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Mini/Teacup Maltese: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re looking for a dog that loves everyone and has a playful nature, then the Maltese dog might be the right dog for you. This purebred dog is a family dog because it’s playful and fun, but you might be able to find some abandoned dogs in shelters. 

The Mini or Teacup Maltese isn’t a separate species but a miniature version of the Maltese dog. So, if you want to learn more about this cute and rare dog, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more about it. 

History of the Teacup Maltese

The history of Maltese dogs dates back several centuries, as they were common in ancient civilizations. This dog had various names, like the Melitae Dog, Roman Ladies Dog, and the Bichon. 

This is one of the most ancient dogs, and it was popular during the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Some studies show that this dog was mentioned in the work of ancient scholars like Aristotle and Pliny. 

Most people believe that this dog was bred in southeastern Europe as a household dog. However, the name shows that it probably came from the island of Malta. Unlike dogs that were usually bred to do tasks, this one was bred to be a lap dog and was usually a sign of wealth and belonging to a higher social class. 

Then it found its way to European noble and royal palaces where it was depicted in paintings, usually accompanying women and children. Finally, the AKC recognized it as a pure breed in 1888. 

The Teacup Maltese isn’t recognized as a separate breed, but it’s considered a miniature version of the dog. Just like all teacup dogs, these dogs are bred from the smallest runts in the litter as long as they’re healthy

Reputable breeders will pick the healthiest runts and screen them for genetic defects and health issues because these dogs tend to be weaker. This is why obtaining a Teacup Maltese might not be easy. 

Teacup Maltese Facts

The Teacup Maltese is famous for its silky white coat that makes it look like nobility and its sweet and loving personality. This little dog is fond of its humans, and like most toy dogs, it enjoys play sessions with adults and children. 


The Mini or Teacup Maltese is a small dog with a round skull and bouncy walk. The original Maltese can be between 8 and 10 inches tall, while the Teacup Maltese can be between 4 and 6 inches tall. Due to the miniature size of this breed, it should be handled with proper care to protect the dog from injuries. 

Most Teacup Maltese dogs can weigh between 3 and 5 pounds. It’s a tiny dog that people usually carry around because it loves spending time with its humans. 

The dog has dark brown eyes, fluffy drop ears, and a short tail that it wags to show that it’s happy or excited. Unfortunately, rough play can significantly harm this fragile dog. 

The button nose is black, and the tiny eyes and nose give this dog a teddy bear look. This is one of the reasons why this dog is extremely popular among adults and children. 

The dog has a round, firm body and short legs. Its tiny body makes it ideal for picking up, where owners usually hold it in their arms to tickle its belly. 

The dog’s small size makes it a perfect companion dog. In addition, it suits small spaces, so it will be the right dog for you if you live in a condo or an apartment. 


The Teacup Maltese has a single-layer coat. It’s silky, smooth, and usually pure white. However, some dogs can have tan or lemon-yellow markings on the ears. 

The coat is long enough to reach the floor, and regular grooming and brushing are essential. Although this dog’s coat looks like a fluffy cloud, it doesn’t shed because it doesn’t have an undercoat. In addition, its long coat is hypoallergenic and less irritable to people with allergies, so it might work for you if you’re allergic to dogs. 

This also means that it will work for you if you’re worried about cleaning after a dog that sheds all the time. This makes this dog more appealing to homeowners

If left alone, the coat will grow too long. Lots of dog owners prefer this appearance because the long silky hair gives this dog an ancient look. However, some homeowners choose to cut their hair short, making it easier to maintain. 

Due to the absence of an undercoat, this dog doesn’t handle the cold well. You’ll have to buy a sweater or jacket to keep it warm in cold weather, or it will get sick. 

Mini Maltese Behavior and Temperament

The Mini Maltese is a small dog that doesn’t know that it’s that small. It’s an affectionate and intelligent dog that enjoys spending time with its humans, but it gets protective of its environment. So, it will bark to notify you of the presence of strangers like any watchdog. 


This is the perfect lap dog as it loves to snuggle with its humans. It will probably sneak into the bed to sleep next to you, as the presence of its loving human makes it feel safe and secure. 

This dog isn’t bred to spend time on its own. It’s bred to be a companion dog, so it shouldn’t be left alone for long periods. 

Teacup Maltese are prone to separation anxiety that leads to depression, aggression, and other undesirable behaviors. So, if you spend extended periods away from home, this might not be the right dog for you. However, because of its emotional nature, this will be an excellent support dog

It’s highly adaptable, but it will prefer to spend most of its time at home playing with its family. It’s not wary of strangers but will notify you if something is wrong. 

Although this dog barks, it won’t likely upset your neighbors. It has a cute low bark that would rarely bother anyone, and it will usually bark to show its excitement when it’s playing with its favorite humans or toys. 

It’s usually eager to please its humans, and this will enable you to train it to do some tricks. However, the dog has a soft nature, so harsh training and punishment should be avoided as it can easily get emotionally hurt. 

In general, puppies’ temperament is related to their parents’ personalities. Since it’s always easier to meet the mother, it might help you to ask about her temperament to see how your dog will turn out to be. Most puppies will be of a loving nature, but some will be shy and wary. 


Although the Teacup Maltese will maintain its playful nature well into old age, this small dog doesn’t require a lot of exercises. It enjoys occasional play with its family and will be happy to play outside under supervision. 

This tiny dog shouldn’t be allowed to run or exercise excessively, at least until it’s eight months old. By that time, the vet can examine the dog to confirm that its bones have developed properly. They can also help you design an adequate exercise regimen for this tiny dog. 

Due to the dog’s small size, it shouldn’t be allowed to run or play for too long because it can easily get exhausted. You can let play in a fenced yard, but it should never be left alone. Birds of prey can represent a real threat to the Teacup Maltese. 

This mini dog won’t tolerate extreme weather either. It doesn’t tolerate the cold or heat, so it’s best to let it play in a playpen with its chew toys and stuffed animals. 

Spending time at a grassy park will be better for this dog, so it doesn’t get injured by sharp objects. This little dog won’t tolerate going on a long hike with you. You should bring a backpack to carry your dog if you’re a hiker. 

With Family

Teacup Maltese dogs tend to bond with everyone in the family, but they will probably develop a stronger bond with a single person. If you work from home, are a retiree, or have a busy household with multiple members, this dog will have a wonderful life. 

Due to the dog’s small size and fragile body, it’s unsuitable for babies and toddlers who might accidentally harm it. However, it will be a good companion for older kids who know how to handle it with care. 

Stepping on the dog, throwing it, or dropping it can cause a lot of harm to its fragile body. This is why this is a better dog for older people than kids

With Other Pets

With early socialization and continuous training, this little dog will get along with other pets in the house. It won’t attack cats or smaller pets, but it might not be aware of their tiny size. 

Some Teacup Maltese dogs will be too competitive and might start fighting bigger dogs. If you notice this behavior, you should remove your mini dog and make sure that it’s safe. 

Behavioral Issues

With proper training and socialization, you’ll unlikely face any issues with your Teacup Maltese. In some cases, lack of socialization can lead to a shy dog that doesn’t know how to interact with other people or pets. Some bolder teacup dogs might attack dogs twice or even thrice their size. 

Teacup Maltese Socialization and Training

Mini Maltese dogs need early socialization to understand the rules of the house and how they fit in. Then, this playful dog should be introduced to other people and dogs, so it doesn’t get too aggressive or wary around them. 

Inviting people over and asking them to play with your Teacup Maltese will help make it more tolerant of people. This lovable dog will treat everyone as a friend unless they start hurting them. 

Some dog owners will also take their dogs to puppy kindergarten. This might be necessary if you have a particularly stubborn puppy that doesn’t listen to orders. 

Mini Maltese Grooming

Regular grooming will maintain the pearly white look of this mini dog’s coat. However, it can easily get soiled, especially if your dog loves playing outside. You’ll have to bathe it more often to keep it clean

The dog doesn’t shed, but the long coat is prone to knots and tangles. Daily brushing using a soft brush will remove the loose hair and keep the coat in perfect shape. 

If mats form, you should try to part them with your hand before brushing the loose hair individually. This should be done before bathing the dog because wet mats are more challenging to detangle. 

Inspect the ears weekly and ask your professional groomer to teach you how to trim the hairs inside the dog’s ears. 

You should regularly clean the dog’s face and remove the tear stains. Tear stains represent a big issue for dog owners, but you can control them by washing the dog’s face regularly using warm water. Providing your dog with mineral water can also reduce this problem. 

The dog’s nails should be trimmed once or twice a month. However, if it plays outside, it might be able to wear them naturally. 

Teacup Maltese Prices and Expenses

The Teacup Maltese can cost between $800 and $2000. This dog is expensive because breeding can be too dangerous for the mother’s health. You can find some abandoned dogs in shelters, and these can cost between $400 and $600 to adopt

In addition to this initial cost, you should expect to spend between $500 and $1000 for the dog’s bowls, playpen, bed, jacket, and other necessities. It will also need about half a cup of high-quality dry food per day, in addition to vet visits that might cost up to $1500 per year

Teacup Maltese Rarity

Teacup Maltese dogs are rare. This is because breeders don’t usually breed these dogs because the breeding process can be too dangerous for the mother due to her small size. 

Moreover, unlike Maltese dogs that can have three or four puppies in a single litter, the Teacup Maltese will usually have one or two

Teacup MalteseLife Expectancy

This dog can live between 12 and 15 years, like the Maltese dog. In general, teacup dogs can live for longer than bigger dogs as long as they’re healthy. 

Teacup Maltese Health

The Mini Maltese suffers from several health issues that affect this breed, in addition to specific health conditions that affect teacup dogs. 

Most Maltese and Teacup Maltese have delicate digestive systems and are picky eaters. In addition, these dogs might suffer from dental and gum issues, so they might not be able to eat well. If your dog is a picky eater, you should ask the vet about the best diet to provide it with the essential nutrients. 

White Dog Shaker Syndrome is another health condition that doesn’t cause pain but leads to a lack of coordination. Reverse sneezing happens when your dog is eating fast or too excited. It might not be able to breathe for a few seconds, which can be too scary for this tiny dog. However, this condition isn’t serious or fatal. 

Wrap Up

The Teacup Maltese is a small dog that doesn’t realize how small it is. It’s a lovable lap dog that enjoys playing with its humans and should be handled with care. This little dog will be the perfect companion for someone who can give it all the attention it needs to understand its weaknesses and strengths.