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20 Vet Reviewed Maltese Facts


May 15, 2023
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The Maltese dog breed is perhaps one of the most adorable and elegant dog breeds out there. They are small and fluffy, with flowing white fur and big, dark eyes that can steal anyone’s heart. In this comprehensive post, we’ll explore some interesting, surprising, and lesser-known facts about the Maltese dog breed.


The 20 Maltese Facts

1. The History of Maltese Dogs

The Maltese breed is thought to have originated in the central Mediterranean, specifically on the island of Malta, which gives them their name. They were beloved by the Ancient Greeks and the Romans. They were also favorites of royalty, including Queen Victoria.

maltese puppy looking back
Image Credit: Petra, Pixabay

2. Maltese Dogs Were Bred as Lap Dogs

Most dogs are bred for a specific working purpose, but the Maltese breed was bred to be lap dogs. They are affectionate, gentle, and have a strong desire to be near their humans. They love cuddles and will do everything to stay as close to their owners as possible.

3. Maltese Dogs Are Descendants of a Spitz-Type Dog

While there is some debate about the Maltese’s exact origin, it is believed that they are descendants of a Spitz-type dog from ancient times. The Spitz-type dog was known for its thick coat and wolf-like appearance.

Young maltese dog in a meadow
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

4. Maltese Dogs Have a Long Lifespan

If you’re considering adopting a Maltese, you can expect a long life with them. Maltese dogs have a life expectancy of 12–15 years, with some even surpassing this age.

maltese dog in meadow
Image Credit: TaniaVdB, Pixabay

5. They Have a Unique Coat Texture

Maltese dogs have a unique coat texture that is different from that of most other breeds. They have a single-layered coat, which is fine, silky, and straight, with no waves or curls. Their coat is made up of long hair that can be tied up or left down.

6. Maltese Dogs Are Excellent Watchdogs

While they may look cute and cuddly, Maltese dogs are quite protective and can make excellent watchdogs. They may be small, but they are alert and quick to sound the alarm when they sense danger.

maltese dog walking with owner at the park
Image Credit: artellliii72, Pixabay

7. They Are Intelligent Dogs

Maltese dogs are intelligent and learn quickly, making them easy to train. They respond well to positive reinforcement training techniques, and their desire to please their owners is a great motivator.

8. Maltese Dogs Come in Different Sizes

While Maltese dogs are generally referred to as small dogs, they come in different sizes. The breed standard dictates that Maltese dogs should weigh between 4–6 pounds, but some can weigh up to 10 pounds, and they can also be bred as Teacup Maltese, which are even smaller.

maltese dog sitting in the car
Image Credit: Monika Wisniewska, Shutterstock

9. Maltese Dogs Can Be High-Maintenance

If you’re considering adopting a Maltese, you need to be prepared for their high maintenance needs. Their long coats require regular grooming and brushing to prevent matting and tangling. They should also be bathed regularly to keep their coats clean and shiny.

10. Maltese Dogs Are Prone to Dental Problems

Maltese dogs are prone to dental problems, like all other toy breeds. They should have daily dental home care (toothbrushing) to prevent tartar build-up and regular vet check-ups in case they need professional dental cleanings. 

maltese dog barking outdoors
Image Credit: Mary Rice, Shutterstock

11. They Love to Play

Maltese dogs love to play, despite their small size. They enjoy playing fetch, tug-of-war, and other interactive games that involve their owners.

12. Maltese Dogs Are Companion Dogs

If you’re looking for a loyal and devoted companion, look no further than the Maltese. They are affectionate and love nothing more than being near their human family.

woman sitting on the sofa and hugging and kissing her little white maltese dog in the room
Image Credit: KatMoy, Shutterstock

13. They Are Social Dogs

Maltese dogs are social dogs and love to be around people and other dogs. They make great pets for big families with small children and other pets.

14. They Are Sensitive Dogs

Maltese dogs are sensitive dogs and can become tense, anxious, or stressed if left alone for too long. They require a lot of attention and social interaction to thrive mentally and emotionally.

sad Maltese puppy lying under white warm blanket on a bed at home
Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

15. Maltese Dogs Are Agile and Athletic

Despite their small size, Maltese dogs are agile and athletic. They enjoy staying active, and their high energy levels make them well-suited to activities like agility and Flyball. They also enjoy walks, hikes, and other outdoor activities.

16. Maltese Dogs Are Popular Show Dogs

Maltese dogs are popular show dogs and have won many awards in the conformation ring. They excel at competitions like Crufts and Westminster Dog Show. They also do well in obedience and agility competitions.

Maltese Bow Tie
Image Credit: Nelson Espinoza, Shutterstock

17. Maltese Dogs Are Prone to Some Diseases At Birth

Congenital diseases are present at birth but may manifest later in life. Maltese dogs can suffer from patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in their heart and liver shunts. In both conditions, there is abnormal communication between blood vessels that causes different degrees of disease. 

18. They Need Plenty of Exercise

Maltese dogs need plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy. Take them on regular walks, hikes, or any other outdoor activities. Mental stimulation and new experiences are also important, so make sure to engage them in interactive games and puzzles.

Maltese Short Cut Maltese dog grooming
Image Credit: Rovsky, Shutterstock

19. Maltese Dogs Are Trainable

Maltese dogs are trainable and eager to please their owners. Positive reinforcement methods work best when it comes to training these intelligent dogs. With consistency, you can easily teach them to obey commands and perform tricks.

20. They Are Not Well Suited for Cold Weather

Maltese dogs are not well suited for cold weather due to their thin coats. They should be kept indoors during winter months, or if outdoors, they should wear warm clothing when going out in the cold. This will help to keep them safe and comfortable.



Maltese dogs are loving and loyal companions who make great additions to any family or household. Their lovely, silky coats require regular upkeep, and they need a fair amount of exercise to stay healthy and happy. With patience, consistency, and lots of love, you can easily train a Maltese dog to be a well-behaved pet.

Featured Image Credit: Jolanta Beinarovica, Shutterstock

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