The Maltese: A Timeless Companion with Elegant Charm

Mar 14, 2024

The Maltese: A Timeless Companion with Elegant Charm

Table of contents:

  1. Breed Overview
  2. Physical Characteristics
  3. Personality and Temperament
  4. Exercise and Training
  5. Health and Care
  6. Living with a Maltese
  7. Is the Maltese Right for You?
  8. Conclusion

The Maltese, with its gleaming white coat and expressive, dark eyes, is a breed that captures the essence of lapdog luxury and companionship. Esteemed for centuries for its refined elegance and spirited personality, the Maltese has been a beloved pet of royalty and commoner alike. If you’re considering bringing a Maltese into your life, understanding the breed’s specific needs, characteristics, and temperament is essential. This comprehensive guide will provide you with everything you need to know about owning a Maltese.

Breed Overview

Originating from the Mediterranean island nation of Malta, the Maltese is one of the oldest toy breeds, known for its luxurious white coat and gentle, affectionate nature. Despite their diminutive size, Maltese are full of energy and love, making them an ideal companion for many.

Physical Characteristics

  • Size: Maltese are small dogs, typically weighing under 3 kg and standing about 7-9 inches at the shoulder. Their compact size makes them perfect companions for apartment living and for those who enjoy traveling with their pets.
  • Coat and Colour: The hallmark of the Maltese is its long, flowing white coat, which requires regular grooming to maintain its condition and appearance. They are known for being one of the few breeds that are considered hypoallergenic.
  • Lifespan: The average lifespan of a Maltese is around 12-15 years, with many living even longer with proper care.

Personality and Temperament

Maltese are known for their playful and affectionate demeanour. They thrive on human companionship and can become deeply attached to their owners. Despite their aristocratic appearance, Maltese have a lively spirit and enjoy playtime and walks.

They are intelligent and responsive to training, making them excellent candidates for learning tricks and participating in dog sports like agility and obedience. Early socialisation is important to ensure they grow into well-rounded, sociable adults.

Exercise and Training

Maltese have moderate exercise needs. Daily walks, play sessions, and mental stimulation through training or interactive toys are sufficient to keep them happy and healthy. Their small size makes them adaptable to various living situations, provided they get enough physical and mental activity.

Training a Maltese requires patience and consistency, using positive reinforcement methods. They can be sensitive, so gentle training techniques work best. Housebreaking can sometimes be a challenge, so crate training is recommended.

Health and Care

Maltese are generally healthy but can be prone to certain genetic conditions, including luxating patella, dental issues, and heart problems. Regular veterinary check-ups and a healthy diet are important for their well-being.

Their long coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling. Daily brushing and frequent baths are necessary to keep their coat white and clean. Many owners opt for a shorter “puppy cut” for easier maintenance.

Living with a Maltese

Maltese make excellent companions for those who can devote time and attention to their care and companionship. They are best suited for families with older children who understand how to handle small dogs gently.

Their friendly nature makes them great companions for social activities, but their small size requires protection from larger animals and rough play. Maltese enjoy being the center of attention and can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods.

Is the Maltese Right for You?

If you’re looking for a small, affectionate companion with an elegant appearance and a playful personality, the Maltese may be the perfect breed for you. They are well-suited for individuals, couples, and families looking for a loyal and loving pet that enjoys being an integral part of the household.

However, if you have a very active lifestyle, prefer a low-maintenance breed, or are away from home frequently, a Maltese might not be the best match for your lifestyle, given their need for companionship and grooming requirements.


The Maltese is a breed that offers endless affection, companionship, and joy to those prepared to meet their needs. With the right care, environment, and commitment to their grooming and companionship, a Maltese can become an irreplaceable member of your family, enriching your life with their playful spirit and loving nature. Whether participating in family activities, snuggling on the couch, or greeting you with their cheerful demeanour, a Maltese brings love and light into any home.

© Vet Verified 2024