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Meet the breed: Maltese

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle presents the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We’re here to help you meet the breed that’s right for you. If you’re looking for a compact companion to add to your pack, find out everything you need to know about the Maltese.


  • Long lifespan
  • Pleasant temperament
  • Good companion
  • Easy to train
  • High-maintenance grooming


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Among the oldest of the European breeds, the Maltese has charmed its way into the hearts of pet lovers worldwide. With round puppy-dog eyes, a black button nose and a soft white coat of hair that’s perfect for cuddling, it’s no wonder the Maltese is a family favorite. This breed is known for retaining its sweet-natured puppy tendencies through adulthood. Loving, social and loyal, the Maltese is an excellent companion dog in every sense of the word.

Breed standards

  • AKC group: Toy Dog
  • UKC group: Companion Dog
  • Average lifespan: 15 – 18 years
  • Average size:  2 – 4 pounds
  • Coat appearance: Silky, straight, flat
  • Coloration: Pure white
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Other identifiers: Small, compact body frame; dark brown round eyes and black button nose
  • Possible alterations: Long coat standard for show dogs; puppy cut popular for non-show dogs

Is this breed right for you?

If you’re looking for a pint-sized best friend to bring with you everywhere, the Maltese is right for you. Allergy sufferers rejoice! This breed’s luxurious coat of hair (not fur) means no dander, which will keep sneezing and sniffling to a minimum. The Maltese is a small and fragile breed, especially in its puppy years, and therefore must be supervised around little kids. A perfect companion dog, this adorable breed gets along with just about anyone — canine, feline and human.

maltese breed characteristics

A dream day in the life of a Maltese

Looking adorable while sitting on your lap is all in a day’s work for the Maltese. Compact and friendly as can be, this breed loves to go anywhere with you. More than just a beautiful face, this pooch has brains and loves to show them off. A day of learning new tricks and showing off would keep this pup’s tail wagging. Resist the urge to coddle your Maltese — yes, it makes them happy, but in the long run it’s best to teach them a little independence.

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