This toy dog breed is an adorable little ball of silky fluff that can be irresistible. But before you give into the urge to buy one of these cuties, you should learn a little more about so that you can be confident you are making a well-informed decision and you are prepared to meet the challenges that come with properly caring for a Maltese.
The Maltese maxes out at just 10 inches tall and can weigh as little as 2 pounds but no more than 8 pounds. Their coat is most often solid white. But some tints of a darker ivory white or even pale lemon can sometimes be seen.
Their hair grows very, very long which means grooming is a demanding part of caring for a Maltese. However, on the bright side, a well-nourished and healthy Maltese will not shed so it’s great for people with allergies (or who just don’t like their furniture and clothes being covered in fur).
One fun fact: during winters or when kept primarily indoors, the nose of a Maltese will fade from black to pink or light brown. This is perfectly safe and is referred to as the “winter nose” because as soon as it gets regular sun exposure again, it darkens back to black. Take a look at our gallery of this cuties:
The Maltese has a very lively and bubbly personality. They are extremely friendly and tend to assume everyone they meet is a friend. This is a nice quality but it does mean you should supervise your pup when you take it out somewhere.
They are quite easy to train and respond best to positive reinforcement which can be either treats or simple praise.
Although small, they can be quite energetic and playful which makes them great pets if you have kids at home but it can get a little exhausting when you’re just trying to relax and you’ve got a little ball of fluff bouncing around on you.
They are pretty fearless as well and are safe for younger children but it’s always better to supervise when you’re little ones are playing. And it’s also important to socialize them from a young age so they become comfortable around people and other animals.
This breed is relatively healthy but there are some health risks they are more prone to than other breeds. Here are a few of the most common or most serious ones that you should be on the lookout for:
Maltese are a very playful and active breed but, they are also quite small so they can usually get plenty of exercise by running around and playing indoors. They will definitely love a daily walk that lets them explore the outside world but it doesn’t take much effort on your part to get them to meet their exercise needs.
They don’t handle extreme temperatures (hot or cold) well so this is definitely an indoor breed.
They need just a ¼ to ½ cup of quality dry dog food per day and it’s best to divide this into two meals. If you notice your pup getting a little overweight, cut back on the amount of food you feed it.
Grooming is where the Maltese becomes high maintenance. If you choose to keep the fur long, you will need to brush daily and bathe your pup every 3-4 weeks. If you choose to clip it short, you will need to trim every 6 to 8 weeks.
The Maltese is a wonderful family dog and great for small apartments. They don’t shed, they love to play and be affectionate, and they don’t need a lot of food. However, grooming can be a chore especially if you keep the fur long so be prepared for high maintenance grooming routines.