I don't think the maltese "deserves" to be torn apart. And I do think being torn apart is an over reaction - it's called "excessive force" when humans do someting like that. But the law is on the side of the dog that's on lead, not the one that charged up without permission. And certainly it is a risk - that a dog that makes a "rude" greeting - will be greeted with an Over the top reaction.if a rude maltese goes up to a known DA dog, it deserves to be torn apart as that dog is entitled to protect itself?
If it was my Maltese - I would not let it do it. And not my Lab either, and not my naughty puppy who "needs teaching a lesson" either.
With dogs you and your dog know it's a different situation.
It is possible to teach your dog to simulate a polite greeting... ie to drop before saying hi, and to approach indirectly - not in a straight line, and with head turned, not a direct gaze. You can supervise all those things. If you chuck a few treats on the ground, you will also get sniffing and lip licking - which really helps the other dog's calm state of mind (as long as it's not a food obsessed resource guarder)