Maltese Breed Standards

When looking for a Maltese puppy look at the parents and look for dogs that are the closest to the breed standards. This is what to look for:

General Appearance

Smart, white-coated dog, with proud head carriage.


Lively, intelligent, alert.



Head and Skull

The skull is gently rounded viewed from the front and sides but never domed or appleheaded. Stop well defined. Muzzle broad, not snipey. Slightly shorter from nose to stop than from stop to occiput. Muzzle never shorter than in the ratio of 1:2. Nose black.


Oval, not bulging, dark brown, black eye rims, with dark haloes.


Long, well feathered, hanging close to head; hair to mingle with coat at shoulders.


Jaws strong, with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Teeth even.


Medium length.


Legs short and straight. Shoulders well sloped.


Well balanced, essentially short and cobby. Good spring of rib, back level from withers to tail.


Legs short, well angulated.


Round, pads black.


Feathered, carried well arched over back.


Straight and free-flowing, without weaving. Viewed from behind, legs should neither be too close nor too wide apart.


Reasonable length, never impeding action, straight, of silky texture, never woolly. Never crimped and without woolly undercoat.


Pure white, but slight lemon markings permissible.


Height not exceeding 25 cms (10 ins) from ground to withers. Weight range is 4 - 7lbs


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – the Kennel Club Breed Standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the Size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the Size measurements stated in the Breed Standard.


  1. Sally,

    Thanks again for the visit, and for the information regarding the breed. Great advice and something we have never experienced before is that we actually got to see the parents! At best other breeders have only let us see photos of the parents, and we had no idea if they were recent of not. Plus photo's are always taken when the dog looks it's very best. We got to see the parents in your home, up close, watch them play and interact with us. What a fantastic way to see in person the traits our new baby is going to get.

  2. Sally,

    Had to write again. We love the fact that you are breeding for particular traits particularly a shorter snout. This gives the puppies what I refer to as a "Baby Doll" face. I love this look and based on your breeding standards all of our puppies should have this trait!

    Joe and Ronna

    Bend,, Oregon

  3. We could tell from over 3 city blocks away that Maltese Angel Babies met the Maltese Standard when we first saw one of your babies!!! The beautiful carriage, alert round black eyes, short legs, strong jaw, lively disposition and gorgeous white hair were readily obvious. We knew we had found the real deal and couldn't wait to get on the Waiting List for a Maltese Angel Baby.
    Diane & Charles

  4. Good information regarding the standards for Maltese. While I don't intend to show my Maltese or breed her, I feel that dealing with Sally will result in having a beautiful companion.

    Henderson, Nevada

  5. While I once had a purebred Llasa Apso from puppy to senior I never gave much thought to the qualities and standards that made her unique to her breed. This is enlightening to read and gives me more appreciation for what make a Maltese a superstar! Mary M Gresha, Or

  6. Looking forward to these great traits in our furbaby. Another reason for picking Maltese Angel Babies as we are familiar with breed characteristics in other animals as well.

  7. Great info.regarding the standards for Maltese puppies. However we do not plan to show our puppy, but feel we will get a beautiful and great companion.
    Erskin and Marilyn S Tacoma Wa.

  8. I don’t care about being in dog shows that’s not what I want one for but it’s nice to know the breeds standards. So much information is good to know Jamie D

  9. Love the baby doll face. We have had 3 Maltese over the last 50 years and learned so much from each one. Breeders are VERY important.
    Colleen T