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Maltese Dog

Adorable, intelligent and friendly, the beautiful Maltese was popular with ancient Greeks, Romans and Renaissance painters. If it’s a beautiful lap dog you’re after, the Maltese may be the dog for you. 

Maltese and Maltese crosses are amongst the most popular breeds of dog in Australia according to PetSure data. Historically, the Maltese was primarily used as a companion and lapdog. Whilst they are well adapted to this lifestyle, they are sturdy, intelligent little dogs. 

Maltese are a small breed dog. Their size ranges from 20 to 25cm tall and weighing from 3 to 4kgs, with females tending to be a bit smaller than males.


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Dog Breed Facts & Characteristics


South Central Europe 

Bred for



Small, 20 to 25cm (height) and 3 to 4kgs

Weight Range

3 to 4kgs



Life expectancy

12 to 15 years 


Long coat, requiring daily brushing 


Friendly, outgoing, intelligent 

Exercise requirements


Best suited for 

Anyone who loves dogs!

Apartment Friendly



Although the Maltese is well adapted to the lapdog life of luxury, they are highly intelligent and hardy dogs and thrive on activities including agility. The Maltese is suited anyone who loves dogs and can be housed in an apartment or a small or large house. Regardless of the type of dwelling, regular walks are recommended. Consistent training and mental stimulation are required to avoid unwanted behaviours such as excessive barking. Socialisation with other dogs, people and animals from a young age is vital to help your dog grow into a well-adjusted adult.


The Maltese has a long coat which requires daily brushing. Keeping their lustrous hair in tip-top condition will be easier with regular professional grooming sessions, typically every 6-8 weeks. Don’t allow fleas and ticks to set up shop in your fur-babies luxurious coat by making sure your Maltese is on flea and tick control all year round.


When choosing a food for your Maltese, select a premium food appropriate to your dog’s age and life stage. Always follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size. Make sure your dog always has a supply of fresh, clean water available.

Common health concerns 

Maltese are prone to allergic skin conditions, that often manifest as pruritus (itching), skin infections and ear infections. To read more about allergic skin disease or ear infections click here.

Heart conditions are not uncommon and may initially cause no clinical signs. Many heart conditions are progressive however and if coughing, exercise intolerance, breathing difficulty or collapse are noted, a consultation with your veterinarian is required. 

Hyperadrenocorticism, also known as Cushing’s Disease, is common in this breed. To read more about this condition click here.

The five most common reasons for a Maltese to visit the vet (excluding routine care visits) according to PetSure data (from 2019) include:



Average cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)


Skin condition (infection or allergy)




Heart Condition




Cushings Disease 




Ear infection




Gastrointestinal problems 



Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Most popular Maltese names 

According to PetSure data (from 2019) the most popular Maltese names are

Most popular names

  1. Bella
  2. Charlie
  3. Max 
  4. Buddy
  5. Coco
  6. Molly
  7. Bailey
  8. Milo
  9. Ruby
  10. Lucy

Most popular female names  

  1. Bella 
  2. Molly
  3. Coco
  4. Ruby
  5. Lucy
  6. Daisy
  7. Rosie 
  8. Luna 
  9. Millie
  10. Bonnie 

Most popular male names 

  1. Max
  2. Charlie
  3. Buddy
  4. Toby
  5. Snowy
  6. Casper
  7. Oscar
  8. Teddy
  9. Ollie 
  10. Benji

Did you know?

"Terracotta relief figure of a Maltese dog" excavated from the Greek city of Smyrna (Turkey) dates back to the first century BC. This incredible figure can be seen at The British Museum. 

Where can I get a Maltese?

Check out your local breed specific rescue organisation. Also be sure to visit your local pet rescue shelters where you might just find your new best friend! 


    1. Bow Wow Meow, Maltese Breed Profile Accessed on 16th October  2020
    2. American Kennel Clun, Maltese, Accessed on 16th October 2020
    3. Wikipedia, Maltese, Accessed on 16th October 2020
    4. Royal Canin, Maltese, Accessed on 16th October 2020
    5. The British Museum, Accessed on 13 November 2020

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Bei Bei
Bei Bei