Dog Breed


Fits in your backpackLong-livedMischievous
Primary image of Maltese dog breed
Full Name
Alternate Names
Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta
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Life Span
15 - 18 years
4 - 7 pounds

These little white snow flakes have been living their best lives in luxury since ancient times. While they are very sweet-tempered and affectionate with their family, they can be mini guard dogs, and fiercely protect their loved ones.

Despite their small size, they pack a ton of personality, and have special skills in getting what they want! The Maltese is a true companion breed, and is adaptable, can easily live in an apartment, and is a good dog for a first time owner. But just like any dog they require attention and care- the Maltese in particular requires grooming. In return you will have a dog that is not only elegant, but loyal and loving.

Bred For
Family Considerations
Child Friendly

Is the Maltese good with children? Nearly all dogs enjoy playing with small children, but some can play too rough, or be a bit careless. In some cases dogs can get jealous of small children, or try and "herd" them due to their natural instincts.

Stranger Friendly

Is the Maltese friendly with strangers? Getting a dog that is friendly with people really depends on what your lifestyle is. Dogs who are more cautious with strangers oftentimes make good guard dogs, which can be a great fit for some owners. If you are social, live in the city, or frequently have guests over, you may want to consider getting a stranger friendly dog.

Dog Friendly

Is the Maltese friendly with other dogs? Of course this is particularly important if you already have another dog at home. However, it's an important factor to consider as well if you plan on frequently going to the dog park. Otherwise, even a dog who is not automatically friendly with other dogs can be an excellent fit, as they can still be affectionate with their human family.

Likes to Cuddle

Does the Maltese like to cuddle? All dogs want love, but they have different boundaries when it comes to physical affection. If you plan on frequently having a dog on your lap or pushed up against you, then you should consider whether this breed enjoys that.


Does the Maltese like to play? All puppies are playful, but as adults certain dogs are more playful. If you have children, or otherwise want to keep your dog active with plenty of play, there are plenty of options of breeds who will be happy to play all day.

Service Dog Ability

Does the Maltese make a good service dog? When looking to train a service dog it's important to consider how they were historically bred, and if their personality makes a good fit. A service dog must be smart, patient, and obsessed with pleasing their owner. Working dogs are a good fits since service dog 'work' gives them a feeling of accomplishment from doing a job.

Overall Ease of Breed
Ease for Novice

Is the Maltese good for first time owners? Dogs that are good for first time owners are ones who are easy to train, and are eager to please their owner. Very large dogs, or dogs with very high energy may also not be the best for first time owners since it adds a layer of complexity.

Training Potential

How well can the Maltese be trained? This rating is about the training potential of the Maltese. Dogs with high training potential oftentimes are good service dogs, police dogs, and dog show competition dogs. This does not necessarily mean they are the easiest to train, since many will be very intelligent and demanding.

Amount of Shedding

Does the Maltese shed a lot?

Ease of Grooming

Is the Maltese easy to groom?

Exercise Need

Does the Maltese need a lot of exercise?


How smart is the Maltese?

Amount of Barking

How much does the Maltese bark? Does the Maltese bark too much? It depends on your lifestyle, and where you live. Dogs use barking to communicate, keep guard, and alert. A strong bark can be a good characteristic for guard dogs, or flock guardian dogs who need to be vocal.In apartment living you should consider getting a dog who is less vocal.

Guard Dog Ability

Is the Maltese a good guard dog?

Tolerates Being Alone

Is the Maltese good at staying alone? Is the Maltese independent?

Home and Environment Considerations
Good for Apartment Living

Is the Maltese a good apartment dog? Can the Maltese live in an apartment without becoming frustrated or destructive? Typically people immediately consider the size of the dog, but energy level and historical habitat are also factors.


How big is the Maltese?

Tolerates Heat

How much does the Maltese tolerate hot weather? When is it too hot for a Maltese?

Tolerates Cold

How much does the Maltese tolerate cold weather? When is it too cold for a Maltese?

Potential to Run Away

Does the Maltese try to run away? Some dogs have natural wanderlust and are escape artists... they will do everything to get out and explore.

Physical Characteristics
General Health

Is the Maltese a healthy dog? The general health of a Maltese should be measured not just by how many years they live, but how often they have health issues during their lives. It is important to know which health conditions your breed is prone to- hip problems, eye problems, bloating, and arthritis are all common dog health problems.

Energy Level

How energetic is the Maltese? Is the Maltese too energetic for your lifestyle?

Amount of Drooling

How much does the Maltese drool?

Prey Drive

Does the Maltese have a large prey drive? Does the Maltese like to chase birds, cats, and other small animals? Prey drive can be bothersome at the park, but really an issue at home if you have small animals, since this comes as a natural instinct for dogs with high prey drive, to chase cats, birds, etc.


Is the Maltese atheltic? Is the Maltese fast and strong?

  • Toy
  • Bichon
  • Maltese
The Maltese is a purebred dog that belongs to the Bichon sub group, which falls under the larger Toy dog breed group.
Toy group: Toy dogs are primarily characterized by their very small size. But don't let that fool you- if anything their personality and tenacity is higher than the average dog. In fact, even their protective instincts are above average! In fact, because of that it is crucial they get socialization with children and other dogs from an early age. Because the toy dog is both small and primarily bred for home companionship, they make excellent additions for a wide range of families. There are also practical benefits with toy dogs- they are great for apartment living, and traveling. Toy dogs are also loyal and love to cuddle, making them the ideal lap dog.
Bichon sub-group: Bichons are typically small white dogs that were previously known as Barbichon dogs. Bichon's are a very ancient dog breed, and originate from Spain, presumably from the Canary Islands. It wasn't until the 13th century that they started being associated with royalty... a reputation that still holds today! Bichons need to be frequently groomed, but the result will be an absolutely royal looking dog. Bichons have a hypoallergenic coat, which is smooth to the touch, making them even more of a perfect lap dog. Bichons are adaptable and friendly with children and dogs. They are focused and proud, so can make decent guard dogs. They are the ideal city dogs because of their size, confidence, and swag. On top of all of this, the Bichon can be trained fairly easily, making them an excellent option for first time dog owners.

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