Breed Group: Toy Group
Shoulder Height: 8-10 in.
Weight: 2-8 lb.
Life Span: 12-15 years
Colors: White, lemon, tan
- The Maltese, contrary to the name, was not developed on the Mediterranean island of Malta, but their ancestors came from there. The breed was the result of crossbreeding between these dogs and Swiss Spitzes.
- Tablets have been found in ancient Greek ruins depicting the dog. Otherwise, their origins are largely unknown.
- There was a point in time where the Maltese was smaller than a squirrel and so was prone to a number of accidents as well as getting picked off by hunters. They grew larger after crossbreeding with toy Poodles and miniature Spaniels to get them back up to their modern size.
- The Maltese is commonly crossbred with a Yorkie to create the “Morkie,” a popular hypoallergenic dog.
The Maltese is a hugely popular Toy breed that has charmed families everywhere for their spirited personality and hypoallergenic coat. They thrive off of human companionship and adore putting on a show for everybody. Their connection to humans is so great, in fact, that they can suffer from separation anxiety if they are not trained properly.
Solid training can make them very amiable little dogs, but they do have a stubborn streak. While they do not normally bite, the Maltese is susceptible to gaining a “Napoleon complex,” where they turn into tiny bullies and fierce competitors even against larger dogs. They traditionally do not get along well with larger breeds even with solid training, so it is important that you are prepared for the chaos if you keep more than one dog. On the other hand, however, their small size and easily maintainable coat make them ideal apartment dogs for college singles.
The Maltese has a notorious reputation for being a loud and persistent barker. While this does make them good watch dogs, the normal family will quickly find this a nuisance. It is their propensity for barking that actually makes the Maltese one of the most commonly abandoned dog breeds in numerous countries, including the United States.
Maltese do not possess an undercoat, so they are easy to brush and groom. Because of their small size and playful temperament, their exercise needs can be met inside or in a small yard.
The Maltese is a small generally very healthy breed.
- The breed, because they have a shorter snout, is susceptible to reverse sneezing.
- Maltese have strangely overactive tear glands and so are susceptible to tear staining under and around the eyes.
- The worst problem the Maltese possesses is their propensity to have bad teeth. Regular brushing at least once a week is required to help keep teeth healthy.
- The richest dog in the world is a Maltese named Trouble. She was owned by hotel and real estate heiress Leona Helmsley, who left her a $12 million trust fund.
- The Maltese is especially popular with Hollywood actresses, with the most famous of those being Halle Berry, Lindsay Lohan, Eva Longoria, and the late Elizabeth Taylor.
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