Are Maltese Smart?

Are Maltese Smart?

Some dogs are naturally intelligent. Even though dog intelligence varies depending on the breed, some rank higher. The Maltese breed is famous for many things, including good looks.

You may wonder, are Maltese smart? 

The Maltese are fairly smart dogs because they rank well in obedience and work intelligence.  They have an above-average IQ and hence learn quickly from the environment.

The Maltese are easy to train because they enjoy fun activities, and their natural intelligence helps them adapt quickly to situations.

Are Maltese Smart?

Maltese are generally smart. Also, Maltese has a unique way of proving its smartness. 

For instance, when the owner is unwell and expresses sadness, the Maltese feels empathetic and moves closer to the owner for cuddling.  

Despite the arrogance, the dog is simple to train and follows commands quickly. 

Therefore, you can efficiently teach Maltese how to behave in different circumstances if you want an exciting companion for a lifetime.

Furthermore, the dog breed is good with people thanks to its charming personality. When around kids, the Maltese are quite entertaining. 

It knows how to win the hearts of kids by running around and about. Your kids stay at home throughout the day.

So, Are Maltese Dogs Dumb?

Is this dog dumb? Generally, canines come with different degrees of intelligence. 

The Maltese might not be super intelligent, but they can respond well to commands and directions. 

They possess good problem-solving abilities, and the unique thing is that the breed always finds a way out of trouble. 

Some of The Things That Make Maltese Smart

Adaptive and instinctive intelligence. These two are crucial when measuring a dog’s IQ. 

However, the only problem is that two components are somehow nonobjective, thus proving tricky to measure a Maltese’s intelligence.

Instinctive intelligence is inborn, making the dog naturally smart. Even though the dogs are small, they still excel well in hunting. 

Thus, they aid in the elimination and tracking of pests in pest-infested areas like factories. 

In general, the ability to track and hunt is instinctive intelligence that makes the Maltese smart.

On the other hand, the Maltese show smartness in adaptive intelligence. In fact, those who rear the Maltase reveal that the dog has a high learning ability. 

Maltese can even master the steps and know whoever is going downstairs through the pacing delay. 

This is based on experience. In other words, Maltese takes time to get used to the sounds of a person going downstairs and adapts to the sound, then predicts who the person is.

What Is The IQ Of a Maltese?

The Maltese IQ is above average, making it not super high. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean the dog cannot execute tasks and commands effectively. 

When tested on a good scoring process, you might find out the score for your Maltese is above average depending on how you train or rear it. 

As much as the dog’s IQ is average, it doesn’t mean the dog cannot follow commands easily. The only thing you need is patience while training the dog to respond to commands quickly.

Here Is How You Can Assess The Smartness Of Maltese, According To Experts.

First, canine psychologist Stanley Coren is famous for his significant contribution to assessing dogs' smartness. 

In collaboration with 199 other judges, he used the criteria below to rank the dog's intelligence. The criteria were obedience and working intelligence.

  • They checked the count of repetitions that a dog needed to learn a new command. The team noted that dogs with fewer repetitions ranked higher.
  • They incorporated known commands to assess the dog's success rate in responding to the command during the first attempt. If the success rate was high, the dog was obedient and intelligent.

During the study the number of dogs that took part in the study was high, but only 100 evaluations made it to the final.

Maltese didn't perform exceptionally well in the test, ranking 111 out of 138 breeds that qualified. 

Even so, the reason why the Maltese didn’t perform well in the ranking was because the test had only two objectives in the assessment.

Additionally, Maltese required at least 40-80 repetitions to learn the new command, which meant that a trainer needs an entire day to train the dog on a single command.

Maltese obedience to known command had a success rate of 30%, which was slightly lower. However, the stubborn nature of Maltase could have contributed to the low score.

Overall, the IQ based on obedience and work intelligence indicates that the Maltese are average dogs. Still, the adaptive intelligence of the dog is higher. 

For instance, the instinct to hunt ranks the dog higher than other dogs in the same category. Also, the ability to use self-taught intelligence is unique to this dog breed.

What Factors Made Maltese Rank Lower Than Other Dog Breeds?

The result from Coren’s test show Maltese is an average dog in smartness. Some factors that lead to the low rank include the stubbornness of the dog. 

This small dog is stubborn and might refuse to respond to commands because of arrogance.

Secondly, it is challenging to standardize an IQ test for dogs. Thus, the only simple test was the obedience and working intelligence test. 

One user said that his Maltese dog plays dumb with commands. However, when she has a treat, the dog is the most obedient. 

This is one highlight that explains why the dog is super intelligent despite ranking low in other areas.

How To Increase Malteses IQ

Perhaps you might be feeling sorry for your Maltese based on the results from Coren’s experiment. Fortunately, we have some good news for you. 

Did you know that you can improve your Malteses IQ?

Probably you’ve ever underestimated what your Maltese can learn, or you stopped training your pup the day you acquired him. 

Here are some ways you can train your Maltese for smartness.

Develop a Solid Foundation For Training

If you subject a dog to continuous training, it masters everything fast, which improves obedience success and relieves boredom in your dog when you are away. 

After training, you can walk your dog along with the park. The walk intends to help the dog feel at ease with the environment and unwind after a day in the compound.

Try Nose Work

This is a way to help the dog identify hidden commodities. In most cases, nose work improves the attention and accuracy of the Maltase. 

You can hide a treat in transparent glass and have other empty glasses around it. 

Allow the dog to identify the treat from the pack of glasses. Once the dog sniffs out the treat, they enjoy the exercise and the reward, which promote learning.

Employ the Do It Yourself Agility Test

You can create barriers using items like glasses, pillows, plates, and small utensils in the house. Let the Maltese find a way to reach a treat without knocking the items. 

The options help the dog concentrate on the task before earning the reward, which encourages intellectual growth.

Introduce Hide and Seek

This is a game that can work well when you’ve trained your dog to respect commands. To begin the game, instruct your dog to sit as you locate a hiding place. 

Match to the hiding zone and call your dog to find you. If it locates you successfully, then give it a treat as a reward.

Drop And Pickup Games

Another fun way to train your Maltese is to introduce a basket, drop the ball and let the dog get the ball to the bucket. If the dog gets the ball in the bucket, give it a treat. 

If you do this activity severally, the dog learns how to associate such activities with rewards and thus learns the new behaviors, improving his smartness.


While everyone would want an intelligent dog, the effort lies in training your dog. 

Additionally, the breed is also a factor that contributes to the smartness of a dog. 

Are Maltese smart, therefore? Our answer is Yes.

With good training, you can have a smart and intelligent dog.

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