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How Much Does a Maltese Cost? Puppy Prices and Expenses

So you see cute pictures of Maltese and suddenly can’t get the image out of your head anymore, what you want right now is all that hairy cuteness safe on your lap.

Trust me, I know exactly how you feel, you’re not alone. These adorable balls of white fur have a long-standing reputation of capturing the hearts of many without even trying. How much do they cost you say?

Maltese dogs are quite expensive and cost anywhere from $600 to $10,000 depending on various factors associated with their breeding. It’s also not unusual to find that some Malteses can cost above $10,000, these are usually top quality show Malteses. Pet quality Malteses on the average cost between $2,000 and $4,000.

You should expect to spend $1,500 to $3,000 for the first year and $1,000 to $2,000 for the subsequent year. These expenses including everything you need to care for your Maltese like food, grooming, medical costs, dog items and etc.

Obviously, Maltese dogs are expensive pets, and unsurprisingly so. They are one of the oldest known dog breeds with an illustrious history of fraternizing with royalty and aristocracy.

But that’s not all; a lot of factors are put into consideration before the prices of Maltese are set; let us examine some of these determining factors.

Factors That Determine the Price of Maltese

Reputation of Breeder

When it comes to dogs, dog breeds, dog quality, and dog prices, a lot depends on the reputation of the breeder. Dog breeders are charged with the responsibility of producing dogs for various purposes like show, sport, and companionship.

Good dog breeders take it upon themselves to produce the highest quality dogs for each of those purposes. As a result, good dog breeders have a solid reputation.

Reputable and experienced Maltese breeders are known for producing robust puppies that are healthy and strong.

Their stock tends to be more expensive than most other breeders because of the gap in quality and desirability. If ever you’re likely to find a Maltese that cost above $10,000, it’s going to be at the hands of one of such breeders.

Experienced breeders produce show and pet quality Maltese. They usually have starting prices of about $2,000, depending on the size of the litter available and the relative strength of their reputation.

Later in this article, we would take a closer look at the types of Maltese breeders out there.

Types of Breeders

A dog breeder is an individual or group of individuals whose primary business is to mate male and female dogs to make puppies for sale. Like everything else in life, there are levels to the quality of breeders out there.

The most significant differences that allow us to classify breeders into large groups are the quality and quantity of care provided for the dogs as well as the adherence to ethical standards.

Puppy Mills

Puppy mills are facilities that run large dog breeding operations. These facilities house dogs of various breeds living within the same space and usually separated by cages.

Most of these dogs live all their lives in these cages while mating and producing lots of litters yearly. Breeders that run puppy mills show little or no special care or attachment to their dogs.

These are dog breeders whose sole object is to produce as many puppies as possible and exchange them for money. To them, dog breeding is just a profitable venture, and they do all they can to invest as little as possible in proper facilities for dog breeding.

Their methods are shabby and very questionable, with little care for the overall welfare of the dogs.

Puppies purchased from puppy mills are more likely to come up with health issues that were probably there at the time of purchase but not noticeable.

These health issues can be due to the inhumane conditions they are subjected to or complications due to unethical inbreeding. These are the cheapest breeders to buy puppies from; they offer puppies at colossal price slashes.

Backyard Breeders

Another cheap way to purchase a puppy is to patronize backyard breeders. Backyard breeders are similar to puppy mills in the sense that they don’t usually meet the appropriate breeding standards and may have questionable practices.

But they differ in the sense that puppies bred in this system are generally well-loved and cared for.

Backyard breeding is done on a much smaller scale than puppy mills and other breeding methods. They are usually everyday people whose female dog gives birth to many more puppies than they wish to care for.

So they decide to make a little money on the side with their situation. They are normally first time breeders who decided to give dog breeding a try.

Though they mean well, these types of breeders may not be the best choice for you to get a puppy from if you’re interested in specific traits in your puppy or want to enter competitions.

They are inexperienced and have little or no knowledge about what it takes to produce high-quality puppies. They know very little about health care or genetics, and they lack the resources to meet ethical standards.

The considerable merit of this type of breeding is the amount of care and attention the puppies get.

Because the parents of the puppies are probably beloved pets, it’s very personal for the breeders, and they tend to shower them with as much love as they can. This may affect the price tag they attach to their pups as they may be less willing to let go of their puppies.

Hobby Dog Breeders

Hobby dog breeders are the type of breeders that have genuine affection for dog breeding and don’t have money as the sole focus.

A hobby breeder will conduct extensive research about his pups and dogs and dedicate many years figuring new ways to take care of his dogs better. Despite all this, they sometimes offer some of their pups for free adoption.

Hobby breeders are well abreast with industry standards and are fully committed to providing the best care possible for their litter.

Hobby breeders care enough to test their breeding stock to ascertain their temperament, health, and conformity before they are selected for breeding. This way, they end up breeding and producing pups of the highest quality.

Most hobbyists participate in show activities such as conformity, obedience, and agility. Puppies from parents who actively participate and win dog events are bound to be available for higher prices – if they are even up for sale.

Patronizing hobby breeders for a Maltese pup can ensure that you get a very healthy puppy, but these hobbyists are not as rampant as other types of breeders.

There are many similarities between professional breeders and hobby breeders like the fact that they both have extensive knowledge, keep up to date with the latest practices, maintain ethical standards, and show their dogs.

Still, they are different in that hobby breeders don’t breed as much as professional breeders and don’t consider dog breeding as a business.

Professional Breeders

Professional dog breeders run legitimate dog breeding businesses that are registered and taxed.

They may or may not have a wide variety of dog breeds, but they provide adequate health care, training, and attention for their dogs. They are usually very reputable breeders that have vast experience in dog care and genetics.

Professional breeders also offer after-sales services that include best dog advice and practices to help you ensure your pet has the best care possible.

The after-sales services they offer may consist of accepting the dog back if you’re no longer available to care for it. Dogs purchased from professional breeders come complete with registration and other contracts like health guarantees.

On the average, professional breeders are an expensive source to purchase a pet from, and deservedly so. With these breeders, you pay for the experience, time, effort, and the costs invested in learning how to be excellent at the profession.

These breeders usually pay great care and attention to their litters and their parents also.

Dogs bred by professionals participate in conformation ring competitions; hence they take care to study their lineage and select the very best pups in the litter as prospective show dogs.

If you desire to have a vigorous puppy to love and cherish, your best chance is buying from professionals. Buying from a professional breeder may be a little costlier than you imagined, but it is a pennywise move.

Specialist Maltese Breeders

These types of breeders specialize in breeding Maltese dogs exclusively. They have extensive knowledge about Maltese dogs, show their Maltese dogs, and keep detailed records of their genealogy.

Maltese breeders are often a combination of professional and hobby breeders, and most have a special connection with the dogs they breed.

Specialist Maltese breeders usually have long waiting lists for their high-quality pups, which give them the leverage to choose only the best buyers for their litter.

If you intend to get your Maltese puppy from a specialist breeder, expect to answer tough questions about exactly how you intend to take care of them and what you need them for, so they can be sure that the puppies are heading to the right homes.

Breeders that specialize on only one breed of dog like exclusive Maltese breeders are usually very interested in conformation training and breed champion bloodlines that perform well in dog events, so they are an excellent source for show quality Maltese puppies.

Quality of the Puppies

Yeah, there are different qualities of dogs out there, and yes, the quality has a direct link to how much they are sold for. Dogs are mostly classified as pet quality and show quality; however, terrible breeders can produce puppies that aren’t qualified to be either.

Let’s take a look at the two popular categories, pet and show quality.

Pet Quality Maltese

Pet quality Malteses usually lack a few traits or has an undesirable fault that can prevent it from becoming a successful show dog.

These faults are superficial or aesthetic and have little or no effect on how good a pet your puppy is likely to be. Pet quality Malteses are cheaper and more readily available than show quality prospects.

Furthermore, pet quality dogs are sold with limited registration. Dogs with this kind of registration cannot perform in show events or conformation rings.

Limited registration also means that any future offspring of the puppy is not eligible for registration because pet quality dogs are not considered breeding quality.

Show Quality Maltese

Show quality is the property that indicates that the Maltese is worthy of being sampled in a conformation ring. In the case of a puppy, they are commonly referred to as show prospects and not show dogs.

These are the pups you should go for if you’re interested in entering any of such competitions. Show quality Maltese cost upwards of $5,000.

If you can, try to examine the parents of the puppy you intend to purchase for a disqualifying flaw. This is because, even if the fault is not present in the puppy, he carries the gene for it.

This is particularly important if you intend to breed yourself, as the flaw can show up in future generations. For instance, in all dog breeds, a major disqualification for the males is if he does not have two descended testicles.

Keep in mind that show quality prospects aren’t easily sold out as most breeders prefer to keep as many prospects as they can to increase their chances of always having the best stock.

Before breeders part with these dogs, they would want to know precisely how you intend to manage them as such dogs aren’t just meant to sit around.

Show quality puppies are breeding quality and are purchased with complete registration, making their future offspring eligible for registration. All these attributes contribute to their higher price tags.


There is a disparity in the prices between male and female Maltese puppies. The main reason behind this disparity lies in the general perception amongst prospective owners that a female Maltese is more adorable and can be dressed up to look much cuter.

Many people also think the female dog will be friendlier and more affectionate. Breeders and experienced Maltese owners know this perception to be inaccurate, although it still drives higher demand for female pups.

Because of this high demand for female Maltese puppies, they cost more than their male counterparts.

The difference in price can be as much as $1000 in some cases as breeders usually have more males per litter and are more willing to part with them.

Another reason why female puppies are more desired is to avoid pets that display secondary sexual behaviors like marking and humping. It is not uncommon for males that are not neutered early enough to display these traits.

But contrary to popular belief, females who weren’t spayed also show secondary sexual behavior and are usually more aggressive and territorial.


Location is another factor that contributes to the price of pets. An area that has a high concentration of breeders might offer lower prices than another area where breeders are scarce.

Some locations also boast of reputable breeders and could charge higher amounts as a result. Breeders with a bad reputation will try to slash their prices to attract more customers.


A dog’s genealogy plays a vital role in determining its price. A lineage of high performers cost a ton higher than the regular dogs.

Some puppies are descended from families with records of various titles earned in conformation rings. These kinds of puppies are highly sorted after, as they are more likely to be purebreds.

Now, puppies from families with no illustrious past aren’t necessarily poor quality. It might be that way because the breeder is not very interested in breeding dogs for the show but instead focuses on breeding pets for companionship.

Stock Size

When breeders have lots of Maltese puppies that are not of show quality born within a particular period, they may not have enough customers on their waiting list to exhaust them. At times like these, breeders usually offer the excess stock at discounted rates.

Puppy Age

The majority of people who decide to get pets are interested in securing a puppy that could grow to love them all his life. This means puppies are often higher in demand than adult dogs, making puppies more expensive to purchase than older dogs.

Most breeders and pet shops aim to sell their dogs while they are still puppies, but older dogs do become available for sale from time to time.

Adult dogs on sale are usually those whose owners are no longer available to care for them. This could be because they passed away or possibly relocated to another country.

Purchasing an adult Maltese is an inexpensive way to get a cute pet that would love you and be loyal to you until his last day.

Point of Purchase

The most popular ways to get puppies are either from breeders or pet shops or pet shelters, with each of these options coming with varying levels of benefits and corresponding prices.

Pets bought from breeders are more expensive and usually come with breeding papers. The next most expensive option is purchasing your Maltese from a pet shop.

Maltese sold at pet shops are neither show nor breeding quality, so these pets don’t come with breeding papers. The idea is to sell to families that just want a pet to love.

Maltese from pet shelters or pounds come with little or no initial cost. Pound operators are just looking for families or couples that will care for the Maltese to whom he would give his loyalty.

I feel like I owe it to you to point out that a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily imply superior quality Maltese.

There is always the possibility of coming across people who take advantage of high demand for a particular breed. They inflate their prices and slap a higher price on dogs of lower quality to make more profit.

Cost of Caring for a Maltese

After the initial cost of acquiring a Maltese puppy, the next big concern is how much it will cost to care for him. The initial prices include the costs paid for registration and other purchasing fees.

It also includes the cost of the initial medical examination, which is recommended before or just after you finalize the deal. This can cost up to $90, depending on the clinic and the condition of the puppy.

Owning any pet can be an expensive responsibility, and it helps if you have an idea of what you’re getting into. You should expect to cater for the following expenses for your Maltese puppy.

Medical Fees

There are numerous medical fees to consider with regards to properly caring for the latest member of your family. You would have to find a vet and arrange for regular checkups to ensure your Maltese is in top shape all the time.

These costs could be anywhere between $70 – $200, barring other medical issues and emergencies. Most breeders will recommend a vet for you.

Another medical expense will be deworming of your Maltese puppy and flea treatment. This can cost as much as $150 yearly but will save you and your pet the inconveniences of dealing with illnesses caused by intestinal parasites and flea infestation.

Throughout your puppy’s life, it would incur many health expenses, most of which will be unplanned and unexpected.

You would have medical emergencies; you would pay for vaccines and dental care, your puppy might take in something and start vomiting, he might hurt a limb or worse.

A dog is a living, breathing being that can and will have health concerns throughout its life, just like humans.

One way to handle the health care of your Maltese could be to get pet insurance. This is an option to explore if you don’t want to be caught off guard by an unexpected medical illness or injury. Pet insurances can cost up to $1000 and above, and they usually come with specific terms.

Food Expenses

Food is another important potential source of expenses. You should expect to spend anywhere between $15 and $25 weekly to purchase food for your Maltese puppy.

This includes the main meals and different treats. Young puppies less than a year need to eat at least twice a day.

They require high amounts of proteins, fat, and other nutrients necessary to build strong bones and amass the muscles needed to be healthy adult dogs.

Dog Bed

There are different types of beds you can choose from for your Maltese to sleep comfortably.

You can go for the standard toy dog beds, or if you want more comfort, you can try orthopedic beds or heated beds if you live in icy regions. Whichever type of mattress you choose, you would need to get a new one every year.

The cost of the dog bedding can be from $10 – $90, depending on the brand and quality you go for.

Also, you might need to buy blankets for your Maltese if you live in a cold region, Malteses don’t handle cold very well because of their small layer of fat.

PlayPen or Crate

Depending on your preference, you would need to build a pen or buy a crate for your Maltese.

Most breeders and dog experts suggest the use of dog pens instead of crates as crates can be too confining and add to the stress level of your Maltese and lead to bad behavior.

Whereas a gated part of your apartment or dog pen allows your Maltese the freedom to stand, turn, play, and move around.

However, if you decide to get a crate, you can get one that is huge enough to allow your Maltese the luxury of the above freedom. A crate like that could cost about $90.

A playpen can be purchased for around the same amount, but some high-quality pens that offer more accessories or space can cost about $170.


Neutering is the removal of the testicles of a male dog, while spaying is the removal of the reproductive organs of female dogs.

This is a necessary procedure if you don’t intend to breed your dog and want to avoid secondary sexual behavior like marking and mounting.

Without spaying or neutering your puppy, you are bound to experience periods of extreme inconvenience twice a year when it’s heat period.

The cost of spaying or neutering your puppy is different from vet to vet but can be anywhere between $150 and $600. Spaying and neutering are once in a lifetime procedures.

Grooming Expenses

The Maltese dog is a special breed that requires a lot of grooming. Their hair can grow too long and sometimes block their vision if you don’t groom it, plus their royal white color means you have some work to do to keep them looking clean.

If you choose to groom your Maltese yourself, you would still need to purchase some grooming products.

Grooming products for your Maltese can cost you between $40 and $50 annually. You may also choose to employ the services of a dog groomer who could charge a monthly fee of $100.

Training Expenses

Dog training is an integral part of owning a dog and sometimes can mean the difference between a great pet and a horrible pet.

Dogs are intelligent beings that can learn to do many things, and for the most part, how your dog turns out can be predetermined through proper training methods. The most common type of training is potty training, but there are other training for dogs.

Again, you can choose to train your dog or engage a professional trainer. Using a professional trainer is the fastest and most efficient method and can easily cost you up to a $1000 yearly.

Training your Maltese yourself can be tedious and cost you more time, but it could be a great bonding time for you and your pet.

Average Annual Expenses of Owning a Maltese

For the first year, you should expect to spend $1,500 to $3,000 to care for your Maltese properly. Many of the things you get to pay for in the first year will be one time payments, and others will spill well into the next year, reducing subsequent budgets.

Subsequently, you should budget between $1,000 and $2,000 yearly for your pet. This should be sufficient for the recurring needs of your Maltese barring any unexpected medical emergencies and unforeseen circumstances.

Final Thoughts

On average, a Maltese puppy will cost you around $600 to $4,000, and even up to $10,000 for premium quality Maltese puppies. After that, you should expect to spend $1,500 to $3,000 for the first year and $1,000 to $2,000 for the subsequent year.

These expenses including everything you need to care for your Maltese like food, grooming, medical costs, dog items and etc.

From deciding where to buy a Maltese, to paying the prices necessary to secure him, to taking care of him all his life, owning a Maltese is no mean fit.

But the thought of all these expenses disappear with a wink from your adorable little boy, and suddenly it all becomes worth it.

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