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Maltese Dogs
Intelligent Miniature Dog Breeds

Maltese dog Maltese dogs, as long time residents of the island of Malta, are believed to have first arrived there with Phoenicians who came as immigrants or traders.

Back in the day, this delightful dog was a frequent passenger on ships, providing company to sailors on long voyages, though it is hard to image how its white coat would hold up under those conditions! That being said, they are known to have a liking for jumping into puddles.

An aristocrat among dogs, this breed has a decidedly regal look about them and have always enjoyed being pampered companion dogs.

The Maltese can be traced to ancient origins and was once a great favorite of the wealthy and elite citizens of the Roman Empire. Depictions of similar small dogs have been seen in Greek and Roman art from that time period, offering evidence of its popularity.

At various times Maltese dogs have also been known as a Maltese "Terriers" and "Lion dogs", the latter of which is still heard quite often today. The breed's development is said to include very small spaniels and poodles, and it is assigned to the Toy Dog Group by the AKC.

The hallmark of the breed is without a doubt its attractiveness and luxurious coat of pure white hair that is silky in texture. It is not uncommon to see this sweet dog with its hair pulled up in ribbons, drawing attention to its large expressive eyes. It typically has quite a long life span - often in excess of 15 years.

maltese dog

Appearance, Coat and Care:

Height: 9-10 inches
Weight: 4-6 pounds
Color: Solid white is the standard, though lemon color on the ears is acceptable.

With its beautiful long white coat, this breed does deserve a daily brushing and frequent bathing to keep it free of mats and in good condition. Good quality grooming tools, such as those made by Chris Christensen Systems, are a must to avoid damaging the coat. This Wood Pin Brush along with a coarse tooth butter comb are two basic essentials.

Brush from the skin line down, but avoid the brush making contact with the delicate skin to avoid skin burn. Use of a leave-in detangling spray helps enormously when dealing with mats and/or tangles. Ice on Ice is one that also conditions and has sunscreen.

If you notice any discoloration of the coat, this is often due to a licking habit which some small dogs tend to develop. You can try using a specialty dye-free shampoo designed to restore the whiteness and relieve itching.

Some owners who don't plan to show their dogs, often have the coat clipped shorter for easier maintenance in what is called a puppy cut. The shedding of the coat is very minimal if it is well-maintained! This feature may be a plus for allergy sufferers.

Because the Maltese dog has abundant hair around the face, eyes should be routinely inspected for any irritations, excess tearing or staining. Regular cleaning with a natural eye solution such as Eye Envy, is suggested and will help to keep them healthy.

Personality and Traits:

maltese dog owner guide bookExtroverted with a fun attitude is one way to describe the Maltese dogs. Despite their small size, these toy dogs are not frail or delicate.

By nature, they are often described as gentle, very sweet, affectionate and born to be lap dogs! Although they enjoy being coddled and pampered, they are still quite active and playful little dogs.

As for training, the Maltese dog breed is very intelligent and likes to please his owner. They can be easily trained if you lather on the praise and make it fun.

Another plus that owners enjoy, is that this breed is very clean by nature and doesn't like to soil his space. House training can be a little more challenging because they are a bit more fussy about the weather, so you may have to compromise occasionally by using training pads.

Activity Level:

Exercise needs are moderate because the Maltese dogs are very playful and pretty active indoors most of the time.

In the interest of good health, a regular short walk is still recommended for the mental stimulation and physical benefits.

Space Needs:

Space is not an issue for this sweet little dog. He will adjust to almost any living conditions providing he can run about and get lots of attention.


Maltese dogs do better in a family with no small children, though he will do well with young adults who are gentle and considerate around pets. Just his small size alone would put him in jeopardy around little tots and he has been known to run and hide from them to avoid confrontations.


The Maltese dog breed makes a really nice companion for the elderly or more sedentary family. He can get along without a lot of exercise because he keeps himself pretty busy around the house. That being said, someone should be available to make sure he gets out even if only for brief walks.

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