Dog Breeds: Maltese temperament and personality

Maltese dog

The Maltese Dog

The Maltese Dog is a beautiful breed of dog, full of energy and pretty sparkly.  When you look at one, they give the impression they are a bit lazy.  But nothing is farther from the truth.  This aristocratic-looking dog is a very nice companion that loves being close to his loved ones.


The origins of this dog can be traced back to two millennia.  Aristotle mentioned the dog at some point and he is found in artistic pieces of Rome, Greece, and Egypt.   

Throughout his long history, the Maltese dog has been called several names.  The Egyptians and Europeans thought that the dog had some healing powers so they called him “The Comforter”.  The original name of this dog breed, thought to have descended from a Spitz dog, was “Canis Melitaeus”.  Other names through history include “the Roman Ladies’ Dog”, “Maltese Lion Dog”, “ancient dog of Malta”, and “Melita”.   

On the 15th century, the Maltese dog was in the hearts of the French aristocracy, becoming royalty’s favorite by the end of the 16th century.   They were nearly destroyed during the 18th and 19th centuries.  In an attempt to save him, breeder made different crosses and created new breeds.  The Maltese dog arrived at the USA in 1870.  It was officially recognized by the AKC in 1888.

Physical Characteristics

The skull is slightly rounded with a black button nose and brown eyes.  The coat of the Maltese is long and silky.  Some say it is hypoallergenic.  It is good for people with dog allergies, though, since they do not shed.

According to the standard, the Maltese is a compact dog that should not weigh more than seven pounds by the time he reaches maturity.  Males rise at 8 to 10 inches tall, while females are 8 to 9 inches tall.

Temperament and Personality

This dog makes a wonderful pet.  His small size and weight make him the perfect toy dog. He is loving and friendly with everyone, even strangers.  He is gentle and fearless and knows how to get his way.

Caring for a Maltese Dog

Since these dogs are very active inside the house, taking them for a long walk is probably not necessary.  However, they do need exercising and a short walk can do the trick. Experts do not recommend you taking out your puppy for a walk but until they are around 8 months old.

They do not easily tolerate extreme conditions of heat and cold.


These dogs are very eager to please their owners so they are usually easy to train.  He responds well to positive reinforcement. Be consistent with his training and you should see fast results.

Fun facts

  • Even when he is easy to train with simple tasks, housetraining can be difficult.
  • These dogs are rather fragile, so keep them away from toddlers and small children.

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