Dog breeds of all sorts have been living with humans since as far back as recorded history. They often have work or important duties to fullfil for their masters – but a few breeds have no job to do aside from being pampered and adored. This is something the Maltese has done for over 2,500 years.
These natural lap dogs are precisely that – meant to relax in luxury, bringing joy and comfort to their masters. They’re charming, graceful, and gentle, seldom putting a foot out of place or causing their owners to fret. The Maltese has one goal in life, and it’s to see you smile.
TemperamentThousands of years of history as a lap dog are hard to overcome. Most Malteses today retain the same sweet, easygoing nature that the Greeks and Romans loved about the breed. However, the Maltese is far from shy or timid. In fact, they are fearless little dogs, with personalities that are much larger than their tiny bodies would indicate. They aren’t aggressive, but rather will charge headlong into adventure, so long as they’re with their owner. The Maltese gets along well with almost everyone – including other species of animal, as they’re hardly big enough to pose a serious threat to most other types of pets. Cats in particular seem to be friendly with the Maltese, who is about the same size as a cat. Most Malteses prefer to stay beside their owners or family members instead of exploring on their own, and they develop deep, unshakeable bonds with their chosen humans. Malteses don’t do well when they’re left out of family activities, and require a lot of attention to stay happy and healthy. Properly socialized and well-exercised Malteses are gentle, affectionate, loyal, and agreeable.
The Ultimate Guide to Maltese
The story of the Maltese dates back to ancient Greece and the island of Malta. There are a wide variety of theories for where the Maltese originated, but the most popular one is that the Phoenicians introduced the breed to the island at some point after 1500 B.C. What we do know for sure is that the Greeks adored the Maltese, and they adorned ceramics with images of the tiny, well-proportioned dog breed they loved so much. Examples of these artifacts date back to the 4th and 5th centuries B.C. The Romans were also enamored with this little white dog, frequently carrying it with them as an accessory. They were companions to noblewomen and emperors alike, charming everyone with their cleverness and sweetness. Eventually the breed spread throughout Europe and Asia as the centuries passed, and they continued to serve as loyal companions to royalty and nobility. The Maltese found its way to America in the late 19th century and has grown in popularity ever since. It still remains, to this day, one of the most popular toy breeds.
Key Characteristics of Maltese
Thousands of years of history as a lap dog are hard to overcome. Most Malteses today retain the same sweet, easygoing nature that the Greeks and Romans loved about the breed.
However, the Maltese is far from shy or timid. In fact, they are fearless little dogs, with personalities that are much larger than their tiny bodies would indicate. They aren’t aggressive, but rather will charge headlong into adventure, so long as they’re with their owner.
The Maltese gets along well with almost everyone – including other species of animal, as they’re hardly big enough to pose a serious threat to most other types of pets. Cats in particular seem to be friendly with the Maltese, who is about the same size as a cat.
Most Malteses prefer to stay beside their owners or family members instead of exploring on their own, and they develop deep, unshakeable bonds with their chosen humans. Malteses don’t do well when they’re left out of family activities, and require a lot of attention to stay happy and healthy. Properly socialized and well-exercised Malteses are gentle, affectionate, loyal, and agreeable.
Despite being a companion dog, a Maltese still needs regular exercise to stay healthy. This exercise doesn’t need to be nearly as vigorous as what other dogs need, but it still has numerous benefits for this small dog. A couple of 15-minute walks each day will be enough for most Malteses, with some light play sessions if your dog is still energetic afterwards.
They aren’t particularly fast or have a lot of stamina, so they don’t require much outdoor space. Still, it’s good to give them some variety to keep them mentally stimulated – interactive toys and puzzles can help, as well as outdoor activities such as fetch or tug-of-war. Just be careful that your Maltese doesn’t hurt themselves, as they can be fragile.
The Maltese is a naturally playful breed, but their play is gentle and low-key, so it can mostly be done indoors. There are a variety of indoor games to play with a Maltese, such as a flirt stick or hide-and-seek.
The Maltese traditionally sports a pure white coat of hair that is kept long and flowing. This silky, luxurious coat is one of the Maltese’s crown jewels, and is a major part of why the breed has been valued so highly. However, the length of this traditional haircut does mean that it takes a bit more effort to keep a Maltese neat and tidy.
The Maltese’s single-layer coat needs to be brushed daily to keep it from forming mats and tangles. A slicker brush can also be used to get deeper into the coat and get shed hair and dander that has gotten trapped.
It’s not strictly necessary to bathe a Maltese very often, despite their all-white coat. Bathing too frequently can actually strip the skin of the natural oils that keep it moist. An option is to wipe down your dog with pet wipes or a damp towel instead. During these sessions, it’s good to check your Maltese for tear stains and wipe those away as well.
A Maltese should have their teeth brushed daily, as they may be prone to tooth and gum diseases like many other small dog breeds. Nail trimming can be done once or twice a month, whether at home or by a professional groomer.
The ancient Greeks and Romans praised the Maltese for its cleverness and intelligence, something that it lives up to today. These small dogs are not only smart, they can often be too smart for their own good, getting into all sorts of mischief that they’ll get out of with their charm and sweetness.
It’s important to give your Maltese training as early as possible so they learn the rules of your household, as well as how to behave with strangers and other dogs. Malteses are capable of learning a lot, they just need to be motivated to do so. They require consistent training and a somewhat knowledgeable trainer, as their high intelligence sometimes makes them want to do things their own way.
Positive reinforcement is the easiest way to get your Maltese to do what you want, as the breed is sensitive to punishments or negative emotions. Above all else, you will have to stay calm and composed while training your Maltese. The dog is much more likely to follow commands when they know there’s a reward waiting for them.
The Maltese doesn’t have to be a couch potato – some of them excel at agility or other dog sports. Others may do well as therapy dogs or will excel at scent work. Don’t be afraid to try out lots of activities with your Maltese, as it will provide important mental stimulation.
|Maltese Lifespan And Health Issues||
Malteses are generally healthy and can live for up to 12 to 16 years. Malteses may be prone to:
|Maltese Size And Space Requirements||
The Maltese is a small breed that doesn’t take up much space – after all, the Romans would routinely carry them inside robes and togas. They typically only weigh below 7 pounds, and stand between 7 to 9 inches at the shoulder.
Because they’re so small, they’re able to fit well into any type of household. A Maltese is equally at home in a city apartment as they are in a mansion – the only thing to watch out for is stairs, as the Maltese may be too small to navigate them safely. Outdoor space is not a dealbreaker for a Maltese, though they appreciate being able to play outside like other dogs.
It’s not advisable for a Maltese to be kept as an outdoor pet, because of their high need for human companionship as well as their lack of protection from the elements.
- There is almost no size and weight difference between male and female Malteses.
- Because of their size, their stomachs can’t hold that much food at once. Feeding your Maltese multiple smaller meals per day can help prevent stomach upsets and indigestion.
- The Maltese is sometimes advertised as hypoallergenic, which is down to the fact that it’s a low-shedding breed with a single coat. However, some people may still be allergic to the Maltese’s hair, dander, and saliva.
How can I take good care of my Maltese or Puppy?
While there is little risk of a Maltese ever causing serious harm to another person or dog, it is still important to socialize them. Early socialization will help your Maltese puppy to learn proper behavior and increase their confidence in many situations. This is crucial so that your Maltese puppy ends up being a well-behaved and gentle adult dog.
Maltese puppies should be given high-quality, premium dog food. Maltese dog food is usually specially formulated for small breeds. Small meals 3 to 4 times a day is ideal for most Maltese puppies, since their stomachs are small and cannot handle their entire daily food intake in one go. Your veterinarian may have more specific recommendations for your Maltese depending on their health and activity level.
Your Maltese puppy will have to get a number of vaccinations in the first month or two that they are with you. These vaccinations are crucial to prevent transmissible dog diseases and bacteria from harming your Maltese dog. Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with the correct schedule of vaccinations for your area, depending on what diseases are most common.
Most Asked Maltese Questions
+How Much do Maltese Puppies Cost
Most Maltese puppies for sale will cost between $1500 and $4000. It’s a wide range due to some Malteses being bred to be show dogs. Even Malteses on the lower end of this price range will have to go through a number of health checks before an ethical breeder releases the puppies to their new owners. Some show-quality Maltese dogs can cost upwards of $15000. Only get Maltese puppies from responsible breeders to give your Maltese the best chance of success in life.