Lifestyle Needs


The Maltese is a Toy breed with dark eyes and a long silky coat – very much a lap dog.  He is usually lively and bright, not demanding in terms of exercise (half and hour each day is sufficient) and can adapt to most types of home.  His profuse coat will need dedicated grooming every day to keep it in good condition – this is not a dog for anyone who does not have the time to do this.

Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 5.5% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Effective Population Size - EPS


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

The long and profuse coat can be a welfare problem for this breed.  It will tangle and collect dirt and debris easily. It will impede his movement and cover his eyes unless trimmed.

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Chiari malformation/Syringomyelia (CMSM)

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) : No EBVs are currently available for this breed

DNA Tests Available
DogWellNet and IPFD Harmonisation of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)

  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type 1a (GSD1)
  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type 11 (Pompe Disease)
  • Glycogen Storage Disease  Type 111 (GSD 111)
  • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis 4a (NCL4a)
  • Conjunctivitis

Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test.

Other Breed-Specific Health Screening Schemes

None known

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Heart disease: Patent ductus arteriosus; Myxomatous degeneration of the mitral valve; Ventricular Septal Defect
  • Vaccine associated adverse effect
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis
  • Haemophilia B
  • Immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA)
  • Cancer: mammary neoplasia
  • Shaker dog – or acquired tremor syndrome
  • Meningoencephalitis
  • Pyloric stenosis
  • Portosystemic shunt
  • Urolithiasis
  • Patellar luxation
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Cataract
  • Entropion
  • Deafness
  • Craniomandibular Osteopathy (CMO)

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

The breeder should also be familiar with the CFSG/DBRG Code of Practice for Dog Breeding

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

List of Dog Breeds