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Buying or Adopting a Maltese

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Maltese

Interested in the Maltese? Read each post on this page. Make sure the breed is right for you (and that YOU are right for the breed). Decide on sex and age. Then begin the exciting adventure of finding and evaluating breeders and rescue groups and selecting the right Maltese. Don't be in a hurry!



Don't set your sights on the Maltese until you read my advice in these posts.

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Should You Even Get a Dog? Are You Sure?
Important – I've been helping people choose and find dogs for nearly 40 years, and honestly, some people who decide to get a dog are making a big mistake... [read more]

Purebred dogs The Truth About Purebred Dogs
Pros and cons... (most people don't know about the cons)

Crossbred dogs The Truth About Crossbred Dogs
Pros and cons... (don't get taken by breeder hype)

Mixed breed dogs The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs
Pros and cons... (are mixes inferior to purebreds and crosses?)

Is a Maltese the right breed for you?

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Maltese Review
I'll tell you what's good about 'em, and what's bad about 'em... most honest review you'll ever find

Are YOU the right owner for a Maltese?

Can you provide what this breed needs?

  • Someone home most of the day
  • Fenced yard (not an electronic/underground fence)
  • No young children in the household
  • No large dogs in the household (safety issue)
  • Extra safety precautions – ongoing supervision and surveillance of what's going on around your Maltese, being careful where you step or sit, not allowing leaps from high furniture, keeping small objects off the floor so the dog can't choke, closing all gaps in fences and gates, etc.
  • Sufficient exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your Maltese stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
  • "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
  • Brushing – a lot (unless you keep the coat clipped short)
  • Trimming – every few months
  • An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
  • A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a small dog
  • An owner with enough money to treat the health problems Maltese are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
  • An owner who is okay with housebreaking taking a long time
  • Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your Maltese to lots of people and other animals
  • Commitment to establish the right Leader-Follower relationship with your Maltese, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say

Which sex? What age?

Symbols for male and female Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

Where can you buy or adopt a Maltese?

Maltese are very common in the United States. Out of 189 breeds in the American Kennel Club, where 1 is most popular and 189 is least popular, Maltese rank 33rd. It's very easy to find a Maltese.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
Maltese (and Maltese crosses) are often available from Dog Rescue groups. Maltese may be turned over to Rescue because they need too much grooming, or due to housebreaking problems, or barking, or "separation anxiety" when left alone. Other Maltese are given up simply because of changed family circumstances, and these dogs may have no behavior problems at all.

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
Maltese do show up here, but shelter personnel may mislabel any smallish white dog as a Maltese or Maltese cross, even when it's not. Maltese rescue groups do keep their eyes peeled on shelters and humane societies across the country, and if a Maltese turns up at a shelter, the rescue group does try to move the dog into their rescue network.

Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy a Maltese from a show breeder, who breeds Maltese to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring. You can also buy a Maltese from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.

Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of a Maltese puppy should have:

  • a certificate from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) – dated within the past year – certifying the dog to be free of eye diseases
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have normal knees

The VAST MAJORITY of Maltese sellers can't show you those certificates because their dogs haven't been tested. This is one reason why so many Maltese puppies grow up and go blind or are crippled from bad knee joints. Then you'll be looking at surgery that costs a thousand dollars – per knee.

Puppy in a pet shop window Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
Maltese are frequently found in pet shops. I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!

Which puppy?

Symbols for male and female Choosing the Right Maltese Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of Maltese puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.

Girl hugging a dog AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you buy only an AKC registered Maltese puppy? Do AKC papers and pedigrees really matter?

Dog Quest book Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams
My dog buying/adoption book will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.