The Maltese is believed to be one of the oldest of breeds, dating back possibly 3,000 years. It is believed that his birthplace was the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea or he may have been brought to Malta by Phoenician traders from Asia Minor as early as 1500 B.C. Although at one time referred to as a Maltese Terrier, the Maltese is actually a spaniel. He became extremely popular in Europe and Canada after 1800. The Maltese was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1888.
The Maltese has a spunky determination that is in inverse ratio to his size. He is fearless, intelligent, affectionate, keen and an individualist. His is extremely responsive to his environment thus making him an effective watchdog. He is an indoor dog who would not do well in extremes of outdoor temperatures. The coat does need considerable attention due to its silkiness. For exercise, the Maltese needs only indoor play time.
The skull of the Maltese is slightly rounded at the top. The ears are low-set and heavily feathered with long hair that hangs close to the head. The eyes are round and very dark with black rims. The muzzle is medium long, fine and tapered with a black nose. The bite is even or scissors. The neck is long enough to allow the Maltese to carry its head high. The body is compact and low-set. The back is short and the topline is level. The tail is carried in a curl over the back causing a plume of hair to fall across the body. The legs are short, straight, fine-boned well covered in hair. The feet are small and round. The coat is a cloak of long silky pure white hair that is parted at the top and extends on both sides of the body to the ground. The profuse head hair may be tied up in a topknot on each side of the part or left hanging. The Maltese moves with a jaunty, smooth, flowing gait. The Maltese weighs between four and six pounds and stands between eight and ten inches tall at the withers.
“Twenty-five years ago, we purchased our first little Maltese. She was the most cuddly, soft-hearted little dog I'd ever had ... but when it came to her big brother, our Golden Retriever, she was the head of the house. Her top weight was six pounds. After she passed away, my husband surprised me with another new bundle. She again was the most cuddly, loving, big-hearted little furball. She was content just being wherever I was. Her senior weight was three pounds, but was two pounds for most of her life. With her just passing; again, my husband surprised me with another little furbaby ... and she again, is the most wonderful, cuddly, loving, heart-o-gold little dog. Currently she's at 4.5 pounds. I've always been a big dog person, but I don't think I would want another breed. None of my three had a bad barking habit; none of my three ever bit or had a bad bone in their body. They are happy as long as they are with the people they own. They are not dogs you would want with little children as they are fragile in stature. They are lionhearted little dogs, and I don't believe that they know that they are little.”
“Clean,no doggie odor, non shedding, eats little, portable, fragile (not for a home with children), needs lots of brushing to prevent mats. Barks excessively, aggressive,he bites (he came from a highly recommended reputable show breeder). He was a breeze to housebreak. Loves to sit on my lap, snuggle,wants to be picked up and carried. He is overly attached, I love him dearly and he's my little baby. I had chosen a male because I thought they would be gentle and loving to all. He wants nothing to do with anyone but me and mopes when I'm away. I love him dearly but I wish others could enjoy him as much as I do. Wouldn't trade him for the world but I wouldn't recommend them to everyone. Great for a lady who wants a dog that they can dote on and pamper. I would consider them a one-person dog.”
Very loving and deeply affectionate, patient, lovely companion.
“I owned a Maltese for about ten years. She was a wonderful companion and loved to be around people and close to the family. She was also very patient and hardly ever snapped. You couldn't cuddle her enough, she just enjoyed that so much and really loved us back too in return. She always would get so excited when we came home and bark like crazy, also a highly intelligent dog. She was a good watchdog and scared off a robber once from a neighbour's car, which gave us great pride. Our only problems with her were her tendency to dig up my flowerbeds and the fact that her long hair got matted easily and we had to cut most of it off a few times and let it grow back.”
“I have a ten-year old male Maltese. I have enjoyed every minute of those ten-years that we have spent together. He is my rag-doll. I can carry him anywhere and anyway and he never complains. He will sit in my lap for hours and hours. He is and always has been a very skinny dog. His only fault has been his aversion to strangers. He nips at their calves. My other four-year old male Maltese is a fat, overweight, hyper, constanly barking, kissing, and jumping up on you dog. The total opposite of my other Maltese. Even though they are so different, I love them both dearly. I have had the opportunity to see both ends of the Maltese spectrum.”
“I own a Maltese who I absolutely adore. Of course, there are downsides but everything is made up in the love they give you when you walk in the door. My Maltese would follow me everywhere if he was allowed to. They are incredibly loyal and love people. My Maltese is 5.4 pounds, but despite the tiny size, he barks like a 100 pound dog when someone comes to the door, which I like. Brushing my Maltese's 3 inch long hair can be a hassle when it gets in tiny knots, but it's not too bad. An upside to my tiny dog is his ability to adapt to the person. He knows that I like him to sit on my lap, while other people in my house like rough-housing with him and he remembers this. He learns very quickly. So far, I have had no huge problems except for his carsickness. For a few weeks, anytime we drove in the car he would throw up, but we got a dog car seat and it stopped. Malteses are beautiful, especially their black eyes surrounded in soft pink. I would recomend Malteses to someone who can't deal with a large energetic dog, or someone who wants a loyal friend to love.”
A true companion when all you can do is be together.
“We adopted a daughter who is very tactile defensive. She has helped her break through some of that by "insisting" on being touched and petted. But she is very gentle. My husband was recently disabled and when he can only sit in a chair or lie in bed, she is content to just sit with him on his lap or lay on top of his legs. We enjoy many times during each day just watching her jump around and play with her toys. One of our daughter's favorite times of each day is when the dog goes and brings her a favorite soft toy to throw ( The dog will play this game of fetch for 15-20 minutes which is just about enough to wear her out). Don't even "think" about going out back or getting in the car without taking her. She is a little bossy sometimes. But she has definitely found her spot in our family and in our hearts.”
Great companion, friend, keeps our blood pressure down.
“Our little guy makes us feel great, important, and so welcome when we come home from shopping and the like. He's smarter than other breeds we've had; trains well and obeys commands. He is careful to only pottie where we have designated and holds it until the paper is in place if it has been moved. He gives and wants love all the time and generally makes us very happy we have him. He plays well with the grandchildren, has never snapped when they may be too rough.”