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Maltese puppies are gentle, intelligent, and playful. They are people-oriented dogs that see everyone as a friend. They enjoy learning tricks and being held. Despite their petite build, they are fearless.

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The Ultimate Guide to Malteses

Also known as The Comforter, Roman Ladies dog, Melitaie dog, and Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta, the Maltese is one of the most ancient toy breeds in the world. Because of its vigorous nature, it is popular as a companion dog, therapy dog, and sports competitor.

Maltese Origins

The history of the Maltese goes back to at least 2,000 years. Some believe it originated in the Isle of Malta from Spaniel- and Spitz-type dogs. Others believe it is developed in either Italy or Asia.

In the 15th century, the Maltese arrived in Britain where it became a prized dog of aristocrats and royals. Many believed it could cure diseases so it was given the nickname “The Comforter.”

The Maltese nearly survived the 17th century when breeders tried to breed it to be as small as a squirrel. To save it, breeders mixed it with other miniature dogs, resulting in numerous variations.

In the 1800s, the Maltese arrived in the United States where it was recognised in dog competitions. In 1888, it was accepted by the American Kennel Club.


Key Characteristics of Malteses

Are Maltese Dogs Family-Friendly? Yes, Maltese puppies make good family dogs. However, they are not recommended for families with young, rambunctious children because these dogs are tiny and fragile.
Daily exercise needs? 20 to 30 minutes a day
Common health issues & considerations While generally healthy, Maltese puppies are still prone to certain health conditions like the following:

  • Patellar luxation
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • White dog shaker syndrome
  • Portosystemic liver shunt
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Reverse sneezing
Lifespan 12 to 14 years
Nature / Temperament Playful, fearless, intelligent, gentle, and affectionate
Size Maltese puppies that weigh below 1.8 kg at maturity are likely to suffer from health problems, so avoid buying a ‘teacup puppy’ from breeders.

Male: three to four kg
Female: three to four kg

Male: 20 to 25 cm
Female: 20 to 22 cm

Suitable Environment Because of its tiny size, this toy breed is well suited for apartments and other small confines.
Grooming Brush your Maltese every day to prevent coat matting. Clean the hair around its eyes daily to avoid tear staining. Bathe your pup once or twice a month.

Other Considerations:

  • It’s easy for young kids to hurt a Maltese which is why most breeders do sell these pups to families with toddlers.
  • This purebred is prone to chills especially when it is damp.
  • While this canine can get along with other pets, it should be protected from dogs or cats that are 10 times or more its size.

Average cost of a Maltese

Malteses typicaly range between $1000 and $4600AUD.

How can I take care of my Maltese?


Maltese puppies should be fed regularly because they are prone to low blood sugar. The recommended daily amount of food is ¼ to ½ cup per day, divided into two meals. Make sure they are fed only high-quality dry dog food that does not contain a lot of additives.

Feed your pup canned food that is balanced and nutritious. If you prefer a more natural diet for your dog, include chopped vegetables, raw chicken necks, and vitamin supplements. Avoid the following foods: onions, chocolates, raisins, avocados, and macadamia nuts.

Prevent your pup from getting overweight by measuring its food all the time. If you want to know if your dog is obese, do a hands-on test. If you cannot feel its ribs, or there is a layer of fat over its ribs, it’s time to put your Maltese on a diet.


The Maltese has a coat that is prone to matting which is why it needs to be brushed and combed daily. It also tends to get dirty so it needs to be bathed at least once a month.

Brush your pup’s teeth two times weekly to prevent bad breath and remove tartar buildup. Trim its nails once or twice a month to prevent tears. Check its ears once a week for odour and infection.

Recommended Grooming Tips

This purebred is prone to tear stains so clean its eyes daily with warm water.
If you want to put your pup’s hair in a topknot, use a coated band to prevent hair breakage.
Make grooming a positive experience for your dog by rewarding it with treats or praises for good behaviour.


While it is active and playful, the Maltese doesn’t need a great deal of exercise. One short walk in the morning and another short one in the evening is enough. Make sure you wait until your dog is eight months old before walking far with it.


While the Maltese is eager to please, it is not the easiest breed to train. Crate training and proper socialisation are needed so that it grows into a well-rounded dog. Enroling it in a puppy kindergarten class is a good idea.

This purebred responds well to positive reinforcement. Avoid yelling at it or using harsh training tactics because it is a sensitive dog. Instead, reward it with food and praise for its efforts.

This is basic information, and it should not be used to make adoption or purchasing decisions. Be sure to consult an expert if you’d like to learn about the breed’s care and requirements.

This is general information and should not be relied on for adopting or purchasing advice.

Most Asked Maltese Questions

What does a Maltese look like?

The Maltese is known for its silky white coat that falls to the ground. It has a rounded skull, pendant ears, and straight legs.

Does a Maltese shed a lot?

Maltese puppies shed very little because it does not have an undercoat.

What’s the price of a Maltese?

The Maltese is one of the most expensive small dog breeds, costing between AUD $2,000 and $5,000 from a reputable breeder. A puppy with a superior pedigree typically costs between $4,000 to $7,000.

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