Temperament: Spirited, playful and loving
Lifespan: 15-18 years
Recommended for: Experienced Dog Owner
Other Names: Maltese Lion Dog, Bichon, Roman Ladies' Dog
Maltese are small dogs weighing only 3-4 kilograms, with fine skeletal structures and elegant, silky hair covering their compact bodies. When properly cared for, their coats are startlingly white or light ivory with delicate feathering on their ears. The wispy white hair of the Maltese's pendant ears makes the dog's dark facial features, including its coal-black eyes and nose, stand out dramatically.
Although Maltese dogs are highly intelligent and quick to pick up new tricks, they can be difficult to housebreak and may be finicky eaters if allowed to take scraps from the table. When properly trained, Maltese dogs are ideal companion animals because they are spirited, gentle, dedicated to their families and affectionate. They also make brave and alert guard dogs, particularly attuned to suspicious noises and quick to bark at signs of alarm.
Health and lifespan
When kept out of damp areas and properly treated for any health conditions, Maltese dogs can live as long as 18 years. This small dog breed is particularly sensitive to weather, prone to sunburn and uncomfortable in heat. Maltese dogs are also likely to suffer from slipped stifles, respiratory problems, eyesight issues, skin damage and digestive disorders. Dry biscuits can help Maltese dogs avoid the dental problems that are prevalent in many small dog breeds.
Maltese dogs are best suited to owners with plenty of time to dedicate to daily grooming and exercise. While the Maltese will be perfectly happy living in apartments, owners must recognize the dogs' exercise needs and be willing to take them for daily walks or runs. Maltese dogs are active indoors, but in order to prevent excessive barking they must receive ample playtime outdoors.
Although they are small dogs that barely shed at all, the Maltese breed requires extensive grooming. To keep their coats snow white and silky, Maltese dogs should be bathed or dry shampooed regularly and brushed or combed daily. Their eye and beard areas should also be wiped with damp towels after meals because their fur stains easily.