BBS Breed Spotlight: Maltese

Since ancient times, Maltese have been a statement of a wealthy household. Today, this clever and jolly little dog makes a household richer for having been in it. Find out more about this small breed with a big personality by reading’s Breed Spotlight on the Maltese.

History & Background: The “ancient dog of Malta” or “Roman Ladies’ Dog” or even the “Maltese Lion Dog” were all names given to the ancient breed that is the Maltese. This breed enjoyed the good life next to aristocratic ladies of their time. These ladies carried the Maltese around in their sleeves and let them to sleep in their beds. One of the best-accounted ancient Maltese was Issa, the dog of a Roman Governor in Malta. This account of Issa, written at the time of the Apostle Paul, painted Issa as “purer than a dove’s kiss,” “gentler than a maiden,” and “more precious than Indian gems.” It’s easily seen that even in their earliest days this dog was very much loved. It’s even seen that Greeks built tombs for their Maltese and were worshipped by the Egyptians.

It’s thought Crusaders returning home from the Mediterranean took Maltese to England. Royalty owned this breed in England as well and even as far back as the 1500s would coat a $2,000 to purchase. This breed has been recognized by the AKC since 1888 and is a true companion dog for any family.

Height: Males – 8 to 10 inches; Females – 8 to 9 inches

Weight: Males – 3 to 7 pounds; Females – 2 to 7 pounds

Coat: A Maltese has a single coat made up of straight and long hair with a silky texture. Breed standards require no kinks or curls show in the coat.

Color: Coloring for a Maltese is pure white. Standards say that this breed can have some light tan or lemon color on the ears. Maltese have large dark eyes and a black nose.

Appearance: The Maltese is a toy breed that is delicate in every way. A fine bone structure that is compact, the Maltese exudes softness. The head is slightly rounded on top and ears are feathered with long hair and low set. The back is level, ribs well sprung and chest is deep on this dog. The tail is also plumed and carried over the back, it’s tip lying to the side over the hindquarters.

Temperament: Even though this dog is a small creature, it has the character of a much larger dog, not showing fear very often. Maltese will alert their owners to any strange noises. A trusting dog that is affectionate and maybe the most gentle mannered of all toy breeds, a Maltese thrives on receiving attention. This can also cause a very jealous dog and should be trained to share affections. These dogs love to play and with proper socialization, are good with children and other house animals.

Health & Grooming: This breed can be prone to sunburn along their hair part as well as issues with the eyes and respiratory system.

This dog needs daily coat brushing or combing to maintain the silky coat. Cleaning the eyes daily prevents tear staining and for the same reason, cleaning the beard after meals. Bathing thing wet or dry shampoo weekly is recommended but this dog needs to be thoroughly warm and dry afterward. Cleaning ears and eyes is necessary as well. The hair on top of the head is usually gathered up into a small ponytail to keep the hair out of the eyes. Some owners groom their Maltese by cutting the hair short for less time intensive daily grooming. This breed is considered a “hypoallergenic” breed by many because of its single coat and because this breed sheds so little.

Product Suggestions: The West Paw Jive Mini is a perfect match for a mini pooch. This mini Jive dog ball from West Paw is guaranteed to withstand the damage your dog will try to do to this innocent extremely fun colorful dog ball. It floats, it bounces unpredictably, it is fun to chase, chew, and will provide enjoyable playtime for any little pooch.

To keep Maltese teeth and gums healthy, this breed needs a dry dog biscuit. Itty Bitty Roasted Chicken Buddy Biscuits are bite size gingerbread men are made with all healthy and natural ingredients, yet exclude those not in your dogs natural diet such as soy, yeast, and salt! They’re packed with flavor and perfect for the Maltese.

Do you own or know a Maltese? Tell us your favorite Maltese story in the comments section!


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