The Maltese descended from a Spitz-like dog which was then bred for hunting in the marsh and wooded areas of
The Maltese is spirited, lively and playful. Gentle, loving, trusting and devoted to its master. Highly intelligent. Good at learning tricks if he feels sufficiently rewarded. Bold and quick to sound the alarm in case of suspicious noises. It is a classical companion dog; graceful and lovable. Maltese love to play outdoors but have a penchant for jumping in puddles. A bath must follow! These dogs can be snappish with inconsiderate children and may be difficult to housebreak. Maltese need a daily walk. Play will take care of a lot of their exercise needs. Dogs who do not get to go on daily walks are more likely to display behavior problems. They will also enjoy a good romp in a safe open area off lead, such as a large fenced in yard.
Maltese have no undercoat, and have little to no shedding if cared for properly. Like their relatives Poodles and Bichon Frisé, they are considered to be largely hypoallergenic and many people who are allergic to dogs may not be allergic to the Maltese. Daily cleaning is required to prevent the risk of tear-staining. Regular grooming is also required, to prevent the coats of non-shedding dogs from matting. Many owners will keep their Maltese clipped in a "puppy cut," a 1 - 2" all over trim that makes the dog resemble a puppy. Maltese are prone to sunburn along the hair parting; skin, respiratory, eye and tooth problems, and slipped stifle. Some may be difficult to feed with weak, upset digestion. They may get the chills, and they experience discomfort in hot weather. Maltese should be kept out of damp areas. It is a good idea to paper-train this breed - to avoid going out in weather extremes.