The Maltese is a striking dog with a white silky coat that falls to the floor, dark expressive eyes and a black nose. The Maltese forms part of the popular toy group of dogs.

Maltese breed group


Size of the Maltese


Maltese breed introduction

The Maltese is perhaps one of the prettiest dog breeds in the world. It has a striking, long straight coat that is normally pure white, although  sometimes  tinges of yellow or orange are seen within the coat. The Maltese doesn't have an undercoat, so sheds very little. The coat will grow to the floor and hair on the head is normally swept back and tied into a pony tail. The eyes are oval shaped, very dark brown in colour with black rims, and the nose is small, black and button shaped. The tail is feathered and arches over the body. The feet are round and the paws pads are coloured black.

Country of Origin


Time of original development

The Maltese is regarded as one of the oldest dog breeds with references going back to 500 BC. The breed was probably developed from Spitz-like dogs in central Europe.

Maltese temperament

The breed is generally placid, with a gentle, and slightly sensitive nature. It can be a little aloof with unfamiliar dogs, but rarely aggressive, and usually good with other pets if socialised properly from an early age. The breed can be prone to snappiness with young children, so youngsters should always be supervised around the Maltese.

The Maltese thrives on human companionship, and separation anxiety can often be a problem.

Colour varieties of the Maltese

The Maltese normally comes in solid white, but the following variations are also recognised:

  • White
  • White With Black Points
  • White With Lemon Markings

Size and weight of the Maltese

Height bitch 20-22cms

Height dog 20-25cms

Weight (kilos) bitch 0.9-3kgs

Weight (kilos) dog 1.5-3.5kgs

Exercise requirements of the Maltese

The Maltese only  requires around 30 minutes of exercise every day, making it an ideal dog for the less active owner or elderly dog lover. The Maltese can happily live in an apartment or smaller home if it receives an adequate amount of exercise and stimulation.

Is the Maltese a good dog for a first time dog owner?

Yes, but potential owners should be aware of the high grooming costs and demands of this striking little dog. The Maltese may not be suitable for families with small children, as snappiness can be a problem.

Maltese coat length


Grooming requirements of the Maltese

High. The Maltese requires daily combing or brushing with a soft slicker brush to prevent the build up of matts and tangles. Owners tend to gather the hair on the head together and tie it away from the face.

Ears need to be checked and cleaned regularly.


Yes. The Maltese does not shed, therefore maybe a suitable choice of dog breed for allergy sufferers.

Health Issues in the Maltese

The Maltese is a hardy breed with virtually no inherited problems, but owners should consult their breeder about the following issues that are seen in the Maltese:

  • Eyes - tear stains
  • Reverse sneezing

As with all pedigree dogs, it is very important to obtain a puppy from a reputable source where you can be guaranteed that it has been bred with a view to avoiding the inherent physical and psychological diseases of the breed.

Average lifespan of the Maltese

A healthy Maltese should expect to enjoy a life expectancy of around 12-15 years.

Approximate Maltese pedigree puppy price

Expect to pay around £1,000 for a puppy, and be aware that available litters of puppies are not very common. Register your interest with established reputable breeders, so they can notify you when a litter is expected. You may have to travel long distances to find your suitable puppy. There are generally 1-8 puppies in the average litter.

Estimating how much a Maltese would need to be fed each day

A dog or bitch weighing 3kgs will require around 108gms of complete dry food daily.

A dog or a bitch weighing 3kgs will cost approximately £2.25 per week to feed.

Our figures are based on feeding an ‘above average quality’ and popular complete dry food bought from a leading supermarket.

Other financial costs to consider when owning any dog breed

Remember to budget for essential pet treatments and procedures that are not covered by pet insurance policies including:
Worming and fleas preparations

  • Annual Vaccination boosters
  • Neutering or spaying
  • Microchipping
  • Dental treatment