The Maltese is one the oldest breeds of dogs, originating from the Island of Malta or Melita, which was settled about 1500 B.C. by the Phoenicians. There are literature and paintings dating to Greek and Roman times indicating a small white dog resembling today’s Maltese. The dog was portrayed being carried about as a pet and companion.
During the time of Queen Elizabeth,the tiny dog was so highly prized by leaders of the court that it is said that the Maltese was selling for the equivalent of thousands of dollars. This little dog was bred only as a companion and is seen as such to this day.
Weight: Under 7 lbs. (4-6 lbs. preferred)
Color:Pure white; light fawn or lemon allowed on ears, though not desirable.
Eyes: Round, dark eyes with black rims.
Ears:Close-hanging feathered ears.
Body Structure:A compact body; the height from the withers to the ground should equal the length from the withers to the root of the tail. A short body with level topline and somewhat rounded skull with long hair on head.
Hair Coat: Long, silky, flowing hair which has little shedding with regular brushing and no undercoat.
Possible Health Problems: Healthy breed overall; however, eyes may either tear a lot or may have inadequate tear production; possible problems include slipped stifles, respiratory and skin problems. They are often allergic to grass.
The Maltese is a joyful, lively, active little dog. It must be included in all family functions. It is the perfect apartment companion.
The Maltese likes to be the center of attention at all times. It resents being forced but will respond with patient insistence. Its hair coat does need faithful grooming.