Maltese dog (maltese)
Dog Breeds

Maltese dog (maltese)

Other names: Maltese , lapdog

The Maltese (Maltese) is a breed of mobile and very emotional decorative dogs with snow-white “doll” fur.

Characteristics of Maltese dog (maltese)

Country of originmediterranean
The sizeminiature
Growth25–30 cm
Weight3–4 kg
Age12–16 years old
FCI breed groupdecorative and companion dogs
Characteristics of Maltese dog (maltese)

Basic moments about Maltese dog

  • Maltese are sociable and loving fluffies who need constant contact with the owner.
  • Maltese are smart, but they don’t show much zeal in learning, so in the process of training a pet, you will have to sweat a little and be a little nervous.
  • They masterfully adjust to the character and type of temperament of their owner. Sincerely devoted to one single owner, even if they live in a large family.
  • Picky gourmets. They know a lot about delicacies and, with a plentiful diet, quickly work up fat.
  • Maltese is one of the most fashionable breeds, wealthy representatives of which are dressed by such giants of the fashion industry as Gucci, Versace and Burberry.
  • Bolonkas are sociable, very curious and love to bark (often for nothing).
  • Contact and peaceful. They easily get along with other pets and children.
  • Despite the long and thick coat, the Maltese is considered a hypoallergenic breed. Dogs hardly shed.
  • Maltese suffer from forced loneliness, so an animal left alone with itself is capable of minor mischief.

Maltese lapdogs are the favorites of the French monarchs, glamorous charms that just ask for the cover of a glossy magazine. Even in the most severe times for dogs, these snow-white fluffies were groomed and pampered, which could not but affect their character. Deprived of the need to compete for a bowl of chowder, the Maltese has evolved into a carefree major who does not care about any adversity. Never discouraged and slightly eccentric lapdogs have turned into real psychotherapists who can cure the most protracted depression. It is understandable: to find a second such breed, whose representatives are in a state of mild euphoria all 365 days a year, is simply unrealistic.

History of the Maltese breed


The history of the origin of the Maltese lapdogs is continuous hypotheses and assumptions and almost no reliable fact. According to experts, the glorious Maltese family is more than two thousand years old, and it’s easy to believe, since the first images of big-eyed fluffies can be found in the drawings of the ancient Egyptians. As for the name of the breed, the lapdogs owe them to a geographical error.

At first, the animals were called melits – in honor of the island of Meleda in the Adriatic Sea. However, this piece of land had a “twin brother” – today’s Malta, also called Meleda. There was simply no one to fix the difference between these two islands in those days, so they preferred to forget about it. Later, the melit was renamed the Maltese lapdog, without paying attention to the fact that Malta was not at all the real homeland of the animals.

The earlier history of the breed is no less controversial. In disputes about how the ancestors of the Melites reached the Adriatic coast, scientists reach the point of absurdity. Some experts attribute lapdogs to being related to the Tibetan Terrier and traveling along the Silk Road from Asia to Europe. The fact that two thousand years ago the above route was not popular, scientists prefer not to mention. The version about the Swiss roots of the Maltese looks relatively plausible: in ancient times, the inhabitants of the Swiss Alps really bred spitz-shaped dogs that looked like today’s lapdogs. Some researchers are trying to enter the melit poodles that lived on the islands of the Adriatic Sea into the pedigree, although these two breeds have nothing in common.

Щенок мальтезе
Maltese puppy

The heyday of the popularity of the Maltese came in the Middle Ages. Most of all, glamorous pets were thrilled in France and Italy. The fashion for the Maltese reached the shores of Foggy Albion only by the 16th century, and even later to America.

Famous owners of Maltese lapdogs:

  • Susan Sarandon,
  • Patricia Kaas,
  • Elvis Presley,
  • Barack Obama,
  • Elizabeth Taylor,
  • Alla Pugacheva,
  • Cindy Crawford.

Video: Maltese dog

Maltese Dog - Top 10 Facts

Appearance of the Maltese

Мальтийская болонка после груминга
Maltese dog after grooming

The breed characteristics of the Maltese lapdogs are fixed by the standards of three cynological associations. So, for example, domestic breeders trust the International Cynological Federation (FCI) standard more. In England, they prefer the set of characteristics approved by the nursery of the United Kingdom (KC). Fluffies across the Atlantic have their own standard, developed by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

For your information: American Maltese are very different from their European relatives. Overseas lapdogs weigh less (ideally up to 2.7 kg), their coat is much shorter, and their muzzle is slightly narrower than allowed by the FCI standard.

A separate caste is made up of the so-called mini-maltese and baby-face maltese. In the first case, these are miniature individuals weighing from 1.5 to 2.5 kg, which are more common among “Americans”. Baby face puppies are born to both American and European lapdogs. Their distinguishing feature is a shortened muzzle, which gives the dog a touching, deliberately childish look. Such animals are not allowed to exhibition events, but among Maltese lovers they are in high demand precisely because of their own “photogenicity”.


The skull of the Maltese is egg-shaped, of medium size (mesocephalic gradation), with well-developed superciliary ridges. The back of the head is flat, with a barely noticeable occiput. The parietal zone is slightly convex, the line of the forehead is parallel to the line of the muzzle. The median groove is almost invisible.

The muzzle of the Maltese accounts for ⅓ of the length of the entire head. As you move away from the base, the muzzle gradually narrows, and its tip is rounded. There is a pronounced stop between the forehead and nose (about 90°).

Maltese dog Nose

Мордочка мальтийской болонки
Maltese muzzle

The nose is straight, covered with long hair reaching to the lower jaw. Lobe large, moist, with well-opened nostrils. In individuals that meet the standard, the earlobe is black, not oblique and not protruding beyond the back of the nose.


The upper lip resembles a semicircle in outline and slightly hangs over the lower one. The lips of the Maltese are black in color and covered with hair.

Teeth and jaws

The jaws are well developed, but not massive. The bite is complete, scissor-shaped, the teeth are strong, white.


The purebred Maltese has large, round and slightly protruding eyes. The ideal shade of the iris is dark ocher. Eyelids with black edging, close fitting. Look alive, open.

Maltese dog Ears

Мальтийская болонка

Hanging type, close fitting to the muzzle, in the form of a triangle with a wide base. Set high. The coat on the outer side of the ear cloth is thick, reaching the shoulders. In a state of arousal, the ears may rise slightly.


Hidden under abundant hair and held almost vertically. The length of the neck is approximately equal to the length of the head.


Deep chest with moderately curved ribs. The withers are implicitly expressed, the loin is even, strong. The inguinal zones are located quite low and slightly tucked up. The croup of the Maltese is wide, even, with a slight slope in the tail area.


The front legs of the Maltese are straight. The shoulder blades are movable, set at an angle of 60-65°. The shoulders are longer than the shoulder blades, inclined at an angle of 70 °. Elbows tightly pressed to the body, looking straight. Turning the elbow out or in is considered unacceptable. On the back of the forearms there are rich feathers. The pasterns are almost vertical, strong. Paws are rounded, richly pubescent, with black pads. Between the arched, gathered in a ball of fingers, long hair grows.

The hind limbs are straight. The thighs are dense, embossed, slightly inclined forward. The lower legs are bony, the hocks are normal with an angle of 140°. Seen from behind, an imaginary line drawn from the hock to the floor must be vertical.


The tail of the Maltese is a logical continuation of the dog’s croup. When at rest, it is gracefully curved and touches the back with the tip (sometimes the standard allows a slight deviation of the tail to the side). The tail is covered with soft hair hanging down to one side of the body. Ideally the tail should reach to the hocks and mix with the hair on the body to form a lush cascade.

Maltese dog (maltese)
happy maltese

Maltese dog Wool

Мальтезе с длинной шерстью
Maltese with long hair

Light, straight, flowing in the form of a mantle. The undercoat is weakly expressed and almost invisible. In purebred lapdogs, the hair has a silky texture and is thick. The normal length of the Maltese coat is 20 cm or more. The coat should be smooth, outlining the contours of the body. The presence of protruding tufts of hair and the so-called tows is unacceptable. The exception is the back side of the front and hind limbs. Here the tows have the right to exist.


The reference color of the Maltese is white. Not ideal, but an acceptable color option is a shade of ivory. Individuals whose coat has a pale orange tone are considered defective and do not participate in exhibition events.

An interesting fact: until the beginning of the 20th century, most cynological associations allowed variability in Maltese colors. And only by 1913 a single breed standard was approved, recognizing only white-coated individuals as purebred.

Defects of the breed Maltese dog

It is customary to rank as defects in appearance everything that does not fit into the framework of the breed standard. Deviations can be either mild, such as wrinkles on the head or a narrow croup, or serious, affecting the exhibition “career” of the pet. The main vices that threaten the Maltese with complete disqualification:

  • disproportionate head;
  • depigmented nose;
  • dorsum of the nose;
  • pronounced undershot or overshot;
  • eyes of different shades;
  • pink eyelids;
  • cryptorchidism (wrong position of the testicle);
  • short tail;
  • fur marks.

Incorrect movements of the dog may also be a reason for disqualification. This is especially true for lapdogs with a Pekingese gait (amble), which do not push off a horizontal surface, but simply rearrange their limbs. A healthy dog ​​should move at a fast trot. The step of the representatives of this breed is short and energetic, so the Maltese, hurrying about its business, resembles a rolling ball.

Photo of an adult Maltese

Character of the Maltese

The Maltese is a perky fidget who just needs to stay in the thick of things and be aware of all the news. Moderately friendly, but at the same time confident in their own exclusivity, the Maltese will never conflict with pets. In dogs of other breeds, these energetic fluffies see, if not friends, then at least play buddies with whom they can run around and fool around to their heart’s content. But the lapdogs do not intend to share the master’s attention with any living creature. As soon as the owner of the Maltese caresses another animal, a little jealous wakes up in his pet, capable of any meanness in relation to the opponent.

Мальтезе с хозяйкой
Maltese with the owner

Despite the fact that the Maltese breed is considered to be family, it is at least unreasonable to bring an animal into a house where there are small children. Of course, the Maltese has a peaceful disposition, but patience is by no means unlimited. Dogs have a rather strained relationship with strangers. Any unfamiliar person for the Maltese is a potential enemy, who should be in advance and properly scared. Usually, the owner learns about the arrival of an unwanted – from the dog’s point of view – guest by the pet’s choking barking. In this way, lapdogs show their alertness and suspicion towards a stranger.

White and fluffy on the outside, Maltese, unfortunately, do not always remain so on the inside. The main negative character trait of lapdogs is stubbornness. If the dog finds the training useless, it will be difficult to convince him. Another dark side of the breed is the fear of being alone. If you are used to leaving your pet alone for more than an hour, get ready to take the mess in the apartment for granted. When in a stressful situation, the dog will try to deal with the phobia in his own way, ie chewing on wires, scratching shoes and making puddles wherever possible. Otherwise, the ex-melites are quite good-natured and docile creatures. They just need a little more affection and attention than representatives of other decorative breeds.

Training and education

Do not succumb to the natural charm of the Maltese and do not neglect the education of the dog. Bolonkas, whose whims are constantly indulged, quickly acquire a “crown” and begin to openly become impudent. It is better to teach snow-white pets the basics of etiquette from the very first months of life, and you should not expect great obedience from representatives of this breed. Yes, Maltese are smart enough dogs, but discipline is clearly not their forte.

stylish Maltese dog

Maltese lapdogs are brought up by the method of positive encouragement: the pet must understand that at the end of the educational process he will definitely receive a treat. Putting pressure on the conscience of the dog in this case is useless. The absence of a tasty bonus at the end of the “lesson” is regarded by the animal as a deception, so the next time the Maltese will simply ignore your call to practice.

It is very important to develop the puppy’s correct reaction to the command “Come!”. This is due to the fact that during walks without a leash, the Maltese lapdogs turn on the “exploratory mode”. The animal is constantly distracted by external factors: it disappears into the bushes in search of a source of an unusual smell, looks into abandoned buildings, and so on. In such situations, the command “Come to me!”, uttered in a strict, unquestioning tone, is the only way to bring the pet back to reality.

Important: under no circumstances should Maltese puppies be punished for up to three months. An exception is extremely stubborn individuals who do not respond to prohibitions, as well as demonstratively and systematically violating them.

It is pointless to get involved in serious training of the Maltese. This is a decorative breed, intended more for decorating the interior and creating home comfort than for routine service. The only thing worth working on is the dance and acrobatic numbers, which the Maltese lapdogs come out with really funny. But keep in mind that it can take weeks or even months to learn one simple dance, so stock up on patience and a bag of treats in advance to stimulate the four-legged artist.

happy Maltese dog
Running Maltese

Maintenance and care

Due to their miniature build, the Maltese even in small apartments feel free and comfortable. Equip your dog with a secluded corner with a bed away from drafts and sunlight, and he will be immensely happy. Maltese puppies have fragile bones, so they need to be handled as carefully as possible. In addition, restless pussies love to poke their nose into the most unexpected places in the apartment, which makes them easy to step on. The best way to protect the baby from accidental injuries in the first months of life is to enclose his habitat with a small aviary where you can also place a toilet.

Things that a Maltese will need:

  • couch or house;
  • combs for combing;
  • nail cutter;
  • squeaker toys (the Maltese love them);
  • leash with a collar or harness;
  • ceramic or metal bowl for food.


Maltese dog on the snow
Maltese in a winter jacket

With regard to walks, the Maltese are picky and willingly content with short outings. While the puppy is small, often take him to places where other dogs walk (not stray). So the process of socialization will be faster. Usually, after several promenades, the baby stops seeing a threat in four-legged strangers and relaxes. By the way, the presence of both a puppy and an adult dog in the fresh air should be dosed: Maltese are not made for long hikes and get tired quickly.

The average duration of a walk for an adult Maltese is 15-20 minutes. In frosts and off-season, pets are walked in clothes. So, when preparing for winter excursions, do not be too lazy to go shopping for shoes and clothes for dogs.

Maltese dog Hygiene

The Maltese is a perfectionist breed. And although lapdogs are known among breeders as neat and clean pets, their glamorous appearance is 99% the result of the owner’s work. Accordingly, if you are not ready to mess with daily combing and regularly visit the groomer, it is better to refuse to buy a Maltese.

Maltese dog after shower
Maltese after washing

Animals are allowed to be washed once a week with shampoo and conditioner. After the “bath”, the wool is dried with a towel and a hair dryer, after which it is wound on tissue paper curlers. Such manipulations help protect the hair from pollution and tangling, and also improve its structure. To prevent an overly excited animal from tearing off the papillottes, you can put special socks on its hind legs.

To make the coat silky, breeders recommend using indelible oils from the veterinary pharmacy, which must be applied immediately after washing. Another effective way to avoid tangles is a silk jumpsuit. The smooth fabric of the costume prevents the Maltese’s hair from rubbing and tangling, thereby simplifying the process of caring for a pet.

Comb the lapdog every day. First, the hair is sorted by hand, paying special attention to the stomach and armpits – areas where hair is more likely to stray into tangles. Then the “fur coat” of the animal is sprinkled with talcum powder and a metal comb with frequent teeth is passed over it. It is better to collect a long “bangs” on the pet’s head in a ponytail and secure with an elastic band.

Maltese dog with a sticky

If your Maltese does not shine for participation in exhibitions, it can be sheared, which will save you a lot of time. In addition, it is necessary to regularly cut the hair between the fingers, as well as around the anus and genitals of the dog.

Maltese lapdogs have very sensitive eyes, which, moreover, often watery, leaving ugly dark grooves on the muzzle. To prevent this process from evolving, excess natural mucus in the corners of the eyes is removed with a cotton swab. Some breeders recommend rubbing the eyelids of lapdogs with tea or chamomile tea, but this method has opponents who say that such homemade lotions are of little use. In addition, due to the too frequent use of herbal decoctions, the hair around the dog’s eyes begins to fall out, which can be a reason for disqualifying the animal from the show.

Caring for the ears and teeth of a Maltese is no different from caring for any other purebred dog. The auricles of the lapdogs are examined once a week, removing the dirt accumulated in them with the help of a lotion and a cotton swab. Teeth are cleaned every 7-14 days with a soft brush with veterinary paste applied to it. If the lap dog has tartar, contact your veterinarian who will solve the problem quickly and professionally. Twice a month, pay attention to the dog’s claws. The best option is to remove the excess plate with a nail cutter, and then grind the rest of the claw with a nail file.

Maltese dog autumn


Maltese dog pizza
I found something tastier here!

The Maltese can be fed with natural food, and you can also “dry”. In any case, the main thing is not to overfeed, if you do not want to one day find at home a clumsy woolen ball suffering from shortness of breath. Half of a dog’s natural diet should be meat. The remaining 50% of the daily menu falls on cereals (rice, buckwheat), vegetables and fruits. Once a week, meat can be replaced with offal or boiled sea fish. Dairy products in the diet of Maltese should also be present. Several times a month, a pet can be treated with quail yolk mixed with vegetable oil. Another kind of delicacy that is useful in all respects is walnuts with a drop of natural honey.

How to feed: up to six months, lapdogs are fed four times a day. At 6 months, the number of meals is reduced to three. One-year-old dogs are completely transferred to two meals a day.

Like most other breeds, smoked meats, sweets, potatoes and legumes are extremely harmful to the Maltese. In the same list it is recommended to include spicy cheeses, pickles and cabbage.

Dry food for Maltese lapdogs should be selected individually and preferably in the company of a veterinarian, since some industrial varieties of “drying” can provoke allergies in a dog. To understand that the time has come to change the diet, the pet’s eyes will help, which begin to water excessively if the food is not selected correctly.

Maltese health and disease

Maltese for a walk

The most common disease of Maltese lapdogs is eye diseases such as glaucoma, occlusion of the tear ducts, retinal atrophy and distichiasis. In addition, the Maltese inherited a tendency to dermatitis and deafness from their ancestors. Often, hydrocephalus, hypoglycemia, and heart disease are found in Maltese lapdogs, which are amenable to drug treatment in the initial stages. But the congenital subluxation of the patella is eliminated only by surgery, so before buying a puppy, you should focus on the condition of his limbs.

How to choose a puppy of Maltese dog

The first and most important rule when choosing a Maltese puppy: the animal must fully comply with the breed standard. And this means – no discounts for malocclusion, “small” breasts and other defects. Carefully evaluate the condition of the coat of the future pet. Since Maltese lapdogs have oily and dry skin types, the hair structure of each individual will be very different.

The most common buying mistake is choosing the fluffiest pup from the litter. Of course, such animals look prettier than their fellow tribesmen, but too much wool for the Maltese is more of a disadvantage than an advantage. Do not be afraid of puppies with slightly wavy hair. With age, the animal’s coat gains strength and straightens. In this case, it is necessary to distinguish dogs with a wavy coat from truly curly pets. Maltese puppies with pronounced curls of wool are a real plembra.

Photos of Maltese puppies

How much does a maltese dog cost

In domestic nurseries, a purebred Maltese puppy can be bought for 400 – 500$. Individuals with an exotic appearance like the Maltese mini and Maltese baby face are much more expensive: on average, from 600 to 700$. You can buy a snow-white fluffy from your hands for 150 – 200$ rubles. The relatively low cost in the latter case is an indicator of the risk that the buyer is taking. Not all puppies that are sold through virtual bulletin boards have a pure pedigree and fit into the breed standard.

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