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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Maltese Facts

  • Group
  • Toys
  • Affiliations
  • Height
  • 5" - 8"
  • Weight
  • 4-7 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 14 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Low - This breed requires little daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Difficult to Train
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Difficult
  • Colors
    • White
    • White / Yellow
    • White / Tan
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Adapted to city living
    • Good with children
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

Bichon Maltais


This breed developed in Malta (Mediterranean region).

Date Of Origin

This breed dates back to 790 B.C.


The Maltese is one of the many bichon breeds found in areas around the Mediterranean. It was kept by royalty for the majority of its early life. Ancient authors often remarked on the beauty of the maltese; the Greeks were so enamored with the breed that they even erected tombs for them. English travelers during the sixteenth century brought examples home with them but the breed was not seen in the U.S until the late nineteenth century.


The maltese is a small dog with a compact body that is equal in height and length. It has a medium length head with a slightly rounded skull and a firm jaw. The nose is small and black. The eyes are dark and round and the ears are set low. The long plume of a tail is carried arched over the back. The single coat is silky and flat. It hangs to either side of the body from a center part (if kept long). The long hair on the head is usually tied in a topknot. It is usually pure white but may have some tan or lemon on the ears, although this isn't desirable.


The maltese is a fearless dog that is trusting and gentle with friends but somewhat wary of strangers. It is affectionate and playful although it may be prone to some anxiety.


This bred is a classical companion dog. It may live to be eighteen, but it is important to keep it out of the damp.

Health Concerns

Collapsing trachea, liver shunt, hypoglycemia, skin allergies, white shaker dog syndrome.

Additional Information

This dog is well known for its long luxurious coat, however, it is not easily kept. The breed requires daily brushing and constant professional grooming to remain healthy and comfortable.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

The All Breed Dog Grooming Guide

Publisher: Aaronco, 2002

Website: http://www.aaroncopet.com

Author: Sam Kohl

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