The Maltese is a gentle but playful breed that's won the hearts of families worldwide with their teddy bear-like looks and friendly nature. This breed is rooted in nobility and rightfully so! With their long, fashionable white coats and loyal disposition, how could they be anything but royalty?

In modern times, the Maltese have gladly given up their seat at the foot of the throne for a comfy spot on the couch. Maltese still enjoy their time in the spotlight, though. This breed is a favorite of dog show enthusiasts, with hundreds of organizations dedicated to the breed’s “pawpularity".

Maltese: fast facts about the breed

Height: 7- 9 inches / Weight: up to 7 pounds / Lifespan: 12-15 years

A brief history of the Maltese

The Maltese originated in the Mediterranean Basin in the small European island of Malta. The Malta society regarded this breed as a symbol of wealth, and everyone who was anyone had one — including the emperor! The regal Maltese even made their way into the Christian bible, as a present for the disciple Paul from the governor of Malta. Some researchers believe the Maltese descended from the Spitz lineage, whereas others think they’re relatives of the Tibetan Terrier. We know that the Maltese is closely related to the Bichon Frise and the Bichon Maltese, which also originated in Europe.

What do Maltese puppies look like?

Maltese puppies almost look more like a stuffed animal than a real dog! These pooches are renowned for their soft shaggy white fur, black button noses, and round doll-like brown eyes. The Maltese are closely related to the Bichon Frise, and these two breeds are often mistaken for one another.

Maltese temperament

Maltese have a likable demeanor to match their adorable looks. This breed is energetic, loyal, and fun-loving. They're super people-oriented and may get jealous of other animals. Early socialization with other animals is crucial to minimize animal aggression and possessive tendencies.

Training your Maltese puppy

Maltese are people-pleasers, which make them exceptionally trainable. Before implementing a toilet training regime, decide if you want them to use puppy pads or potty outdoors. While Maltese do love a tasty treat, they’re particularly responsive to praise and affection when training. Unfortunately, separation anxiety is common in this breed since they develop an intense attachment to their family. Using a crate is one of the most effective ways of dealing with separation anxiety in small dogs like the Maltese. When used correctly, the crate becomes like a safety blanket and gives them a sense of security.

Diet and exercise for Maltese puppies

Puppies require more calories than adult dogs because their bodies are still growing. Since Maltese are so small, they’re easy to overfeed. Maltese puppies should have a daily caloric intake of around 400 calories. Canine nutritionists recommend 200 calories a day for adult Maltese since their metabolism slows with age. To a human, this may sound like a very small amount of food, but dogs typically only need 20 to 30 calories per pound of bodyweight! Many vets recommend a high-protein raw diet for Maltese, though there are lots of high-quality kibble brands to give them the nutrition they need. Most vets suggest dry food rather than wet food because they coat the teeth and cause tooth decay. The main things to look for when shopping for good dog food are high-quality protein sources (not meat by-products), no fillers or additives, and a balanced nutritional label. Most vets recommend that 29% of a puppy’s calories come from protein, and 25 to 50% should come from fat. Exercise is equally as important as diet for a growing Maltese puppy — the good news is they love being active! Dedicate 30 minutes every day to exercise your pooch; this can be a fetch game, a long walk, or just playing chase.

Grooming your Maltese puppy

Keeping those long, luxurious locks looking their best takes a lot of work. Pet parents need to brush their Maltese at least once daily to keep mats at bay. If a mat should form, use a doggy conditioner to soften the tangles and manually separate the fur. Brushing an adult Maltese is a little different. To minimize hair loss, experts suggest starting at the ends of the hair and work your way to the root. Start grooming your pooch as soon as you bring them home to minimize the stress associated with the process. After a while, your dog will realize grooming is a normal daily activity, and over time learn to enjoy it. You should only bathe your Maltese if they’re dirty. Frequent shampooing can strip natural oils that protect their skin and coat. Pay close attention to your pup’s nails. Due to their small size, Maltese don’t file down their nails through exercising like other heavier breeds. Use canine nail scissors to remove the excess, making sure not to cut into the vascular pink area, which will cause bleeding and discomfort. Dremel tools are fine too, but they can be tricky to use on small nails and may startle your pup. Canine ear cleaning drops can help rid your Maltese of excess wax and debris, which can cause an infection. After applying the solution according to the directions, use a soft cloth to gently remove any grime from the outer canal. Never use cotton swabs inside the inner canal since this can damage the internal structure of the ear.

Buying a Maltese puppy

The cost of a purebred Maltese puppy can range anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000. Besides the adoption cost, you’ll need to budget for other expenses associated with bringing home a new fur-baby, like bedding, high-quality puppy chow, toys, and a crate or playpen. Finding a responsible breeder is the most important step in purchasing a new fluffy family member. Responsible breeders don’t rush the buying process. They'll want to learn about you and your home, and they’ll allow you to see the mother and where the puppies are kept. They’re also forthcoming about any illnesses or defects in the dog’s lineage.

Is a Maltese the right breed for you?

Maltese are affectionate family pets; however, they aren’t recommended for small children due to their small size. This breed makes a tiny but mighty watchdog who will gladly alert their humans if someone steps on their turf. The Maltese are a favorite breed of allergy and asthma sufferers because, like their Bichon cousins, they’re considered hypoallergenic with minimal dander and shedding. This breed is "pawticularly" good for retirees since they don’t require intense exercise and enjoy a lot of time with their parents. Maltese puppies thrive in both small and open spaces and are a favorite choice for apartment pets. No matter where you’re from or what season of life you’re in, a Maltese makes a great companion who will love you for a lifetime.
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Give your pup some extra love and fresh air with this Wag! Walk
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