The Maltese, also called a Maltese Lion, is one of the most ancient of the many toy breeds.
A fun-loving, high-spirited breed, the Maltese makes a great family pet. You’ll never be bored with the constant movement and playfulness that comes with a Maltese. Small and quick, many have loved the look of the Maltese as well as the feel of its soft coat.
Although many say that the downfall of the Maltese is its tendency to bark, the other positive characteristics of the Maltese often outweigh the negative. This can be seen throughout the years as the Maltese has become such a popular breed.
Being one of the oldest breeds—going back at least two millennia—the Maltese has a long history. Although with this long history, the Maltese does not have an exact origin. Many believe that the Maltese came from the Isle of Malta in the Mediterranean Seas from Spitz- or Spaniel-type dogs. Either way, the Maltese always seemed to thrive.
By the 15th century, the Maltese was a popular pet with the French aristocrats. By the end of the 16th century, the Maltese had become a favorite choice for many of the noble and royal ladies. Many famous women have favorited the Maltese such as Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria as well as famous painters like Goya.
Throughout the 17th and 18th, breeders tried to make the Maltese smaller, closer to the size of a squirrel, and, sadly, that almost caused the breed to die out. Luckily, that breeding practiced ended, and breeders worked to get the Maltese back to where it had been before. It as then that the Maltese was mixed with other breeds to continue its genetic pool. It is said that other breeds such as the Bichon Frise and Havanese breeds were direct ancestors.
From that point, breeders made the Maltese into what it is today. The first time the Maltese was seen in the United States was in the late 1800s, and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1888, with the latest standard being from March 1964.
The Maltese is considered a toy or a small-sized dog. The average height of a male Maltese is 8 to 10 inches, while a female Maltese can be 8 to 9 inches in height. The weight average for a male Maltese is 3 to 8 pounds. On the other hand, the Maltese female averages 2 to 7 pounds.
Maltese are considered to be soft and cuddly companion dogs. They love to play and have a lot of energy. Although some breeds don’t keep their energy levels as they grow older, a Maltese does throughout its years. Maltese also love to be around humans, especially their owners. The Maltese can be a little snappy at children or small animals, but that can be taken care of with some early socialization skill training.
The Maltese enjoys having an enclosed place, which makes a home a great place to play. The Maltese is also a barker, so that may be a factor for many new owners deciding on whether or not to add one to the family.
The Maltese is a generally healthy breed, but it does have certain health problems that may arise. The following are some of the ailments that owners should at least be aware of in case your dog is prone to these problems:
Patellar luxation, Portosystemic liver shunt, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Hypoglycemia, White Dog Shaker Syndrome, Collapsed trachea, and Reverse sneezing.
It is important to take your Maltese to the veterinarian to ensure its health continues throughout its life. Regular checkups can keep an owner apprised of any problems that may be coming as well.
The long silky coat of a Maltese does not have an undercoat. Although the Maltese does not shed, it still requires regular grooming. Being a non-shedding dog, the Maltese is considered to be a hypoallergenic dog.
Maltese love to play outside and go on walks. They have high levels of energy and love to be active outdoors. Being house dogs, the Maltese breed does not do well with extreme hot or cold, so make sure to keep them indoors if the weather is extreme on either side.
Some Maltese have a picky habit when it comes to eating; this may have to do with the delicate digestive systems that the Maltese is known to have.
Here is a link to the American Maltese Association. Please check your local area for other rescues near you or to learn more about this breed.