"The Maltese are extremely lively and playful at any age."
Country of origin:Italy
Weight:Male 3-8 lb, female 2-7 lb
Height:Male 8-10 in, female 8-9 in
Coat:Long and silky, without undercoat
Litter size:1-3 puppies
Life span:12-15 years
The Maltese is a toy variety of dog. This small breed is easily recognizable but often mistaken for other small breeds that look similar. They have black noses and round brown eyes. One of the unusual traits of this breed is that their black noses can go to pink when they have not gotten enough exposure to sun.
They stand about 7-12 inches and weigh at their perfect size 3-10 lbs. They are as tall as they are long. Their coats are always white, while some may have ivory at the tips of their ears and the fur on their feet their main coat color is always white. They do not have an under coat but they do have sufficient long silky hair.
While there are some Maltese that are presented with curly or wavy hair this is considered a defect as the standard is always white silky hair.
Their eyes are always brown. Another unique feature of the Maltese is that they do not shed making them the perfect addition to any home where there is an allergy sufferer.
Maltese are bred for one reason: companionship. They are bred to keep their human companions entertained and that is exactly what they do. They are lively, high energy dogs that simply are well known for loving life and not being afraid to express their love for life.
Their high energy, loving their human personality unfortunately can be a negative. They are the most dumped dogs in many parts of the world because they do want a lot of attention and can in some cases suffer from separation anxiety, and are known to bark excessively.
Care and Living Arrangements
These feisty dogs do well in enclosed spaces like a small backyard but their size also makes them great for urban settings and apartment dwelling. The key to a happy Maltese is enough human interaction. That is what they are bred for.
Their long silky coats require regular grooming which includes daily brushing so that their fur does not become matted.
The Maltese is named for the island of Malta. It is thought that this breed descends from the Spitz breed of dog however there is not any real records available to trace the exact lineage of the breed. It is known that they have been around for a long time. There was some information uncovered in Greece that dates these dogs as companions as early as 500BC.
This is a very hardy breed with few genetic health concerns. They are prone to tear staining on the fur around the face. They also have dental issues. They are prone to cavities but with proper dental care it is controllable. They are also susceptible to bouts of reverse sneezing which is due to their short snout. This is not a life threatening condition although is sounds pretty bad but a gentle rub on the throat can help.
Overall this is an excellent breed for anyone that wants that lap dog that just wants to be with them.
Maltese Photo Gallery
You can click on the gallery images below to view them full sized (most are in wallpaper resolution!).