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Description: The Maltese is a member of the Bichon family and is one of the
oldest European breeds. They are directly related to the Bichon and Bolognese.
All came from the same initial breed, simply developing on different islands
created their different traits, as well as their difference names. The Maltese came
from Malta, the Bolognese came from Bologna, and the Bichon Tenerife came
from Tenerife. Maltese have a beautiful mantel of long, silky, white hair. This is
their crowning glory. They may sometimes have a hint of lemon or tan on their
ears, although this is undesirable in the show ring. They are short, petite sized
dogs and have short triangular drop ears. Maltese are gentle-mannered and
affectionate, yet playful and full of animation. Despite their size, they posses the
vigor needed for an excellent companion. They are a healthy and happy breed,
and can live for at least 15 years! The Maltese is intelligent and easy to train, but
is very strong-willed. They enjoy being groomed, petted and fondled.


Type: Companion Dog

Height: 5 - 10 inches.
Weight: 4 - 7 lbs., though 7 lbs. is disqualifying.

Colors: Pure white. slight lemon or tan markings on ears are permissible, but
undesirable.

Coat: Maltese have no under coat. They have a long, straight, flat coat that is
silky in texture.

Temperament: Maltese are friendly and alert. They are very lively as puppies,
running around the house in sudden bursts of happiness. They are agile,
entertaining and happy dogs. Maltese are generally good with older children, and
are fairly adaptable. They are comforters, fastidious and loyal. They are wary of
strangers, but friendly. They are trusting and fearless as well. They can be prone
to anxiety if left alone for long periods of time, but are otherwise playful and fun.
With Children: It may not tolerate younger children, but they get along great with
older children.

With Pets: No, does not mix well with other pets.

Watch-dog: Very High. The Maltese is a very alert dog and will bark at anything
unusual.

Guard-dog: Very Low. They are generally friendly, and although fearless, much
too small to defend.

Care and Training: Extensive coat care is needed for the Maltese. Shampoo once
a week and daily brushing is essential to keep the coat from matting. Special
attention is needed to keep the eyes clean as staining is possible. Indoor activity
will suffice for exercise, but Maltese will enjoy a walk or a run in the park. They
should be trained from puppyhood not to bark unwarranted or bite, as teething
causes most puppies to want to bite everything. But all training should be done
with a positive, firm attitude.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - High. Problem Solving - High. Maltese enjoy
their owners and whatever they wish to teach them, and they are also very
intelligent little dogs.

Activity: Indoors - Very High. Outdoors - Medium. Puppies sometimes like to zoom
around the house in "figure eights" in a sudden burst of joy.

Special Needs: Attention, grooming and socialization.

Living Environment: An apartment is fine for the Maltese as they are a small,
relatively quiet dog if trained. The Maltese makes a good dog for the elderly if
they can socialize and take time to groom and play with them. They are very
adaptable. The best owner for this breed would be a family or individual with
enough time to care for the Maltese, living in a suburban, rural or city environment.

Life Span: 14 - 15 years.
Litter Size: 2 - 4 puppies.

Country of Origin: Malta
History: The Maltese origins come from the island of Malta dating back to about
1500 B.C. They are thought to have been brought to the island by Phoenician
traders, and may have had their origins elsewhere. A record of a Greek historian
named Strabo reported in 25 A.D. that "There is a town in Sicily called Melita
whence are exported many beautiful dogs called Canis Melitei." This may point to
an origin in Italy. These small dogs were very popular from their beginnings. A
Roman governor of Malta was reported to like his Maltese so much that he had
poems written about it and a painting portrait made of his little female dog. In the
1500s, one writer recorded a Maltese being sold for $2,000! Their popularity rose
during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I as a companion to the women of the royal
court. At this time, Dr. Johannes Caius wrote about the breed, "They are called
Meliti, of the island of Malta...they are very small indeed and chiefly sought after
for the pleasure and amusement of women who carried them in their arms, their
bosoms, and their beds..." The Maltese is featured in many famous paintings.
Artists who depicted this little dog are, notably, Francisco de Goya, Rubens, and
Sir Edwin Landseer. They were first shown in a dog show in England in 1864, and
then shown in the United States in 1877 under the name of "Maltese Lion Dog".
Since their arrival to the U.S., they have grown in popularity.



                     
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