Owning a dog is a wonderful thing. They are your constant, loyal companion and they’ll bring years of happiness into your life. But, for some people, pet allergies get in the way and having a dog in their home is something that simply isn’t an option.
However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way. Hypoallergenic dogs are becoming a super popular choice for people who suffer from pet allergies, finally making the dream of having a canine companion a reality!
There are quite a few hypoallergenic breeds to choose from as well, but are Maltese hypoallergenic dogs? If this is something you’ve been wondering, you’ve come to the right place!
Below, we’ll take a look at whether or not Maltese dogs are hypoallergenic. We’ll also explore the science behind pet allergies and what can be done to help cure them, along with some information on hypoallergenic crossbreeds, including Maltipoos. In the end, you’ll know whether a Maltese is a suitable choice for your home if you or anybody in your family suffers from pet allergies.
Are Maltese Dogs Hypoallergenic?
Let’s get straight to the point – are Maltese dogs hypoallergenic? The short answer is, yes, Maltese dogs are hypoallergenic. This makes them an excellent choice for anybody who is thinking about buying a dog, but who suffers from pet allergies.
The reason for this is because they are low shedding dogs and each individual hair that makes up their coat is more similar to human hair. As a result, there is a lower level of the protein that lives in the hair which is responsible for causing the allergy.
However, even though Maltese dogs are considered a hypoallergenic breed, there is still some risk that somebody who suffers from a severe pet allergy could be allergic to them.
We’ll get into this in more detail a little later.
But what can you do if you do suffer from pet allergies but you’ve got your heart set on getting a dog? There is still hope! Your best bet in this instance is to choose a breed, such as a Maltipoo.
Just like all types of Doodles, Maltipoos are considered hypoallergenic and this is thanks to their Poodle gene. This gene gives them a tight, curly coat that produces very little dander. In turn, there’s a dramatically reduced risk of your allergies acting up.
It’s not just Maltipoos that are considered as one of the best hypoallergenic breeds, though. Any dog that is crossed with Poodle and subsequently becomes a “Doodle” is an excellent choice of canine companion for pet allergy sufferers.
Again, this is because they tend to inherit the Poodle’s tight, non-shedding curly coat.
Why Are Maltese Dogs Considered Hypoallergenic?
There are a couple of reasons why Maltese dogs are considered hypoallergenic. The first of these is that they have a coat that is incredibly similar to the structure of human hair. As a result, their coats secrete a lower amount of the glycoprotein Fel d1, which is the main irritant that causes an allergic reaction.
Another reason why Maltese dogs are considered hypoallergenic is that they are low-shedding dogs. This simply means that they don’t leave hair around the house or on your clothes, which is something else that can cause pet allergies to flare up.
Maltese dogs don’t have an undercoat either and they are toy-sized, which simply means that there is less hair to shed.
As we’ve mentioned above, however, even though Maltese dogs are considered hypoallergenic, there is still a risk that a person with severe pet allergies could still be allergic to them. It’s all to do with the glycoprotein Fel d1, which we’ll look at in more detail next.
What Causes Pet Allergies?
Many people believe that pet allergies are caused by dog hair or cat hair and, while there is some truth to this, the science runs a little deeper. Humans aren’t allergic to pet hair itself, but are actually allergic to the glycoprotein Fel d1.
Some dogs have a coat that secretes a high level of glycoprotein Fel d1 and when this comes into contact with the skin, it can create an allergic reaction in some people. This could be a rash, sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, or itchy skin.
If you suffer from pet allergies, once the glycoprotein Fel d1 comes into contact with your skin, your immune system will incorrectly identify it as harmful and begin attacking it. This is when these symptoms start to develop. It’s simply your immune system kicking into overdrive as it tries to defend itself against something it considers as harmful.
The glycoprotein Fel d1 can also stay present on our clothes, bedding, sofas, and anywhere else that pet hair has come in contact with for weeks after it’s been cleaned away.
Now, in the case of Maltese dogs and a handful of others, their coats secrete hardly any glycoprotein Fel d1 at all. For this reason, they are considered hypoallergenic dogs. However, it is worth noting that even though Maltese dogs and certain other breeds are considered hypoallergenic, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog.
The reason for this is because the glycoprotein Fel d1 is also present in dog urine and saliva, albeit in much lower levels. This means it can still cause an allergic reaction in people that have a severe pet allergy though, even if the dog is considered hypoallergenic.
What Allergic Reactions Do People Have to Pets?
There are many allergic reactions that people who suffer from a pet allergy can display, including:
- Frequent sneezing
- Swollen airways/difficulty breathing
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Swollen, itchy eyes
- Skin rashes
- Itchy skin
These symptoms can present themselves in varying degrees depending on how allergic you are to the glycoprotein Fel d1. In some severe cases, a person who suffers from pet allergies may go into anaphylactic shock. This is quite rare, but if this doesn’t happen the person will need to be treated immediately with a shot of epinephrine.
Looking at Maltese dogs again, one of the reasons why they are considered as hypoallergenic is because their coats secrete a very small amount of the glycoprotein Fel d1.
This means that there is a much lower chance of somebody with a pet allergy suffering from any of these symptoms. There is simply less of the irritant available to cause the reaction.
What Treatments Are Used To Cure Pet Allergies?
There are a few different treatment methods used to help alleviate the symptoms of a pet allergy but, sadly, there isn’t a cure. The treatment method prescribed will depend on the severity of the allergy and, as with all medications, some are more effective than others.
The most common treatment method is avoidance. If you suffer from a pet allergy, you’re most commonly advised to stay away from dogs that secrete a high level of glycoprotein Fel d1.
Allergy shots may also be prescribed along with antihistamines which can help to manage the symptoms of your allergy but, again, these won’t cure it.
Topical ointments that contain steroids and corticosteroids are also an effective method used for treating pet allergies. However, this can have some adverse side effects, especially if taken for a long period of time. For this reason, they will usually only be prescribed to somebody who has a severe allergic reaction to pet dander.
What To Do If You Develop An Allergy To Your Dog
Developing an allergy to your dog is a nightmare situation that nobody wants to think about. Even in the case of Maltese dogs which are considered hypoallergenic, you may develop an allergy after bringing them home. This is especially true if you’ve never owned a dog before and didn’t have any way of knowing that you’re allergic to pet dander.
Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to help manage your allergies and keep your dog.
An air purifier is an excellent way to keep your home clean and stop the glycoprotein Fel d1 from creating an allergic reaction. This will trap the hair in a filter by sucking in any airborne dander.
Frequent vacuuming and cleaning will also reduce the amount of pet dander that you come into contact with, reducing the risk of developing an allergic reaction.
Finally, bathing and grooming your Maltipoo regularly will reduce the amount of pet dander that is shed across your home. If you’re not 100% confident about how to do this, it’s worth booking them an appointment with a professional dog grooming service.
Can You Be Allergic To A Hypoallergenic Dog?
Even though owning a hypoallergenic dog significantly reduces the risk of developing an allergic reaction, it’s worth remembering that there is no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog. This is because the glycoprotein Fel d1 is present in their fur, it’s just not secreted as much. It’s also present in their urine and their saliva.
If you’re allergic to dogs but you’re thinking about getting a Maltese, the best thing to do is to spend some time with one beforehand. This will give you a much better idea of whether or not your allergies will flare up.
Are Maltipoos Hypoallergenic?
A cross between a Maltese and a poodle, Maltipoos are considered as one of the most hypoallergenic dogs available. The simple reason behind this is that both of its parents are low shedding and it inherits this.
Depending on the size of the poodle parent, Maltipoos are also toy-sized which means that there is less dander for them to shed.
So, if you’re thinking about getting a crossbreed but you want a small, hypoallergenic dog, the Maltipoo could be a fantastic choice.
How To Care For A Maltese Dog
If you feel as though a Maltese is the perfect hypoallergenic dog for your home, it’s important to know everything there is to know about it before you get one.
Doing your research beforehand won’t only help you make an informed decision about whether or not you’re able to meet their needs, but it will also ensure you’re able to give your Maltese the best life possible.
Below, you’ll find some essential information on how to care for a Maltese dog. You’ll learn how easy they are to train, how much exercise they need, and whether or not they are a suitable choice for a home with children.
In a rush and want to know the basics? Here’s a quick summary of everything you need to know about Maltese dogs:
|Size||Toy / Small|
|Easy to Train?||Yes|
|Good with Children?||Yes|
|Lifespan||12 – 15 Years|
Maltese dogs are renowned for being lively, loyal, and very sweet-natured. They are also highly intelligent and, despite their small size, they have an energy level that can easily match a larger dog.
They are also very good with children and they have a low sensitivity level, so they won’t mind loud noises and boisterous play. In fact, they’re quite likely to join in! This doesn’t mean that they are on the go 24 hours a day, though.
They love cuddling up with their owners whenever the opportunity arises, and they have the ability to pick up on emotions which has led to them becoming an increasingly popular choice of therapy dog.
As far as size is concerned, a Maltese dog will stand at around 7-10 inches from floor to shoulder, and they have an average weight of 4lbs – 7lbs. This small stature makes them ideal for apartments, although they will require more exercise if they haven’t got access to a backyard.
Maltese dogs are also highly sociable and they’ll get along with other dogs and humans if introduced from a young age.
You might think that such a small dog doesn’t need much exercise but, as we’ve mentioned above, Maltese dogs are highly energetic. And, in order to burn this energy off, they need quite a lot of exercise throughout the day – at least 60 minutes of high-intensity play.
As well as helping them burn off their excess energy, there are a few other reasons for exercising your Maltese dog properly. These include:
- Better heart health
- Improved blood circulation
- Boosting the immune system
- Maintaining bone strength
- Maintaining muscle mass
- Regulating metabolism
Regular exercise also allows a Maltese dog to follow that canine instinct by sniffing out new things and experiencing different environments. It also prevents behavioral problems from developing as they won’t be bored when left at home by themselves. Instead, they are more likely to catch up on some sleep!
If you haven’t got the kind of lifestyle that affords you the time a Maltese dog needs to exercise every day, they may not be the best choice for you. Of course, you could always enroll them in your local doggy daycare facility, where they’ll be able to socialize with other dogs and humans.
Maltese dogs are intelligent and inquisitive which means they are fairly easy to train. However, you have to be consistent with their training, otherwise, their natural curiosity may be used for mischief!
Training needs to start from a young age. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you’ve got a cute, fluffy puppy it’s all about cuddles and play. By training them from the minute you get them home, you’ll be establishing yourself as the alpha and they’ll soon learn that they need to follow your orders.
Socialization is also important from a young age. Once your Maltese puppy has received all of their vaccinations, take them outdoors as often as possible so that they can interact with other dogs and humans.
Doing this will make them far less nervous around new things and, as a result, they won’t develop any behavioral problems such as excessive barking.
One thing that you must train out of your Maltese puppy is play biting. It may seem cute and harmless, but if they don’t learn that it’s not okay to bite, they’ll carry this behavior with them as they age. Play biting has the potential to create some real issues as your Maltese grows, so it’s important to stop it as soon as it begins.
One thing that you should be aware of when it comes to Maltese dogs is that they are prone to developing separation anxiety. They simply love their owners so much that they can’t cope with loneliness and, as such, they may bark or howl when you’re out of the house.
The best way to stop this from happening is to expose them to a brief period of time on their own from a young age. This teaches them that it’s ok to be alone and, most importantly, it shows them that you’re always going to come back.
Using a crate is an excellent way to do this as it will keep your Maltese puppy safe and secure while you’re away. It will also become a bit of a sanctuary for them, acting like a safe, comfortable place for them to spend some time alone.
Maltese dogs are hypoallergenic and, as such, they don’t shed very much hair around your home. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t need regular grooming. Luckily, this isn’t very labor-intensive and you’ll simply need to brush their coats once or twice a week. They’ll also need to take a trip to the dog groomer about every six weeks.
In between their visits to the doggy salon, you’ll need to give your Maltese dogs regular baths. This helps to loosen any hair and washes it away down the sink, rather than it ending up on your clothes or your couch. This is crucial if you suffer from pet allergies.
Bathe them every couple of weeks and, if they get particularly dirty before their next bath don’t hesitate to bring the bath day forward. One thing to be aware of, however, is that frequent bathing can lead to skin conditions. To stop this from happening, choose a shampoo that is hypoallergenic and made using only natural ingredients.
Another thing you’ll need to do when it comes to grooming is take care of your Maltese’s teeth, nails, and ears.
Get a dog toothpaste or gel and apply it to their teeth before brushing it in. Some tooth gels can be applied without the need to brush as your Maltese will lick it around their teeth.
Ears can be cleaned with ear cleaning pads and nails can be clipped using a dog nail cutter or a grinder. You’ll know when it is time to do this as you’ll hear them clicking on the ground when they walk.
Potential Health Issues
For the most part, Maltese dogs are hardy little canines that are much tougher than they look. However, they are still susceptible to developing some health problems. Most of these can be prevented through proper care, but there are a few that may require medication.
Things such as dental issues and ear infections can be prevented through proper oral hygiene and regular checkups. Skin allergies can often be prevented and cured through diet, as well.
One potential health problem that will require medication, however, is White Dog Shaker Syndrome. This is a neurological condition that white dogs can suffer from, causing them to shake involuntarily. If you notice your Maltese excessively shaking, you’ll need to take them to your veterinarian.
There are also a couple of potential health issues that Maltese are prone to developing that will require medical intervention. This includes Patella Luxation which causes lameness and pain in the knee joints and Portosystemic Shunts which causes toxins to build up in the liver.
As is the case with most smaller breeds of dogs, Maltese have quite a long life expectancy. The average is around 12-15 years but, depending on their care and the lack of any health issues, some Maltese may exceed this.
Other Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds
If you’re thinking about getting a hypoallergenic dog but you’re not convinced that a Maltese is the best fit for you or your family, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are lots of other breeds to choose from. These include:
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Miniature Schnauzer
- Shih Tzu
- West Highland Terrier
- Bichon Frise
- Scottish Terrier
- Cairn Terrier
- Italian Greyhound
- Chinese Crested
- Coton De Tulear
- Border Terrier
- Brussels Griffon
- Wire Fox Terrier
- Norwich Terrier
- Silky Terrier
- Welsh Terrier
- Norfolk Terrier
- Australian Terrier
- Lakeland Terrier
- Toy Poodle
- Cesky Terrier
- Bolognese Dog
- Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka
- Sealyham Terrier
- Bedlington Terrier
- Dandie Dinmont Terrier
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Standard Schnauzer
- Irish Terrier
- Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
- Tibetan Terrier
- Lagotto Romagnolo
- Kerry Blue Terrier
- Spanish Water Dog
- Polish Lowland Sheepdog
- Peruvian Inca Orchid
- Mountain Cur
- Cantabrian Water Dog
- Giant Schnauzer
- Airedale Terrier
- Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon
- Bouvier des Flandres
- Afghan Hound
- Irish Water Spaniel
You may be surprised by some of the dogs on this list as some of them have quite long hair. However, as is the case with the Maltese, they are low-shedding dogs and their coats don’t secrete a high level of the glycoprotein Fel d1. This is the reason why each of them can be considered hypoallergenic.
Doodles breeds are also great for allergy sufferers as their curly, sticky coats trap the dander rather than allowing it to flow freely around your home. For more information on the most popular types of Doodle dogs, check out our comparison blog.
In the case of “are Maltese hypoallergenic dogs?” the answer is, yes, they are. However, there are some important things you need to take into consideration before you bring one into your home.
First of all, just like any breed of dog that is considered hypoallergenic, there is still a chance that you may develop an allergic reaction to them.
This is because even though their coats are low-shedding and secrete a lower level of the glycoprotein Fel d1, it is still present in their urine and saliva. So, if you have a severe pet allergy, they may still be an unsuitable choice.
Secondly, you need to ensure that you’re able to look after a Maltese dog properly. They are high-energy, fun-loving dogs that need a lot of exercise throughout the day. They also need regular bathing and six-weekly trips to the groomers to keep their hypoallergenic coats in good condition.
However, if you can meet these requirements and you’ve spent enough time with a Maltese to know that you’re definitely not allergic, they’ll be an excellent addition to your home. This is true whether you’re a single person looking for company or if you have a home with children, who they’ll love running around and playing with.