Maltese Breed Information

Maltese are a member of the ‘Toy’ breed group. Toy breeds are small companion dogs, commonly referred to as ‘lap dogs’. Most toy breeds love attention and can be very friendly and affectionate. They don’t require a large amount of exercise.

Maltese are very bright, friendly and affectionate. Known to be sweet-natured, they can be reserved with strangers but given the right socialisation when young, they can learn to be confident and sociable. For more information on socialising your Maltese and training using reward-based techniques, take a look at our dog behaviour page where you can pick up plenty of tips to help you and your canine companion better understand each other.

Their coats require daily grooming to keep them in good condition.

Breed-related health problems:

Owners are, understandably, upset when their dog develops a health problem linked to its breed. Often they wish they’d known what problems the breed was prone to have. The potential health problems that Maltese are prone to include:

  • Luxating patellas - the kneecaps slipping temporarily out of place.
  • Hydrocephalus – increased accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles of the brain
  • Portosystemic shunt – abnormal blood circulation, with the blood effectively bypassing the liver and entering general circulation.
  • Dental problems
  • Heart disease
  • Chiari malformation Syringomyelia (CM/SM) – a painful neurological condition in which fluid-filled cavities develop within the spinal cord near the brain. There is a BVA/ Kennel Club CM/SM health scheme which can test for this – for more information, visit the BVA website.
  • Cataracts – opacity of the lens of the eye – giving a ‘cloudy’ appearance.
  • Entropion – inward turning eyelids.

For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.

You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.

Exercise requirements:

Maltese don’t require much in the way of exercise, with up to half an hour a day usually sufficient. However, they will enjoy playing games in addition to this.

Estimated lifetime cost:

The likely lifetime costs for a Maltese are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:

The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.

Insure your Maltese with PDSA:

1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like Maltese that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:

  • 5 Star Pet Insurance* - from the vet experts
  • 4 levels of cover to suit you
  • Monthly payment at no extra cost

*Defaqto 5 Star rating applies to our Plus and Premier policies only. Defaqto’s Star Ratings provide an independent assessment of the quality of financial products.

By insuring your Maltese with PDSA you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.

Energy levels
 
Overall grooming needs
 
Compatibility with other pets
 
Easy to train
 
How much exercise
 
Suitability for children/families
 
Tendency to bark
 
Average lifespan 12-14 years
Size Small
Coat length Long
Possible health problems Luxating patellas (the kneecaps slipping temporarily out of place), Hydrocephalus, Liver shunt, Dental problems
Average price £300-£500
Estimated cost over lifetime £21,200-£25,400
Average weight 3kg-4kg
Breed group Toy
Minimum garden size Small

Not sure if the Maltese is the right pet for you?