Maltese terrier- Little known facts about the Maltese Lion dog

The Maltese Terrier is an admirable and playful purebred pooch that is classified as a Toy breed. This dog can stand at 7 to 9 inches and weighs between 4 and 7 pounds. Maltese Terriers also have a lifespan of 12 to 14 years.

For the last 20 years, the popularity of the Maltese Terrier has been on the rise and it is not hard to see why this is the case. Some of his most loved qualities include;

  • He is a white and fluffy dog.
  • This ball of fluff has a big personality that is packed in a small body.
  • He is known for being extremely friendly and loving.

The Maltese Terrier is more than just good looks as you are going to see as you continue reading this article.

No dog is perfect but what matters is what traits you love seeing in your dog. Is he fit for the kind of lifestyle that you have?

Will the Maltese Terrier fit your lifestyle? Stick around to find out more.

Related posts:

fullbody dog

About the Maltese Terrier

This dog is also known as the ‘Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta‘ and has been around for quite some time now.

If you like you can also refer to the Maltese Terrier as the ‘Roman Ladies Dog,’ ‘the Maltese lion king,’ ‘the Comforter,’ ‘Spaniel Gentle,’ or you can just keep it simple and call him the Maltese.

These are just some of the names that he has been referred to as throughout history.

The Maltese are known by most dog lovers for having a silky, flowing, and white coat. But he had several coat colors in the past.

Maltese is a small breed classified in the Toy Group. It descends from dogs originating in the Central Mediterranean Area.

A Maltese is a perfect pet for you.

Easy to get along with, playful, and mild-mannered, Maltese Terriers are the epitome of companion dogs. He is a pooch that just wants to get the toy that you hid under the bed and play with you all day.

Small and fragile, this toy dog breed is also trusting and devoted to his owner and makes a perfect lapdog.

They do not shed much also.

This is an intelligent breed that is eager to please and makes training him easier. Training him is important to prevent him from developing the small dog syndrome coupled with some socialization.


This ball of fluff was recognized by the American Kennel Club officially back in 1877. The latest breed standards for this doggo were set in 1964.

He is also recognized by the FCI.

6 Fun facts about the Maltese

  1. This is an ancient dog breed that has around since the age of the Romans, Greek, and Egyptian empires.
  2. Maltese Terriers were loved by royalty and were cherished as lapdogs, especially by queens like the Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth 1.
  3. These dogs did only have a white coat color and were bred by the Romans to be white for divinity.
  4. They may be small dogs but they are fearless and make great watchdogs.
  5. The Maltese Terrier has been known by different names throughout history that includes the ‘Roman Ladies Dog,’ ‘the Maltese lion king,’ ‘the Comforter,’ and ‘Spaniel Gentle.’
  6. Just as their names suggest, these dogs originated from Malta hence the name Maltese.

Pros and cons


✓ Extremely good looking.

✔ Loving and loyal.

✓ Compact and great for apartment living.

✔ They don’t shed much and are considered hypoallergenic.


✗ This is a high maintenance dog.

✘ Are sensitive to high temperatures.

✗ Can be stubborn.

✘ Fragile and should be handled with care.

General Characteristics and appearance of the Roman Ladies dog

Maltese Terrier summary table
Height 7 to 9 inches
Weight 4 to 7 pounds
Lifespan 12 to 14 years
Breed Type Toy breed
Purpose companion and family pet
Suitable For Experienced dog owners and first-time dog owners too
Grooming requirements moderate grooming
Color Variations White
Health concerns Eye infections, low thyroid, liver problems, and even shaker dog syndrome
Temperament Tempered, Fearless, Easygoing, Lively, Intelligent, Affectionate, Responsive, Playful, Active, Gentle
Other Names Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta, Spaniel Gentle, Maltese lion king or the Comforter


Height and weight

The Maltese Lion King is classified as a toy dog breed according to breed standards. He is almost the same size as Chihuahua.

This dog could weigh anywhere between 4 and 7 pounds and have a height of up to 10 inches.

However, you can have a Maltese that is bigger than what has been mentioned above and it can be because of either of these two reasons:

  • Depending on the breeding practices and the parents that are used during breeding.
  • Your dog may be overweight which may seem absurd for a dog of this size but all dogs can get overweight.

You can learn more about the long-haired Chihuahua by visiting this guide.

Maltese Terrier physical appearance

This furry friend is more than having a small body but also boasts good looks too.

Their faces are irresistible with big adorable, round, and dark brown eyes. The eyes are described as intelligent eyes. He is a pooch that is for sure going to melt your heart every time you take a look at him.

Their bodies are compact and they have what we call an effortless and smooth gait.

The nose should be black and with a muzzle of medium length that is tapered and fine but should not be snippy. You should note that these black noses could turn pink if you fail to make sure that they get enough sunlight.

This dog should also have a tail that is long-haired and the legs nicely feathered.

Coat appearance and shedding

The Maltese Terrier has a single coat that has no undercoat and an adorable silky and white coat that covers the body is the first thing that you are going to notice. This coat should also be long and straight and could reach the ground.

When this dog is moving he may seem to be floating in a cloud of white hair which is a spectacle to look at.

One of the things that should excite you about this coat is the fact that it does not shed much. This also means that this dog is hypoallergenic and would be perfect for you if you are prone to dog-related allergies.

However, tears stains are a common sight on the Maltese Terrier’s face.

Coat Colors:

White is the only color that is accepted on this dog according to the breeds standards.

Since the year 1913, all the other colors that include tri and bi-color dog colors were considered to be unacceptable.

Your Maltese Terrier could easily get sunburns at the back if the hair is parted.

Temperament and personality traits of the Comforter Terrier

This pooch makes up for what he lacks in size with his huge personality.

They are super playful, loyal, and energetic dogs, traits that they retain from when they are puppies to adulthood.

He is a people’s dog and fearless assuming every person that they meet is their human friend. Even people that have no intention of spoiling this pooch always find themselves doing so because of how sweet they are not forgetting the persuasive cute puppy eyes.

You should, however, note that the behavior of your pup is influenced by how you raise, train, and socialize him.

The more he has positive experiences, the more he is going to be well-behaved around you and other people that he meets.

A great place to start socializing your dog is by enrolling him into puppy classes and making him meet the neighbors when you are taking him for strolls.

Roman dog guide

Compatibility with families

The Maltese Terrier is happiest when he is around people and the companions. This is because they have a lapdog past and this is where they got their caring and adorable character.

Therefore, with that said, if you are looking for your next family pet, this is the perfect dog for you.

His small size also makes him suitable for apartment living. They do not develop snappy and yappy behavior like other small dog breeds and love to curl up on the couch with the people that they love.

However, you should always make sure that this dog is handled with a lot of care, especially if you have young and playful children in your house.

Holding this dog too tight, rough play, stepping on him, or even dropping him could easily get him injured.

When they are raised together with other pets and are well-socialized they get along well with them.

They may be nervous about meeting new dogs, especially in the environments that they are not familiar with.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Maltese a Terrier a toy breed?

Maltese is a toy dog breed.

Do Maltese bark a lot? 

Barking is the way dogs try to communicate with you. Some pooches may bark more than others and you cannot eliminate barking in dogs.

The Maltese may tend to bark more when he does not get enough exercise or attention because you have to remember that this is an affectionate dog that cannot thrive well without the owners’ attention.

If your doggo bark too much, training him could help you minimize it.

What is the cost of a Maltese Terrier?

The average cost of this dog is about $1500 for a single pup. This cost could go as high as $10000 for the superior breed lines and show dogs.

However, the cost will ultimately be decided by the breeder and the location where you get your Maltese Puppy.

How easy is it to train a Maltese? 

These are some of the easiest dogs that you could ever train provided you are doing it in the right way.

With reward-based training and positive reinforcement, this dog can easily pick up new tricks and commands because of how eager to please and intelligent they are.

However, they may be a bit hard to housebreak.

Roman Ladies dog

History of the Maltese Terrier

The History of this dog is not very clear. It is uncertain where exactly this dog came from but many believe that he was created from the Spaniel types dogs or Spitz dogs.

They are said to have hailed from Malta and were very popular among the Ancient Greeks. Some people also claimed that this dog was developed in Asia while others believed that he came from Italy and was part of developing other small dog breeds.

Poets and artists from Ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece have written about this doggo. This includes the Greek Philosopher Aristotle and was one of the people that mentioned ‘Melitaei Catelli.’

This was as early as 370 BC. Some Roman poets also wrote of a white and small dog which some historians claim was the Maltese.

These dogs have been known by many names throughout history;

  • Spaniel Gentle
  • Melitaei Catelli
  • Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta
  • Roman Ladies dog
  • Maltese Lion dog
  • Melitae dog

Maltese almost went into extinction

It is the Chinese that saved this breed from extinction after the fall of the Roman Empire.

However, they were still almost wiped out in the 17th and 18th centuries after attempts to breed them to the size of squirrels were made.

They were saved by breeders that mixed them with Miniature Spaniels and Poodles which led to the development of other varied breeds. It is said that dogs like the Havanese and the Bichon Frise are descendants of the Maltese.

It is English breeders that bred the Maltese Terrier as we have known him today. Here they were seen in royalty being owned as lapdogs for Queen Elizabeth 1 and Mary the Queen of Scots.

Since this dog was registered by the American Kennel Club he has seen slow growth in popularity to the point where he is today.

They have performed very well in dog competitions over recent years.


In most cases, the Maltese Terrier will have a litter of about 1 and 2 puppies.

The maximum number of pups that this dog can bare is about 3 puppies without having problems during birth.

Most of the time these puppies are born through cesarean section even if it is one pup that can put immense pressure on this dog.

This makes the price of getting one pup be anywhere between $1500 and $2000. Good health care is paramount to the mother and for the offsprings’ health.

You should always make sure that the pup you get is from a responsible and reputable breeder.

Puppy mills and some of the background breeders might try and take advantage of this high price tag to try and make more money for themselves. You must avoid suck kinds of breeders by all means because they care more about money rather than the welfare of the dog.

If you are looking to save some money, adoption is the best option for you. It could cost you about $300 to adopt a Maltese Terrier.

Maltese dog

Here are some of the red flags of some of the breeders that you should avoid:

  • Breeders that do advertisements on places like GumTree and CraigsList.
  • A good breeder must make sure that he gets to see the home where the pup he develops will go.
  • Good breeders are more than happy to show you the health information of the parent breeds and information about the temperaments. Sometimes it might be hard to meet the father but you should at least get the information about the parents.
  • Health checks should be done on both the dam and the sire to eliminate any chances of bad breeding. However, it can be hard to tell which health issues your pup has inherited until he grows up.

Grooming a Maltese Terrier

This pawsome doggo has a long and silky coat that reaches the ground.

Thus, it may easily get dirty and could easily form mats and tangles.

You will need to brush the coat daily gently. Doing this will help prevent the formation of excess mats and tangles and at the same time keeping the coat shiny and healthy.

If your Maltese has mats the best way to remove them is by using a detangling spray and using your fingers to remove the tangles. You should make sure that you do not hurt your doggie in the process.

A weekly bath will also helo in keeping the coat clean.

Removing any mats and tangles is important before you bath your ball of fluff because they tend to be tighter when they are wet.

Trimming the coat to a desirable size(a puppy cut to less than an inch long) is also recommended.

You want your canine to look like a beautiful and cute pup throughout his life and the best way to accomplish this is by proper grooming.

Care grooming tips

Apart from taking care of the coat the ears should also be checked for any signs of infections and cleaned.

Any hair that is around the ears should also be removed.

Consult your groomer or your vet if you need any help with any of the grooming processes that you are not comfortable doing by yourself.

The nails should be trimmed two times every month to prevent them by wearing out by themselves which can be painful for the dog. You should take a great amount of care when you are trimming the nails because they have blood vessels in them.

Earlier we had mentioned that the facial coat of the Maltese Terrier gets tear stains and there are some steps that you can take to minimize them:

  • You should clean the eyes daily using warm and clean water. Also, wash the dog’s beard after every meal that he has.

If this does not clear the tear stains you should give your vet a visit because it could be a health-related problem.

You should brush the doggo’s teeth at least two times a week to prevent any risk of periodontal diseases and bad odor.


Exercise requirements

These are incredibly fragile dogs because of their small size.

However, they still need to exercise to prevent them from getting overweight and making sure that they are physically and mentally stimulated.

As much as they love to play about 30 minutes of daily walks is going to be more than enough for this four-legged friend.

If your Maltese is super active indoors he will not need you to exercise him much.

It should not cost you much effort to make sure that he stays healthy and in shape.

The doggo’s bones are usually developing till he reaches about 8 months old and before that, you should not take him for long walks.

If you have a fenced yard where this dog can roam and explore freely it would be a bonus.

And because of how fragile these dogs are extreme weather is not good for them.

Number of walks 2 (15 minutes each)
Exercise needs upwards of 30 minutes

Maltese Terrier Feeding requirements

This is a dog that has enjoyed Royalty and was bred feeding o the best and became picky eaters in the process.

He may have digestive issues and you will, therefore, need to watch his diet closely.

But first, you need to make sure that you meet his nutritional and calories requirements.

A general rule of thumb is using the dog’s weight in pounds and multiplying it by 30 calories. You will find the daily amount of calories that you need to feed him.

Let us say for example that your dog weighs 5 pounds which means you will need to make sure that he gets 150 daily calories.

Maltese Daily Food Consumption
Guide 100 to 250 calories
Cups of Kibble ~1

This is about one-half cup of high-quality kibble every day. These should be divided into several daily meals.

The meals should be made up of at least 20% protein and you should know that quality outweighs quantity.

5% to 10% of the diet should be made up of fats and oils to keep the coat shiny and to provide the dog with energy.

If you notice that your furry friend has any signs of discomfort or digestive issues you should visit the vet for a check-up.

The-Maltese terrier

Health concerns

Generally, these dogs are healthy but are still prone to some health issues. Their average lifespan is of about 12 to 15 years especially when they are in good health.

One of the most common health conditions is Hypoglycemia.


This condition is also known as low blood sugar and can cause seizures or even death if it is not handled correctly.

The best way to manage this condition is by giving your Maltese about 3 to 4 meals in a day to keep the blood sugar levels correct.

These dogs are also known to suffer from dental issues.

Brushing their teeth or giving them chewable toys can be a great way to prevent some of these conditions.

Patellar luxation is also another common health concern

This is a common condition that occurs in small dogs where the bones are not properly lined up. It is a condition that can later lead to arthritis if left untreated due to the rubbing of the bones. The good news is that it can be treated in the early stages through therapy and medication and in severe conditions through surgery.

Their small size also makes them prone to respiratory, liver, and heart conditions.

If you are looking to own a Maltese you should be prepared to pay any medical bills that may arise.


As you have seen the Maltese Terrier is more than just a cute little doggo that lies in your lap for hours on end.

He has a deep ancient past and has seen the rise and fall of civilizations like the Roman Empire.

This is a loving and loyal dog that you would also love as a companion.

Would you get one of these dogs?

Feel free to tell us what you think and leave us your feedback in the comment section below. 

There you go WOOF!!!