The Maltese is a toy dog with a compact build and an overall appearance that denotes vigor, eagerness, and affection. The height from the dog’s withers to the ground is equal to the length from the dog’s withers to the tail. They have sloped shoulder blades and well-knit elbows that are held close to the body. Their chest is comparatively deep and their loins are sturdy, taut, and feature a slight tuck-up underneath. The neck of the Maltese is long enough to enable a high head carriage. The breed’s back is level and the ribs are well-sprung. Their limbs are finely boned. Forelegs of this breed are straight, with their pastern joints devoid of any substantial bend. Their strong hind legs are sturdy and moderately angulated at the hocks and stifles. They have small, round feet with black toe pads and a plumed tail that is carried elegantly over the dog’s back. The Maltese’s head is of medium length and well in proportion to the dog’s size. They have a slightly rounded skull with a moderately defined stop. Their eyes are round and dark and their medium-length muzzle is fine and tapered. They have a black nose and teeth that meet in an even or scissors bite. Ears of this breed are low-set and heavily feathered. The coat of the Maltese is long, flat, and silky. It hangs over the sides of the body, and it reaches almost to the ground. The coat color for this breed is pure white. Lemon or light tan shading on the dog’s ears may be present.
The Maltese is lively, cheerful, and energetic. They are gentle, trusting, and devoted to their master. Because of their high level of intelligence, the Maltese learns tricks easily. They are courageous and will bark if they hear a suspicious noise. They get along well with other animals and pets. While they are very good with kind children, they may snap at inconsiderate children. Some can be difficult to housebreak. They can be picky eaters, and small dog biscuits should be included in their diet to keep their teeth strong and healthy. If over-pampered or neglected, the Maltese may become jealous and unstable.
Although small, when a Maltese is a puppy (as all puppies do), they need some exercise. Often, owners tend to cut the Maltese’s hair short to keep it from getting to long and dirty. This does not affect the dog in any way (they sometimes get cold and start to shiver, hair long or short. Do not worry, just put them in a dog sweater, or move them inside or somewhere warmer for the time being).
8 – 10 inches
4 – 6 pounds
The AKC standard weight for the Maltese states; prefer 4 – 6 lbs, but will accept 7lbs.
The Maltese is a comparatively healthy breed with few inherent problems. Some health concerns for the breed include luxating patella, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and portosystemic liver shunt. The average life span for the Maltese is 12 to 15 years.
The average life span of a quality Maltese is 15 to 18yrs
The Maltese is an ancient breed with a history that can be traced back many centuries. Some believe that the breed has existed for more than two thousand years, and Darwin believed the breed originated in 6000 BC. It is believed that the Maltese is descendant from a Spitz type dog found among the Swiss Lake dwellers. This dog would have been bred down to obtain the small size of the contemporary Maltese. While there is some evidence that the Maltese originated in Asia, the breed is usually associated with the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. They were probably taken to Europe through the Middle East by nomadic tribes. Today, the breed is a very popular companion and glamorous show dog.
The long coat of the Maltese should be brushed and combed on a daily basis. The breed should be bathed and dry shampooed regularly, and they should be thoroughly dried afterwards. Their eyes and ears should be cleaned daily to prevent staining, and excessive hair should be removed around the ears. The hair on top of their head is often tied up in a topknot. This breed sheds little to no hair and is highly recommended for those that suffer from allergies.
The Maltese is well-suited to life in a small household or apartment. They are a comparatively active breed indoors and they do not require a yard. They enjoy going for walks, but little effort on behalf of the owner is needed to keep these dogs properly exercised.