All About the Maltese

About This Breed

The Maltese is an ancient Mediterranean breed thought to have descended from the Bichon Frisé. It was kept primarily by the upper class in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, later becoming popular in England during the Victorian era.

Physical Characteristics

The Maltese is a small and delicate dog. Its eyes are round and black, and ears are dropped. Its tail, meanwhile, is long and carried over the back.

COLOR(S)

The breed is usually seen in pure white, though there is sometimes a light tan or lemon hue on the ears.

COAT

The Maltese has a long and silky coat that parts from the top of the head across the back to the tail. Its hair is usually tied up on the face to reveal its eyes.

Personality and Temperament

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Low

POSITIVES

The Maltese is playful and self confident. It also makes a good watchdog as it barks strangers and other dogs.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

The Maltese can be yappy and has been known to snap at strangers and other dogs. Additionally, it is not recommended a good pet for families with younger children.

Care

IDEAL LIVING SITUATION

The Maltese fares well in the city or country.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

The Maltese needs special grooming attention.

Health

The following conditions are commonly seen in the Maltese:

  • Patellar luxation
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Undescended testicles (cryptorchid)
  • Deafness
  • Dental disease

History and Background

Reputed as one of the oldest dog breeds and the most ancient European toy breed, the Maltese has a curious history. Phoenician sailors visiting the island of Malta for trading around 1500 B.C. are credited for discovering the first Maltese dogs. From the 5th century onwards, dogs resembling the breed were found in Greek art. There is also evidence that the Greeks erected tombs to honor the dogs.

The breed was introduced to England in the early 1300s, where upper-class ladies took a fancy to them for their diminutive size. However, it was not until the 1877 Westminster Kennel Club dog show that the first Maltese was exhibited in the United States. The American Kennel Club accepted the breed for registration in 1888. Since then, it has steadily grown in popularity and is one of the most coveted toy breeds today.

National Clubs and/or Organizations

American Maltese Association

2240 South 308th Street

Federal Way, WA 98003

Fun Fact(s)

In ancient Greece tombs were erected in remembrance when a Maltese past away.

Visit Adopt-a-Pet.com to find an adoptable Maltese in your area!