Glamorous, intelligent, and affectionate pets, Maltese dogs have the perfect temperament for being ideal companions to a wide range of lifestyles.
Their small size makes them a great fit for those living in apartments or for families with children, provided that they consider that Maltese dogs have a risk of suffering from injuries, given their tiny frame and fragile bone structure. Maltese dogs also make great pets for people who suffer from allergies, as they are a hypoallergenic breed.
They love cuddling and being carried everywhere. Even if they are not exactly “outdoorsy”, they are the perfect companion for a short walk in nature as well as longer trips, whether it involves road tripping, sailing, or flying. Due to their small size, and depending on the airline, they are one of the few breeds allowed to travel in the cabin of the plane, making them the perfect match for dog-friendly travelers.Praised by royals and aristocrats, it is believed that Malteses possess magical healing powers and an innate ability to comfort the sick. Click To Tweet
They are outgoing and happy dogs, especially when showered with affection and surrounded by loved ones. They are very smart which makes them easy to train. Thanks to their playful, energetic, and sweet nature, they love to learn and show off tricks and get attention. They are very protective of their family and territory, so they tend to not do well with strangers and other pets. However, they love to please and can easily learn to adapt to new friends and babies.
They are also great therapy dogs, which reinforce the ancient belief that they possess magical healing powers as well as an innate ability to comfort the sick. As loyal family members, they enjoy being in the company of humans and will adapt to any situation, as long as it does not involve being left alone.
These aristocrats of the canine world are well aware of their luxurious beauty and will exhibit it with pride and pleasure. It is impossible not to adore them, pamper them and resist the temptation of spoiling them.
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The history of Malteses goes back so far in time, that their origin is difficult to track. Some sources indicate they originated in Sweden from a Spitz type dog, others think they are from Asia. Greeks and Romans called it Melitae (the ancient name for Malta), because they believe they come from that island.
Maltese dogs likely made their way through Europe and the Middle East thanks to the migration of nomadic tribes. Their grace and beauty helped them spread across territories, as they were bartered and offered as valuable pieces of trade. Many believed that they had special healing powers and were famous for providing comfort.
Praised by royals and aristocrats, Malteses were also offered as precious presents to emperors and kings. Many upper class figures of the 19th century, considered it “fashionable” to be portrayed with their Maltese pets. Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Publius – Roman governor of Malta, and emperor Claudius, are among notable Maltese owners in history.
During the reign of Henry VIII, Malteses were recorded in Britain, and around the late 1800’s, these dogs were first seen in the Unite States. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1888, however, the first breed exemplary was presented during a show in 1877 as a “Maltese Lion Dog”.
Among the many names for Maltese dogs, we can find:
- “Melitae Dog”
- “Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta”
- “The Roman Ladies’ Dog”
- “Spaniel Gentle”
- “The Shock Dog”
- “Maltese Lion Dog”
- “The Maltese Terrier”
There are many art representations depicting these dogs. For instance, Maltese have been featured in Greek ceramic art, such as the vases found at Vulci (about 500 B.C.). There are also mentions of Malteses in the writings of many Greek and Roman philosophers, and other ancient poets and historians, including Aristotle, Timon, Callimachus, Aelian, Artimidorus, Epaminodus, Martial, Strabo, Pliny the Elder and Saint Clement of Alexandria.
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There are standards that set the guidelines and attributes of any particular dog breed. The organizations that establish these standards are the ones that judge and certify whether a dog possesses the typical characteristics of its breed. These are particularly important when looking for breeders that can provide pedigree certificates and records of a purebred dog’s heritage.
Canine sports and conformation competitions are events where judges compare the physical characteristics of purebred dogs to the ideal version of their breed. In other words, they evaluate each dog against the standards.Small in size, energetic, cuddly, smart, cheerful and with great showmanship, Maltese dogs are the ideal companions to a wide range of lifestyles. Click To Tweet
If you are planing to sign your purebred Maltese up for a conformation competition, it is recommended that you evaluate the official conformation point system, which is based on the standards of the local kennel club and thus may vary according to the country or region.
Thanks to its incredible beauty, elegant gait, and grace, the Maltese is always an attraction at dog shows. They walk the catwalk along their proud owners as if they were made for it.
Their cheerful temperament and showmanship shines through on different sports competition and contests. They can exhibit their aristocratic nature on canine beauty contests and dash, fly over and weave through agility course obstacles with ease.
However, in addition to the high scores that they can obtain at competitions, Malteses exhibit the following characteristics:
- The skull is slightly rounded on top with a moderate stop.
- The ears hang close to the head.
- Their eyes are dark with black rims and are moderately apart.
- Their muzzle is thin and of medium length.
- Their nose is black but can change color between black, brown and pink depending on the dog’s exposure to the sun.
- The teeth allow for an even bite.
- They are covered from head to paw with smooth and silky hair.
- They are toy dogs, so they have compact bodies.
- Their height is between 7 and 9 inches and their weight is under 7 pounds.
- They have long-haired tails that are curled upwards over their back.
Legs & Feet
- They have fine-boned legs, the forelegs being straight and the hind legs being slightly angled.
- They have a smooth gait.
- Their toe pads are black and their feet small.
Maltese dogs require special care, which consists of brushing them regularly to avoid the formation of knots. It is important to keep their face clean, especially around the eyes, to avoid the typical tear stains that give them a sad facial expression.
Their long and luxurious coat demands a high level of maintenance, care and patience. This is why many groomers and canine stylists recommend keeping the hair about half an inch short. This style, known as “puppy cut”, demands less care, makes dogs feel more comfortable and is the most popular look both for dogs who compete in agility and obedience tests, as well as dogs that do not compete at all.
Before bathing, a deep brush is recommended to detangle the hair and disassemble the knots. Maltese love to be clean, you can bathe them every two or three weeks using a soft natural shampoo, followed by a conditioner for dogs with long hair. It is necessary to rinse thoroughly, use a towel to absorb as much moisture as possible and dry it with a dryer.
To comb or brush a Maltese, it is convenient to spray the coat with a mixture of conditioner diluted in water. This will prevent the hair from cracking or breaking, and protect it from sparking static. Once the hair is dry it can be picked up in a bun or trimmed to prevent it from falling on their eyes.
Maltese Care Tips
THANK YOU to all our fellow Maltese friends from our Editor in Chief, Emma!
Cookie Pirani – 9 months old – Maltipoo – United States of America
1. I always make sure Cookie drinks purified spring water. It helps prevent tear stains, and is much healthier.
2. I always wipe him with organic baby wipes after he goes potty/outside. It helps keep him clean.
3. His treats consist of berries, carrots, and freeze dried apples/pears. He does not eat processed treats.
Max – 11.5 years old – Maltese – United States of America
1. Frequent brushing is necessary for Maltese otherwise their fine hair can develop mats that are very difficult to remove.
2. Malts have very sensitive skin so its wise to use hypoallergenic and mild shampoos and conditioners so as not to irritate the skin.
3. Staining around the eyes is often caused or exacerbated by diet. Experimenting with the Malts’ food can sometimes reduce or eliminate tear stains.
Max has his own blog: Within The K Streets
Leopold – 1.5 years old – Maltese – Canada
1. Keep a 30-minute walking routine in the evening, combined with a bit of running, to burn extra energy at the end of the day and ensure better rest.
2. Always use a stainless-steel bowl for water and wash both the water and food plate everyday.
3. Brush his hair and clean the area around the eyes and mouth everyday.