Maltese Dog Breed Information: A Complete Guide

Maltese Dog

The Maltese is a tiny, friendly toy dog breed that originated in the Mediterranean region and is recognized for their silky white hair that highlights their large, black eyes. They can make lovely lapdogs, but they still need regular activity. Despite their tiny stature, Maltese dogs can be vigilant and courageous watchdogs. They might also be a wonderful choice for individuals looking for hypoallergenic dogs.

Do not be fooled by their teddy-bear appearance; the Maltese is a breed that demands a great deal of attention. They are more prone to develop separation anxiety and other behavior issues if they do not receive enough affection and care.

Read on to find out all about the Maltese.

Overview Of The Breed

Breed Type

HeightWeightLifespan

Price

Toy Dogs7 to 9 inches 4-6 pounds15 years$600 to $2500

Maltese History

The Maltese has been the nobility of the canine world for almost 28 decades. The breed is said to have originated on Malta, a small island south of Sicily. It is only right that such a magnificent dog be developed in Malta, which was known for its elegance and grandeur in its civilization.

By 1500 B.C., Phoenician sailors had visited Malta, making it an early commercial port. As early as 300 B.C., Maltese dogs are referenced particularly in texts. Dogs of the Maltese breed have been depicted in Greek art from the fifth century. There is evidence that they even built graves for the Maltese who were favored. Despite the fact that the dogs were frequently exported and then extensively disseminated across Europe and the Orient, the core population on Malta remained largely isolated from other dogs, resulting in this distinct breed that has bred true for generations.

Maltese were imported to England in the early fourteenth century when they were the darlings of the upper class. Following centuries’ writers remarked on their tiny stature on a regular basis. Even still, these little dogs were never numerous, and a picture titled “The Lion Dog from Malta—Last of His Race” from 1830 shows that the breed was in danger of extinction. Two Maltese were taken to England from Manila shortly after. Despite the fact that they were meant as a gift for Queen Victoria, they ended up in the hands of others, and their descendants became the first Maltese to be shown in England.

Around 1877, the first Maltese were displayed in America as Maltese Lion Dogs. The name lion dog is thought to have originated from the practice of dog owners, particularly in the Orient, of trimming their dogs to resemble lions. In 1888, the American Kennel Club (AKC) designated the Maltese as a breed. The Maltese has steadily grown in popularity, and it is currently one of the most popular toy dog breeds.

Appearance

Maltese dogs have a compact body, with small floppy ears and a tufted tail that sweeps over their back. Those white coats become velvety smooth by the time they reach their full 7–9 inch height and 4–6 pound weight.

Eye, Ear, and Tail

The eyes of Maltese dogs are black. Many people will see them as black, while others may see them as a very dark brown. The genes for light brown, blue, or green eyes are absent in this breed.

The ears are drop ears, meaning they are quite near to the face; in fact, if a Maltese has relatively long hair, the ears might almost disappear into the coat.

The Maltese has a naturally long tail that is gracefully curved across the back. The tip of the tail is positioned to the side of the hindquarter in a display.

Coat

The silky white coat is the most distinguishing aspect of these adorable tiny canines.

The coat is pure white, yet some Maltese may have a hint of lemon or tan on the ears if this is the case. It is made up of a single layer of smooth, silky hair with a little wave. Puppies’ hair is short and curly at the tips. Adults can let their coats grow down to the floor-length.

Maltese hair is distinct in that it resembles human hair rather than canine fur, and it may grow very long without shedding excessively. It may be styled in a multitude of ways from incredibly short to long and flowing.

What cut should you go for? Here’s a look at ‘Top 6 Cutest Maltese Hair Cut and Styles.’

Personality/Temperament

Maltese Dogs have been bred as companion animals since time immemorial. They were popular in Ancient Rome and were often given as gifts to important people such as nobility and emperors. They can also be traced back to the island of Malta where they were bred by the Knights of Malta in order to protect their home.

Today, Maltese are great family dogs. A typical day in the life of a Maltese would involve playing with their family, going on walks around the neighborhood, or playing with their favorite toy. Maltese typically get along with other breeds and dogs of all sizes. They are typically content in a home environment but may be prone to boredom.

A Maltese that is true to the breed will like being the center of attention, and as an additional bonus, these dogs enjoy being cuddled and hugged. Maltese, like many little dogs, are companion dogs, which means they want to spend time with their owner rather than being left alone for lengthy periods of time. It is not necessary to engage them in strenuous exercise; a daily stroll and occasional fun would suffice.

The Maltese, naturally, has a calm disposition despite their fragile appearance. Maltese are regarded as the gentlest of the smallest dogs. They have a lively attitude and fluffy-white-lapdog demeanor. As such, they’re considered a good companion for children, particularly older children who know how to manage them.

Generally, Maltese are good with other dogs too. When there are other canines nearby, their playful side shines through, and despite their little stature, they have no trouble keeping up with larger dogs.

Nevertheless, you must be very careful when selecting canine playmates for your Maltese. They are prone to injury because of their small stature, and they might be scared of loud, bigger dogs. When a dog twice their size approaches, they are bound to be terrified, especially if the dog is energetic.

Early socialization can help with this. Regularly introduce your Maltese to a range of other dogs. The more dogs your Maltese meets, the less likely they will be afraid of new dogs when they approach.

Trainability

Unlike other toy breeds, the Maltese dogs are extremely trainable. They have a natural desire to please their owners and respond to rewards and attention quite well.

The Maltese can have a stubborn streak on occasion. If your Maltese pup suddenly refuses to listen, a little more praise and treats might help them get back on track. They’ll most likely return to training once they understand food is involved.

However, there is an exception. House training the Maltese is quite difficult.

General Training

General training includes learning the fundamentals of how to train a toy dog of any breed.

1. Positive Reinforcement Training:

Maltese dogs are affectionate and would welcome any positive reinforcement. Make sure you give your dog treats and praise after each training session.

The Maltese will go to great lengths to satisfy you. This is why it’s important to remember to provide them positive feedback and prizes for all they’ve learned. These reinforcements will be remembered by these pups as they get older, and they will respond to you.

2. Corrective Reinforcements:

Trainers employ the old-school approach of correction reinforcement. To produce combination reinforcements, these are followed by positive reinforcements. All you need for corrective reinforcing is a lead, collar, or other similar accessories available on the market.

3. Clicker training:

The Maltese will readily adjust to this training. All you need for this approach is a clicker, which is a gadget that generates a ‘click’ sound. A clicker may be found at pet stores and on the internet. Feed your dog after each click so they understand that a click equals a treat. You can use a combination of the methods above and click when you give them positive reinforcements.

4. Socialization Training:

A more difficult adjustment for Maltese puppies is socialization. Your dog may not be as sociable to strangers as first as they appear to be later on. In fact, if it is not taught early on, it can persist into adulthood.

This is why you’ll need to use suitable socialization techniques to encourage your dog to be more sociable. These are some approaches that you can use:

  • Take your dog outside and let them meet and interact with people he doesn’t know, such as strangers and youngsters.
  • Introduce your dog to other dogs and take them to dog parks.
  • If they don’t react well to other people, provide corrective reinforcements.
  • Once they’ve learned to remain cool in public, shower them with praise so that they feel motivated to behave the same way.

5. House-training a Maltese:

Housebreaking your Maltese will be one of the most difficult tasks. It may appear challenging at first, but with correct techniques, it will become easier. Here are some things to consider before effectively potty training your Maltese dog.

  • Make a separate space within the house for your Maltese puppy
  • Choose a designated bathroom area
  • Keep training treats ready at hand
  • Maintain a schedule

Adaptability

Maltese Dogs are not for everyone, but they are perfect for some people.

Maltese dogs may have what is called “separation anxiety disorder” (SAD). This is when the dog experiences distress when left alone by the owner, but then calms down when the owner returns home.

Maltese, more than most other breeds, require a lot of human company and dislike being left alone for more than a few hours. They use destructive chewing and barking as a way to convey their anxiety and dissatisfaction. So, if you’re away from home for long hours of the day, this mightn’t be the breed for you.

The Maltese can be good for first-time owners too, but only if they’re willing to make the commitment to care for this breed in every way possible. These are gentle and affectionate dogs but can suffer from separation anxiety and are prone to become destructive if they’re left alone for long periods of time. So, an owner should be willing to devote a significant amount of their time and energy to this breed.

Maltese dogs are known for their small size. They are often referred to as “purse dogs” because they can be carried around with ease. This makes them a good option for apartment dwellers who may not have the space for a larger dog.

If you’re wondering if Maltese dogs bark, the answer is yes, they do bark a lot and loudly. The Maltese share a feature with most toy-sized dog breeds: they have a highly sensitive temperament that causes them to bark compulsively for a variety of reasons.

It’s important to remember that barking is a Maltese pup’s natural instinct. Dogs communicate through barking, and your Maltese will instinctively feel the urge to inform you when anything unusual occurs. So, they won’t be completely silent if that’s what you want, but they can be trained to communicate effectively and act responsibly.

Grooming

When you have a Maltese, there are a lot of grooming responsibilities to take care of; however, understanding what to do, having the necessary equipment and materials on hand, and sticking to a routine may make grooming pretty simple.

Brushing frequency is determined by the length of your Maltese’s coat, but cutting your Maltese’s hair short will not save you from brushing on a frequent basis. Long-haired dogs require daily brushing, although short-haired dogs may get away with brushing every other day. Maltese hair mats really readily, and once a mat forms, you’ll have to spend even more time cleaning it out. Mats that are particularly resistant to cutting must be removed, leaving an unattractive lump in your dog’s otherwise lovely coat.

With a pin brush and metal comb, get right down to the skin and straighten any knots. Dry brushing generates static and broken ends, so spritz the coat with a small spray of detangler or conditioner to dampen it slightly. Concentrate on tiny areas at a time and work carefully to avoid yanking on his hair if a knot occurs.

You must also ensure that your Maltese dog is washed on a regular basis. Bathing is essential for a dog’s health. Baths should not be taken too frequently, as the skin and coat may become excessively dry.

You must have seen brown stains beneath your Maltese’s eyes and around the mouth. This is because your dog’s gorgeous white hair might be stained by their own tears and the minerals in your water. To observe whether the stains go, wipe their eyes with a cotton ball and warm water on a regular basis, and feed them filtered water. To prevent germs and food oils from coloring their beard, replace their plastic food bowl with a steel, glass, or ceramic one and wash it after they eat.

You’ll also need to learn how to look after the ears of your Maltese puppy or dog. Your dog’s ears are more prone to get inflamed and infected if they aren’t properly cared for. Here are some things you need to consider:

  1. You must constantly remove the hair off their ears. This can also help keep your dog’s ears from being clogged with wax.
  2. Cotton swabs should never be used as they push the debris deeper into your dog’s ears.
  3. You can use liquid ear cleaning solutions.
  4. Cotton wool should be used to clean the outside portion of your dog’s ear.

Health

The Maltese is a very healthy breed with a long average lifespan of fifteen years. Yet, like all dog breeds, they are susceptible to some health problems.

Here are 5 common diseases that Maltese dogs are prone to.

1. Heart Diseases:

In the Maltese breed, heart diseases are becoming a serious issue.

Patent Ductus Arteriosis is a disorder in which a tiny conduit that transports blood between two sections of the heart does not shut as it should immediately after birth. This leads to an excessive amount of blood being delivered to the lungs, fluid build-up, and heart strain.

Heart failure is the major cause of mortality among the elderly Maltese. It is caused by the weakening of a valve. A heart valve gradually deforms to the point that it no longer closes firmly. The heart is then strained as blood flows back around the valve. This condition is known as Mitral Valve Disease and it causes a heart murmur in pets.

2. Parasites:

Worms and vermin of many types can infest your Maltese dog’s body, both inside and out. Fleas and ticks, as well as ear mites, can infest their skin and ears. Drinking polluted water, treading on contaminated dirt, or being bitten by an infected mosquito are all ways for hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, and whipworms to enter their system. These parasites may cause pain, suffering, and even death in your dog, so it’s critical that you get them tested on a regular basis.

3. Collapsed Trachea:

Small breed dogs, such as the Maltese, are prone to Collapsed Trachea. There is a hereditary weakness in the cartilage rings that surround the windpipe, resulting in the ring(s) falling inward.

Aside from the hereditary tendency, a toy breed might suffer from a sudden neck injury, and that leads to the collapsed trachea. This is frequently caused when the dog is on a leash and collar. This is painful and difficult to treat. Excessive coughing, exercise intolerance, and/or wheezing are all symptoms.

4. Skin Conditions:

Dogs with a single-layered coat are prone to a variety of skin problems, and Maltese dogs are no exception.

The Maltese are prone to a number of skin issues, including sebaceous adenitis. Your dog’s skin may be dry, scaly, and they may have patches of hair loss over the top of their head, back of their neck, and back.

Various other types of skin illnesses and disorders might also affect your Maltese. One of them is Malassezia dermatitis. It produces itching, redness, and a dark waxy discharge when it affects the ears. It causes oily, hairless regions on the skin, especially around the neck and throat, as well as a distinct odor.

5. Eye Disorders:

A variety of eye disorders can be inherited or developed in Maltese.

Distichiasis is a disorder caused by additional hairs growing inside the eyelid and rubbing against the eye’s surface. This is one of the most prevalent genetic illnesses in dogs, and your Maltese has a higher risk of developing it than other dogs. This can induce conjunctivitis, as well as an excessive amount of tear production. As a result, tear staining behind the eye occurs, which is common in white and light-colored canines.

Maltese Cost

The cost of a Maltese puppy ranges from $600 to $2,500. The cost is mostly determined by the pedigree of the dog and the experience of the breeder. These puppies actually don’t cost much to breed, but their great demand drives up the price.

You’ll have to pay for things like food and vet expenses on a monthly basis. A few upfront fees are also required for most pups. These include products such as dog beds and cages, as well as less expensive items such as dog bowls and collars. While many of these expenses are little, they may rapidly mount up.

According to Pet Budget, a Maltese puppy will likely cost anywhere from $600-$2,340, with an average of $1,200. The first year’s costs will be roughly $2,980, while the second year’s will be around $1,230 (or $103/month). The average cost of owning a Maltese is $18,970 throughout the course of the dog’s life.

Maltese Mix Breeds

Here are some of the popular Maltese mix-breeds:

Maltese Lhasa Apso

Maltese Chihuahua Mix

Maltese Shih Tzu Poodle Mix

Maltese Shih Tzu Mix

Maltese Poodle Mix

You might also be interested in ‘Maltese Vs Bichon Frise: Top 10 differences’

Conclusion

The Maltese dog is a small dog breed named after the island of Malta. They have a pure-white coat, drooping ears, a small body, and a plumed tail that arcs over its back. These dogs are typically robust, healthy, friendly, and active. Despite the innocent appearance, this is a brave and combative dog who enjoys barking.

Human connection is extremely important to Maltese dogs. This breed enjoys being cuddled and hugged, and their tiny stature makes them ideal for the task. As such, these canines might get lonely or worried if they do not receive enough connection from their owners.

Thank you for reading the article.

For more interesting facts about the Maltese dogs, check out ‘10 Interesting Maltese Facts That You Probably Didn’t Know About’

Do you have a Maltese? What do they look like? Are they good family dogs? Are they trained? We want to know it all! Share with us your experience in the comments!

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