The exquisite little Maltese is another breed whose roots have been lost in antiquity and go back to pre-Christian times around the Mediterranean area. Its long, flowing, luxurious coat is pure white, making it a very glamorous-looking companion dog.


Similar dogs have been known since the fourteenth century ВС in Egypt: an effigy appears on the tomb of Rameses II. They were also in ancient Greece and probably travelled to Malta and Sicily with the Romans. It is said that they brought the breed to Britain but there is no real evidence. Known in Britain since 1500, they became favourites of court ladies who used them as living hot water bottles and personal flea catchers. They were first exhibited in 1859 and have become popular all-round pets and show dogs.

The long, silky, straight, pure white coat is the crowning glory of the diminutive Maltese.


This dog has a very loving nature, adores its owners and expects to be adored in return. Training is not difficult but they are so sensitive that, if upset, they will do nothing. They are vigorous and full of fun, enjoying games, but they can be a bit yappy. They are very good with children who must be taught to be careful so as not to injure their pet accidentally.

must know

There is occasional patella luxation in this breed as well as PRA, PDA and pyloric stenosis.


This short-legged dog is fairly long in the body whose mark of distinction is the long, pure white, silky coat: in the show dog the coat can trail on the floor. In height, both sexes are 25.5cm (10in).

Strangers 3/5

Will bark but is then friendly

Temperament 5/5

Happy nature, vigorous, sensitive, fun loving

Exercise 3/5

Not much: a little stroll twice daily and play in the garden

Grooming 4/5

Full coat: a daily chore. Cut down pet coat: daily brush and comb

Other dogs 4/5

Very good


Devoted, loves family involvement, humorous

General care

The small Maltese does not need a lot of exercise: a walk twice a day is generally sufficient. If you have a garden it will run about to exercise itself. The small amount of food must be of high quality to preserve the texture and condition of the coat, which must be combed every day. Not to do so creates tangles which, when removed, will leave holes. You need real commitment to maintain a show coat. It will require frequent washing with a dog shampoo and the hair preserved with curlers (crackers). It is not practical to keep a pet in a show coat, so it is usually cut about 2.5cm (1in) from the floor in a ballerina cut but still needs grooming every day.

Gallery of Maltese