Do Maltese Bark a Lot?

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Do Maltese Bark a Lot?A lot of small dogs have a bad reputation as yappy or noisy, but is this true of the Maltese? Is it a noisy dog that barks a lot or is this just an unfortunate representation?

It’s important to be aware of unpleasant traits that your dog may develop, so if you’ve got or are looking at getting a Maltese, here’s what you need to know.

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Do Maltese Bark a Lot?

First and foremost, it is important to note that Maltese dogs bark more than some other breeds. Their reputation isn’t entirely false. This is because much like lots of other small dog breeds, the Maltese is a very overly sensitive dog. Their temperament is so easily affected by various internal and external stimuli and this can often lead to them barking uncontrollably.

The vast majority of dogs will bark at some point, though, and it is important to remember this when thinking about how much a Maltese barks. Whilst their barks may be slightly more common, it is a natural dog behavior and is how our furry friends communicate, so we shouldn’t look to remove barking from our pets’ behavior completely.

7 Most Common Reasons Maltese Bark

With the Maltese, as with most dogs, there is usually a reason for their barking. While it may not be obvious to you, it’s likely that your Maltese is trying to communicate something.

To Get Your Attention

Maltese are quite needy, the breed is very sensitive and affectionate, and it loves to be cuddled and played with. If it deems that you’ve been slacking, it will be sure to let you know. This is one of the most common reasons for a Maltese to bark.

If your Maltese is yapping away at you, try giving them some cuddles on the couch or getting their favorite toy out. You may well find that the dog suddenly quiets down once you’re paying them enough attention.


Dogs are very social animals, especially compared to other pets. They love to have company, both human and canine, and as such, they will sometimes feel lonely if not provided with this. Often, barking out of loneliness will be combined with whining or whimpering.

This is particularly common in Maltese who do not handle long periods of alone time very well. They are too sensitive and tend to develop separation anxiety very easily, so leaving them alone can cause them to bark out of loneliness. You may not be there to hear it, but you may have neighbors reporting the noise.

To Ask For Something

Historically, the Maltese have been owned by those in the higher classes. The breed was favored by the aristocracy for a very long time, and to this day, is rather spoiled. They love the finer things in life and will always do everything they can to get their own way – including barking excessively.

The breed will often yap to get picked up, to get a treat, or to get cuddles. Anything they want, they’ll ask for – or demand – by barking. It’s wise to ignore these barks rather than give in to them, or else you’ll end up with an even more spoiled little pup.

To Tell You That They Are Hungry

Sometimes, try as we might, we fail to stick to the routine that we’ve set up, even if that routine is feeding our pet. This can be for a number of reasons. Luckily for us, Maltese dogs are happy to remind us when we’re even so much as a minute late for dinner time.

If you hear your Maltese yapping away, check to see if you’ve missed dinner or offer them a treat. It might just be that your lovely dog is getting a little bit hangry with you.

Out of Fear

As mentioned above, the Maltese is a very sensitive breed, which can often lead to them becoming anxious or scared. This might be a result of separation anxiety, or might be because there is a noise, smell, or sight that they’re not familiar with. If you’ve noticed your Maltese reacting to something and barking each time it happens, consider controlling their environment to keep them away from such things.

Out of Boredom

Dogs are really active animals, and if they’re not stimulated enough both mentally and physically, they can often act out in a number of ways. One such way is by barking excessively. They do this to release a build-up of energy, and so will only do it when they’ve not been sufficiently exercised or enriched.

If you’ve been ill or not able to walk your Maltese for a few days, you are likely to notice that your pet will become a little bit noisier.

To Scare People Off

The Maltese may not look like a guard dog, but it doesn’t know that. The breed will regularly try to guard its territory by barking and yapping at people at the door, passers-by, or even other dogs that happen to walk by in the street. This can often be dealt with by sufficient training, fortunately.

Should You Take Your Maltese to a Vet If It Barks Excessively?

Sudden onset excessive barking can be a sign of an underlying health issue such as deafness or pain. If you’ve had your Maltese for a while and suddenly they start yapping much more than before, it’s definitely worth a trip to the vet.

If, when you first get your Maltese, they seem to bark far too much, ask the breeder or rescue center if this is normal for them. Give the dog time to relax in its new home, and go from there. After a couple of months, if they’re still barking excessively, a trip to the vet may be useful.

How to Stop a Maltese From Barking Excessively

Once you know it isn’t a health concern, there are a few things that you can do to stop your Maltese from barking excessively.

Give Your Maltese Plenty of Attention

The Maltese is a companion dog and will regularly bark for attention or when deprived of stimulation. Be sure to give your pet plenty of snuggles and playtime throughout the day to ensure that they are happy and feel well-loved. This should help to prevent barking out of boredom or for your attention.

Teach “Quiet” as a Command

Many people teach “speak”, but with a yappy dog, it can be helpful to teach the opposite. When your Maltese quietens down, say “Quiet” and click the clicker or give them a treat. Continue this for a week or so whenever your Maltese quietens down and you should see an improvement in response to the command!

Ignore Your Maltese When They Bark Excessively

If your Maltese is barking for attention and you know that they’ve had plenty that day, or you’re in the middle of cooking, cleaning, or in the tub, just ignore them. Your neighbors may get a little frustrated with you, but eventually, the dog will quieten down. When the Maltese realizes that nothing comes from barking, it will do so less and less.

What Should You Do If Your Maltese Doesn’t Bark At All?

The majority of dog breeds bark as a form of communication, so if your Maltese is not barking at all, it may be that your beloved pet isn’t feeling very well. This is likely to happen after surgeries or vaccinations, but if it seems to happen suddenly and out of nowhere, contact your vet for a check-up – it’s always better to be safe than sorry!


The Maltese, as a sensitive dog breed, is quite a noisy one. They will bark at you, at others, and even at nothing just to get what they want when they want it. It will often bark as a way to present its emotions to you and will bark when it feels that you’re not giving it enough attention.

Luckily, you can train your Maltese to bark less, and with socialization and the right amount of patience, you can make your Maltese the perfect, relatively quiet lapdog.

If your Maltese starts to suddenly bark much more or much less than before, it might be worth checking them into your vet. Often, just as with humans, how much a Maltese communicates is indicative of how the dog is feeling. Getting them into the vets when their barking levels change (unless you’ve been actively working to change them) will help reassure you that nothing is wrong.

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