Learn all about the Maltese lifespan and history

Dogs Human Classroom

The Maltese dog breed is one of the most loved and appreciated since many years ago, becoming very popular and seen with people of high rank over the centuries. You may think that it was only because of its appearance and its small and practical size, but really this small four-legged companion has more to offer than just a pretty face, although sometimes they don’t get along well in an environment. Small dog breeds tend to be very prone to suffer from behavioral problems due to their owners spoiling them, and in some cases, it is already something common with the Maltese breed. Even so, it is not something you should be afraid of, and it does not mean that all Maltese dogs will have this problem or will be, it will all depend on the attention and care you can give them. Being an intelligent, active, and affectionate dog will rarely give you any problem at home.

If you are a dog lover and you think you are up to taking care of this wonderful little furry companion, I invite you to read this little introduction about the Maltese dog breed.


The history of the Maltese is one of the most beautiful you can find about any dog breed. Being a companion so cherished for all its aspects and attributes it has to offer to all its owners. There are evidence and records of this breed from almost 30 centuries ago, being named in poems or described by their owners that simply melt before their splendorous personality. So much so that throughout history they have tried to modify the breed in some way, seeking to make it smaller than it already is, but this has almost led to its extinction. All this because man seeks to manipulate certain aspects of a breed for his own benefit. Certainly, there are some changes that they have managed to make that benefit the breed in question, but there are others where they were not really necessary, there are things where you have to let nature take its course and for a reason animals as well as humans, even pathogens, have come to evolve or change over the years, thanks to the fact that nature is very wise. 

Like all those ancient breeds, it is a very difficult task to determine the exact origin of the Maltese dog, but there are certain findings in manuscripts or murals that have helped man to determine where the dog has come to be. As well as its size, its name and origin are believed to come from the Mediterranean, in Malta, a small island south of Sicily. In those reports that have been made throughout history, some historians agree that a dog with such bearing and history, describing it as an elegant, charming and beautiful dog must have come from a prestigious place. Among the reports that have come to light, it is believed that the Maltese came to be worshipped by the Egyptians, is named in several reports from ancient Greece, and as I mentioned earlier, was commonly seen accompanying upper-class women. For these reasons, it was once acquired for relatively high prices, easily reaching $2,000 for the 1500s. then, at the end of the 1800s, this breed was introduced to the United States and registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1888, approximately 10 years after it arrived in that country. 

For many years it has been a breed more than appreciated and very well valued with its good reasons, which still stand today and all those who have had the joy of adopting a Maltese can tell you how wonderful they are, once you manage to cover all aspects of their breeding to obtain the very special dog that has caused so much sensation throughout its history. In spite of being small, it has undoubtedly caused a great impact on the history of man. 


This breed is classified as a Toy dog, being the perfect option for those homes that do not have so much free space. They can have up to 10 inches in height and a weight of about 4 lbs, both for the male and the female. Due to the crosses that were made so many years ago, it gave as a result of certain variations in the breed, so you can see certain similarities with other breeds or changes in what you can find both in this and in another web page, but for this article, I am taking into account the standard of the breed. Their hair is without a doubt one of the things that stands out the most in a Maltese, but to maintain it you must dedicate yourself and help your new pet so that it doesn’t have problems and can show off its coat that’s so shiny and striking. It is long, smooth, and white in its entirety, but you can see different styles among the same owners or fans of the breed, keeping their coat long or short, some put a small knot on the long hair of the face while others let their hair fall and maintain its elegance throughout the body, everything will depend on your taste but you must also take into account what will be most comfortable for your Maltese.  

Beneath its splendid coat hides a well-defined and balanced body for the size it has, being a mix between elegance and endurance that go with his active and playful personality. His ears are pendulous, and like everything else, with plenty of hair, his eyes tend to be very dark and contrast with the black of his nose which stands out from the rest of his body when his long hair leaves them exposed. 

It is very important that you keep their hair in good condition because it can get entangled very easily, being a white color whatever it does it will get dirty and it is not a look you want to show off on the street when you take it out for a walk. You may well choose to keep the hair short to save yourself certain problems, but if you really want to keep it long it’s best to aim to keep it just right, so that it doesn’t look like you have a walking dirty rag. Besides all the good aspects this breed gives you, having long hair you won’t have a problem with a house full of hair because the hair loss, as it usually happens with other breeds such as a Golden Retriever or a short hair breed such as the Bulldog, unlike a Poodle that also has a white hair color. Not only that, but it is also considered hypoallergenic which helps it to reach almost any home, but I recommend you to interact with a dog of this breed before adopting it to make sure you won’t have any allergy problems.


Although, he is a very valued dog and mentioned for his excellent personality, you should always keep in mind and know in depth what you are facing when adopting a pet. In the case of the Maltese, what they usually catalog as their bad aspects are the difficulty that there is at the moment of training them, and that they do not usually get along with small or young humans that do not have manners, are not delicate and in a few words, get to bother your pet too much. It also happens with other breeds that when they are intelligent they become a bit rebellious, or it is the reason why the task of training can be tedious, so you must put yourself into action as soon as possible so that it does not become nippy or ” retaliatory”. Small homes usually refer to apartments, so you will have neighbors who may complain and not have as much patience if your little dog does not learn or control it at an early age, since the Maltese are also known to bark at anything that is unknown to him or anything that may alert him. There are times that if you train them, their bark ends up being more of a warning than a nuisance, for when they have the need or time to go out, so they can exercise and do their business in case they are not allowed to do it inside the household, or don’t have space with newspaper or paper to do this kind of thing. Nevertheless, they also tend to give problems at the time of eating, which is not so common in a dog but not everything could be so perfect with this breed so you will have to look for a food that covers their needs, is healthy and the dog likes it. 

Now, before you run out of this portal I will talk a little about why Maltese is so precious and valued. The demeanor of this breed goes hand in hand with their personality, and there are some humans who believe they have adopted certain attitudes because of the environment in which they developed in the past. They are spoiled or consented to in large part because they have been surrounded by so many royal women. He is an active, playful, very happy, affectionate, intelligent, gentle, reliable dog that gets along well with the whole family, always remembering to provide everything necessary for his breeding to keep him within the expected and standard described in so many sites on the internet. 


The care and maintenance of a pet is something of the utmost importance that you should not neglect at all, and you should know how to do each thing at the right time. A dog is the same as a young human or a small one, to whom you must take care of certain dangers or diminish the risks of an accident because they will be curious about all the new things they will have at their disposal. Not only that, but you should keep them always with a diet that is ideal for each stage and that goes according to their breed. Taking care of their fur, teeth, ears, and nails can be tedious but I remind you that just as you need to maintain a good image to go to work or show the world by what they call “media” through photographs and videos, you humans take your time to groom yourselves and keep yourself a little presentable. If you have time to be selfish about that sort of thing, you should devote some of that time to your new pet, as well as any other aspect that is necessary for him to have a full and happy life throughout his years by your side, which in themselves are somewhat prolonged, reaching an average of 13 to 15 years. 

Grooming and bathing your Maltese dog is one of the basic things you should take care of and always keep an eye on. Grooming is something you should do every day, is recommended if you want to keep your dog’s coat long as you like it. The bath should be somewhat more extended being at least 3 to 4 weeks for each bath remembering to always use products that are for pets. Something else that should be frequent is cleaning the dog’s teeth and ears, because for the same long hair can present problems in both places, tangling the hair between their teeth or some dirt that has been left which would worsen the situation or the accumulation of dirt and soil in their ears can lead to otitis, and the best its prevent dental disease. As you can see, these details may be small for you but in the long run, they will add up and that’s why you must focus and take responsibility for what it really takes to be a pet owner. Although, It’s not enough to be a good Maltese owner, all pets deserve the best they can get. It’s the least you can do by having a companion as devoted and loyal as the Maltese. 

Its coat besides hiding its body, also does it with its appearance or physique so you must be very careful to keep it in the ideal weight and build to avoid other problems with your pet like obesity, which is one of the oldest problems in the history of mankind. The best way to do this is to be in contact with your vet, who will tell you which is the best food to give to your pet and, in case you need a special one, he will give you all the options he can so you don’t have so many inconveniences because of how picky a Maltese is. The following visits to the vet will help you to cover this kind of aspect and this is what I recommend you do most to keep at bay any pathology your new pet may acquire. When adopting a Maltese puppy, it is very important and it will determine a great part of his personality. You must start training, socializing, as well as his vaccinations and deworming without one aspect limiting the other, everything must be in an order and logical sense. A reputable breeder will always be the best starting point you can have with any pet, as it will provide you with valuable information about the litter that may or may not affect your new pet. These people will be your best allies during the breeding of your new Maltese puppy as they care and will want to help you maintain your pet’s health. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how silly or basic you may think they are. You’ll be making a big mistake if you don’t clear up any doubts that could harm your new pet. 

Being a living being, it is exposed to an endless number of diseases and even accidents that can cause problems in its health, even if you have good handling and avoid certain situations as much as possible, you will not be able to protect your pet from everything that exists in this world. Just as it happens with you humans, pets are also prone to suffer from inherent diseases that vary depending on the type of breed and the history of the litter, which is the reason to always have a breeder that has a good reputation. I hope you are clear about the fact that all pets are exposed to the same pathologies, but the fact that some are more likely than others does not mean that they will suffer from all of them or that they will not contract the others, it simply increases the probability that some of them will occur. Among one of them I have already mentioned, starting with dental care, infections and/or parasites are part of good continuous management and check-up with the veterinarian. Those related to their genetic predisposition vary between cardiac, ocular, articular, digestive, dermal, hormonal… you get the point. 

Another aspect about its handling is the tear smear that can be generated and again, having a white coat is almost impossible to ignore this type of tear stains. You may be able to overlook some of these details when the coat is long, but this will only apply to those owners who are not as careful or meticulous with their pets, which is a negative aspect in itself. If you comb your Maltese frequently you should take advantage of this time to check his whole body, looking for any changes or anything you might find out of the ordinary. Getting close to your pet does not mean that you will be around him or that just being in the same room will be more than enough. It is equally important that you learn to read your pet’s body language and behavior, as this will help you to detect any pathology. There are some that show a little more obvious signs like not eating, decay, or the presence of blood in the urine. But, there are others that can easily be overlooked or you may not think they are a relevant alliteration, such as an increase in water consumption, even more so if you are in a warm climate. Another detail about their attitudes and the fact that they are so spoiled, is that you allow yourself to be manipulated by your pet and make certain mistakes that some people have made with this type of breed. There are people who get so attached to their pets that they take them as if they were a small human, to the point that they not only buy them clothes as such but also give them food for humans that can end up hurting them because there are certain foods that can be lethal. What I recommend most for this type of situation and in general, is that you consult your veterinarian whenever you can to avoid any inconvenience with your new Maltese. Even though you have the best intentions in the world, you can end up doing more harm than good to your pet.

Among so many health issues to be aware of, the ones you should be most careful of are patellar luxation that happens when the kneecap or patella of your Maltese slips out of place. Glaucoma, cataracts, or distichiasis are the most common eye diseases. Those vascular or heart problems are mitral valve disease, hemolytic anemia, and thrombocytopenia, Von Willebrand’s disease. Another pathology that is usually common in small breeds is a tracheal collapse that can either be at an early age due to a malformation or acquired by the weakening of the muscles of the trachea or windpipe. They may seem very overwhelming but I don’t intend to scare you either. It is usually a similar case with you humans. As a small being, they are exposed to various types of injuries, perhaps going unnoticed and being stepped on by a family member. But don’t be fooled by its height. Just because he’s a small dog doesn’t mean you’re going to keep him inside the apartment 24/7. It is important that you work on his physical as well as mental health, stimulating him with games, reinforcing training, and getting involved in certain family activities or that you are the one who joins his game. Everything is in your hands and you have the world at your disposal to do what you want with one of the best dog breeds you have at your disposal in the market. 


The Maltese breed is an aristocratic version of the dog thanks to its appearance and personality that have kept it throughout history as one of the best acquisitions for the family environment. In spite of being within the Toy group, it is a quite calm and manageable dog compared to other breeds belonging to this group. Remember to always provide him with the necessary time and space to recreate and take care of his health in general. They are a really wonderful creature that earned their place in the world and to stay among the most loved ones for so long, is something that not just anyone does and it shows you that to create a great impression you don’t need a big size.

I hope you liked this little guide about this wonderful and unique breed that is the Maltese dog. If you think I missed something or if you have any doubt please let me know in the comment section down below.

Professor Whiskers
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