This dog breed is classified as one of the most ancient among the toy breeds. Its origin is linked to the Mediterranean region of Malta where it derived its name. It was popularly called the Maltese terrier, Maltese dog, Melitaie Dog, Maltese Spaniel, Bichon Maltese, ancient dog of Malta and Melita dog. The breed gained recognition and was owned by nobles around the world. Women particularly enjoyed carrying them around and went everywhere with them. It suffered from a near extinction in the 17th and 18th century whereby researchers tried to make the breed smaller. It was mixed with other smaller dogs and produced many variations of the Maltese.
The Maltese has round dark eyes and a black nose. Its muzzle is of modest size compared to its overall body size. It is petite but stout in its posture. It has a long neck and carries its head high. It has a deep chest with short straight forelegs. It has drooping ears on its well-rounded face, and its long coat covering extends to the face giving it a fairly long mustache and beard. Its thick coat fully covers it even to its paws and leaves minimal area of its body uncovered. Its height is about 8 – 10 inches and its weight is about 6 – 9 pounds.
The Maltese is a lively and cheerful dog. It is loving and lovable and always seeks to bond with its owner deeply. It makes a good companion dog as it is gentle and enjoys constant company of its family. It is highly intelligent and will respond positively to training especially when rewarded. They enjoy running, and it is important to provide them with time to exercise as often as possible. They are ideal to live in apartments due to their size, but outdoor activities should not be neglected.
The Maltese enjoys a good run in in the open air that is important for its mental and physical development. They also require social company of their owner otherwise may suffer separation anxiety. Do not over pamper the dogs due to their small size as they may become emotionally unstable. They also require a confident owner who will control any excesses in their behavior.
May suffer sunburns on the coat parting line along the back. Other common infirmities include: eye conditions, sensitivity to extreme weather conditions, digestion problems and teeth problems.
The Maltese should be fed on high quality and nutritious food. The food should be carefully measured and served twice a day to avoid it fattening due to sporadic eating. They have a delicate digestive system hence it is important to be careful on what they feed on.
Coat, Color and Grooming
The Maltese has a long snow-white coat that has a silky feel. Its coat is long without any curls or waves and touches the floor when it stands. It has no undercoat and hardly sheds. Gently brush the coat daily and check its eyes to clean off tear stains. Check its ears and also, ensure to trim its nails every once in a while.
With family and other pets
The Maltese is a sociable animal with all members of the family. However, it should be noted that toddlers can cause them harm due to their small size. They are open to other animals especially if they were previously exposed to them.