Maltese

Size:8"-10" / 2-8 lbs
Breed Group:Toy Dogs
Origin:Malta
Energy:High
Barking:Moderate
Kid Friendly:Yes
Hypoallergenic:Yes
Life Span:12-15 Years

Maltese dogs are stunning in their appearance. Long, silky white hair combined with their cute button nose and brown eyes make these dogs a sight to behold. Lacking an undercoat, the Maltese has hair rather than fur. With their round head, long ears that more often than not have hair and dark skin pigmentation their facial expression is often very demonstrative.

Maltese who get little sunlight may see their black noses fade to pink or light brown during the winter, but the dark color usually returns when warm weather arrives. They tend to shed very little, making them a good breed for those suffering with allergies.

Physical Characteristics

Maltese dogs are stunning in their appearance. Long, silky white hair combined with their cute button nose and brown eyes make these dogs a sight to behold. Lacking an undercoat, the Maltese has hair rather than fur. With their round head, long ears that more often than not have hair and dark skin pigmentation their facial expression is often very demonstrative.

Maltese who get little sunlight may see their black noses fade to pink or light brown during the winter, but the dark color usually returns when warm weather arrives. They tend to shed very little, making them a good breed for those suffering with allergies.

Temperament

Thriving with owners who shower them with love and affection, Maltese are known as some of the most playful and lively companion dogs around. Even as they get older, these dogs still keep their youthful sense of play with their owners and other dogs.

Like many small dogs, they can be a bit impatient with young children, so they should be supervised when possible. However, dogs who grow up around children are usually much more tolerant of them. These dogs tend to be very loyal and adoring of their owners, and hate being left alone for any length of time. As a result, separation anxiety can be an issue, so they are best owned by those who can spend lots of time at home playing with them.

Maltese are great dogs for those living in apartments and urban neighborhoods with fenced-in yards. They love enclosed spaces, and will play in a backyard for hours on end with their owners. Often seen as a status-symbol breed, many Maltese are owned by those living in affluent neighborhoods.

Care & Grooming

Due to their long hair, Maltese require an extensive amount of grooming. Like poodles and other relatives, their eyes have a tendency to water, so it's recommended their eyes be cleaned each day to prevent tear-staining. Some owners wash their dogs weekly, while many choose to bathe them monthly or bi-monthly to prevent the dog's skin from becoming too dry. A trip to a groomer is needed every 1-2 months, with many owners opting for the "puppy cut," which involves keeping the dog's hair trimmed to a length of two inches all around their body, making them look like a puppy. Those with long hair need daily brushing, and often need to be blow-dried after a bath. A metal pet comb is recommended for brushing, allowing it to work through the long, thick hair with limited pulling and grabbing.

This breed has very few health problems, with the most common being dental issues. Many tend to get cavities and have infected teeth that fall out as they age, so some owners brush their dog's teeth with soft-bristled toothbrushes and special toothpaste.

History

Selectively bred to attain its small stature, the Maltese has been referenced by the Greek philosopher Aristotle as far back as 370 B.C. in many of his writings. While its exact origin is unknown, most scholars agree the breed was originally used for rodent control in Europe before gaining favor with royalty and becoming a breed of refinement and good taste. In the 17th and 18th-centuries, the breed nearly disappeared due to overzealous breeders who kept trying to make it smaller and smaller in size. By the 19th-century it had made a triumphant return, with up to nine variations of the breed.

Owned by the rich and famous as well as royalty around the world even today, the Maltese carries the same sense of style and elegance today as it did more than 28 centuries ago. One of the most popular show dogs, it seems destined to carry on its reputation as an elegant dog owned by those who accept only the best.



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