Teacup Maltese Dog Breed 101: History, Temperament, Health and Price

Ever thought about getting a Maltese dog for a pet, but you thought “if only this dog was smaller…”

Well, you’re in luck because we are going to take a crash course about a tiny Maltese dog – a Teacup Maltese!

Now we are going to talk about everything in this article that we need to understand about this small, gentle yet dauntless breed! We are going to cover everything from their history as a breed, their characteristics, how to take care of them, whether they’re good as pets or not. So be sure to stick to this friendly, energetic dog and open your minds to the Teacup Maltese.

History of the Teacup Maltese

Before we talk about the present, let’s talk about their past.

The origin of the Teacup Maltese, despite its rather modern name, actually dates back to at least 2000 years! The Teacup Maltese is a prevalent breed even back in those times. In fact, it is so popular that it is part or mentioned by the artists and writers in those days in numerous songs, novels, and poems. In one of his works, Aristotle himself cited this breed. The Teacup Maltese is undoubtedly a breed to look at if you are interested in dogs that are rich in culture, as they were there to see Greece’s culture evolve. The Greeks even made tombs for their own Maltese dogs.

There are many texts and artworks which support the assertion that the teacup Maltese existed at that time in that place, but the precise location of the origin of this dog breed is still unclear. Some believe that the breed was produced in Italy, some say that it was in Asia, while most believe that the breed was developed in Malta utilizing a mixture of Spitz-type dogs and Spaniels-type.

The number of registered Teacup Maltese and Maltese dogs in the United States grew in the 1950s. Since then, the Teacup Maltese has been known with the popular culture, and a lot of dog shows that show off a dog’s intelligence, agility, and more.

Teacup Maltese Personality, Characteristics, and Appearance


The Teacup Maltese is innately vibrant. They are very people-oriented, meaning they respond well and respect people. A people-oriented dog is a dog that is easy to train as they pay attention to what the person is trying to teach them. They will also exhibit positive feedback from rewards such as treats and praises.

Teacup Maltese dogs, just like Maltese dogs, are dauntless. They are more likely to show respect to a stranger, even befriend them, rather than aggressively bark at them. They are great with other animals, too. Basically, everything and everyone that passes the Teacup Maltese is a friend to them.

It is advisable to expose the Teacup Maltese to other dogs at a very early age. In fact, some pet owners register their Teacup Maltese for this very purpose; to teach their dog how to socialize. The socialization act enables your dog to adapt quickly to the changing environment. It will teach them to be calm and assertive in almost every situation.


Much like every other dog, the teacup Maltese dog temperament is relative to a few factors, namely: their training, genetics or heredity, and what I just mentioned, socialization.

The teacup temperament of Malta gets a rating of 4 out of 5 overall. A pretty high score for a relatively small dog. Most of the teacup Maltese dogs you will see are gentle, quiet, affectionate, caring, trusting, and intelligent. At times when there are many people or dogs around, they can get playful. They like playing a lot, that’s their workout style. They may become stubborn, extra hyper when deprived of their exercise, and they may even bite things they see.


As for the adaptability of a Teacup Maltese, they mostly go well with living in an apartment. They can be easily potty trained, which is particularly good for rookie owners who still don’t understand how to train properly. Teacup Maltese dogs dislike being along and subjected to locations that are too cold and too hot. Being with you in a room temperature room, some snacks and a bowl of water is all that your Teacup Maltese is looking for.

Teacup Maltese dogs will go well with the family. They are child-friendly, dog-friendly, neighbor-friendly, and even stranger-friendly in some instances. Because of their characteristics and, their size, having a Teacup Maltese dog as a guard dog is not a piece of good advice. I don’t think anyone would be intimidated by a small wild dog.

The Teacup Maltese is an incredibly brilliant breed when it comes to basic logic, critical thinking, and even reasoning. This is a dog breed that you can actually communicate to if you just know how to listen to what they are saying. They are quick to train and quick to understand.


As the name suggests, this dog breed is tiny, the tiniest Maltese dog breed, as a matter of fact. It is called the ‘Teacup’ version of a Maltese because it does look like it can sit inside a teacup.

Like the Maltese dogs, Teacup Maltese dogs are also renowned for their long hair, that looks like silk from afar. There’s no wonder why Greeks, Queens, and Kings like this breed, the very look, and texture of the fur of the Teacup Maltese look like royalty. Nevertheless, despite their long hair, Maltese dogs do not shed much.

They have an average-sized pair of ears relative to their head, big round black eyes, and a cute little black nose.

Teacup Maltese dogs are incredibly short and light, only being 8 to 10 inches tall and weighing only 7 pounds on average.

Teacup Maltese Health

Maltese are generally classified as healthy dogs, but much like every other dog breed, some diseases are more prone to be caught by specific dogs than others. The “Mini Maltese” or the Teacup Maltese is no exception.

A Teacup Maltese’s lifespan is 12 to 15 years on average. So choosing to have a Teacup Maltese as a pet is a long term commitment, you have to be ready for that.

When choosing a dog as a pet, it is essential to know the puppy’s parents ‘ medical history and the probable illnesses they may have. You surely don’t want to get a puppy that will cost you a lot of money for its medical bills. You may claim that dog insurance will safeguard your money, but if you get a good dog, it’s better for everyone.

With that said, here are some of the diseases that a Teacup Maltese is likely to have:

  • Reverse sneezing -this is not very severe, and it only lasts for a short time. This disease happens mainly when, out of excitement or fear, a dog attempts to do something too fast. Do not allow your dog to eat, drink, breathe, and play too fast as it can trigger digestive and respiratory problems for the dog. If this occurs, attempt to calm your dog to ease your dog of the symptoms as early as possible.
  • Collapsed trachea – the most obvious symptom of a collapsed trachea is a series of dry, loud, and harsh coughing from your dog. Take your dog to the vet immediately if this happens as it can only be treated using medication or surgery.
  • White Dog Shaker Syndrome – this disease causes a lack of proper eye-leg coordination and excessive and rapid eye movement. This disease generally occurs on white dogs and that includes the Teacup Maltese.
  • Hypoglycemia – symptoms include muscle weakness, spatial confusion, and seizure-like abnormal episodes. This is mainly caused by low blood sugar levels.
  • Patellar luxation – this is the dislocation of the patella or the kneecap, widespread among hyper and playful dogs.

Note that not all of Teacup Malteses are affected by these illnesses, this is only a list of prevalent illnesses for the said breed. If you suspect your dog has any of these illnesses, call or go to your vet immediately.

Teacup Maltese Grooming

How does one take care of the silky, pure white, and straight hair of the Teacup Maltese? Let me tell you.

Unlike other dogs, there’s no undercoat in Teacup Maltese and  they don’t shed a lot, either. When a Teacup Maltese dog sheds, they won’t shed again for quite some time. Most people, particularly those people who are susceptible to dog fur but also like to own dogs, find this a very great thing. Also, like any other small dog breeds, tear stains can happen to teacup Malteses, which can be easily removed by rubbing it with water.

To properly groom the hair of your little furball, you need to brush and comb your Teacup Maltese’s hair daily gently. Failing to brush your dog’s hair regularly can result in unwanted mats on the fur and skin of your Teacup Maltese.

In case your dog develops mats, first attempt to detangle it gently with your hands. If that fails, a detangler spray, coat oil, or hair conditioner can be used. Comb that region regularly after you untangled the mat to make sure the hair is all separated from each other. Before you bathe your dog, make sure you remove all the mats first as removing the mats on a wet fur is considerably more hard.

Here are some other things that you need to remember:

  • Check the ears – do this at least once a week.
  • Trim the nails – do this twice a month or whenever necessary. If you can already hear the nails when your dog walks, it’s already too long.
  • Remove the tear stains and face stains – do this whenever necessary. You can remove the stains by using water. However, some products claim to help prevent stains from occurring.
  • Brush the teeth – do this twice or thrice a week.
  • Expose your dog to healthy sunlight – if your dog’s nose is starting to turn pink, that means that he or she is not getting enough sunlight.
  • Clean the paws – do this whenever it gets too dirty or muddy.
  • Check for sores, rashes, redness, inflammation, or discharge – do this regularly to be able to address the things that you see at an early stage.

Final Thoughts

The Teacup Maltese, in a nutshell, is basically a Mini Maltese. It’s packed with all of the Maltese goodness that we all know and love, without the large exterior that is rather difficult and heavy to have on our lap. If you’ve ever had that problem before, then the Teacup Maltese is the dog breed for you.

This dog breed is also packed from the Greeks, Asians, Italians, and even the Egyptians with 2000 years of ancient history. It’s difficult to say no to this dog breed with the classic and typical sweet, loving, gentle, and intelligent Maltese dog temperament. With Maltese dog prices ranging from about $800 to $3500, it’s no surprise that many people own this breed of dog. It offers a lot of versatility in terms of price, it’s not that complicated to take care of, it’s great for the family, and they are adorable.

So, would I recommend the Teacup Maltese to you? Absolutely! If you don’t have a lot of experience with dogs, you can easily take care of a Teacup Maltese, and you will get the full experience of what it’s like to be a well-rounded dog owner.

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