The Maltese is alert, lively, loyal and sensitive. Although Maltese appear delicate at first sight, they are definitely not sissy dogs. They thrive on human companionship and accept and equally love all members of their household. Maltese get along with other household pets and children without any difficulties. Maltese are relatively straight-forward to train and tend to learn quickly.
Maltese require a substantial amount of grooming with their long, silky coats. They need daily brushing and combing and regular washing. The red tear stains can be reduced or removed with special lotions specifically designed for the area. Some owners chose to keep the coat trimmed short if the dog is only a pet and not being shown. Maltese typically have the hair between the eyes tied up in a top knot. Owners who have show dogs often oil the hair and wind it up in curling papers to prevent it from splitting.
These small dogs usually adapt themselves to the family activities to fulfill their exercise needs. Maltese will happily join their owner for a long walk though.
It is believed that Maltese existed and were highly valued as far back as 3500 BC. During the first century AD they were known as 'The Roman Ladies Dogs' and were used in paintings and poems. In 1570 Dr. Caius discussed their virtues and described how women carried them in their bosoms, arms and took them into their beds. The Maltese has been protected and spoilt for centuries. They are said to be one of the oldest European breeds and during the time of Henry VIII they were immediate favourites of the English Court.
General Appearance: Elegant, glossy-white and petite.
Color: Pure white with slight lemon markings permitted. The nose, eyerims and pads are all black.
Coat: Long, dense, silky, straight and heavy. The average length is 23 cm (9 inches) and the hair hangs down on either side of a straight parting running down the centre of the back.
Tail: Tapering, carried in a large arch over the back and finishing with a long plume.
Ears: Set high, flat, almost triangular, well feathered with long hair reaching to the shoulders.
Body: The body is square and short with a straight topline. The belly is rather low and the ribs are rounded.
- Maltese make delightful companions for all ages, but are not suitable for owners who don't have the time for their extensive grooming.