They range in size, with a maximum height from the wither, (that’s the bottom of the neck or top of the shoulder), being around 25cm and weigh between 2 and 5kg. Coat colour is either white or ivory. The ears are triangular and fall down by the side of the skull and his tail is set high and curls up and over the body. These happy little dogs take quite a bit of maintenance due to their long coats as they need daily attention to keep them in top condition.
When kept in show condition the single layer coat is long, curling as it reaches the floor. As pets, when the coat is not maintained to such a high standard, it tends to be curly or shaggy, but many owners choose to keep it cut short for ease of maintenance. The coat molts little or no hair so it is an ideal breed for allergy sufferers.
The Maltese is a lively and playful character who likes to perform tricks. He has a kind and fairly docile temperament. He needs around thirty minutes exercise a day and can live in the town or the country. The Maltese is believed to have originated in Italy, becoming popular with women in Malta and this may well be where he got his name from. A Maltese can live up to 18 years old, but the average life span is around 15 years.