26 July 2023

Let’s talk about… Maltese: what are they?

  • The Maltese is a small and adorable breed known for its long, silky white coat.
  • Originating from the Mediterranean island of Malta, they have a rich history dating back thousands of years.
  • Maltese dogs were favoured by royalty and nobility as companion dogs and were even depicted in ancient Egyptian and Roman artwork.
  • Despite their small size, Maltese dogs have a confident and fearless nature, often unaware of their small stature when facing larger dogs.
  • With a maximum height of around 25 cm and an average weight of 3-4 kg, the Maltese is a petite breed.
  • They have a life expectancy of 12-15 years.
Maltese  Exercise Needs 2/5 Grooming Ease 2/5 Trainability 4/5

What is the temperament of Maltese like?

  • Maltese dogs are known for their charming and affectionate nature.
  • They thrive on human companionship and form strong bonds with their owners.
  • They love being the centre of attention and enjoy cuddling and lap time.
  • Maltese dogs are generally friendly towards people and other animals when properly socialised from a young age.
  • They have a playful and lively personality, but they can also be gentle and adaptable.
  • Due to their small size, they are well-suited for apartment living and are popular choices for families, seniors, and individuals looking for a loyal and loving companion.
Buddy, the Maltese

How much exercise do Maltese need?

  • Maltese dogs have relatively low exercise needs compared to larger, more active breeds.
  • They require around 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise per day to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.
  • This can be divided into multiple short walks or play sessions throughout the day.
  • Puppies have different exercise requirements.
  • As young puppies, they have developing bones and joints, so their exercise should be limited to short and gentle play sessions.
  • Gradually increase their exercise as they grow older, always considering their age, size, and overall health.
  • It's important to note that Maltese dogs are sensitive to extreme temperatures, particularly heat.
  • Avoid exercising them during the hottest parts of the day and provide them with shade and fresh water when outdoors.
Cyril, the Maltese

Do Maltese need a lot of grooming?

  • Maltese dogs have a beautiful and luxurious coat that requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best.
  • Their long, silky hair is prone to tangling and matting, so daily brushing is recommended to prevent knots and to maintain their coat's softness and shine.
  • Regular bathing, approximately every 2-3 weeks or as advised by your vet or groomer, will help keep their coat clean and free of dirt and odours. Use a gentle dog shampoo and be careful around their face to avoid getting water in their eyes and ears.
  • Maltese dogs often have tear stains around their eyes, which can be managed with regular cleaning using a damp cloth or specialised tear stain remover products.
  • Professional grooming every 4-6 weeks can help maintain the Maltese's signature look and ensure their coat is kept in good condition.
  • Trimming around the eyes, ears, and paws can also be done during grooming sessions.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Kaisy, the Maltese

Are Maltese easy to train?

  • Maltese dogs are intelligent and eager to please, making them generally responsive and trainable.
  • They enjoy learning new tricks and commands and can excel in obedience training with positive reinforcement methods.
  • However, they can also have a stubborn streak, so patience and consistency are key.
  • Start training your Maltese puppy from an early age to establish good behaviour and basic commands.
  • Keep training sessions short, fun, and engaging to keep their attention and prevent boredom.
  • Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and rewards to motivate and encourage them.
  • Socialisation is also important for Maltese dogs to ensure they are comfortable and well-behaved in various social settings.
  • Introduce them to different people, animals, and environments from a young age to help them develop confidence and good manners.
  • With consistent training and plenty of love and attention, Maltese dogs can become well-behaved and obedient companions.
Lupo, the Maltese

What do Maltese eat?

  • A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for the health and well-being of your Maltese.
  • Choose a high-quality small dog food that is appropriate for their age and specific dietary needs.
  • The amount of food and feeding frequency will depend on factors such as metabolism, weight, and activity level.
  • Most do well being fed twice daily.
  • Maltese puppies should be fed a specially formulated puppy food that supports their growth and development.
  • Puppies should be fed 3-4 times daily until 6 months old when this should be reduced to twice daily.
  • Follow the guidelines provided by the food manufacturer and consult with your veterinarian for specific recommendations based on your Maltese's age and individual needs.
  • As Maltese dogs transition into adulthood, around 12 months old, they can be fed a regular adult small dog food. treats, as Maltese dogs are prone to obesity if not properly managed.
  • If you have any queries about your Maltese's dietary needs or specific health conditions, consult with your veterinarian for personalised advice.

Are Maltese healthy?

Maltese dogs are generally healthy and long-lived, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Some common health concerns that can occur in Maltese dogs include:

Bones and Joints

  • Luxating patella - this is when a dog’s kneecap moves out of where it should normally be


  • Periodontal Disease - a buildup of plaque and tartar on a dog’s teeth leading to  inflammation, infection and tooth loss


  • Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye
  • Entropion - this is where the eyelids roll in, causing eyelashes to rub onto the surface of the eye


  • Porto-systemic shunt (PSS) - when the blood circulation bypasses the normal cleaning processes of the liver resulting in signs like stunted growth and abnormal behaviours


  • Syringomyelia - where fluid-filled cavities develop in the spinal cord, which can cause pain and neurological signs.

This list of health concerns is not exhaustive, so if you have any concerns about the health of your Maltese or want to discuss further if this breed is right for you, consult with your veterinarian.

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Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog's health, contact your local vet.

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