This toy breed is small in size and only grows up to 8-10 inches in height! Also, on average, it weighs between 6-7lbs. Its small size makes it the perfect lap dog to live in small urban spaces.
If you’re looking for a dog that’s full of affection, the Maltese will shower you with love.
You will never be bored if you own a Maltese as they have a lively nature and love to be the center of attention.
That means they love to be around people! So if you have lots of family members in your home, they will treat them as a friend and play with them.
Their friendly nature extends to other animals, and they should fit in easily with any addition in your home. The same goes for animals outside, given that they’re well socialized.
Likewise, they don’t need a lot of space to exercise, as they are little and have short bursts of energy. All this small dog breed needs is a fenced yard and daily walks.
You will rarely discover a Maltese that is aggressive or dominant. They tend to be relaxed and happy dogs. The truth is, their temperament can differ depending on their pattern of inheritance. Another personality trait they are renowned for is their intelligence and natural curiosity.
Those two combined make them an easy breed to train and teach tricks to. Which makes them a great small breed for first-time dog owners.
Because Maltese are very affectionate, they also love to climb on top of you and snuggle. They’re a great lap dog and will show their loyal side every chance they get.
Due to their fondness for humans, they can develop separation anxiety if left for long. They often get nicknamed ‘velcro dog’ as they like to cling onto humans and rarely leave their side.
If you’re someone who is away often, this dog is not for you.
Out of many breeds in the toy category, the Maltese are one of the oldest. In case you haven’t figured out due to their name, this breed originates from Malta. Malta is an island in the Mediterranean sea and is situated 60 miles from Sicily.
This island was a hub for merchants, mariners, pilgrims, and many more people with different occupations who came to Malta from all over the world.
Throughout history, Malta has witnessed many countries and people take it over. This stems back to 1,500 B.C, where Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, Arabs, Normans, Carthaginians, and more.
They came to the island to grasp spices, silks, gems, and more. However, one of the most popular items they took was the small white lapdog often kept tightly wrapped in the arms of many ladies of leisure.
It’s believed the Maltese was first introduced to the inhabitants of Malta by the Phoenicians.
During the 4th and 5th centuries, many Greeks who came to Malta were fascinated by the islands’ beauty and its treasures.
Again, the Maltese back then was known as the “Melitaie Dog” and is commonly seen on many ceramics dating back to the Golden Age era. Even Aristotle made remarks about how well proportioned this dog was.
The Maltese was also popular among many Roman aristocrats and became a status symbol of the upper class. Plus, the Roman Emperor Claudius even owned a Maltese!
The small dog breed has been in poems, fables, myths, and famous works of art.
There is even a Christian story that surrounds St Paul, a key figure in the early days of Christianity. It’s believed that St Paul received a Maltese as a gift.
When the Roman Empire fell, the Chinese kept this small dog breed alive. They refined this breed, even more, crossing the Maltese with many of their toy breeds.
As a result, a newer Maltese came back into Europe as the one we’re familiar with today.
In 1877, at the first-ever Westminster dog show, the Maltese made its first appearance. Here is got the nickname, “lion dog.”
Due to them having a long, sleek, and pristine white coat, the Maltese have to be looked after well. The Maltese is hypoallergenic which means they don’t shed a lot. Even though they don’t shed a lot, their coat requires regular care.
First of all, their coat should be brushed up to 2-3 times a week. Their white coat can easily attract and show lots of dirt, hence why you should play your part to remove it.
It’s vital that you don’t brush its coat dry and that you use a hydrating mist before brushing it. The best way to remove any tangles or mats is by using a comb and a special pin brush.
This will help remove any mats and tangles from the coat.
Alongside this, they should be bathed every couple of weeks, as the white coat can easily get dirt in it. Before washing a Maltese, you should brush it first and then use special dog shampoo to clean its coat.
Around its eyes and mouth, it can get stains on its fur. The white fur can easily become stained from tears or saliva and will need to be removed. To prevent stains from occurring, a Maltese will need fur and will need to be wiped each day around its eyes and mouth with a cotton swab.
According to the American Kennel Club, the wax in their ears should be reviewed every week, and any excess hair should be removed.
The Maltese are generally a healthy breed and tend to live up to 12-15 years on average if looked after well. However, sometimes, this breed can be prone to having the following health problems:
- Heart disease: For Maltese, heart failure is the most common cause of death. Their heart valves are prone to weakening and failing as they get older.
- Obesity: This small breed has a reputation for gaining weight quickly and putting it on its joints.
- Glaucoma: An eye disease that can cause blindness in a Maltese if left untreated.
- Portosystemic shunt: When the blood supply does not go to the liver and goes around it. This condition can stop blood flow and preventing the liver from working well.
A Maltese should eat high-quality small breed dog food. A veterinarian or a commercial company should approve it.
The food you feed your dog should come from the advice of your veterinarian. Likewise, they will tell you how much to feed it based on their age and weight.
Did you know?
Fun Fact #1: Maltese can get sunburn.
Fun Fact #2: They’re often used as therapy dogs.
Fun Fact #3: They’re great at jumping.
The Maltese is a fantastic breed and is not aggressive at all. It loves to be around people and requires regular maintenance when it comes to its coat.
If you have enough time to spare and ready to devote a lot of affection to a dog, then the Maltese is for you.