The correct name for this beautiful toy breed is Maltese (not Maltese Terrier as it is often referred to). No one is certain of the origins of the breed despite claims that they came from the island of Malta, or that they are similar to the dogs worshipped by the ancient Egyptians. There is little doubt though that they are one of the oldest of all dog breeds, with records of this type of dog dating from 6000 BC. They were a prized possession of the people of Malta, as well as an exotic animal of trade in the Middle East.


Average lifespan
Maltese live from between 12 to 16 years of age.

Average height & weight
25cm to 30cm
3kg to 4kg

Care requirements

Breed personality, characteristics & temperament
Maltese are not working dogs, although some have gained excellent results in obedience trials and even make good watchdogs. A Maltese is here just to give love and shower you with affection, to let you know who is at the door and generally just make everyone it meets feel happy and welcome. It is very intelligent and lively – and just loves to be pampered.

Compatibility with other pets

Care requirements
Maltese are definitely house dogs, and although they will find a securely fenced garden a joy to play in, they prefer to be inside with their owners. If kept in a flat or a unit a daily walk on a lead is desirable.
Although Maltese make very glamorous show dogs, when kept as pets they do not have to remain in full coat – the hair can be trimmed back and shaped for ease of care. Daily brushing is essential to keep all the knots and matts at bay, and the dog will enjoy a weekly bath – but remember to blow dry thoroughly. A good bristle brush, a small face comb and scissors for trimming away hair from the pads of the feet are essential tools, along with nail clippers, boracic acid and a toothbrush for cleaning stained areas around the eye.

Please take note
Although this is classified as a toy breed, the Maltese still require normal exercise and an adequate diet to ensure they do not run to fat.

Decision time

Ideal owners
Anyone that is looking for a happy live-in companion will find this an excellent choice of dog.

Click here for advice on adopting a rescue dog and finding a breeder. All information has been provided by the Kennel Club.
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