Maltese - PetFirst
Maltese breed spotlight
Breed Spotlights


by MetLife Pet Insurance
6 years ago

Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years
Dog Breed Group: Toy Dogs
Weight: 6 – 9 lbs.
Height: 8 – 10 inches

Where Does the Maltese Rank?

See where this beloved breed ranks in comparison to other breeds in 7 key categories.


The Maltese is a trainable canine, and with repetition of commands, your dog will learn quickly. Be careful when scolding this dog as they are sensitive.

Shedding Friendliness

10 out of 10 rankingThe Maltese does not shed often and are known to be hypoallergenic.

Ease of Grooming

10 out of 10 rankingThe Maltese do not require a significant amount of grooming. The Maltese are a low-maintenance breed.


2 out of 10 rankingMaltese don’t suffer from significant health risks like large breed dogs do, but this smaller breed does have a propensity for patella luxations and renal issues.

Exercise Needs

4 out of 10 rankingYour Maltese will enjoy any activity you are engaged in. Their primary focus is to be with their pet parent.

Good with Children

The Maltese are not recommended for households with small children due to their intolerance with small children as well as their ability to injure easily.

Barking Restraint

9 out of 10 rankingBarking is not known to be an issue with this breed.


What You Need to Know About Maltese Dogs


The Maltese are known for her gentle and fearless nature. The Maltese are also known to be stranger-friendly. Do not let their teddy-bear like qualities fool you, they are quite energetic and enjoy exercise.

The Maltese breed is a breed which requires a lot of attention. If you are looking for an independent breed, this is not the breed for you. If you are searching for a constant companion, the Maltese would be perfect. If they do not obtain a sufficient amount of love and attention, they are likely to develop separation anxiety and other behavior disorders.

The Maltese are also not recommended for families with other dogs or small children. They are extremely dependent and often choose one person as their constant companion. If attention is taken away from them by a child or other dog, they may become protective resulting in aggression.

There are some tolerant Maltese dogs; however, this breed is still not recommended for a home with small children as they are easily injured due to their small size.

one for you.


The Maltese breed is extremely intelligent and relatively easy-to-train. Their energy level and eager-to-please personality often brings them to the agility field.


The Maltese have a beautiful straight and thick coat which falls all the way to the floor. Many would tend to believe they would be a high-maintenance dog; however, this is not the case. The Maltese do not have an undercoat and they shed very little. Due to the lack of an undercoat, they are known to be hypoallergenic.

Health Problems

Patellar luxation – The Maltese are known to develop Patellar luxation. Essentially, this is the dislocation of the kneecap.

Portosystemic liver shunt – The Maltese are known to develop this renal disorder. This occurs when a vessel causes blood to bypass the liver.

Hypoglycemia – Low blood sugar

White Dog Shaker Syndrome – Per the name, this dog primarily affects white dogs. White Dog Shaker Syndrome often appears between six months to three years of age and you may notice the syndrome more when the dog is excited or stressed. Signs of the condition include lack of coordination and/or tremors. This condition does not result in pain and it does not affect the personality of your dog.

Collapsed trachea – This condition is found mainly in small dogs often from tugging the leash too harshly while walking.

Top 10 Most Common Health Issues for Malteses

  1. Otitis – middle ear infection
  2. Periodontal Disease – infections of the structures around the teeth, which include the gums, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone
  3. Conjunctivitis – pink eye
  4. Dermatitis – inflammation of the skin
  5. Colitis – inflammation of the large intestine or colon resulting in diarrhea or loose stools
  6. Pyoderma – bacterial infection of the skin
  7. Gastritis – inflammation, irritation, or erosion of the stomach lining
  8. Heart Murmur
  9. Allergies
  10. Mass

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

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