The Maltese is the oldest breed of all the lap dogs. It was a favorite of royal families and was especially popular with the ladies of the royal courts. The women would carry the Maltese on their sleeves as little ornaments to attest to their station in life.
It is said that the Greek Philosopher Theophrastus and even Aristotle alluded to the Maltese. Today, the glorious Maltese is an adored and pampered pet, as well as a sought after show dog. This dog is classified as a member of the Toy Dog Group. The Maltese was first registered by the AKC in 1888.
Some historical evidence links the Maltese to the genetic make up of the Lhasa Apso, the Tibetan Terrier, the Tibetan Spaniel and even the Pekingese. By all accounts, the Maltese is a truly ancient breed of dog. Aristotle attributed the origin of the dog to the Island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. The name Maltese is derived from the area of Malta.
The Maltese is a small but a beautifully appointed dog. For its petite size, the Maltese has a hardy build. The breed’s luxurious silky white coat hangs straight to the ground. The appearance of this tiny dog is striking. The most common color for this breed is pure white, but light ivory cream or light lemon ears are also seen in this breed. The adult Maltese will stand up to 10 inches high and weigh from 3 to 10 pounds.
The Maltese is very adaptable and does quite well in an apartment. They are active enough indoors that they will exercise themselves. Of course, the Maltese will still enjoy a regular walk in the park. This breed stays active and playful into its old age.
The Maltese’s long, silky, dazzling white hair needs daily combing and brushing. Be gentle with this little creature, because the coat is very soft. Clean your dog’s eyes daily to prevent staining. After eating, the dog needs its beard cleaned. Bathing is also needed on a regular basis. The ears are of some concern and should be free from any hair in the canal. The Maltese sheds little to no hair.
Some medical concerns for the Maltese include sunburn and skin problems. There are some respiratory and eye and teeth problems, as well. Maltese sometimes have digestive problems and may be difficult to feed. They are more comfortable in mild weather.
Despite its pint sized appearance, the Maltese will benefit from puppy obedience training. This breed is energetic in nature, which can cause a few problems if a dog has no training. These dogs can be snappish with inconsiderate children and may be difficult to housebreak. However, since the Maltese is intelligent and intuitive, obedience training will be fairly easy.
If you want a small dog that has a big heart and plenty of spunk, then the Maltese may be perfect for you. These dogs offer their owners years of faithful companionship and loving obedience.