Hi, I'm the co-author (with my Maltese dog Chiclet) of the award-winning
canine health and safety book, Scared Poopless:
The Straight Scoop on Dog Care (pictured below left).
my Jiggy on the cover. My two babies, now almost 11 years
old, are pictured (right) with me. Jiggy is in my lap on
the photo's left. Chiclet is on the right.
Maltese (the word is both singular and plural) are
small, scary smart and submissive (which means
they're relatively easy to train).
The standard size of this Toy breed is 4 to 7 pounds. Most are cuddly, adoring and as sweet as dogs come. Some
are lap sitters; some aren't.
(Some breeders believe that male dogs are the most
affectionate.) They're considered hypoallergenic and
non-shedders but if you're allergy prone, make sure you
spend time with the dog in question to see if you become
On the down
are pure white and a challenge to keep clean. Even a brief walk brings four
dirty paws in need of cleaning.
And, unless kept in short
"summer" or "puppy" cuts, as
my dogs are, they'll grow hair down to the floor. If you don't like
the idea of daily brushing and detangling, clip
them short or look for another breed. By the way,
Maltese have silky hair, not fur.
are sometimes called Maltese terriers, but they are not
The smallest Maltese (like my 4-pound Chiclet) are sometimes called
"Teacup Maltese," but there is no such thing.
"Teacup" is a marketing term and does not guarantee a
small dog. In fact, I've seen more than a few "Teacup
Maltese" who now top 20 pounds or more.
If you're not
willing to love a big dog as much as a tiny one, please
find another breed. Note: Chiclet, and several small
Maltese I know, weighed less than 2 pounds at three
months of age (although this is no guarantee of adult
size.) By the way, 3 months is the youngest age
from which they should be taken from their mother. If
the breeder wants you to take an 8 week old dog, find
the smaller the dog, the more health problems you're
likely to encounter: especially dental problems. There
just isn't enough room in their mouth for 42 teeth, even
when the teeth are tiny.
The best way to
judge a puppy's adult size is to see the parents and
grown siblings, although even this is no guarantee. Just
as with people, family members can vary greatly in size,
looks and disposition. (This alone is a great reason to
adopt an adult dog needing a home, rather than buy a
not trust on-line photos. And don't trust guarantees,
especially for dogs brought from another state. You'll
be in love with the puppy in no time and won't want to
return a pup with genetic or personality defects.
Unscrupulous sellers/breeders count on that.
Also, chasing someone down to get your money back can be
fragile -- not a good
choice around young children, especially rambunctious
toddlers. If your children can't be trusted to treat
these dogs as though they might break any moment, they
should not be allowed to play unsupervised with the dog.
In areas with ANY predator--even hunting birds
and owls--they must be kept indoors or held close on
leashes. Hawks and owls can fly off with
small dogs. Coyotes grab them off leashes and
bound over fences. You must maintain constant vigilance. Never walk
your dog at dawn or dusk or when it's dark. They are also
a popular target of dog thieves, so beware. If your
children aren't old enough to make sure your house's
doors are always closed, and that your dog is inside,
please select a larger breed of dog.
that affect most Toy dogs also affect Maltese.
Maltese tear stains, knee problems
(luxating patellas) and
problems with anesthesia are paramount among them. You MUST have your dog checked
thoroughly by an independent veterinarian before purchasing.
This check can save you a fortune in the long run. (My book,
Scared Poopless, addresses these problems in depth.
Table of Contents.)
Please DO NOT BUY Maltese, or any other dog, from pet
stores, on-line puppy shops, Craig's street corners or swap
These dogs are generally the product of inexperienced
"backyard" breeders or of cruel mass breeding operations
called puppy mills. They may even be stolen. What you
might save in purchase price, you'll likely pay many
times over in veterinary and training bills
as these dogs are often damaged both physically and
psychologically. If you buy one of these poor pups to
"save it," you'll be perpetuating an unthinkable
cruelty. Every puppy purchased means a female will be
kept in captivity to breed yet more of these unfortunate
pups. You save one, and you hurt two or more.
story of a little Maltese purchased from Craig's List:
Maltese, and Maltese mixes, await your love in
a shelter with a rescue group near you.
View dogs in multiple nearby shelters
www.1-800-save-a-pet.com. Check out rescue organizations by searching on-line
for "Maltese rescue" or go to
American Maltese Association Rescue In So. California,
email me and I'll put you in touch with a rescue
purebred Maltese are available in shelters -- pups and
adopted a 2 year old little Maltese who was surrendered because he
needed heart surgery. The amazing rescuer raised $6000 for his
surgery. He is alive and well and living with us today!
See his story in this video.
heart is set on a puppy, know that rescue puppies are
often available; some are "purebred."
A reputable Maltese breeder:
dogs indoors. These dogs should be members of the family.
Show you at least one parent on the premises.
Won't breed three or more breeds of dogs.
Won't advertise that they always have puppies.
Won't let you buy a dog without grilling you about
your home, knowledge, etc. (This is an adoption; not
If a breeder
recommends combination vaccines (like DHLPP), they are
not up to date on vaccinating protocols. Small dogs are
especially susceptible to vaccine reactions. In fact,
Maltese are #6 on the list of all dogs suffering
increased chance of a reaction when given multiple
vaccines (not just multiple injections) in one office
visit. Read my
book's chapter: "Rethinking Vaccination," and see this
web page on
Vaccinating Dogs Safely. If you're not aware of what
harm vaccine reactions can present, please see this
video and read the accompanying article on
reactions. Two of the dogs profiled are Maltese.
If a breeder
recommends commercial kibble, they are not experts on nutrition.
Read my on-line chapter on "Food
to Die For," an excerpt from my award-winning dog
health care book which is narrated by a Maltese. Also
see this web page on
To learn more, and find a breeder:
American Maltese Association Breeders (the official site).
I can also refer you to breeders in Southern California
who care about food and vaccinate responsibly.
To learn how to evaluate breeders,
read our free article
Find a Healthy Puppy: Ten Steps to Success. Also
check out my chapter "Looking for Love in All the Wrong
Places." I repeat: responsible
breeders will not let their dogs go home with you until
they're 3 months old. They will also not ship them in
the belly of an airplane. If you're tempted to ship a
Maltese, please read my free article about
dogs flying as baggage or cargo.
When you find the dog you want, please have an independent veterinarian (not the breeder's vet) "vet check" your dog thoroughly before finalizing your purchase. This is the best money you'll ever spend
and no reputable breeder will refuse or be offended.
I wish you good luck and Maltese love.
Note: a So. California
Maltese breeder is telling people she's a
good friend of mine and a number of top breeders. None
of us have ever heard of her. It is thought she is
trying to pass off low-quality dogs as champs. Always
check out any claims and get references.
2007 Judge of the Maltese Specialty (the
year's most prestigious Maltese show):
“I am very excited about this book. It offers so much
information most people don’t know, and makes complicated
subjects easy to read and understand. Jan gives us the tools
we all need to be advocates for our dogs. Breeders should
give this book to every one of their pups’ new parents!
In fact, everyone with a dog should read it. I love this
Day, internationally renowned Maltese judge, exhibitor and
since 1969, noted for her emphasis on canine health. Her
dogs have won numerous Best of Breed, Best in Show and
Maltese Specialty titles. Recently, her “Carol” won
the 2005 Best of Breed at Westminster Dog Show in New York
and the 2005 Maltese National Specialty
Disclaimer: The information contained on this
web site is provided for general information purposes. Any
information provided is not veterinary advice and should
not be substituted for a regular consultation with a veterinary
professional. If you have any concerns about your dog's
health, please contact your veterinarian's office immediately.
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