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Maltese Information 

Pronunciation

Mall-TESE

Description

The Maltese is a small, hardy dog with silky hair. The body is compact, fine-boned, but sturdy and slightly longer than it is tall with a level top line. The chest is deep. The skull is slightly rounded on the top with a moderate stop. The medium length muzzle tapers, but not to a point. The pendant, low-set ears are set close to the head and heavily feathered. The black eyes are large, round and set moderately apart with dark rims. The nose is black with open nostrils. The dog has a silky, single layer coat that is white or light ivory. When kept long and groomed like a show dog, it hangs flat, long over the sides of the body almost to the ground (about 8½ inches (22cm.)) hanging on each side of a center part line and is not wavy, curly or kinky. A lot of owners choose to cut the coat into a short, easy care puppy cut.

Temperament

The Maltese is spirited, lively and playful. Gentle, loving, trusting and devoted to its master. Highly intelligent. Good at learning tricks. Bold and quick to sound the alarm in case of suspicious noises. It is a classical companion dog; graceful and lovable. They do well with other non-canine animals and other dogs. Maltese love to play outdoors. Some like to jump in puddles. May be difficult to housebreak. If you feed them table scraps, they can become picky eaters. Do not allow these dogs to develop Small Dog Syndrome, human induced behaviors, where the dog believes he is pack leader to humans. This causes a varying degree of behavior problems. If the dog believes he is boss, he can be snappish with children and even adults. Do not over-pamper or overprotect these little dogs, for they will become unstable, and some may become jealous of visitors. Maltese who are allowed to take over the house, being boss of the humans can also developseparation anxietyguarding, and obsessive barking. These are not Maltese traits, but rather behaviors brought on by the way the dog is treated by the people around them. These behaviors will go away when the dog is surrounded by stable pack leaders.

Height, Weight

Height: Dogs 8-10 inches (21-25cm.) Bitches 8-9 inches (20-23cm.)
Weight: from 6½-9 pounds (3-4kg.)

Health Problems

Prone to sunburn along the hair parting; skin, eye issues, respiratory, and slipped stifle. Some may be difficult to feed with weak, upset digestion. They may get the chills, and they experience discomfort in hot weather. Maltese should be kept out of damp areas. Also prone to teeth problems. Feeding dry dog biscuits in addition to their normal food can help the teeth stay clean and healthy.

Living Conditions

The Maltese is a good dog for apartment life. They are very active indoors and will do okay without a yard.

Exercise

Maltese need a daily walk.  Play will take care of a lot of their exercise needs, however, as with all breeds, play will not fulfill their primal instinct to walk. Dogs who do not get to go on daily walks are more likely to display behavior problems. They will also enjoy a good romp in a safe open area off lead, such as a large fenced in yard. They remain playful well into old age. They are very active indoors.

Life Expectancy

About 15 or more years. It may live as long as 18, but it is important to keep it out of the damp.

Grooming

Daily combing and brushing of the long coat is important but be gentle, as the coat is very soft. Clean the eyes daily to prevent staining, and clean the beard after meals for the same reason. Bathe or dry shampoo regularly - making sure the animal is thoroughly dry and warm afterward. Clean the ears, and pull out hair growing inside the ear canal. The eyes should be checked regularly and cleaned if necessary. The hair on the top of the head is often tied up in a topknot to keep it away from the eyes. Some pet owners opt to clip the hair short for easier and less time consuming grooming. The Maltese sheds little to no hair and is good for allergy sufferers.

Origin

The Maltese was developed in Italy. It is said to have miniature spaniel and poodle blood. The Maltese was first recognized as a breed in Malta, where they received their name. They were once known as "Ye ancient dogge of Malta,". The breed was owned by royalty all over the world. Women carried them around in their sleeves and slept with them in their beds. They were first brought to England by Crusaders returning home from the Mediterranean. The Maltese was first recognized by the AKC in 1888.

Group

AKC Toy

Recognition

CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, KCGB, CKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR, DRA

 

 

 
Country of Origin: The Maltese (also known as the ‘Bichon Maltiase’) is the most ancient toy breed of Europe, hailing from the Mediterranean island Malta, an ancient trading port. The first written evidence of the Maltese comes from the third century B.C. Over the centuries this breed has been known by many names, including the ‘Shock Dog’, ‘Maltese Lion Dog’, ‘Spaniel Gentle’, ‘Comforter Dog’, ‘Roman Ladies’ Dog’, and my personal favorite, ‘Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta’. The name ‘Maltese’ was only assigned in the 20th century. The breed’s origins are unknown; it may descend from Spitz or an Asian breed such as the Tibetan Terrier. Maltese may have been used to hunt rodents before their royal appearance became paramount. In any case, the small, white Maltese remained isolated on the island of Malta for centuries and hence stayed true to breed. Eventually, they were exported throughout Europe and became popular with the upper class, purportedly including Mary, Queen of Scotts, Josephine Bonaparte, and Marie Antoinette. The Maltese was first imported to America in the 1870’s and recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1888. Today it is a popular show dog. Publius, Roman governor of Malta in the early first century A.D, had a Maltese named Issa who was immortalized by poet Marcus Valerius Martialis: ‘Issa is more frolicsome than Catulla's sparrow, Issa is purer than a dove's kiss. Issa is gentler than a maiden. Issa is more precious than Indian gems...Lest the last days that she sees light should snatch her from him forever, Publius has had her picture painted.’

Size: The Maltese has a shoulder height of 20-25 cm (8-10 in). Maltese have a domed skull, round dark eyes surrounded by a dark ‘halo’, wide, black, nose, and low ears covered by long hair. Some have a ‘winter nose’ which fades to pink in the winter; the color change can be permanent in older dogs. The Maltese carries its tail over the back and to one side and has small, round feet.

Coat: The Maltese has a distinctive long, white, silky coat with no undercoat. Some standards allow cream or lemon colored ears. The Maltese does not shed and is a good match for those with allergies.

Character: The Maltese is eager to learn, fearless, friendly, and sociable. Its high energy level may overwhelm new owners who aren’t prepared for it. Maltese are not prone to excessive barking, but their tendency to bark at suspicious activity makes them excellent watchdogs. They love to cuddle, but are not overly demanding of attention.

Temperament: Maltese easily befriend other dogs and cats, even much larger ones. Maltese puppies may be too playful for small infants. Maltese will bark at strangers but grow used to them quickly.

Care: The Maltese requires quite a bit of grooming, from daily brushing and combing to special lotions to remove tear stains (careful brushing with a warm metal comb works as well). Dead hair should be brushed out, as the Maltese does not shed. Irritating hairs around the eyes need to be removed. Some pet Maltese are trimmed in a ‘puppy cut’ of 1 to 2 inches in length over the entire body for easier maintenance. Some show dogs are ‘wrapped’ to prevent matting of the fur. The Maltese has a lifespan of 12-14 years, though some live as long as 18 years. Most are healthy, but some are prone to heart issues such as prolapsed valve syndrome and enlarged ventricle, which usually present around the 10th year and can be controlled with medication. Many Maltese have dental issues. They can begin losing teeth by the age of 8 if not properly cleaned. Maltese are prone to sunburns where their hair parts. They get cold easily in chilly climates but can also become quickly overheated as they do not easily dissipate heat.

Training: Encouragement rather than harsh words should always be used when training the Maltese. They are very sensitive. Maltese are very difficult to housebreak and may need to be paper or box trained.

Activity: The Maltese does not require a great amount of exercise. It can have its needs met by indoor play and activities, and enjoys playing chase. Maltese are well suited to apartment life. 

 

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