Teacup Maltese

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

Greeks used to build tombs for their Maltese.


Teacup Maltese Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Teacup Maltese Conservation Status

Teacup Maltese Locations

Teacup Maltese Locations

Teacup Maltese Facts

Name Of Young
Group Behavior
  • Pack
Fun Fact
Greeks used to build tombs for their Maltese.
Most Distinctive Feature
Their size.
Distinctive Feature
White coat.
Gestation Period
63 days.
Fun, loving, and gentle.
  • Pack
Common Name
teacup Maltese

Teacup Maltese Physical Characteristics

  • White
Skin Type
12-15 years
4 to 5 pounds.
4 to 6 inches.

Teacup Maltese as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Warm climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
Dog group
Male weight
4-5 lbs
Female weight
4-5 lbs

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The Maltese has an ancient lineage. Though it is believed to originate in Malta, many believe it was introduced to Europe by the Phoenicians before the rise of Greece, somewhere before the 5th century BC. From that time forward, it became the must-have dog of historical civilizations, from ancient Greece to the Roman Empire to Chinese culture, which reintroduced it to Europe after the Dark Ages. Its popularity as a tiny companion dog has been a driving factor in developing the teacup version.

It is a cute and cuddly dog; it is an excellent choice for apartment living! It is lovable, fun, and loyal, making it a good family dog, too, though it is best suited for families with responsible older children or no children in the house.

Teacup Maltese Fun Fact

Greeks used to build tombs for their Maltese.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning Teacup Maltese 

Teacup Maltese are very loving dogs and enjoy being around people.The teacup Maltese is challenging to housebreak, primarily because of their tiny bladder.
With their small size and minimal exercise needs, teacup Maltese are well-suited for apartment living.Like their larger counterparts, teacup Maltese are prone to high levels of separation anxiety and can be destructive when left alone for long periods.
Maltese do not shed much, and the teacup size sheds even less. This is helpful for those who suffer from allergies.Although they do not shed much, teacup Maltese have coats that involve quite a bit of brushing and care.

The Best Dog Food For Teacup Maltese

The teacup breeds have tiny mouths, stomachs, and bladders, so they require a specific diet and feeding routine. They need a small amount of food due to their size, and these teacup varieties tend to suffer from low blood sugar issues. Consequently, they should be fed small amounts multiple times a day. That way, they don’t overeat, though they always have enough food for their energy requirements.

Additionally, due to their tendency to suffer heart issues, they should avoid legumes as a food ingredient because legumes have been connected to potential heart problems. We at A-Z Animals feel the best food for these dogs is Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet | Small-Breed Adult Dry Dog Food with Healthy Grains.

Teacup Maltese Size and Weight

The teacup Maltese has been bred with its tiny stature in mind. As a result, teacup Maltese are among the smallest dogs in the world. Both males and females are approximately 4-6 inches tall and weigh 4-5 pounds.

Height (Male):4-6 inches
Height (Female):4-6 inches
Weight (Male):4-5 pounds
Weight (Female):4-5 pounds

Teacup Maltese Common Health Issues

With such a small frame, one potential hazard for the teacup Maltese would be to put on excess weight. Obesity can result in joint problems later in life and cause stress on the heart, back problems, digestive issues, and metabolism issues. Be sure to provide your dog with the proper nutrition, in the proper amounts, at the proper times.

Maltese dogs are also genetically susceptible to a particular heart disorder where there is a vessel opening between two heart chambers. Patent ductus arteriosis can result in excess blood being routed to the lungs resulting in fluid buildup, which stresses the heart.

Another condition that Maltese are prone to is a liver condition called a portosystemic shunt. PSS results in reduced blood flow to the liver impeding its growth and function.

Apart from these conditions common to Maltese, teacup Maltese are also physically vulnerable. They also are prone to dental problems.

Teacup Maltese Temperament

Playful, friendly, athletic, and aristocratic, they are lively, loving dogs and are great with children. They want to please and be with their owners. They may be reserved with strangers, but they are friendly dogs.

Teacup Maltese can sometimes be stubborn, which is a result of their intelligence. Still, this intelligence, combined with their desire to please their owner and athleticism, can also make them highly trainable. Larger ones can participate in obedience training and some athletic contests, though teacups may be a bit too fragile.

How To Take Care of Teacup Maltese  

Teacup Maltese

Teacup Maltese are among the smallest dogs in the world.

Teacup Maltese Maintenance And Grooming 

Their coat doesn’t shed much, which is a plus. The tradeoff, however, is that this coat needs a lot of maintenance and grooming. The Maltese should be brushed daily, and the coat should be cleaned regularly. After a wash, it’s best to include conditioner and blow dry its hair to keep the coat looking its best.

As with all dogs, they should have its ears checked for wax buildup, debris, pests, scrapes, and scratches. Also, trim the nails regularly. Finally, the dog’s teeth should be brushed daily. This is especially important in small dogs because they are prone to dental problems.

Teacup Maltese Training

They are intelligent, obedient, loyal, and highly trainable. They respond best to positive reinforcement and gentle treatment. Treats and games are great ways to reinforce desired behavior. The most challenging aspect of training them is probably housebreaking, but that is due to their small bladders.

Teacup Maltese Exercise 

Though they are relatively high-energy dogs, they require minimal exercise. A daily walk or two and light play throughout the day are more than enough to satisfy their exercise requirements. The most important thing with such a delicate dog is to avoid intense activity that might lead to injuries. Also, pay attention to their diet relative to exercise periods, ensuring they are fed close enough to activity to avoid bouts of low blood sugar.

Teacup Maltese Puppies 

They are intelligent dogs, and puppy training can begin as soon as they come home. Be patient with them when housebreaking because their bladders are small, and it will take them longer than other dogs to learn this skill. Socializing them with people and other dogs should begin as early as possible, pending immunization periods, to allow them to get used to diverse environments and reduce yapping.

Teacup Maltese And Children

Though it is a loving and gentle dog, they are vulnerable and not fit for homes with small children (babies and toddlers.) Even older children should be instructed on how to properly handle a dog if they want to play with a teacup Maltese. These dogs are very likely to be injured if mishandled.

Dogs Similar to Teacup Maltese

Bichon Frise: Another tiny, cute dog, the Bichon Frise is also suited to apartment living. It is lovable and playful, yet more energetic than the teacup Maltese. It is also a bit more substantial than the teacup.

Biewer Terrier: The Biewer Terrier is approximately the same size as the teacup Maltese. It is an energetic dog that has a beautiful low-shedding coat.

Coton De Tulear: Slightly larger than the teacup Maltese, the Coton De Tulear has a beautiful soft coat. It is also playful and loving, making it another dog suitable for apartment life.

Popular Names for Teacup Maltese

  • Frosty
  • Ice
  • Hercules
  • Titan
  • Pumpkin
  • Betty
  • Chloe
  • Pixie
  • Bambi
  • Empress

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

Rob Amend is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily covering meteorology, geology, geography, and animal oddities. He attained a Master's Degree in Library Science in 2000 and served as reference librarian in an urban public library for 22 years. Rob lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, photography, woodworking, listening to classic rock, and watching classic films—his favorite animal is a six-foot-tall rabbit named Harvey.

Teacup Maltese FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How much is a teacup Maltese worth?

$740 to $2,000 is a common expense for adopting a teacup Maltese.

Do teacup Maltese have health problems?

Teacup Maltese share the potential for common health concerns with the full-sized Maltese, such as heart and liver conditions, but the biggest problems may be related to their size. Obesity can be a major problem for such a small frame, so you must feed them properly. Also, their small size can make them susceptible to injury, so great care should be taken around such a tiny dog.

Do teacup Maltese bark a lot?

Maltese are vigilant and vocal dogs, so yes, teacup Maltese do tend to bark a lot.

Are teacup Maltese hard to housebreak?

Like all teacup varieties, the teacup Maltese is difficult to housebreak. This is not due to stubbornness or a lack of intelligence but mostly to their small bladders. They should be walked frequently. When they ask to go, they should be provided with the opportunity to do so.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.


  1. / Accessed January 15, 2023
  2. / Accessed January 15, 2023
  3. (1970) https://www. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/maltese/ akc.org/dog-breeds/maltese/ / Accessed January 15, 2023
  4. / Accessed January 15, 2023