Maltese Dog - Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta

A great lap dog ready for games and fun.

Breed picture

Breed History:

The Maltese dog appears to be as old as ancient history, perhaps originating on the island of Malta. It is thought to be the oldest of all the European toy breeds. Grecian, Egyptian and Roman art objects adorned with Maltese picture images, and predating Christ, and dating back 3,000 years, have survived to this day. Ancient Phoenician seamen took them everywhere throughout the Mediterranean world, using them to barter for goods. It was left behind at many places along the trade routes. The breed was well established on the island of Malta long before the Roman occupation. Catullus, a well known and admired Roman poet of that era, wrote, in very flattering terms, of the little dog, "Issa" who belonged to Publius, the Roman governor of Malta, in the first century.
In England, whether the breed arrived by returning crusaders, or much earlier, with the invading Romans, it was quite well known at the time of Elizabeth I (1558 1603). The breed was very popular with women. The smaller the specimens were, so much the better, so that they could be carried everywhere. In the 17th and 18th centuries, further miniaturization of the breed nearly brought disaster. Crosses to other toy breeds were done, to restore vigor. The breed was first shown in England in 1862. It made its first appearance at an American show, at the Westminster Kennel Club inaugural show in 1877. It was listed as a Maltese Lion Dog, or was it a Maltese Skye Terrier? Different reference books muddle the clarity. Sometimes the breed was referred to as the Maltese Terrier, but this is erroneous. It is a spaniel, not a terrier. The first Maltese registered in Canada was recorded in the Canadian Kennel Club Stud Book for the years 1901 1902.
Height:  9 - 10 in. (23 - 25 cm) at withers.
Weight:  Under 7, preferably 4 - 6 lbs. (1.8 - 2.7 kg).
Daily Exercise:  15 minutes, 3 times per day.
Living Space:  Small apartment.
Playfulness:  Very high.
Affection Level:  Quite affectionate.
Shedding:  Sheds a little.
Grooming:  Once every day or two.
Trainability:  Average.
Towards other dogs:  Quite good.
Towards other pets:  Quite good.
Towards strangers:  Rather aloof.
Bonding:  Bonds to one person.
With children:  Not good.
Watchdog: Excellent
Protection:  Very low.
Function:  Companion.
Other Name:  Bichon Maltiase
Life Expectancy: 12 - 14 years.

Appearance:

The Maltese is a toy dog, a vigorous well-balanced dog, covered from head to foot with a mantle of long silky white straight coat hanging evenly down each side. He is gentle mannered and affectionate, eager and obviously ready for action, giving the appearance of an eager satisfactory companion.

Upkeep:

The Maltese does not require a lot of exercise. A romp in the yard, or a moderate walk on lead is sufficient. It is perfectly happy in a small abode. The Maltese is not an outdoor dog despite the long coat. The long white, silky, single coat hangs almost to the ground. It attracts dirt and sheds a little, and therefore needs daily brushing. Keeping the coat clean and white can be difficult in some areas, especially around the eyes, which can be prone with some Maltese, to reddish staining. This staining can be rectified with some specialized tear staining treatments. Read the article. Since the coat is such an essential trait of this breed, clipping the coat should be out of the question.

Temperament:

The Maltese dog is bright, loving, gentle mannered one moment, then very energetic, playful the next, which makes it so endearing. It usually bonds to one person. A Maltese puppy although generally healthy and robust, should be discouraged from jumping off high objects like sofas, and from rambunctious play where developing hind leg knees can be over stressed. Patella luxation can be a problem either from heredity or trauma. A Maltese puppy profits from early training.

Finding Other Breeders:

Do you want information on this small dog breed, the Maltese dog? Are you looking for Maltese breeders with Maltese puppies for sale, or an adult Maltese dog for sale?  See the Maltese breeders section. If there are no nearby Maltese dog breeders, see the Canadian Maltese club, or Maltese rescue organizations, or the American Maltese club, Maltese rescue for the whereabouts of other Maltese breeders.

Health Issues:

Major Concerns:  No major health concerns.

Minor Concerns:   Minor concerns include: patellar luxation; Open fontanel; Hypogylcemia; Hydrocephalus; Distichiasis; Entopion; Dental problems; Hypothyroidism; Portacaval shunt.

Occasionally seen:  Deafness, Shaker syndrome.

Suggested Tests:

knees, eyes and thyroid.