Maltese Dog Breed
Aliases: Roman Ladies,Comforter Dog,Spaniel Gentle,Shock Dog,Maltese Lion Dog
|Life Span:||12-14 years|
|Litter Size:||Average is 2-4 puppies per litter.|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||White. Light tan or lemon on the ears is accepted, but not desired.|
|Male Height:||9-10 inches at the withers|
|Male Weight:||4-6 pounds, but no more than 7.|
|Female Height:||9-10 inches at the withers|
|Female Weight:||4-6 pounds, but no more than 7.|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||They are not an outside dog, as many fall victim to larger animals. Their coats are also not heavy enough to keep them warm and dry in harsher weather. They also make wonderful apartments dogs. They may not be good in homes with small children as they are very fragile and can break easily; a household with other children or adults is preferred.|
Maltese are small, fine-bonded, but sturdy dogs. Height from the ground to withers should equal in length from withers to tail. Their sloping shoulder blades lead down to short, fine-boned, straight forelegs, to elbows held close to the body, and onto small round feet; the legs should have a moderate amount of feathering. Going back up to the head, it should be of medium length, slightly rounded on top, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The ears are heavily feathered, long, and low set on the head. Eyes are dark, round, and alert with black rims giving them what is called a "halo" effect. Muzzle is of medium length, fine and tapered, with a moderate stop. Their nose is to be black, though may fade and become brown or pink during the winter, referred to as a "winter\'s nose"; it will turn back to black with more exposure to the sun. Teeth should meet in an even or scissors bite.
Continuing on down the body, the neck should be long enough to promote a high carried head. The body is compact with a level topline. Chest is deep with well-sprung ribs and has a slight tucked up appearance in the loin. The back legs are strong, and are well angulated at the stifles and hocks. Finally, the long-haired well-feathered tail plume is carried high, draped gracefully over the back.
A well put together Maltese looks as if he is floating along the ground under a great cloud of white hair.
The Maltese sports an all white single-layered coat, that offers little to no shedding. Their long hair should drape over each side, divided down the back with a center part from nose to tail; the hair should be about 8 inches long, or almost touching the ground. It is optional whether to keep the long hair on the head in a topknot, or to be left hanging. Some dogs may have kinky, curly, or woolly hair; anything other than a silky texture is out of standard.
The Maltese is the oldest European toy breeds, and amongst the oldest of all breeds. The breed itself can be traced back many centuries; Charles Darwin places them as far back at about 6ooo B.C. Though its exact origins are unknown, it is believed that they originated on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea, hence the name "Maltese". They are believed to be descended from a Spitz-like dog used for hunting in marshes and wooded areas in Southern Europe; though also thought to have been used for rodent control. Bred down to obtain its small size, the breed has bred true for centuries due to being kept on the island, Malta. Though it is also thought to have originated in Asia and may have helped to form the Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Terrier, Tibetan Spaniel, and even the Pekingese. They have been seen in Egyptian culture around 300-600 B.C., and on Greek vases around 500 B.C.
Brought to England by Crusaders and nomadic tribes, they soon became very popular with woman, who carried them around in their sleeves. They were favored by royalty, and it is said that Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, Josephine Bonaparte and Marie Antoinette may have owned them.
In America, they were first shown as Maltese Lion Dogs around 1877, and were recognized in 1888 by the AKC.
The Maltese is among the most gentlest-mannered of all little dogs. They are very affectionate, playful, loving and cheerful. Full of Personality, enthusiastic and energy, they are known for their sudden and wild outbursts; running in circles, or at top speed in all directions. Recommended as a great candidate for the first-time dog owner, these lovable companions want nothing more than to be with YOU.
Adoring and devoted to their masters, they are eager to please, and can be very protective of their owners. If they feel other animals or people may possibly be a threat to you, or their territory, they will frantically bark and possibly try to bite the intruder. They are uninterested with objects or animals larger than themselves, they are without fear; they act like big dogs trapped in a little dogs\' body. Bold and quick to sound the alarm at suspicious noises and strangers, they can tend to be barky.
Lively and spirited, they are fairly easy to train and highly intelligent, quick to learning tricks and commands. Though some may be a bit stubborn, as their lovable nature and cuteness tends to make them be very spoiled. They love to play outdoors and have a "thing" for jumping in puddles, or anything they can make a mess of themselves. Males and females are equal in temperaments.
They can be snippy with rough children, as they are very fragile and break easily. On the other hand, they do get along great with other dogs, cats, and small animals. Some may be difficult to housebreak, as well as being picky eaters. Because of their devotion to their owners, they tend to suffer from anxiety issues when left alone for long periods of time.
Thyroid Disease - High Risk
The Maltese dog ranks #9 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. There is a high risk of obtaining a dog that will develop thyroid disease. For this reason you should make sure you, or your breeder, are testing all dogs before breeding. It may even be a good idea to test dogs that you don't plan on breeding so that any instance of disease can be traced back to breeding pairs and eliminated.
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
The Maltese does not usually suffer from any major health problems, though because of their size there are a few things to watch out for. patellar luxation (in which the knee will pop out of place), hypoglycemia (low glucose or sugar level), slipped stifle, and problems with anesthetics. Some minor problems are: having an open fontanel (soft spot on head), hydrocephalus, distichiasis, entropion, teeth and gum issues, eye infections, liver problems, and of course low thyroid. Occasionally, deafness and white shaker dog syndrome is seen. White Shaker-Dog Syndrome is primarily seen in small white dogs, it causes an all-over tremor that may cause difficulty in walking. This disorder usually develops when they are adolescents or adults, and can be treated with medication.