Great response, Ginny and Susan!
A 6.5 pound Maltese is a perfect size IMO!
The super tiny ones can have so many health issues because they are really dwarfs. Sometimes their organs are too small and they are much more prone to liver shunts. They can dehydrate really fast so even a little tummy upset can quickly become a life and death emergency requiring hospitalization (and a huge vet bill). And unfortunately, many have don't live for more than a few years.
My Lady is over the standard at 9 pounds, but I would rather have her that size than too small. She's still a pretty small dog!
"There is no such thing as a 'teacup Maltese.' Unknowledgeable
breeders use this cutesy phrase as a 'marketing term' for the smallest
Maltese, but in reality, there is only one Maltese breed, ranging from
about 2 pounds up to about 10 pounds.
You do NOT want a Maltese under 3 or 4 pounds, no matter how cute it
is. These individuals are great risks in the health department. Their
bones are fragile, there is not enough room in their mouth for healthy
teeth, and their internal organs are often very weak.
They tend to have lots of health problems and great difficulties
regulating their blood sugar. Often they live a few years and then
their owners wake up one morning and find them dead in their baskets
from sudden heart or other organ failure.
To make matters worse, some breeders actually charge MORE for these
high-risk Maltese. There are breeders on the Internet taking advantage
of naive buyers with prices of $1000, $1500, $2000 for "teacup"
Maltese. Don't be taken! Stick with Maltese who will be 4 pounds and
up at maturity.