Dog Breed Travel Profile: Maltese

Affectionate and athletic, the Maltese is a very popular choice for smaller, travel-friendly pets. Known for their silky white coats, bold personalities, and adorable size, these dogs are very outgoing and people-oriented. With minimal socialization and training in the dog’s youth, a Maltese almost always grows up to be a well-rounded pet. These tiny dogs are an excellent pet for apartment-living and jet-setting lifestyles alike. But while the Maltese generally makes for a great travel companion, you should never assume your pup is ready to fly because of breed alone.


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Size and Travel Options

The Maltese typically stands between 8-10 inches tall and can weigh up to 7 pounds – perfect for fitting into an airline-approved carrier and sliding under the seat in front of you. Likewise, when it comes to other forms of transportation – trains, busses, and cars – your Maltese should not have any trouble abiding by maximum size and weight restrictions. That said, if you plan to travel with these tiny friends on a regular basis, start your crate training as early as possible. Though very intelligent and easy to train, getting this essential step out of the way will make travel easier and less stressful for everyone involved. Whether going on your first trip or getting a Maltese from a breeder in a different city, you should also know that puppies must be at least 10 weeks old and have their Rabies shot before they can fly on most airlines.  

Personality as a Travel Companion

Maltese are excellent companion animals, and they often fare well in all types of travel. These dogs are very intelligent and easy to train, so crate and behavioral training should not be an issue for most parents. They do, however, tend to bark and howl when uncomfortable. If this happens while traveling, don’t panic. This breed responds well to positive reinforcement, so a simple treat or verbal affirmation should be enough to calm the dog. This is also why it’s a good idea to have a travel carrier from which your dog can easily see you for reassurance.

Because these dogs respond well to positive reinforcements, traveling with a Maltese should be a relatively peaceful experience. But it’s important not to neglect them for long periods. If you have long business meetings during the day, consider sending them to doggy daycare or at least be sure to leave them with pleasant music or TV programming. Their coat rarely sheds making the Maltese a hypoallergenic breed, but for the same reason, regular brushing and periodic baths are necessary to prevent matting and keep your dog looking its best. This is no trouble for many owners who simply incorporate brushing their beloved pet into their nighttime routine.

Health and Longevity

Like other toy breeds, Maltese tend to have few chronic and genetic health issues. Moreover, many of these health conditions can be effectively screened for by breeders, adoption shelters, and vet clinics. These dogs can live to be about 12-18 years old. Like many dogs, this breed is susceptible to patellar luxation, or a dislocated knee. Though dogs with this condition lead relatively normal lives, it is important to ensure your Maltese can both sit and stand inside their carrier for maximum comfort. Finally, these dogs are also susceptible to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, so just be extra sure to have extra food and treats on hand in case your flight is delayed.

Maltese Breeders and Adoption Centers

Because this is a popular breed in general, you can often find Maltese dogs and mix breeds at animal shelters. These adult dogs typically cost about $300-$600 for basic health screenings and to cover the cost of the facility and animal care. That said, getting a Maltese puppy from a reputable breeder can help ensure you get a healthy puppy of the right size and temperament for your travel habits and adventurous spirit. By comparison, a healthy puppy from a quality breeder might cost anywhere between $1,000-$4,000+, depending on the reputable of the breeder, regional breeding costs, and the pedigree of the animal. You don’t necessarily need show-dog breeding lines to get a healthy Maltese puppy with a delightful personality.