7-12 lbs
Norwich Terrier
Maltese x

The Nortese is not a purebred dog but is the intentional mix between a tiny but spunky ratting terrier developed in England, in the area of Cambridge University, and an even tinier companion dog that originated in ancient Malta, off the coast of Italy. These two dogs are quite different from one another in structure, appearance, and temperament, and their offspring may vary quite a bit often even within the same litter. The Nortese, regardless of which parent breed it favors, is usually very content in either a larger home or a small apartment, but may not be the best companion for small children due to the possibility of possessive behavior and the fragility of this small canine. 

purpose Purpose
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Norwich Terrier and Maltese

Nortese Health

Average Size
Male Nortese size stats
Height: 8-10 inches Weight: 7-12 lbs
Female Nortese size stats
Height: 8-10 inches Weight: 7-12 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Cataracts
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA)
  • Dental Problems
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Portacaval Shunt
  • Deafness
  • Allergies
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Portosystemic Shunt
  • Shaker Dog Syndrome
  • Atopy
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Seizures
  • Cryptorchidism
Occasional Tests
  • Eye Examinations
  • BAER Testing
  • Blood Sugar and Thyroid Tests
  • Skin Biopsy or Intradermal Tests for specific allergies
  • Dental and Oral Examinations
  • X-rays or other radiographic imaging

Nortese Breed History

The Nortese is a designer dog, the deliberate crossbreed between an extremely popular and extremely old companion breed from the Mediterranean, the Maltese, and a much newer breed, the Norwich Terrier, developed in England as exemplary ratters as recently as the 20th century. The Maltese gets its name from the small island of Malta, off the coast of Italy, and it is one of several small, silky haired dogs that developed in the Mediterranean. Their earliest ancestor was an ancient water dog that gave rise to several breeds that are both intelligent and companionable, including the Havanese, the Poodle, and, of course, the Maltese breed. The Maltese split off from its cousins at some point as far back as 3500 BC and were frequently favored by the rich and famous since the time of the ancient Greeks, not just in Malta, but throughout the known world. Interest in these small companion animals did wane for a short time in the 17th century, but they had regained their status by the middle of the 19th century and were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1888. The Norwich Terrier breed is in its infancy compared to the Maltese, just over a century old, and was developed to hunt and kill vermin, specifically rats. Their development began when college students from Cambridge University bought small farm terriers to help control the rats that populated the area. These little dogs became so popular with the college students that they became known as Trumpington Terriers, after the street the students lived on. One of these dogs, a stud by the name of Rags, was bred to a smooth haired, white female terrier with prick ears, and their puppies were used by several different breeders in individual attempts to develop the breed, and by 1932 the breed was standardized and recognized by the Kennel Club of England in 1932 and the American Kennel Club in 1936. 

Nortese Breed Appearance

The Nortese is a very small dog with even the largest of them being under a foot tall and less than fifteen pounds in weight. These little companion dogs can vary a great deal in structure, appearance, and temperament from dog to dog, even within the same litter, due to the differences between the parent breeds. While the Nortese will certainly be somewhat longer than they are tall, their bone structure can range anywhere from the sturdy, thick bones of the Norwich Terrier to the fine, straight bones of the Maltese. The skull is slightly rounded, although it will be slightly narrower for those dogs that favor the Maltese, and the hybrid may sport either the finely tapered muzzle of the Maltese or the strong, wedge-shaped muzzle of the Norwich Terrier. Their round or oval shaped eyes are typically very dark, with a lively and intellegent expression and although they may inherit the upright triangular ears of the Norwich Terrier or the low set drop ears of the Maltese, most end up with ears that sit high up on their head and fold down to the front or sides.  

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Nortese eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Nortese nose
Coat Color Possibilities
white Nortese coat
cream Nortese coat
fawn Nortese coat
red Nortese coat
isabella Nortese coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Nortese straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Nortese Breed Maintenance

This is not a wash and wear hybrid, but the amount of grooming required for a Nortese is generally quite a bit simpler than it might first appear. The methods of grooming can differ a bit depending on which coat your Nortese inherits, dogs with the silkier coat that is characteristic of the Maltese will need baths more often than most other breeds, usually around once a month or so, whereas those with the wiry double coat of the Norwich Terrier should only be bathed a few times a year. Both coats need brushing, although it is a daily affair for the softer Maltese coat in order to prevent tangles and mats from forming, and those with the Norwich coat can get away with just a few times a week. The coat of the Nortese may occasionally reach the lengths of the Maltese Terrier, requiring frequent scissoring and trimming, but more often than not their silky coat remains at a short or medium length and only require the occasional trim to tidy things up. Those that inherit the extremely dense coat of the Norwich Terrier may also require scissor work, trimming the coat to keep it neat and tidy, and thinning it with the use of thinning shears. 

Brushes for Nortese
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Nortese requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Nortese Temperament

The temperament of this hybrid may vary quite a bit between individuals as the parent breeds can be quite different in personality. The Maltese is a very amicable dog who gets along with just about everyone, regardless of age, size, or species, whereas the Norwich Terrier is more likely to be more reserved, especially with strangers. While the Maltese can usually be trusted with smaller children, the Norwich can sometimes be possessive and jealous, and may occasionally resort to snapping. Interactions with small children should be supervised even with the calmest of these dogs, not just for the child's safety, but for the safety of the animal. In most cases, this hybrid will be agreeable with other animals, but some may not be able to resist the urge to chase them, and if not socialized some Nortese dogs may develop some dog on dog aggression or fearful behaviors. Although occasionally stubborn, they should be fairly easy to train as they are quite bright and eager to learn new things, although house training can be a bigger challenge with these dogs than with most. 

Nortese Activity Requirements

Although this hybrid is a lively, energetic animal, it is able to expend large amounts of that energy without a great deal of effort on your part, mainly due to its diminutive size. Forty-five minutes a day is usually enough to keep these little dogs content and is most effective when split up into at least two or three shorter sessions throughout the day. Although those dogs that inherit the double layer coat of the Norwich Terrier will typically be just fine in slightly chilly weather, those that have just a single layer of silky hair may be more susceptible to the cold and may require outerwear designed for dogs to keep them cozy on walks.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
5 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
45 minutes
activity minutes

Nortese Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
1 cups
cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$0.80 - $1.00
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$20.00 - $30.00
food bag monthly cost

Nortese Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Nortese size stats at six months
Height: 8.0 inches Weight: 7.0 lbs
Female Nortese size stats at six months
Height: 8.0 inches Weight: 7.0 lbs
12 Months
Male Nortese size stats at 12 months
Height: 9.0 inches Weight: 9.5 lbs
Female Nortese size stats at 12 months
Height: 9.0 inches Weight: 9.5 lbs
18 Months
Male Nortese size stats at 18 months
Height: 9.0 inches Weight: 9.5 lbs
Female Nortese size stats at 18 months
Height: 9.0 inches Weight: 9.5 lbs

Nortese Owner Experiences

15 Months
1 People
Good with all animals including cats. In fact he has his own cat that comes and plays with him and they eat from the same bowl. Very intelligent and highly trainable. Good temperament and doesn't bark too much. Gets a little aggressive when playing but mostly its just noise. Comes with me eveywhere I go and has become a local celebrity. Not a dog that enjoys allot of petting but is affectionate.
4 years, 1 month ago
Book me a walkiee?
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