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The Maltese is an active companion breed that requires regular grooming. A good pet for allergy sufferers, the Maltese’s single coat makes them nearly hypoallergenic.


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Physical Characteristics
  • Coat: Long, white hair; may have tan or lemon markings on ears
  • Feathered, drop ears
  • Tail curves to side
  • Large dark, round eyes that protrude slightly
  • Black nose
  • Height: 8-10 inches
  • Weight: 4-7 pounds
  • Average lifespan: 14 years
  • Brave, loving, energetic, gentle, polite, sweet-tempered, playful, trusting, responsive, eager to please.
  • Interaction with people: Excellent family dog. Reserved with strangers.
  • Bark: Can be vocal with strangers
Medical Conditions
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Liver shunt
  • Meningoencephalitis and Hydrocephalus (neurologic diseases)
  • Ophthalmic disorders (including entropion and distichiasis)
  • Patellar luxation
  • Periodontal disease
While the listed ailments may be common in this breed, not all members of the breed suffer from these conditions. Responsible breeders screen for orthopedic and genetic diseases.
At Home
  • Likes quiet activities indoors, as well as active outdoor recreation
  • Needs daily walk
  • Nonshedder; good breed for allergy sufferers
  • Daily brushing needed
  • Needs weekly bath and brushing to prevent the coat from matting
  • A ribbon at top of the head allows for uninhibited vision
  • May trim coat overall to create a "pajama" or "puppy" cut
Other Facts
  • The Maltese was known as "Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta"
  • An intricate model of the Maltese was unearthed in the Fayum tomb in Egypt, signifying that the Egyptians may have worshiped this breed
  • Companions to the Queen Elizabeth I's ladies of the royal court
Breed History
  • Known as a canine aristocrat for 2,800 years
  • Most likely brought to Malta by the Phoenicians more than 2,000 years ago
  • Documented throughout ancient texts and artwork as creatures of beauty
  • Paintings and ceramics of the Maltese date back to the 5th century; the Greeks erected tombs in honor of this bred
For more information about this breed and breeder referral contacts, please visit the American Maltese Association For breed rescue opportunities, visit AMA Rescue
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