Are Maltese Hypoallergenic?

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Are Maltese Hypoallergenic?Unfortunately, some people suffer from severe dog allergies that can be quite a burden for those who love dogs. There are, however, some options out there for these people. There are a number of dog breeds that are known as ‘hypoallergenic’ which are less likely to cause an allergic reaction than other breeds.

Trying to determine which breeds fit this category can sometimes be tiresome, though. One of the most popular breeds that are often claimed to be hypoallergenic is the Maltese – here’s what you need to know.

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What Makes a Dog Hypoallergenic?

The word hypoallergenic itself explains its meaning pretty well. “Hypo” is the Greek word for fewer or less, so something that is hypoallergenic is not free from allergy triggers but it is less likely to cause a reaction.

Typically, someone with a dog allergy is allergic to a protein found in dog urine and saliva. Since dogs groom themselves, this protein spreads across the skin and coat. Then, when the dog develops new skin cells and sheds its old ones, the old skin cells and hairs are released into its surrounding environment (this is called dander).

It’s important to note that not every dog makes every protein. Some dogs only make specific proteins and not everyone’s dog allergies are exactly the same. For example, a male dog’s prostate produces a specific protein that many people are allergic to. Female dogs do not produce this, and as such, some allergy sufferers may find that they’re allergic to male dogs and not female dogs.

As such, a hypoallergenic dog will usually shed less. The hypoallergenic breeds will often have curly coats that trap hair and dander, preventing it from being released into the home and reducing the number of triggers for allergies, or they will have less hair.

Is the Maltese Hypoallergenic?

Considering the above definition, the Maltese can be considered a hypoallergenic breed. The breed is significantly smaller than most others, meaning that even on its own, the breed will shed less than a larger breed might. The breed also, even for a small breed, sheds less than its counterparts.

Those allergic to the male protein should consider going for a female or a neutered male, as they will not produce this protein. That way you’re increasing the chances of you getting on well with a Maltese.

Is the Maltese Good for Allergy-Sufferers?

The Maltese is a great breed for anyone with dog allergies. Since it is small and low-shedding, there are much fewer triggers around the house that would cause allergies to flare up. The breed is very affectionate and sweet, and, all being well, should not set off anyone’s allergies too badly.

For those with particularly sensitive dog dander allergies, you might find that you’re still a little bit sneezy or itchy, as no dog is entirely hypoallergenic and the Maltese will still shed occasionally. You may also find when grooming the dog that any allergies flare up as you loosen caught-up dander.

Are Maltese Crossbreeds Hypoallergenic?

Since the Maltese is a very popular breed of dog, there are a large number of Maltese crossbreeds that have been bred for various reasons. A lot of the time it is to add a new element of personality, remove health issues, or simply for aesthetic reasons. These crossbreeds are often just as cute and as lovable as the Maltese itself, but are they hypoallergenic?

Well, it kind of depends on the crossbreed. Generally speaking, though, the majority of Maltese crossbreeds do have low dander coats and will shed less due to their size. The most popular crossbreeds such as the Maltipoo (Maltese x Poodle), Morkie (Maltese x Yorkie), Malchi (Maltese x Chihuahua), Malshi (Maltese x Shih Tzu), and the Maltipom (Maltese x Pomeranian) are all considered to be hypoallergenic.

How to Minimize the Risk of a Maltese Allergy

Even though the Maltese is considered to be hypoallergenic, there is still a risk of allergic reaction when owning one. To minimize this risk there are a few things that you can do.

Use Air Purifiers

Air purifiers have a range of uses, but they can really help when it comes to keeping your home as allergy-safe as possible. They work by purifying the air and catching even the tiniest of particles before pumping the air back out. This means that they’re great at catching the dander, preventing it from irritating your respiratory system. An added bonus of air purifiers is that they also tend to work really well to minimize dog odors!

Bathe Your Maltese Regularly

Your Maltese will still lick itself to groom, and so will have the protein on its coat. To minimize this, bathe the dog regularly to remove the protein from the coat and to make your Maltese safer for you to snuggle.

Have a Pet-Free Zone

It’s always a good idea to have an area that is yours and not your dog’s, and with allergies, this is even more important. Keeping your bedroom, bathroom, or office dog-free will allow you to take a break from the allergies every now and then, and will help to relieve the symptoms a little when they’re flaring up.

Keep Your Maltese off of the Furniture

It can be really hard to get dog dander off of upholstery. Vacuuming and lint rolling only does so much. So, as cute as it is to cuddle with your Maltese on the couch, it’s probably best to let them stay down on the floor.

Clean Your Home

Removing dander buildup from your home is essential when it comes to keeping dog allergies at a minimum. However, it’s not wise to vacuum. This can actually just propel the dander into the air. Instead, consider using something more statically charged like a Swiffer or damp cloths.

5 Hypoallergenic Alternatives to the Maltese

While the Maltese is a great hypoallergenic breed, it still may not be what you’re looking for. Below, we’ll look at some other hypoallergenic alternatives – the first three are, like the Maltese, part of the Bichon family of breeds.

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a popular small dog and is one of the best-rated breeds when it comes to personality. The breed is funny and charming and is a similar size to the Maltese. It has a white hypoallergenic coat that is soft and velvety and is an incredibly affectionate breed. They’re easy to train and wonderful to have around.

Learn more about how Maltese and Bichon Frise compare.

Coton de Tulear

Another small hypoallergenic dog breed, the Coton de Tulear is sweet and cuddly and loves to be around its people. The breed is originally from Madagascar and is related to both the Bichon Frise and the Maltese. It is a wonderful hypoallergenic bread with flopped ears and a sweet little black nose, making it very popular based on looks alone.

Learn more about how Maltese and Coton de Tulear compare.


Native to Cuba, the Havanese is a gorgeous little dog from the same family as the Bichon, Coton de Tulear, and Maltese. The breed sheds minimally and is just as small as the Maltese, making it a great option for allergy sufferers.

Learn more about how Maltese and Havanese compare.


Poodles are one of the best-known hypoallergenic breeds. They have dense, curly coats that served them well in the past when they hunted waterfowl. This allows them to shed very minimally and means that whenever they do shed, the dander gets caught in the coat. The Poodle comes in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy.

Learn more about how Maltese and Poodle compare.

Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu is a tiny affectionate breed with a silky soft and mostly hypoallergenic coat. The breed does not shed very much, but it does require regular grooming which could make allergies flare up. Aside from that, the breed is likely to be better for allergy sufferers than most.

Learn more about how Maltese and Shih Tzu compare.


The Maltese is an affectionate small dog breed with plenty of love and energy that loves people and families. It has a beautiful coat that is relatively low dander and low shed, meaning that it is classified as a ‘hypoallergenic’ breed. This means that it will cause fewer allergic reactions than other, non-hypoallergenic breeds.

Owners should still be careful, though, because no dog breed is completely hypoallergenic. Those with allergies will need to take steps in their home to ease the effects of living with a dog. These are fairly simple; things like implementing an air purifier or making sure to dust your home on a regular basis can do wonders for easing the symptoms of allergies.

Those looking for a hypoallergenic dog that isn’t the Maltese could consider a Maltese crossbreed like the Maltipoo or perhaps another dog breed like the Poodle or Shih Tzu. These breeds are equally as hypoallergenic and make wonderful companions.

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