Maltese Bichon: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health

Among the characteristics of the Maltese Bichon are its small size, its elegance and its beautiful white color. A pet that has an affectionate, playful and lively character. At Petlifey, we explain everything about the Maltese dog breed.

Character of the Maltese Bichon breed

The Maltese is a dog with a playful, lively character and a lot of personality. It always shows a kind and loving temperament, and has an absolute attachment towards its owners.

Its behaviour is that of an affectionate, docile, intelligent and playful canine pet. She always maintains an awake attitude , likes home life and can bear loneliness badly. In addition, since it is very intelligent, it is quite easy to train them and teach them all kinds of tricks. The same will happen with your education, since you understand the rules of the house quickly.

Above all else , a companion dog has been selected for this purpose over many centuries, which is why it likes to always be with its family to give and, above all, to receive the affection of its owners.

  • Energy: medium / high. You are active and energetic, you need to exercise frequently and always be busy with something.
  • Adaptability: high. It adapts to living in any environment, as long as its family is close. It does not like extreme climates, but the typical temperate ones of the central Mediterranean.
  • Sociability: high. Very sociable, it is only somewhat suspicious of strangers. If hierarchical problems arise, it can bravely and decisively confront other dogs.
  • Temperament: cheerful, playful and lively, always alert and highly intelligent. With its master it is very affectionate, but somewhat independent and proud.
  • Health: good. In general it is very healthy.
  • Longevity: very high. It can live more than 15 years.
  • Utility: companion dog. From its origins it has been assigned to the company.

Is a dog suitable for the city or an apartment?

The Maltese Bichon is perfectly adapted to living in the city and in apartments, even if they are small. For them the most important thing is to be with its family.

A few daily walks on the leash are enough, but it is also advisable, from time to time, to give them some freedom to run and jump at its ease in some limited and safe place.

Likewise, another use that is usually given to this breed is that of “personal alarm”, since its guardian instinct and its permanent attention are activated at all times, and it warns with an obvious bark before any unexpected presence.

Is it a good dog with children?

The Maltese loves the company of children, with whom it spends hours playing and sharing adventures. In fact, as we have discussed above, it adores all members of the family and receives pampering and caressing from them, and also giving them.

Yes, it is appropriate to explain to the smallest of the house how they should behave with their furry pet, since it is a living being, and not a “giant stuffed animal”. They must respect their space and learn when the animal is tired and does not want to participate.

Can it be left alone for a long time?

It is not a kennel dog nor is it prepared to spend many hours a day alone, as it can develop episodes of separation anxiety (you can see why dogs cry for more information).

What behavior problems can you have?

It is easy to fall into the temptation of treating them as a simple lapdog on whom it lavishes multiple care and affection, putting them on many occasions in a plane that does not correspond to him, equating its treatment with that given to the other human members of the community. herd.

But this treatment, almost inevitably, leads to the appearance of the small dog syndrome, with a serious alteration of the behaviour of the animal, which begins to be overprotective, stubborn, suspicious, dominant and even tyrannical, so living together becomes very complicated , if not impossible.

How the Maltese Bichon behaves with other pets

This bichon tolerates the company of other species of animals and pets very well, such as cats, birds, rodents, etc … Although it is convenient to get used to their presence from a very young age.

How it behaves with other dogs

With this dog, in principle you should not have any concern in behavior with other dogs. The Maltese is very sociable and, if there are no hierarchy problems, it gets along very well with its peers.

However, it has a temper and, if necessary, seems to ignore its size and capabilities, and does not shy away from confronting anything or anyone who tries to impose himself on them unfairly.

Characteristics of the Maltese Bichon

Regarding the physical characteristics of the Maltese and its general appearance, it should be noted that it is a small animal but with an elegant appearance and with a haughty and distinguished bearing. Its body is longer than it is tall.

Its head is large and broad, with an ovoid shape and flat on the upper part of the skull. It has a very marked stop and the nose is voluminous, black and flat when viewed in profile. It has large , round and somewhat prominent eyes , although without being bulging. Its color is dark and it has black eyelid edges. It has an attentive and lively look.

Their ears are almost triangular in shape, set high and hang close to the side wall of the head. They are covered with very long and straight hair that reaches the tips of the shoulders.

They have rounded feet and their toes are close together and arched. Both nails and foot pads are black or dark in color.

Its tail is thick at birth and tapers towards the tip. It is long and draws an open curve upwards. It generally falls on one side of the body.

The hair is dense, shiny and soft to the touch; it is long and smooth, never wavy, and falls straight across the body evenly. It is normally pure white in color and has no undercoat.

Let’s now see in more detail what the Maltese Bichon looks like and the breed standard :

Maltese Bichon breed standard

  • General appearance: small in size with an elongated trunk, it is covered with very long white hair. Its appearance is elegant and with a distinguished bearing.
  • Size and carving: miniature.
  • Height at the withers: between 21 and 25 cm for both males and females.
  • Weight: between 3 and 4 kg for both males and females.
  • Origin: countries bordering the central Mediterranean / Patronage of Italy.
  • Other names: Maltese / Bichon maitaís / Malteser.
  • Body: it is elongated, as its length far exceeds the height at the withers. The dorsal line is straight until the implantation of the tail.
  • Head: the length of the head is almost half the height at the withers. It is quite wide and its width slightly exceeds half its length.
  • Skull: seen from above, slightly ovoid in shape; it is somewhat longer than the muzzle, with the upper part flattened; the frontal bones and the eyebrows are well developed. The frontal sulcus is poorly marked.
  • Muzzle: it is proportionate to the rest of the head. The nasal bridge is straight, with well marked furrows in the central part.
  • Nose: it is black, voluminous and round in shape, with the nostrils well open. Viewed in profile, it is flat.
  • Eyes: round and attentive, they are large in relation to the rest of the face. The eyelids, the edges of which are black, are well attached to the eyeball, which is not sunken but rather protruding. The eyes are located on the same almost frontal plane and are dark ocher in color. When the dog looks straight ahead, the sclera membrane, that is, the white part of the eye, is barely visible.
  • Ears: triangular in shape, set high and hang down touching the sides of the skull.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): very marked, forms a right angle.
  • Muzzle: It is proportionate in relation to the rest of the head. The nasal bridge is straight, with well marked furrows in the central part.
  • Jaws: light in appearance, well developed and fit perfectly. They are neither prominent nor elusive in the anterior part. The teeth are white and the incisors articulate in scissors.
  • Neck: although it is covered with abundant hair, the demarcation with the nape is clearly appreciated. The upper profile is arched. Its length represents almost half the height at the withers. Its bearing is erect and without dewlap.
  • Chest: quite broad and very long, the thorax reaches below the level of the elbows. The ribs form a large rib cage in relation to the height of the animal.
  • Back: it is long, measures more than half the height at the withers and extends to the croup, also very elongated.
  • Forelimbs: well assembled to the body and perfectly plumb, they are firm and quite robust. The shoulders and shoulder blades are almost vertical. They are long in relation to their height. Their forearms and arms are thin and not very muscular, although with robust bones, so their appearance is firm.
  • Hind limbs: seen from behind, the hind legs are vertical from the tip of the buttock to the ground. They have robust bones that are parallel to each other. The legs appear slightly longer than the thighs. In the hocks the anterior angle is very open.
  • Feet: they are rounded, with the toes together and arched. Both the pads and nails are black or dark in color.
  • Tail: thick at the root and thin at the tip, rising in a single upward curve, almost touching the back. It is long, measuring more than half the height at the withers.
  • Hair: it is shiny, smooth and silky. It falls long and even to the ground as if it were a layer placed on the trunk, without splitting or forming tufts.
  • Color: it is pure white, although sometimes it can have an ivory color or pale orange tones .
  • Movement: This bichon practically grazes the ground when walking. When trotting, the animal’s footsteps are short and fast, and its movement is executed with ease.
  • FCI classification: nº 65. GROUP 9 – Companion dogs. Section 1 – Bichons and similar breeds.

Maltese Bichón puppies

If you are looking for information on the Maltese Bichon, it may be because you are considering the adoption or purchase of a puppy of this breed. If so, here are some tips to know if you make the right decision.

Maltese puppies are very restless, playful and very active. It is convenient to keep them entertained, since if they get bored they can turn into noisy and stubborn animals, in addition to that they know very well how to find what to occupy their free time.

Since it was a puppy, one of the most identifying aspects of this dog is its shiny, thick, silky coat and, above all, immaculate white. Even so, some ivory or pale orange spots sometimes appear (this is perfectly normal).

It is very important to start the process of socializing the pups from puppyhood. You must know different places, have contact with other people and dogs (under veterinary approval) and listen to all kinds of sounds and noises.

In this way, when it grows up it will not be a fearful or nervous dog in new situations. It is the best way to achieve a balanced and calm adult dog.

Despite its immaculate, beautiful, and luxurious appearance, this little dog loves to play, jump, and run outdoors. It is absolutely happy if its whole family accompanies them in these activities. Therefore it is not advisable if you are a person with a very sedentary style.

Adoption Maltese Bichón

If you adopt a Maltese Bichon, you should know that you can do it in reception centers, shelters or animal shelters. In them they take in animals that have been abandoned and you can find many dogs eager to have a family or person who cares for them.

In addition, they are usually tremendously grateful pets and they are very friendly and affectionate companions with the whole family. Truly, a faithful friend for life.


If you decide on the option of buying a Maltese Bichon, you can do it in breeders specialized in this breed and who offer you the maximum sanitary and legal guarantee.

Visit their facilities, look for opinions on the Internet, ask all the questions you think necessary, request the puppy’s documentation and avoid “excessively” cheap prices.

In a Maltese Bichon breeder you can also buy a pedigree if you wish. They can also inform you and give you valuable advice.


The price of a Maltese can vary depending on who you buy it from or the country in which you buy it. This is so, since it is not the same to buy it in Spain , Argentina , Mexico , the United States , Colombia, Chile, Bolivia or Peru.

Roughly, if you buy it from an individual or online, such as or mercadolibre, prices usually range between 200 and 300 dollar.

On the other hand , in a breeder the price is usually a little higher, and they are usually between 375 to 600 dollar. Even some specimens, descendants of champions, or with a great pedigree, can reach 1,000 dollars.

Whatever your case, do not forget that it is a living being and you should be wary of “suspiciously” cheap prices or those people whose intentions are not clear.

Education and training of the Maltese Bichon

If there is something that is very important regarding how to educate a bichon, it is to always be aware that it is a companion animal and not a little person (as much as we want it).

The Maltese, no matter how pet it may be, is still a dog and must be treated as such.

Its owner must know how to become the leader of the family and occupy this position seriously and rigorously, treating its dog with affection and justice but in a firm, stable and consistent way.

If done in this way, it is a suitable dog for all types of families, even inexperienced owners, and it can also be an excellent choice for older people, due to its size, moderate physical strength and its needs for exercise, a lot smaller than those of other races.

The ideal family for a Maltese is one that is involved in its education and training, and that gives meaning to its daily life, beyond making them a mere object of admiration.

Certainly, it is a striking dog, almost a luxury animal, but it is not an idle dog that likes to spend its life lying next to its masters, but needs to do things to be completely happy.

In general, companion dogs do not need to do a lot of exercise, but you should not make the mistake of thinking that they do not need to do any.

Maltese Bichon diet

Many owners or future owners of a specimen of this breed wonder how to feed a Maltese Bichon, what does it eat? … Well, then you will find the answers:

The first thing you should keep in mind is not to overfeed your pet to prevent it from falling into obesity, as this can cause serious health and mobility problems.

Being an active dog, but not excessively, the energy needs of the Maltese are medium. For this reason, the diet of this bichon should be rich in high-quality protein and healthy fats, such as omega 6 or 3.

The food of the Maltese must be of the highest quality and balanced (balanced). Don’t skimp on money at this point. Luckily, the main manufacturers of dog food offer us food specially designed for these breeds.

If you provide the right diet, divided into two daily servings to avoid digestive complications, and provide the necessary exercise, you should not have any problem in this regard.

Maltese Bichon health and diseases

Thanks to their energetic temperament and their physical conformation, it is easy to find Maltese Bichon specimens with a longevity of over 15 years of life and that, in addition, maintain a puppy attitude and are full of life.

The Maltese is a very long-lived breed that does not present serious health problems, as happens with many other companion dogs, especially if they are small.

However, it must be controlled that there are no signs of dwarfism, since this disorder could lead to difficulties in eating, digestive or joint ailments, premature loss of teeth, or fertility problems and difficult deliveries.

Also, as a small breed, it does not escape the possibility of suffering knee dislocation. You also have to take certain precautions and remember that in general you do not like extreme climates that can cause some respiratory problems.

On the other hand, due to its white fur, a very prolonged exposure to the sun can cause burns or skin problems, since both its skin and its eyes can be photosensitive and that its white coat is very delicate.

On the other hand, this very special hair can also cause some allergies and conditions if it is not cared for properly.

In any case, if it is regularly taken to the vet to complete the relevant vaccination and deworming schedules, the Maltese Bichon grows strong and healthy, so that it can be enjoyed as an excellent companion dog for many years.

Specific care for the Maltese Bichon breed

The Maltese is a dog that needs to follow a continuous and constant grooming and grooming routine to present its best appearance.

Although it does not have a specific hairdresser, since it does not need a very complicated arrangement with scissors, it does need to take great care of its hair if you want to obtain a suitable length and an impeccable appearance.

Bichon Maltese breed arrangement


In the grooming routine of this dog, a good brushing is essential, since the general condition of the coat depends on it. How often should you brush? It must be done at least every two days and always in depth, without being limited only to the upper layer, since the essential thing is that the mantle does not present knots.

If one is found, try to undo it with your fingers, and if it persists you can apply a specific product to help open it, but never use a brush, comb or scissors to break it.

Nor should the dog be put in the bathroom until the knots have been undone, as the water further aggravates the situation. When starting to brush, it is important not to do it dry, but to have previously moistened the hair to facilitate the task.

First, the hair is separated with the comb using the spine as the midline. The hair is then separated into strands and combed and brushed starting from the inner lower part until the entire strand is worked.

The movements have to be smooth and long, not with short and quick strokes, in order to avoid splitting or pulling the hair and to stimulate hair growth. It is also convenient to hydrate the hair by oiling it by strands and making small packages.


How often should a Maltese be bathed? The bath should be reserved for when the animal is dirty or its pristine white hair appears dull, dull, or yellowish.

Even so, it can be bathed as often as deemed appropriate, as long as the appropriate products are used, as specimens with a finer and silkier coat may require a more frequent bath to be in good condition. The important thing is to choose a shampoo and conditioner specifically designed for this breed’s coat.

Soaping must be done very carefully, without rubbing too much, to avoid breakage, tangles and the formation of knots.

A good trick is to dilute the shampoo in water and wet the entire body of the animal very well with the mixture, then do a light massage with the fingertips.

Afterwards, rinse thoroughly , without leaving any soap residue, and then apply a high-quality conditioner.


Once rinsed, it is important to dry it well with a hairdryer on medium heat, as too much heat can dry out and break the hair.

While the dryer is applied, the hair must be worked to promote its stretching and prevent it from tangling, and for this work the soft card can be used, which has more traction capacity than normal brushes.

On the face it is better to use a very small special card or the metal comb. In this way we will avoid being able to harm you or cause a small injury.


The Maltese does not need a particular grooming, it is enough to comb its beautiful coat starting from the line of the column downwards.

Likewise, the beard and mustaches should be combed and dried daily, using a specific product in order to avoid oxidation stains caused by excess tear secretion.

The hair on the head can be collected with rubber bands to prevent it from covering the eyes and thus facilitate the visibility of the animal. Scissors are used only for cleaning and shaping hands and feet and for trimming very split ends.

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