Breed Portrait Of The Maltese: Character, Attitude, Care

The Maltese are small, cheerful, curious, and docile. Of course, he is also a lap dog. But the Wuschel is much more!

The Maltese are a perfect companion dog: it is small, cheerful, curious, and docile. For centuries, the breed was bred for nothing else.

The uncomplicated dog is particularly suitable for families, but older people also make a good choice with the dwarf. And even people who have never had a dog get along well with the Wuschel. He is clearly one of the beginner dogs.

The dogs make few demands on their owners: whether in a city apartment or on a farm in the country – Maltese quickly adapt to the life of their owners. However, the relationship with other bichons (French for “lap dog”) should not tempt you to keep the dog exclusively on the sofa. The dogs want and need an activity for head and paws like the big ones – just adapted for mini dogs.

Anyone who has fallen in love with the cute button-eyed bears should know one thing: Maltese are very high-maintenance dogs when it comes to their fur. Self-confessed slackers when it comes to grooming should therefore switch to another breed because a neglected Maltese not only looks unclean, but lack of care can also quickly become a health risk.

How big is a Maltese?

Like the Havanese or the Bichon Frisé, the Maltese belong to the small dog breed. They grow between 20 and 25 cm high. Males tend to be taller at 21 to 25 cm than females at 20 to 23 cm at the withers.

How heavy is a Maltese?

Maltese grow in weight from 3 kg to 4 kg. Again, male dogs tend to be a bit heavier than female dogs. However, the breed standard does not specify a specific corridor for the two sexes of this dog breed.

What does a Maltese look like?

Big, dark beady eyes and a black nose in the long, silky fur. The Maltese wrap many dog ​​friends around its paws. Despite its small size – or maybe because of it? – the funny four-legged friend immediately catches the eye.

The Maltese are small with an elongated body and the coat is always white. The fur is dense, shiny, and smooth. Curls or frizz are undesirable. It nestles around the little dog’s body like a cloak. One looks in vain for an undercoat in Maltese.

The Maltese is easily confused with its other Bichon relatives, such as the Coton de Tuléar, the Bolognese or the Bichon Frisé. All four are small, white dogs – albeit from different backgrounds.

How old does a Maltese get?

Maltese are a very hardy breed of dog that can generally boast of good health when cared for and fed appropriately. On average, the dogs live between 12 and 16 years.

What is the character or nature of the Maltese?

The Maltese spread a lot of good mood on four paws. The little dog is clever, playful, eager to learn, and very good-natured. However, Maltese tend to be alert too. In other words, when there are visitors, the dogs like to bark and report the new arrivals. They are correspondingly reserved with strangers. Acquaintances, on the other hand, are greeted enthusiastically by the fluffy four-legged friends.

Maltese dogs were bred to be companion dogs, meaning to be around people. It is correspondingly difficult for the little furry balls when they are left alone.

As docile as Maltese are, they are easy to train. The Maltese are delicate and sensitive dogs. No Maltese will tolerate an upbringing with loud screams and a commanding tone. On the contrary: Actually, he is a dog who likes to read your every wish from your eyes. When raising the Maltese, it is, therefore, a good idea if you treat the four-legged friend lovingly from the puppy onwards.

Where do the Maltese come from?

Judging by the name, one might think that the Maltese come from Malta. But that is not guaranteed. The name “Maltese” comes from the adjective “Maltais” – after the Semitic word “màlat” meaning “refuge” or “port”. This meaning can be found in many place names in the Mediterranean. This could be, for example, the Adriatic island of Méléda, the Sicilian city of Melita, or the island of Malta.

So the ancestors of the little dog lived in the ports and coastal towns of the central Mediterranean. There they hunted the mice and rats in the warehouses for their own food, but also on board the ships.

They could have got there with Phoenician merchants, but this path of the Maltese has not been clearly clarified. After all, illustrations on vases from around 500 B.C. a dog that looks similar to today’s Maltese. Next to it was the name “Melitae” to read.

Aristotle also mentions a small breed in his list of dogs known in Europe, which he called “Canes malitenses”. That was in the 3rd century BC. Chr.

Therefore, the central Mediterranean area is considered to be the country of origin of the Malteser today. Italy has taken over the patronage of the breed standard of the Maltese. In 1955 the breed was officially recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI).

Maltese: The right attitude and training

A Maltese is a lap dog (“bichon”), no question about it. But like every coin, there is another side. There is a real adventurer in the little white fuzz. The Maltese love to go on a discovery tour with his people or learn new things – before the next cuddle session on the couch is announced.

Their intelligence makes training the dogs easy. The Maltese likes to be with his master or mistress and learns little tricks or tricks. You will look in vain for a hunting instinct in the Maltese, but the urge to move is still enormous. So don’t expect a couch potato and keep the dog busy. Retrieving, for example, can be a good activity for the mind and body.

Maltese are also ideal companions for children because of their manageable size, provided that the children behave considerately, especially with puppies. Therefore, Maltese are very good family dogs. They love to be around their people at all times because being alone is not their thing.

However, you should train your darling to be alone occasionally, because there can always be a work-related or personal emergency in which the dog has to stay at home alone. It is best to start with gentle training with the puppy. Then the dog will gradually be able to stay alone for longer and longer.

What care does the Maltese need?

With its amount of fur and also its length, the Maltese are quite high-maintenance. Don’t underestimate that.

The silky coat, especially if you leave it long, begs to be brushed daily. After every walk, free it from dirt or stuck twigs. Brushing also prevents the hair from becoming matted. Regular maintenance is important.

Bathe the dog only when absolutely necessary, and then preferably with a mild dog shampoo.

The ears also need attention: clean them with an ear cleaner if necessary. Eyes must be hair free for good health. Otherwise, inflammation can quickly occur.

What are the typical diseases of the Maltese?

Maltese may look dainty and delicate due to their small size, but they are a very hardy breed of dog. Unfortunately, some diseases can also be found here.

Orthopedic problems in the Maltese

As a small dog, the Maltese are prone to luxating the patella, which is the displacement of the kneecap. Not only is this painful, but it also severely hinders the pooch from walking. Left untreated, affected dog breeds can develop osteoarthritis in the affected knee over a long period of time.

Problems with the eyes

Eye diseases are also relatively common when the fur keeps hanging over the big, cute eyes and irritates them. This may indicate, among other things:

  • lacrimation,
  • red eyes,
  • Itching.

Therefore, keep your eyes as hair-free as possible. Either do this with a hair clip or trim the hair around the eyes. The Maltese would probably prefer the cut if given the choice.

It is also advisable to check your eyes daily and clean them with a soft, lint-free cloth if necessary.

Problems with the teeth

Dental problems are also typical for small dog breeds. These can be misalignments or tartar. On the other hand, regular tooth cleaning, which you can do yourself, helps, for example. Chewing articles that rub off the still soft plaque before it hardens into tartar are also useful.

Make sure your dog has a balanced and healthy diet. Ideally, you should start with the puppy.

How much does a Maltese cost?

Maltese belong to the dog breeds in the middle price segment. Expect to pay about €1,000 for a Maltese puppy from a reputable breeder. In Germany, there are about 300 Maltese puppies per year in the three VDH clubs.

If the Maltese are your first dog, ask the breeder for advice on nutrition for the first few weeks. Ideally, he will give you some food that he has given the puppies in the past.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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