November 20, 2019

Maltese Profile

by Lauren R. Tharp

The Maltese has one of the most recognizable looks in Toy breeds.  So many people, from Halle Berry to Milhouse from The Simpsons, have recognized the “pet potential” in this gentle, playful, breed; is it any wonder that they’re the 19th most popular breed in America?

Physical Traits

Size & Weight:  Toy.  The Maltese measures 8-10 inches at the shoulder and weighs 3-8 pounds.

Coat & Color:  The Maltese sports long, silky, white hair.  The occasional cream or yellow-ish Maltese may turn up from time to time, but it’s extremely rare.

Other:  While most toy/companion dogs have been “bred down” from larger breeds, the Maltese is the same size now as it was when it first showed up on the scene, over 28 centuries ago!

Life Expectancy:  12-15 years.


Like many small dogs, the Maltese boasts a “big dog” personality.  They’ve often been described as “fearless.”  A few other adjectives to describe the breed?  Trusting, playful, loyal, and loving.  The Maltese is a good fit for first-time owners and apartment dwellers.


  • The Maltese is a great dog when it comes to traveling.
  • Surprisingly, even with their long hair, the Maltese’s grooming needs are fairly moderate.  Bonus!—They tend not to shed.
  • This breed loves to learn tricks!


  • While they do make good “watch dogs,” their barking isn’t always selective.  AKA: They sometimes bark “too much.”
  • While their grooming needs are “moderate,” they do tend to need professional grooming.  And pro grooming expenses can add up quickly!
  • Not ideal with small children.

Think the Maltese breed is for you? Check out adoptable Maltese dogs by visiting the Metropolitan Maltese Rescue site.


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