Are Maltese Indoor Or Outdoor Dogs? (Plus 5 Helpful Tipps)

Arriving at home with your new Maltese puppy is always a heart-melting experience. And after a little while, the little pup will be shy no more. Perhaps, the brave dog likes the growing tall grass in your backyard and spends as much time as possible outside. So, you might start asking yourself some questions about setting a doghouse outside. But are Maltese rather indoor dogs or outdoor dogs?

Are Maltese indoor or outdoor dogs? Maltese are indoor dogs. You can’t keep a Maltese outside for several reasons. They do not have an undercoat, so they don’t do well with cold. Furthermore, they are very social animals who need their family around them. But there are also other dangers outside due to their small size.

It is not a good idea to keep Maltese outside. They are the typical toy dog or lapdog breed that prefer living inside your house or apartment.

In the further course, we explain in more detail why Maltese live better indoors. We will also go into what to look out for if you want to leave your Maltese outside and finally we will also give you some tips on how to best handle your Maltese in your apartment or house.

Why Maltese Dogs Do Better Indoors

As it turns out, Maltese dogs have no undercoat. This peculiarity suggests that we should not let any Maltese sleep out in the open or an outdoor doghouse. At the very least, not during the cold and semi-cold seasons.

All in all, Maltese dogs do better indoors because they are not equipped for most outdoor scenarios. They are too small to survive anything heavy falling on them. Plus, birds of prey could target your Maltese for dinner.

Like other dog breeds, Maltese are social animals. They crave attention and will try their best to fulfill their unique needs. So, letting such a small dog outside may have a negative impact on the Maltese’s socialization. Especially if other dogs live in the neighborhood or stroll by.

Maltese are natural watchdogs. So, they might bark every time a stranger walks nearby. But if you leave this dog alone for too long, he might even start barking at your family members or you. This may also be a sign that you are not spending enough time with your dog.

Maltese have a tendency to be barkers if they are not socialized and trained properly. Keeping them outside on their own will definitely cause that unwanted behavior.


If you need to stay away from home for not too long, you can leave your Maltese at home. He will feel safe and at ease. Plus, you could watch your dog if you get yourself a dog nanny cam*. With plenty of snacks, water, and toys to chew, this breed mellows out for up to eight hours.

Some owners might think about installing a pet flap in the backyard. But if it rains and your Maltese gets wet, he might catch a cold. With their silky, downy-soft coats, Maltese dogs can soak up rainwater in a jiffy.

What You Need To Know If You Want To Keep Your Maltese Outside

If your Maltese is a true explorer, he might want to stay outside every now and then. In this case, keeping your furry friend in sight is always recommendable. The moment you leave him alone may lead to unfortunate events or allergies.

Maltese dogs did not evolve to fend for themselves in the wild. Instead, breeders selected the best candidates over centuries to create a toy breed. So, if you plan to leave your Maltese outside, make sure the outdoor environment is completely safe.

When keeping a Maltese dog outside, eradicate poisonous plants and watch out for theft. If you think your Maltese is adorable, a pet thief will likely think so too. Of course, you also need to provide shelter against heat, cold, and the elements. Plus, regularly inspect the backyard perimeter for holes.

What To Prepare For Keeping A Maltese Outside

If you are still not disheartened and want to keep your Maltese outside, you should prepare several things to have a secure environment for him. The following list contains several issues you will want to take care of before you leave your Maltese outside.

  • Fencing your yard. Or even better, just a smaller portion of it for your tireless adventurer only.
  • Installing security cameras. Both in the hapless event that someone steals your doggy and for better planning. Skimming through the recording may give you further ideas.
  • Placing a dog ramp and any surface connecting different level areas. Especially for places that provide shelter, food, and water.
  • Sowing the lawn. In brief, tiny legs with tiny paws are not the ideal combo for walking on hot sand and terrain. Never leave your Maltese on an artificial lawn because it will get too hot, especially in the summer.
  • Training your dog to let it know that certain areas are off-limits. Most likely, this will not prevent the creature from going there anyway when left unattended. But it could limit the risk of getting near a closed shed with dangerous tools inside, for example.

What To Do When Keeping A Maltese Inside

The first thing to do is to potty train your dog for times when you cannot supervise him. Even if your Maltese is not a puppy anymore, it is always a good idea to potty train him.

Also, you can set up an alternative bathroom. This option offers a solution for when the main potty area gets messy or too stinky for its sensitive snout to approach.

As the puppy gets older, jumping up on the couch may become a problem. You can solve that unwanted behavior by training. If your Maltese is rather wild, it might be a good idea to seek professional help from a dog trainer.

Exercising your Maltese is also necessary for maintaining optimal physical and mental health. Of course, spending as much time as you can with your Maltese to bond with him and make his energy wear off is the best exercise of all.

Besides belly rubs, Maltese love to dig, scratch, and play. While you may want to shield your furniture with sheets and covers, you should protect your dog from other family members as well. For clarity, if you have kids, talk to them and control their interaction with the dog.

What About Fireworks And Thunder?

Often, toy dogs are afraid of fireworks and thunder. After all, fireworks are scary: they are loud, noisy, and most animals do not understand them.

You can help the little dog overcome this issue by using a thunder shirt. Ever heard of that? This is an anxiety wrap you can put on your dog when an anxiety-inducing event occurs.

Whether you buy a thunder shirt* or create a DIY thunder shirt, apply the same concept to specific indoor areas. Thunder shirts work by associating positive feelings with the wrap before something shocking happens.

So you might want to experiment with associating comfort with several smells. Or happiness with a soft yet resistant blanket.

When the Fourth of July comes, you can deploy the thunder shirt before or as soon as the fireworks begin. It may not be an instant cure, but it could help a lot. If your Maltese gets used to that stress relief, he will also have a way to cope with thunder when you are at work.

Final Thoughts

Are Maltese indoor or outdoor dogs? Maltese are definitely not dogs for outdoor keeping. They lack the physical requirements for it. Their coat is not made for the cold, and as relatively small dogs they are exposed to some dangers.

In addition, Maltese are very social animals that need contact with their family. Being alone for too long is not good for them.

If you still want to keep your Maltese outside temporarily, there are some things you should keep in mind and preparations you should make.

But also when keeping them indoors, there are a few points you should consider. Then your Maltese will live a long and happy life with you and your family.