If you are thinking of buying a Maltese puppy from a pet store instead of contacting actual Maltese breeders, you may want to stop and rethink your decision.

There is a big difference between trustworthy Maltese breeders and buying a Maltese from a pet store. The following is a brief list of why a breeder is the better choice:

Healthy Litter – There is a high chance that the puppies being sold in a pet store will develop health problems soon after they are purchased. These health problems will not only end up costing you plenty of money to fix, but can be devastating if your dog doesn’t pull through. All dogs are prone to hereditary health issues associated with their breed. Even dogs that you would get from legit Maltese breeders can not guarantee you that the pup you choose won’t become sick.

However, the difference is reliable breeders do everything in their power to eliminate the genetic defects that plague the breed by choosing a healthy sire and dam with a good pedigree. Furthermore, they maintain the regular health of the Maltese puppies by taking them to the Vet, so they can receive all of the necessary vaccinations and care they need to avoid common illnesses such as heart worm.

Pet stores, on the other hand, are not interested in the health of the puppy. They rely on the cuteness of the dog to do their selling. They don’t actually breed the dogs, and therefore, have no idea who the sire and dam are, or what their heritage happens to be. Moreover, these pet store pups will not come with Vet certificates stating their health record.

Kennel Club papers – Some pet stores that are trying to make a good impression on prospective buyers will say the puppy is registered by the Kennel Club of their nation (ex. The American Kennel Club (AKC). They want you to believe that by simply having these papers, they’ve proven the health and good breeding of the puppy you are buying. This is far from the truth. A pup that comes with kennel club papers only means that he has been recognized by the kennel club as being pure bread and has come from registered parents. However, it is not uncommon for irresponsible breeders to lie to the club stating they had more puppies in their litter than they actually did. Once they receive additional papers, they then use the extra registration slips with unregistered puppies to make them more desirable to interested buyers.

Legit Maltese breeders will also have their liter registered. The major difference is that the pups they sell will come with legitimate kennel club papers.

Guarantee – Responsible Maltese breeders will provide a guarantee with the dogs they sell. Their guarantee is not that you will be able to register your dog when he is older with a kennel club, or that your dog will not become ill. Their guarantee is something along the lines of:

  • To take the dog back if he becomes seriously ill within a year of purchase
  • To reimburse you should he be ill or can not be registered
  • Offer you a new pup

On the contrary, a pet store will offer you no such guarantee. If they offer any guarantee (which is extremely rare) it will be to take back your puppy if it becomes sick within a certain time from when you purchased him, and replace the sick dog with a new one. Unlike a reputable breeder that would care for a returned sick puppy, it is very likely that the pet store will only euthanize the dog you returned.

Breed Standard – Knowing the breed standard is extremely important when purchasing a pure bred dog such as the Maltese. While you may have seen pictures of the breed standard, unless you actually get a glimpse of the real thing, there is no telling what your pup will look like when he is fully grown.

For instance, when you buy from Maltese breeders, you can request to see the sire and dam of the litter to get an idea of what your pup will eventually look like. Furthermore, a good breeder will tell you all of the qualities of the liters parents, as well as any of the faults they may have. They can also give you detailed information about the breed, as they will know everything there is to know about the dogs they sell. At a pet store, you won’t be able to see the parents, and therefore, will have no idea what to expect. In addition, they won’t be able to answer most of your questions in regards to the breed.

Housebreaking – Puppies that are sold in pet stores have never had the opportunity to eliminate anywhere but in the place where they eat and sleep. This behavior goes completely against the natural instinct of the dog. Therefore, when you bring the pup home, having not seen carpet or grass before, he may have a difficult time understanding where it is acceptable to do his business.

Conversely, respectable Maltese breeders will teach the litter to eliminate in a separate area from where they sleep and eat. Thus, depending on the breeder, your Maltese may already come housebroken. If not, it’ll still be easier for you to train him.

Socialization – Although dogs in pet stores are often confined to a cage with more than one pup, and are constantly being paid attention to by customers, they are not properly socialized. This is because they are not given constructive attention, nor are they being raised in a normal environment. Thus, these pups are likely to experience high levels of anxiety when they hear strange noises such as the vacuum, loud children, etc.

Maltese breeders who have the dog’s best interest at heart, ensure that the dogs are well socialized. They pay them one-on-one attention, and make them feel apart of their family until they are provided new homes. Hence, since the puppy is already familiar with love, attention and the on-goings of a standard household, he’ll have an easier time adjusting to his new family.

Responsibility – Good Maltese breeders will not want to lose contact with the people they sell their dogs to. Most breeders will want to contact you after a week or so to see how the pup is settling into your family.

A pet store could care less what happens to the dogs they sell. They are only interested in the money that goes into their pocket.

When it all comes down to it, if you are buying a Maltese from a pet store instead of legitimate Maltese breeders, you are virtually supporting puppy mills. Do careful research on the breed before you make your decision, and then contact reputable breeders when you are ready.