AKC Group: Toy
The Maltese breed is one of the oldest European toy breeds and, in fact, one of the oldest dog breeds overall. Charles Darwin had traced the breed back to 6000 BC. The exact origins are
unknown, but the common theory is the Maltese was developed on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. They developed from a Spitz-like dog used for hunting in marshes and wooded areas in Southern Europe. Other people believe the Maltese developed in Asia from the Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Terrier and Spaniel and Pekingese.
Size: 9 to 10 inches high; under 7 pounds.
Life span: 12 to 14 years
Health problems: Glaucoma, deafness, thyroid problems, low blood sugar, sensitivity to drugs or chemicals, dental problems, luxating patella, progressive retinal atrophy and entropion.
As a toy breed, the Maltese is a small, dainty dog that have the sweetest expression. The coat is long and straight and silk to the touch. Brush him daily. Clip every few months. Check his eyes and ears often and trim bottom hair.
This popular breed is mild mannered, affectionate and loving. Their intelligence and alertness make training a breeze. The only problem he will probably give you is housebreaking. Crating is most effective in this situation. (If you try pee pads, your Maltese will expect to be able to go on any paper left on the floor.) Energetic and spirited, Maltese love to play. To keep his mind engaged, give him a variety of mentally stimulating toys. They thrive on attention, so if you travel a lot or don’t have time to devote to him, consider another breed. He doesn’t like rough treatment, so gentle children are his favorite. They are polite to strangers and usually don’t present any problems to companion animals. They do not have a problem standing up to a larger breed of dog. By nature, Maltese are standoffish. To combat this, socialize often and early. Always discourage barking.