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Maltese Breed InformationSelect a Breed
Quick Facts
Life Span:12-14 years
Litter Size:2-4 puppies
Group:Toy Group
Recognized By:CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
Color:White. Light tan or lemon on the ears is accepted, but not desired.
Hair Length:Long
Size:Toy/Small
Shedding:Lite Shed
Male Height:9-10 inches
Male Weight:4-7 pounds
Female Height:9-10 inches
Female Weight:4-7 pounds
Living Area:They are not an outside dog, as many fall victim to larger animals. Their coats are also not heavy enough to keep them warm and dry in harsher weather. They also make wonderful apartments dogs. They may not be good in homes with small children as they are very fragile and can break easily; a household with other children or adults is preferred.

Description

The Maltese dogs have a lot of white hair that hangs straight down to the ground most times. Their coat is always parted in the middle from their tail to the top of their head. A lot of people like to put ribbons and bows in the hair on the top of their head. They have a single coat with no undercoat. These dogs may sometimes have wavy, kinky or curly hair but if you are going to be showing this animal than you don’t want them to be.

These dogs are pure white all over their body. Their tails will drape over their back. Their eyes are dark, round, large and deep and have dark rims. Their body is slightly longer than their tail is with a level top line. These animals are known for being sturdy and fine boned.

Black is the color of their nose most times but in the winter it can turn a brown or pink color which is called winter nose. When they are out in the sun their nose will turn black again. Their teeth should come together in an even bite or scissors bite. When you see a Maltese that is well put together it will look as if they are floating above ground under a white cloud, which is their white hair.

Coat Description

The Maltese dog is a small white dog that belongs to the toy group. They don’t shed and their coat is white and long from head to foot. Their hair is silky white. They are an ancient breed that has long been associated with the island of Malta. They have retained their distinct appearance for millennia. You will not find a pet that is more lovable and they will usually get along well with other dogs. They do have a tendency to get tear stains around their eyes. It will make red circles around their eyes and because of this it is important that you take good care of their coat.

If you wish to you can put a bow or ribbon in the hair on the top of their head. Some people like to do this while others don’t. It is pretty much your decision because it is something that you will see quite often with this breed but not all of the time. It really just depends on the owner of the dog.

History

The Maltese is known as the oldest of all dog breeds. They are also the oldest European toy breeds. Charles Darwin was able to place these dogs as far back as 6000 B.C. No one really knows for sure where they came from originally but some people believe that they come from the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea, which is where they get their name.

Some people think that they originated from Asia and may have helped to breed the Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Terrier, Tibetan Spaniel and even the Pekingese. The Maltese have been seen in the Egyptian culture around the times of 300 to 600 B.C. and on the Greek vases around 500 B.C.

In England the women like to carry them in their sleeves. The Crusaders and nomadic tribes brought them to England. Royalty likes these dogs as pets and it is said that different Queens such as, Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, Josephine Bonaparte and Marie Antoinette were owners of these wonderful, small dogs. In 1877 for the first time in America they were shown as Lion Dogs. The AKC recognized this breed of dog in 1877.

It is said that they are descendants of a Spitz-like dog that is used to hunt in marshes and wooded areas in Southern Europe, plus they have been known to be used for controlling rodents. They have been bred down to get their small size. Due to the fact that they have been kept on the island of Malta, they have been bred true for centuries.

Temperament

The Maltese dog is a gentle, loving, cheerful dog that loves to play and have fun. This dog has more personality than any other breed of dog. You will have a hard time keeping up with these dogs because they are so full of energy and are enthusiastic about everything. These little dogs are well known for having sudden and wild outbursts where they will run in circles or at a high rate of speed in all different directions. They are the perfect pet for the first time dog owner.

Many people prefer the Maltese because they are very eager to please and very protective of you their owner. You will never find a dog that is more adoring or devoted. You have to be careful when other people come around because if they think there is any threat to you from people or animals they will bark frantically and may even try to bite the person.

One thing to remember about these dogs is that they are not afraid of anything. They also don’t like or are not interested in objects or animals that are larger than they are. They will always be bold and quick to sound the alarm if they hear any suspicious noises or strangers.

Training the Maltese is not hard to do because they are lively, spirited, easy to train and very intelligent. Plus they are known for learning tricks and commands. You will find some that are stubborn but that is usually due to the fact that their lovable nature and cuteness will make them very spoiled. Playing outdoors is one of their favorite things to do. Just watch them because they love to jump in puddles or anything else that will make a mess of them. The males and females have the same temperaments.

If your dog is going to be around kids you want to make sure you supervise them because they can get aggressive if they kids play rough. They are not a fragile breed but they can get hurt very easily. They do get along good with other animals such as dogs, cats and other small animals. They are known for being picky eaters, which can make them a little hard to train. You don’t want to leave these dogs alone for too long because they will suffer from anxiety.

Health Problems

The Maltese dogs do not usually suffer from major health problems but due to their size there are some things that they can get. You always want to make sure you know all of the health problems that can happen to your dog. This way you know what to look for and if you see any signs of illness you can get them to a vet for medicines. Always have a vet on hand just in case you should need them.

Minor problems that they can suffer from are: having a soft spot on their head, also known as open fontanel, Hydrocephalus, distichiasis, Entropion, teeth and gum problems, eye infections, liver problems and low thyroid.

[-]Patellar Luxation – Their knee will pop out of place.[/-]

[-]Hypoglycemia – This is a low glucose or sugar level.[/-]

These dogs are well known for deafness. They are also well known for getting white shaker dog syndrome, which means that they will start to shake all over and can cause them to have a hard time with walking. Most of the times you will see this in these dogs that are adolescents or adults. These problems can be treated by a veterinarian with medicine.

Grooming

Keeping the Maltese dog’s coat free of snarls and clean of dirt is very important. You have to groom these animals daily in order to do this. There are many people that will keep them in what is referred to as a puppy cut, which is when their hair is left 1 to 2 inches long all over their body, which makes them look like a puppy.

However, if you do this then you need to know that there will be a lot more upkeep. Sometimes the long hair is wrapped to stop it from matting and snarling. You have to make sure you brush the dead hair out because these dogs don’t shed it out and their coat can become matted if it is not removed.

A lot of people will part their coats down the middle of their back from their tail to their nose. Their hair will need to reach the floor but should not be touching it. Some people put the hair on the top of their head in a top knot. When you are grooming your pet you want to make sure you pay close attention to the hair between their toes because it will easily become matted if you don’t.

You can use shampoo and a leave in conditioner to get rid of any knots or snarls when you comb their coat. It is very important that you get rid of any residue from the conditioner and shampoo because if you don’t then you will find that their coat will fray and snarl very easily.

Don’t let them stay wet; you want to dry them with a towel until they are only damp. Use a hand dryer to finish drying their hair. Make sure that the heat is not too high or will make their hair break off and can ruin their coat. You want to use a pin or a slicker brush and brush with the grain of their hair. Always make sure each section of their coat is completely dry before you move onto another section. Also, don’t forget to do their head and their feet because these areas mat easily.

These dogs are known for having tear staining around their eyes. This is when you notice a dark brown or black color around their eyes and it happens because their eyes water excessively. No one knows why this happens or what exactly causes it but if you clean the area around their eyes with bottled water then you can easily get rid of it. Don’t use tap water because it doesn’t work very well, bottled water works great for it.

Exercise

Due to the small size of these dogs they don’t require a lot of exercise. You can provide them with exercise by taking them on small walks, letting them play in your yard, playing games with them indoors or anything else they enjoy that gives them exercise. They have to have some exercise in order to stay healthy and trim, otherwise, they will end up overweight. You don’t want to take them jogging with you or walking for a long distance because until they reach 8 months of age, they can’t handle it. Elderly people, people that are disabled and people that live in a place with limited space will find that these dogs make the perfect pets.

Training

These dogs are not hard to train because they are very intelligent but they have been known to be hard to housebreak. The best way to house train them is to use a crate. Always make sure there is constant supervision. Use can use a leash or a rope to tether them to you so they don’t wander off and relieve themselves. If you can’t give them constant supervision then put them in the crate.

You want to make sure that you take them to use the bathroom before and after playing and eating, when they wake in the morning, and before they go to sleep for the night. Use special treats when they go outside to use the restroom and also lots of praise because this will help you house train them.

Don’t leave these pets along for long because they will become destructive. Make sure they have a bone or a toy that they can play with while you are gone but it needs to provide them with mental stimulation so they don’t get bored with it.

It is important that you provide these dogs with enough socialization and exposure to different people, places and animals when they are young. They will naturally be cautious but if you don’t let them socialize then they can easily become shy and fear aggressive. Make sure that socialization is fun for them and use treats and other rewards when they react in a nice way towards strangers. These dogs do have a habit of barking a lot so you have to make sure that they understand that this behavior is not acceptable.

Before you become an owner you have to make sure that you have the time to devote to training your dog. If you don’t then you may want to think about whether it is a good idea or not. These dogs are not hard to take care of but they do require time and lots of love. As they always say, dogs can be your best friend but you have to remember that you are their best friend also. So make sure you have time before you own this wonderful dog.

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