people think that the breed originated from dogs similar to spitz or spaniels on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. Others contend that he originated in Asia and contributed to the development of many of the smaller Asian dogs, while still others assert that he was created in Italy.


The Maltese were prosperous wherever he came from. He had gained a secure place in the arms and hearts of French aristocrats by the 15th century. During Henry VIII’s reign, Maltese immigrants began to arrive in the British Isles. The Maltese had established itself as a favorite pet of aristocratic and royal ladies by the end of the 16th century. Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, and Queen Victoria all adored the little dog. These little dogs were used by many painters, including Sir Joshua Reynolds and Goya, to depict beautiful women.


The Maltese were almost extinct in the 17th and 18th centuries when attempts were made to breed him to be the size of a squirrel, although he survived the fall of the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages. Breeders attempted to save the breed after this nearly disastrous experiment by crossing it with poodles, miniature spaniels, and East Asian miniature dogs. The Maltese became so diverse that several new breeds were created. Many believe the Maltese breed is related directly to the Bichon Frise, Bolognese, and Havanese breeds.


The Maltese, as we know him today, was created by English breeders. Today’s Maltese in the U.S. can trace their ancestry to English imports. In the late 1800s, Maltese was introduced to the United States. They were entered in the 1870s in the first Westminster Kennel Club exhibitions.


Until the 1950s, the number of Maltese dogs registered with the AKC grew very slowly. The breed has grown in popularity since then. At dog shows, Maltese are one of the breeds that spectators are most drawn to, and they frequently take first place in the Toy Group. They have also succeeded dramatically in the “Best in Show” competition.

What Do They Look Like?

The height and weight of Maltese dogs are limited to seven to twelve inches and four to eight pounds, respectively. They fit snugly on your lap because of their size. Their most recognizable feature is their long, silky white coat hanging to the ground. Although they were specifically bred only to be this color, they originally came in colors other than white.


They do not shed much and do not have an undercoat. However, to prevent mat formation, their coat requires routine brushing. To keep their long hair out of their eyes, they can wear a topknot or have it cut short in a style known as a puppy cut, which makes them look adorable at any age.


The compact bodies with sloping shoulders, adorable floppy ears, and tufted tails that curl over the back of Maltese dogs are all distinguishing features. With a slightly rounded head, a black nose, and brown eyes, they have a pleasingly proportioned appearance.

What is the Temperament of a Maltese?

The Maltese has a cheerful personality and is a natural ham. He is people-oriented and responds well to training and positive reinforcements like food rewards, praise, and play.


Maltese people are fearless and believe all people and animals are their friends. They are well known for always getting their way, even from those who don’t intend to spoil them. They are adorable.


Heredity, education, and socialization are a few of the variables that have an impact on temperament. Good-tempered puppies are playful and curious and eager to approach people and be petted. Instead of picking the aggressive or corner-hiding puppy, go with the middle-of-the-road pup.


To make sure the parents have pleasant temperaments and you feel comfortable with them, you should always meet at least one of the parents. Usually, the mother is the available one. For a more accurate assessment of a puppy’s future traits, meeting the parents’ siblings or other family members can be beneficial.


The Maltese need early socialization, or exposure to a variety of people, sights, sounds, and experiences, when they are young, just like every other breed of dog. Socialization is important to ensure that your Maltese puppy develops into a well-rounded dog.


He should start by enrolling in a kindergarten class for puppies. Regularly hosting guests, taking him to crowded parks and dog-friendly shops, and taking leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will help him hone his social skills.

Are They Easy to Train?

Although they are simple to train, Maltese have a stubborn nature that is challenging to overcome. It would be best if you never treated this breed harshly or negatively corrected them, no matter how challenging the situation becomes. Despite their small size, puppies have a fearless demeanor, so don’t let them intimidate you. Maltese puppies are tenacious and will not give up easily.


As their only means of defense, these breeds view their teeth as weapons. They frequently turn to bite and bark if they are cornered. These Maltese will immediately go into defense mode if you unintentionally frighten them.

Why is Training a Maltese Important?

There is no denying that these breeds are excessively amiable and get along well with strangers. This is why it’s important to train your dog correctly. Additionally, they are not remarkably tolerant of young children, puppies, or other dogs.


If you spoil your Maltese, they will feel encouraged to keep acting this way. They start to bite and bark to rule your family as the alpha. Every pet, even Maltese, must have at least one family member who intimidates them. Training aids in achieving this.


Due to their high energy level, the pet must learn how to channel that energy appropriately. They can be excellent watchdogs, but they need the proper instruction.


While acknowledging how overwhelming this all seems, all you need to do for your Maltese is love them and exercise caution. The only person who can calm down and reassure your dog is you, the owner.

How Should You Train Your Maltese?

Let’s examine the best methods for training your Maltese dog now that we know why it is crucial to do so. There are many ways to train your Maltese, but you must be able to pick one that works for you. Strong authorities and less combative sessions are necessary for Maltese.


Your training sessions will be simple, thanks to the available tools. Make sure you look at a few accessories your dog might enjoy before you start the training. The right equipment will improve their training because Maltese are energetic and love to play.


Here are some essential training techniques you must remember and practice with your Maltese.

General Training

The fundamental methods for training any toy breed dog are included in general training. Most toy breeds feel the need to intimidate everyone because of their high energies and diminutive sizes. You can also try some of these efficient training techniques with your Maltese.

Positive Reinforcements

The best techniques for training your dog are those mentioned above. Maltese dogs enjoy receiving affection so that they will value all the affirmation. Treat your puppy with praise and treats following each training session.


Maltese are eager to please their owners. For this reason, give them plenty of praise and rewards for everything they have learned. These puppies will undoubtedly recall these reinforcements as they mature and will answer you.

Corrective Reinforcements

Trainers still employ an old-fashioned technique called correction reinforcement. To create combination reinforcements, these are followed by positive reinforcements. All you need to use for corrective reinforcements is a lead, collar, or another similar accessory sold on the market.


We can quickly accomplish our training objectives with the corrective reinforcement method because Maltese is simple and intelligent dogs.

Clicker Training

This method will be very easy for the Maltese to adapt to. To use this method, you only need a clicker or something that makes a clicking noise. It’s simple to find a clicker online and in pet supply stores.


Feed your dog every time they click, so they understand that a click equals a treat. When you show them plenty of encouragement, you can combine the abovementioned methods and click.


You can always use a different sound if you can’t find a clicker. Your dog will develop associations with sounds made by objects if you do it this way. However, keep this item the same, as your Maltese will become very confused.


Getting your Maltese used to the house will be one of the biggest challenges. Despite how challenging it may seem, you and your dog will succeed. Here are some tips before successfully potty training your Maltese dog.


If a breeder claims that your Maltese has been trained to use a paper, do not believe them. A mat is not necessary during independent dog training; make sure to do this. A puppy eight weeks old will always be trained to use toilet paper, but once inside your home, they may forget the training.


Puppies are unable to hold off on using the restroom for very long. These puppies won’t be able to be held for very long because they are still young. Because of this, it’s crucial that they housebreak so they can find their designated space.


It will take one to four months to housebreak a Maltese puppy. How quickly they pick things up and how much of it they already know ultimately determine this. Your puppy might find it difficult to learn if you are hardly home. But good housebreaking guidelines can be followed with time and patience.

Here are some guidelines for housebreaking:

Make a room in your home for your Maltese

Give them a room in the house where they can have some privacy. This could be a gated area, a playpen, plush dog beds, etc. They will feel at ease and at home in this manner. Avoid putting your Maltese dog in crates or boxes that make them feel cramped.

Choose a location for their bathroom needs

Your Maltese puppy may have received paper training up to this point. However, it is now time for your puppy to train like an adult. Use indoor dog potties, pee pads, or mats, and reward them every time they use them correctly. Make sure not to change your mind once you’ve chosen a bathroom location.

Use training treats to motivate them

As previously stated, Maltese value affection. No matter what instruction they receive, keep rewarding them. Offer encouragement, kudos, or treats to choose the path to success quickly.


For Maltese puppies, adjusting to social situations is another difficult task. Your dog may initially greet strangers with a different friendliness than they later appear to have. If it is not taught earlier, it may persist into adulthood.


Because of this, you need to socialize your dog appropriately to teach it to be more polite around people. You can use this straightforward advice from general training techniques.

  • The best way to train your dog to get along with people is to take him outside and teach him.
  • Take your dog to parks to acquaint them with other canines of the same species.
  • Choose corrective reinforcements if they don’t behave well around other people.
  • Once they learn to remain calm in front of others, show them lots of encouragement.

How to Take Care of a Maltese?

Although Maltese are typically healthy but susceptible to some health issues like all breeds, it’s important to be aware of these diseases if you’re thinking about getting a Maltese, even though not all of them will affect this breed.


Find a reputable breeder who will provide health clearances for your puppy’s parents if you purchase a puppy. Health certifications attest to dogs having undergone testing and being declared free of a specific ailment.

Maltese Common Health Problems

Patellar Luxation

The kneecap is called the patella. Luxation refers to the dislocation of an anatomical part (such as a bone at a joint). Patellar luxation is a painful condition in which the knee joint (often of the back leg) slides in and out of position. Although it can be crippling, many dogs with this condition live relatively everyday lives.

Portosystemic Liver Shunt

When blood bypasses the liver and is not cleansed, as a result, a renal disorder called Hepatic veno-venous Reflux Disease (HVRD) develops.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

A degenerative condition of the eyes. Due to the gradual loss of photoreceptors in the back of the eye, PRA leads to blindness. Years before, the dog exhibited any signs of blindness, and PRA was detectable. Every year, a veterinary ophthalmologist will certify the eyes of dogs owned by a reputable breeder.


Low blood sugar is the cause of this ailment. Weakness, confusion, a shaky gait, and seizure-like episodes are a few of the symptoms that may appear. Consult your veterinarian about prevention and treatment options if your dog is at risk.

White Dog Shaker Syndrome

White dogs are the most affected by this disorder. Whole-body tremors, a lack of coordination, and erratic eye movements are symptoms of the condition. When the dog is stressed or over-excited between six months and three, episodes typically begin. Both the pain level and the dog’s personality are unaffected by this condition. You should discuss treatment options with your veterinarian if you think your Maltese may have White Dog Shaker Syndrome.

Collapsed Trachea

This condition, in which the trachea, which carries air to the lungs, has the propensity to collapse quickly, is more common in some dogs. The collapsed trachea can be treated medically or surgically. The most typical symptom of a collapsed trachea is a persistent, dry, harsh cough that many compare to a “goose honk.”

Reverse Sneezing

Occasionally mistaken for a collapsed trachea and only lasts a few minutes, this condition is much less severe. Getting excited or trying to eat or drink too quickly are the two leading causes of reverse sneezing in dogs. Additionally, it might happen if the air is polluted or contains other irritants. The dog’s soft palate automatically closes over its windpipe when secretions from its nose fall onto it. Your Maltese may find this extremely frightening, but as soon as he settles down, the reverse sneezing stops. To encourage relaxation, lightly stroke his throat.

How to Properly Care for Your Maltese

Maltese people like to go for regular walks or play outside. They frequently continue to be playful well into old age. It doesn’t take much work to keep them in good shape because they are active indoors and don’t need much exercise.


As a general rule, don’t go on long walks with your Maltese puppy until he is eight months old because his bones are still growing. When your puppy is old enough, let him play in your fenced yard at his own pace. Then, before starting a strict exercise regimen, take him to the vet for a checkup.


Maltese are unquestionably indoor dogs because they do not do well in extreme heat or cold. Many Maltese owners paper-train them so they won’t have to take them outside in extreme heat or cold.


1/4 to 1/2 cups of premium dry food is advised to be consumed daily, split between two meals. Instead of leaving food out all the time, measure his meals for your Maltese and feed him twice daily to prevent him from gaining weight. By administering the hands-on test, you can determine if he is becoming overweight.


Put your hands on his body, with the thumbs running along the spine and the fingers extending over the sides. He’s in good shape if you can feel his ribs, but you should put him on a diet and reduce the number of treats you give him if you find them hidden under a layer of fat.


Some Maltese may be picky eaters and have sensitive digestive systems. If your Maltese also has dental or gum issues, they could affect their eating ability. Take your Maltese to the vet for a checkup if he displays discomfort while eating or right after eating.


The amount of food your adult dog consumes is influenced by the size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all require the same amount of food. A highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog, which almost goes without saying. The kind of dog food you also buy matters; the better the food, the more effectively it will nourish your dog, and the less you will need to shake into the bowl.

Maltese Coat Color and Grooming

A pure white, silky, straight coat that reaches the ground is characteristic of the magnificent Maltese breed. The undercoat many breeds have is absent in Maltese, and they shed very little. Maltese coats can easily mat and get dirty, which is a drawback. Furthermore, the faces of Maltese people frequently have unsightly tear stains.


Even if he has a sporty short trim, gently brush and comb your Maltese coat daily. By doing this, he will stay clean and avoid mats. Maltese dogs, despite their beauty, are prone to getting dirty and typically need weekly baths.


If your Maltese develops mats in their long hair, try gently working out the mat with your fingers before using a detangler spray or coat conditioning oil. Use the end tooth of the comb to loosen individual hairs after you’ve used your fingers to separate the mat as much as possible. Never attempt to remove a mat entirely at once with a comb or brush, and make sure all mats are taken out before bathing your Maltese because mats tend to become more tightly coiled when wet.


At the very least, you should examine your Maltese ears every week. Take him to the vet for a checkup if they seem sensitive or have a bad smell. Additionally, the hair in the Maltese breed’s ears needs to be cut off because it grows quickly. Ask your veterinarian or groomer to have this done or to learn how to do it yourself at home.


Trick your dog’s nails once or twice a month to avoid painful tears and other issues if they don’t wear down naturally. They are too long if you can hear the floor clicking when you step on them. Dog toenails contain blood vessels, so if you cut them too short, you risk bleeding, and your dog might become uncooperative the next time the nail clippers are pulled out. Ask a veterinarian or groomer for advice if you need to become more familiar with trimming dog nails.


The majority of Maltese owners struggle greatly with face and tear stains. When your puppy is four to five months old (when their adult teeth are starting to erupt), you can anticipate tear staining to start. It would be best if you took the following actions to prevent or lessen your adult Maltese’s face and tear stains:

  • To avoid tear stains, wash your Maltese’s eyes daily with warm water, and wash his beard after meals.
  • Teach your dog to sip from a bottle of water. Consider buying purified bottled water for your Maltese since water with many minerals can cause stains.
  • Use a glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bowl to feed your Maltese instead of a plastic one. Between feedings, make sure to wash your dog’s bowl.

Consult your veterinarian if these steps fail to remove the tear stains. Allergies, clogged tear ducts, or other medical conditions could bring on your Maltese’s excessive crying.


While many commercial products are available to whiten your dog’s hair, you should exercise extreme caution when using them or any DIY solutions. Numerous can harm your dog’s hair, and you should never let any products or foreign objects get into your dog’s eyes.


To keep it out of the eyes, many Maltese owners tie the hair on top of their dog’s head in a topknot. Using coated bands that won’t break the hair is a must if you decide to go this route. For ease of grooming, some people shorten their dog’s hair all over, including on the head.


Brush your Maltese’s teeth at least twice or three times a week to eliminate tartar buildup and the bacteria that live there. To avoid bad breath and gum disease, daily brushing is even preferable.


Your Maltese may not get enough sunlight if you notice his adorable black nose turning pink. Take him outside on a warm day, or take him for a drive if it’s too chilly. The type of bowl he uses for eating and drinking could also contribute to the pigmentation change. Throw it away if it’s made of plastic. A female’s nose may also turn pink when she’s in heat.


When your Maltese is a puppy, start exposing him to brushing and examinations. Look inside his mouth and frequently handle his paws because dogs are sensitive about their feet. Make grooming enjoyable, rewarding, and full of praise, and you’ll lay the groundwork for simple veterinary examinations and other handling when he’s an adult.


As you groom, look for sores, rashes, or infection-related symptoms like redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, eyes, nose, mouth, or feet. The eyes should be clear and free of any discharge or redness. You can find potential health issues early on with your thorough weekly exam.