Maltese breed has a distinguished history going back more than twenty-eight centuries in Malta. The tiny white dogs were so celebrated that poems were written about them, paintings were made, and stories told. The early Greeks built tombs for their Maltese, and numerous pieces of ceramic art depict dogs that look much like today’s Maltese.
Maltese are a toy dog breed and stand between 5 and 8 inches tall and weigh 4 to 7 pounds. The head is slightly rounded on top, the eyes are round and dark, and the ears are hanging and covered with long hair. The tail is a long plume that is carried over the back. The coat is long, flat, and silky. It hangs to the ground and is pure white. There is no undercoat. The Maltese’s wonderful coat must be brushed daily with a pin brush; make sure to go through the coat to the skin and not just brush over the top hairs. Particular care must be taken with the coat’s cleanliness around the eyes, ears, mouth, feet, and genitals. Although the long, white coat is beautiful, many pet owners have their dogs trimmed shorter for ease of care.
The Maltese dog breed is quite playful, even as an adult, but is not overly active. Maltese are companion dogs and are happy to snuggle and cuddle. Daily walks and a play session or two will satisfy this breed’s exercise requirements. Training should begin early, as the Maltese can be a challenge to housetrain. Crate training is recommended for housetraining and for keeping the tiny Maltese puppies safe. It also prevents other problem behaviours, including chewing.
Potential Maltese owners should understand that housetraining a tiny dog requires consistency and patience. The Maltese is a companion dog and is happiest when able to spend time with his owner. Although the Maltese can be good with children who handle him gently, most Maltese breeders will not sell a puppy to a family with young children, as the puppies are fragile. Health concerns include liver and trachea problems, hypoglycemia, and allergies.