The Bichon Maltese, sometimes simply known as the Maltese, is a small breed of dog with a silky white coat and a spunky little personality.
This breed is quite common and popular across the globe. Bichon Maltese look quite similar to the other Bichon breeds; the Bichon Frise, Bichon Bolognese, and the Bichon Havanais.
If you have a Maltese, and you’re looking for help training your adorable little pup, make sure to check out our Dog Savvy – Small Dog Training Made Easy course. Our course is tailored specifically for the needs of small breed pups and perfect for any of the Bichon breeds!
Bichon Maltese History
Researchers consider this little pup one of the oldest dog breeds in existence! In fact, they believe that the breed first came about back in 6000 B.C. This breed’s roots begin in the Mediterranean Basin. As the breed developed, the Romans transported the dogs to Asia, where they eventually helped birth another popular small dog breed, the Pekingese!
During the breeding process, this dog’s Mediterranean ancestors also developed a closely related dog breed from the same dogs, the poodle! Though related, the breeders focused on different characteristics in the poodles.
The lines of Bichons split into the Bichon Bolognese, the Bichon Havanais, the Bichon Frise, and of course the Bichon Maltese!
Bichon Maltese Description and Breed Characteristics
According to the breed specifications in place by the American Kennel Club, these little dogs fall nicely into the “toy breed” category. They weigh in at a maximum of just seven pounds! Their coat is white in color, and their hair has a long silky nature.
Owners of this breed often trim their dog’s coats to a shorter, more manageable length. However, this little breed can certainly show off its luscious locks, with its hair easily growing the full length of its body to trail along the ground!
In addition to their solid white coat, some individuals also have lemon yellow or tan coloration as well. This color typically presents itself on the dog’s ears. All that silky hair doesn’t come without some serious maintenance though!
You must bathe and brush Bichon Maltese quite frequently to keep their coat in good shape. Dogs with longer coats require more brushing and detangling, while dogs with trimmed coats require slightly less maintenance when brought for professional grooming regularly.
Bichon Maltese Medical Concerns
This little breed has a relatively hardy health record. They are generally deposed to few illnesses and ailments. With that said, you should keep an eye on a few common issues for these pups.
Some Maltese suffer from tear staining on their face, which has various causes and should be assessed by your veterinarian.
Additionally, like several other small breeds, including Yorkshire Terriers (AKA yorkies) and Chihuahuas, the Maltese is prone to dental disease as they grow older.
You should take extra care to ensure that you brush your dog’s teeth regularly to prevent plaque buildup and keep their “chompers” nice and healthy!
In addition, we would avoid excessively hard chews like deer antlers and bully sticks. Instead, opt for other mental stimulation and chew opportunities.
If you need help finding appropriate mental stimulation opportunities for your pup, we offer several different mental stimulation shopping lists to our Ask The Trainer members!
Bichon Maltese Personality
This little breed is perhaps best known for its fearless personality. The Bichon Maltese is essentially a huge personality trapped in a toy breed’s body! This small breed is affectionate and loving towards family members, but still makes a great little watchdog and can take some time to warm up to strangers.
The propensity to protect their home and family can sometimes lend itself to bad behaviors such as barking and fearfulness towards strangers. Thankfully, these issues can be rectified with a good training regime.
Bichon Maltese Training
Any pet owners would refer to their Bichon Maltese as “stubborn” or “willful” but like any breed, the best route of action with your dog is not punishment or aversion, but positive reinforcement and consistency.
Training your dog will involve lots of that aforementioned consistency if you have any hope of getting past that little stubborn patch!
These little pups love to please, so when you provide them with the correct feedback during training a stubborn dog becomes a well behaved and obedient best friend for life. Unfortunately, even with solid training many pet owners fail to meet their Maltese’s needs fully.
While they might not need as much exercise as a larger breed does, these little dogs need much more mental stimulation than you might assume! A simple “sit” and “stay” just won’t suffice when it comes to their training.
The best way to ensure good behavior and prevent poor behavior is to make sure you meet all of your dog’s needs and provide them with calm and consistent feedback. You should provide more than ample mental stimulation to ensure your dog’s brain gets all the work it needs.
Additionally, you should make sure that your training consists of all positive reinforcement and utilizes all the most effective methods for success.
If you need additional help with your dog’s training, meeting their mental stimulation needs, or preventing/stopping bad behaviors, you can seek the help of our Dog Savvy – Small Dog Training Made Easy course, and you can utilize our Ask The Trainer Membership if you need a bit of extra help with your Bichon Maltese’s training.
Bichon Maltese, The Big Dog in a Little Dog’s Body
Loyal, brave, and a bit spunky to boot, this toy breed packs character and charisma into a small package. With a loving and positive approach, and the right training to prevent potential problems, this breed can provide you with years of dedication and affection.
Though their coat requires a bit of maintenance, keeping their hair shorter can help alleviate some of the burden and regular trips to the groomer make life a breeze!
All in all, though this breed, like all dogs, can certainly have their challenges and quirks, they make for a great companion!