Teacup Maltese Complete Breed Profile: Size, Temperament and More…

The Teacup Maltese is a Maltese that fits right in the palm of your hand. It is all of the fluff and fun of a Maltese in a smaller package.

They make the perfect lap dogs and absolutely crave your attention.

Having such a tiny dog can be great fun, but the breed’s small size presents its own challenges. There is a difference between owning a Maltese and owning a Teacup variety.

New owners should be aware of these differences before taking in a teacup dog. Teacup dogs have health and dietary challenges that do not necessarily apply to the standard size.

Mini Maltese

What is a Teacup Maltese?

The Maltese is quite a small dog, but the Teacup Maltese is even smaller.

These pint sized pups stand at less than 7 inches tall but have the same snuggly personalities as a standard Maltese.

They are classified in the toy dog group along with the standard Maltese. Toy breeds are often chosen as children’s first puppies. They are very popular with first time dog owners and those that are not ready for a larger breed.

Maltese want to be around their people at all times – their affectionate nature combined with their teddy bear appearance makes them very easy to fall in love with.

A teacup dog is a little bit more of a challenge than a standard size due to their delicate bodies, unique health challenges and special dietary requirements. However they are still low maintenance and easy to care for when compared to other breeds. It won’t take too much time to figure them out.

  • Overview: Purebred.
  • Purpose: Companion.
  • Weight: 3-5 pounds.
  • Size: ~6 inches.
  • Temperament: Gentle, sweet and snuggly.

Teacup Maltese Appearance

Maltese Teacup

These Santa Claus dogs are well known for their lovely snow white coats.

The official breed standard for the Maltese includes their teacup counterpart. There is no true difference between the two varieties other than the size.

These pooches have small stubby legs and look like they are bouncing when they walk and run.

You can expect their head and body to be rounded (making them easy to pick up) and for their ears to be drooped downward.

Their black eyes and nose show up vividly against the white fur.

Height and Weight

To qualify as a teacup the dog must stand less than 7 inches in height and weight under 7 pounds.

Generally most Teacup Maltese should stand between 4 and 6 inches tall and weight between 3 to 5 pounds.

Colors and Coat

Snowy white is the only acceptable fur color for any Maltese.

Dark colors should only appear on the eyes, nose and toe pads.

They has a single coat with a silky or velvety texture.

Keeping their long coat clean and healthy can be quite a chore. The stark white fur is very showy but easily collects dirt – be prepared to break out the shampoo and conditioner more often than with other dogs.

While they do not technically shed, since they have hair not fur, they must be brushed every day to keep their coat looking nice. Since they do not have an undercoat, you can style their fur any way you like.

Teddy bear cuts and tiny ponytails are some of the most popular styles.

6 Fun Facts About The Mini Maltese

  1. This is a truly ancient breed and they can be traced all the way back to 500 BC.
  2. When the breed first appeared in dog shows in the late 19th century, it was known as the Lion Dog.
  3. This miniature variety is not a separate breed from standard Maltese.
  4. Historically this dog was the preferred pet of royalty and aristocracy. In modern times it is a very popular choice for celebrities.
  5. This breed is related to the Bichon Frise and other Bichon toy breeds.
  6. Ancient writers and philosophers (such as Aristotle) spoke of little white dogs that could be identified as Maltese.

Teacup Maltese Personality and Temperament

Teacup Maltese Prices Puppy

The historic popularity of these sweet little pups is because of their sweet endearing nature. Having one is like having a puppy that never grows up.

Despite their small size they are confident and brave.

These are born lap dogs that want to be cuddled and loved all the time. They need your attention to feel safe and secure and get very unhappy when left alone. A Teacup Maltese is the kind of dog that sleeps in your bed or curls up beside you while you lounge on the couch.

They are playful enough to amuse their owners but they are not overly rambunctious.

There is a big voice in these little dogs and puppies will be very loud until they are trained. But even adult dogs will get yappy if they feel the need to tell you something. If you leave your dog alone for too long they will make a scene with their whimpering and whining. They may also yelp if they feel anxious or threatened.

Getting along with people is in their nature but sometimes they forget their manners. They happily socialize but can act spoiled or bossy at times.

They can learn to adjust to cats and other similar sized dogs, but should be kept away from large dogs that may hurt them while playing.

These little dogs have great big brains. They just love learning tricks and playing with toys that they can figure out. You will be surprised by just how much they can learn.

Is The Maltese Teacup A Good Family Dog?

The Teacup Maltese makes a great family dog that will quickly learn to love everybody in your home.

However you should be careful when introducing them to young children. Rough play or an accidental drop can break their bones.

You should wait until your child is old enough to be gentle before you allow them to handle your dog.

Caring for a Teacup Maltese

Teacup Maltese

Even though these classy dogs need plenty of grooming and pampering, they are easy to care for and make a great first dog.

Their calm and docile temperament makes them great for nearly everyone.

When caring for a mini Maltese, daily grooming and proper nutrition are the two most important things to keep in mind.

They do not need a lot of space or distance so they make great indoor dogs.

Exercise Requirements

Lack of exercise is one of the biggest problems for these purse sized dogs.

Many owners make the mistake of carrying them everywhere without setting them down to walk or run.

This leads to muscle atrophy and obesity.

You should take them out for 2 quick 15 minute walks – a walk around the block or a quick trip down the street will be just fine. A mini nature walk around your yard will cater to their need for exploration. They will want to explore inside the house as well.

A Maltese Teacup will want about 15 minutes of additional play time a day. They will prefer brain games instead of intensive sports and rough and tumble play.

They will chase a rope or bounce after a ball just like any other dog and you can set up mini indoor or outdoor courses to give them a challenge.

  • Number of Walks Per Day: 2.
  • Total Exercise Needed Per Day: 30 Minutes.

Grooming and Shedding

Teacup Maltese Haircut

Their long white fur is a magnet for dirt so you need to put daily effort into keeping these dogs clean and combed.

Their beautiful silky coat can become a great big mess very quickly.

Dirt and grime shows up very visibly on a white-coated dog, so you will know when it is time to give them a bath.

Your dog will need to visit one every 4 months for a shampoo treatment and haircut.

Also as toy breeds are more susceptible to gum disease you should take them for a dental appointment every year.

Feeding and Diet

Poor nutrition is one of the major causes of health problems in small and toy breeds. You cannot feed a teacup dog the same way you would feed a full sized dog.

Shop for specialty dog food made for small and toy breeds.

These foods are packed with everything your little friend will need without adding anything extra.

For tiny dogs carbs and fats are the biggest sources of extra calories. Small low-activity breeds should have very little carbs and only healthy sources of fat in their foods. Also as poor muscle growth and muscle atrophy is common in mini breeds, high quality protein packed food is needed to counteract this.

Your dog should remain between 3 and 5 pounds.

Calories Per Day:Cups of Kibble Per Day:

Known Health Problems

  • Many of this breeds common health issues come from a poor diet. It is very easy to feed these dogs too much or too little food. Feeding your dog too little will cause hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. On the opposite end overfeeding your dog can lead to obesity and diabetes.
  • All miniature and toy breeds are susceptible to diabetes, but obese dogs are put at higher risk.
  • Also due to obesity, the extra weight puts a lot of pressure on tiny joints and makes it difficult for the dog to move.

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How Long Do Teacup Maltese Live?

These tiny dogs are surprisingly resilient and you can expect them to live for 10 to 15 years.

Teacup Maltese Prices

You should expect to pay about $1000 for a puppy Teacup Maltese.

How to Train a Teacup Maltese

Teacup Maltese With Husky

You should use their love for attention as an incentive during the dog training. They will be working for your attention and praise the entire tire. If you ignore their bad behavior and encourage the good, they will pick up on it.

Unfortunately many owners mistake these dogs for furry fashion accessories. They forget about the brain behind those adorable button eyes.

A Teacup Maltese must be kept stimulated and amused just like any other dog. They will need an outlet for learning and for their natural curiosity.

Most of the time they will figure out their toys on their own with little encouragement. But they won’t appreciate it if you push them aside to play by themselves – they want you to be part of the fun!

You can use the cup game to tap into your dog’s intelligence and keep them entertained. Hide your pup’s favorite toy or treat under one of the cups, then slowly mix the cups around. See if your dog can pick out which cup has the reward. Start out with just two cups, and then move up to three or four.

Other important aspects of training include socialize, obedience and basic manners.

Housebreaking is one of the most difficult training challenges for these little dogs, but it is not their fault. Their small size means they have a smaller bladder than most dogs.

Always assume your dog will have to do their business after eating, sleeping or playing.

Designate a specific spot for going to the bathroom and make sure that you use that same spot every time.

Buyer’s Guide

Craves love and attention.
Inactive and prone to obesity.
Docile and calm attitude.
Delicate and very fragile.
Playful puppy like tendencies extend to adulthood.
Suffers from separation anxiety.
Need very little space.
Can be very naughty and spoiled.
Can be taken with you wherever you go.

Quick Breed Summary Table

Breed Characteristics
Size:4-6 inches
Lifespan:10-15 years
Coat:Long single coat
Do They Shed:No. But they do lose some hair slowly over time
Temperament:Docile, gentle, loving and talkative
Socialization:Gets along with people more than other dogs
Destructive Behavior:Prone to toilet accidents and can bark a lot
People Skills:Wants love and attention from everyone
Good with Children:Yes (6+ only)
Activity Levels:Low


The Teacup Maltese is a great choice for just about any home.

It makes the perfect indoor house dog for people in city apartments and also makes a loving companion for the elderly and disabled.

Give them all of your love and they will give it right back. They will want to be by your side or in your arms for nearly all of the day.

Remember though that behind that teddy bear face is a brain that wants to learn. These adorable dogs love tricks and brain teasers much more than rough and tumble play.

If they can feel safe and loved by your side, your pint sized pooch will reward you with inseparable companionship for years to come.

About Thomas Woods 224 Articles
Thomas has been a dog lover since he was 6 years old when his parents got him a rescue Labrador. Since then his love for dogs has lead him to study Animal Behavior & Welfare. He now keeps a six year old English Bullmastiff and educates pet parents through his online publication Perfect Dog Breeds.


  1. What is the best price for the puppies and are any close to Spokane wa we are eighty and lost ours we had him for ten years he got heart problem s died thank you John

  2. Hello,,
    How can I adopt the tea cup maltease please? Are you providing? Please direct me.
    Thank you

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