This breed originated in the small island of Malta, off the coast of Italy, and is one of the oldest known dogs. The Maltese is related to the early Spitz dog and the Tibetan Terrier. It’s believed that this breed was originally used for rodent control. This breed was brought to England and was favored by royalty. The Maltese breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1888 and grouped as a Toy.
- Country of Origin: Malta
- Weight: 4 - 7 lbs
- Height: 6 - 10 inches
- Color: The Maltese color is white. Slight lemon or tan markings are acceptable, but not desirable.
The Maltese is a friendly, loving and playful breed that enjoys being a cuddly lapdog. This breed is trusting, enthusiastic and devoted to their masters. They may try to nip if they feel threatened. They prefer to be near people but may need supervised around smaller children.
The life expectancy is between 13 – 15 years. The Maltese have very few major health concerns. Because they are so tiny, here are a few things to watch out for:
• Patella Luxation
• Low Thyroid
• Slipped Stiffle
Their coat is long & silky and lacks an undercoat. The Maltese has hair, not fur. They are non-shedding and are a great choice for people with dog allergies.
Regular grooming is required to prevent the non-shedding coat from matting. Many owners will keep their Maltese clipped in a “puppy cut”, a 1 – 2” all over trim that makes the dog resemble a puppy. “Tear staining” (staining in the hair around their eyes) can be a problem in this breed. Bathing and combing can help alleviate such stainings.