Breed of the Month–Maltese

1June 2010


Color:  White, lemon or light tan markings
Height:  Males:  8.5-10 inches/  Females:  7.5-9 inches
Weight:  6-9 lbs
Life Span:  15 years or more

Breed Health Concerns:  white shaker dog syndrome, patent ductus arterioles, hypoglycemia, patellar lunation, portosystemic shunts.

Coat:  Dense, flat, long, silky single coat.
Country of Origin:  Italy

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

Although the exact origin of the Maltese is a mystery, most historians believe the breed to be from the island of Malta, located off Italy.  The Maltese has been a favorite companion of the wealthy for centuries, including the Greek and Romans, and the British empire.

The Maltese is a very playful breed that is affectionate, adorable, mischievous, and spirited.  They enjoy being with their family as much as possible.  It is important to properly train this breed and not overly spoil them so they will continue to be a well-behaved member of the family.

The Maltese, and many Maltese mixes have become increasing popular in the last several years.  I have seen more and more of these cute little white, fluffy dogs.  As with all small breed dogs, it is important to train this breed properly so you will not have, what I like to call, “small dog syndrome,” problems in the future.  Many people do not believe small dogs need the same rules and boundaries as bigger dogs do.  But if you truly want a well-rounded dog that gets along with all other dogs and people, it is important to train them just as you would any dog.  All dogs need rules and exercise!

Although many people enjoy carrying these dogs around, it is important to let them walk along-side you to help drain their energy.  They may be small dogs, but they are strong dogs that need their daily walks.

Show dogs of this breed must maintain their long, flowing coat.  This coat is very high maintenance and must be brushed daily to keep it free and knots and tangles.  Most “pet” Maltese get clipped to help maintain a nice coat and make the grooming easier on the family.

The Maltese enjoys interacting with humans and is easily trained using positive reinforcement methods. Housebreaking this breed may require extra patience.  Socialization is very important for this breed so he is always accepting of strangers.