Breed Characteristics: The Maltese is a small toy dog that is covered with a mantle of white, silky hair contrasted by dark eyes and a black nose. The Maltese is a very old breed, in fact, centuries old, whose sole purpose is to be a companion dog. They want to love and be loved. Because of their small size, they make great pets for people living in apartments and condos.
Temperament: Don’t be fooled by their calm nature. Maltese are outgoing, playful and highly intelligent, but are neither hyper nor “yappy”. They are content to snuggle on your lap, but are also not “wallflowers”.
Weight: The ideal is between 4-6 lbs. Be wary of the so-called “teacup” or micro-mini” Maltese puppies that are advertised. These are Maltese that supposedly will end up less than 3 lbs as adults. Maltese are not meant to be this tiny and as a result, will often have health problems.
Coat: Maltese have hair as opposed to fur, so don’t shed. However, whether kept in long hair or a cute puppy cut, brushing on a regular basis (often daily) is a must to keep the hair from tangling. As well as home brushing, a regular visit to a pet groomer is part of owning a Maltese. The hair grows continuously, so trimming/clipping of the coat needs to be done.
Colour: The coat is white with light “lemon” permissible, but not desirable. The Maltese comes in no other colour.
Feeding: As long as it is balanced nutritionally, it can be premium kibble, homemade or raw.
Training and Obedience: Maltese are very smart and when given a chance, will learn very quickly. Even though they are a toy dog, they should be well socialized and not coddled to the point of being overly spoiled. Maltese excel at obedience and agility.
Housebreaking: Maltese can be easily trained to use pee pads or to go outside. The key to any housetraining is consistency and not letting the new puppy have run of the house without supervision.
Exercise: Maltese don’t require a great deal of exercise, but some activity such as walks, a romp in the backyard or playing fetch should be done on a daily basis to keep the dog fit.