Are Maltese Dogs Aggressive?

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Are Maltese Dogs Aggressive?Canine aggression can come in many forms and may be caused by different factors, including pain, fear, or possessive behaviors. How do you know if your dog is indeed aggressive and, if it is, what can you do to correct this behavior?

Read on to find out if Maltese dogs are naturally aggressive and what to do in this case.

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What Is Considered Aggressive Behavior in Dog?

Aggressive behaviors in dogs usually mean a threat or harmful behavior toward another – whether it is a human (even you), a pet, or another animal. Dogs often display specific body behaviors when aggressive, such as growling, snarling, barking, hard staring or stiff body, and biting.

However, there are other normal pet behaviors that may seem like aggression. For instance, puppies often love exploring the world by mouthing or nipping. If your Maltese puppy nips harder than it should, it is a sign that it is overstimulated and needs a break.

Another false sign may be rough play with other dogs – any dog can get a bit too involved in the play and become loud and even appear aggressive. However, as long as both dogs are having fun, this should not be a cause for concern.

Finally, some dogs may snap or growl out of nowhere. If your Maltese displays signs of aggression out of nowhere, it may be a sign that it is in physical discomfort or pain. You should schedule a vet checkup to make sure your pooch’s sudden aggression does not have a medical cause.

Are Maltese Naturally Aggressive?

Maltese dogs are not naturally aggressive. However, any breed can become aggressive under the right circumstances. If your pooch is mistreated, it may become aggressive in an attempt to defend itself.

In addition to this, Maltese pooches are companion dogs used to getting all the attention they want. If they are not trained properly, they may tend to dominate their owners to get exactly what they want. This may be a behavioral issue and may be corrected with the help of an animal behaviorist or trainer.

5 Things That Can Make Your Maltese Aggressive

If you believe your Maltese is aggressive, it’s important to determine the cause of this behavior to be able to correct it. Only by eliminating the cause can you help your pooch feel and behave better.

  • Sharing. Some dogs become threatened when another being enters their territory or tries to take away their belongings, such as food or toys. Dogs without proper socialization may become aggressive toward others.
  • Maternal instincts. Your Maltese dog may show temporary signs of aggression if it has puppies.
  • Sexual aggression. Some dogs may fight for a mate.
  • Health problems. If your pooch is in any pain or physical discomfort, it may become aggressive.
  • Anxiety or fear. Dogs have the “fight or flight” instinct, so if they feel threatened, cornered, or scared, they may become aggressive in an attempt to defend themselves.

5 Things to Do If Your Maltese Is Too Aggressive

The first thing you need to do when noticing your dog is aggressive is to take note of the circumstances. Pay attention to the triggers of the behavior – for instance, is it around other dogs, or other humans? Does the aggression occur when someone enters the dog’s territory or tries to take away its food or toys?

Next, it’s important to remain calm. Aggression in dogs is not something that can be fixed overnight, so you need to be patient and consistent.

There is a high chance that your Maltese pooch is aggressive because of improper training and socialization, or because it hasn’t been trained on time. This is one of the easiest solutions, as you can use training techniques to “cure” aggression in several stages.

If you have a Maltese puppy, and you notice early signs of aggression, you should do your best to discourage dominant behaviors, focus on socialization with other animals and strangers, and always stay calm and patient, and use positive training techniques.

Here are some things you can do based on aggression triggers:

1. My Maltese Dog Is Aggressive When Eating or Playing

If your pooch becomes aggressive when eating or playing with its toys, you need to help it realize no one is trying to steal its belongings. Start with small steps, such as standing nearby when they eat or play without interfering, and be consistent until they get comfortable enough for you to pet them.

2. My Maltese Is Aggressive When It Wants Something

There is a chance your pooch has the so-called “small dog syndrome.” In other words, toy breeds like Maltese tend to become very spoiled by their owners and they believe they are the alpha of the pack (your household). If you threaten this alpha role in any way, such as trying to take away their toy, belly rubs, or even putting them on a leash, it is likely to snap back at you.

In this case, it’s important to re-establish order in your home. Do not allow your Maltese to be spoiled like a little baby – by you or your visitors. You shouldn’t carry your dog around, and you shouldn’t offer it a treat whenever it wants, or allow it to have behaviors unacceptable for other large breeds (such as jumping on you).

If it starts barking or growling at someone else, do not pet them in an attempt to calm the dog – simply ignore it, otherwise, it may take this as a sign of encouragement and repeat the behavior.

It’s important to treat your Maltese like a dog, despite its small and cuddly body. If it barks at you when it wants something, simply ignore it. Make sure you don’t reward aggression and don’t become confrontational when it behaves in an undesired way.

3. My Maltese Dog Has Become Aggressive Suddenly

If your Maltese is already an adult and has started becoming aggressive out of nowhere, the most important aspect is to rule out a possible medical condition. Its behavior may be a result of pain or physical discomfort and, most likely, once you treat it, the unwanted behaviors will also stop.

4. My Maltese Dog Is Aggressive Towards Strangers and Other Pets

If your pooch is not good friends with strangers, cats, or other pets, there is a socialization issue. The best solution is gradual desensitization to the stressor. Try to introduce your pooch to new situations and offer lots of praise and treats when they behave correctly.

5. I Don’t Know Why My Maltese Is Aggressive

Finally, if you believe your Maltese dog is aggressive but you lack experience or you’re unsure what you can do, stay optimistic. Such behaviors will take time to correct, but if you don’t know where to start, a professional dog trainer or behaviorist can help you devise a plan.

It’s important to keep in mind that a younger dog will be easier to train than an older one, and aggression is always best to be nipped in the bud. The sooner you notice that your pooch has behavioral issues, the easier it will be to correct and eliminate them altogether.


Aggression is one of the most common reasons dog owners seek professional help. This behavior can be dangerous, but it is important to know that Maltese dogs are not naturally aggressive. If your pooch shows signs of aggressive behaviors, it’s important to determine the cause and help your pet by seeking professional guidance.

Some of the main reasons include lack of proper training and socialization; if you are a first-time pet parent and unsure of how to approach this issue, you can always opt for a professional trainer or behaviorist to create the best solution for your pooch. Each dog is unique and, depending on the underlying cause of aggression, there is no quick fix, but consistency and patience will go a long way.

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