Dog Breeds 101: Maltese

Dog Breeds 101 - Maltese - WP
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Meet the Snow White of the dog kingdom – the Maltese. With long, silky hair as white as snow, a pair of round eyes as black as ebony, and a button nose that adds to the breed’s overall cuteness score, the Maltese certainly can compete for the title of the “fairest of them all.”

The Maltese has a history of being the favorite pet of noble and royal ladies for over 28 centuries! [1] This dog has captured the hearts of Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, and Queen Victoria. For this reason, they have enjoyed comfortable lives inside palaces and other mansions. The Maltese is an ancient toy dog, with a history that dates back to the era of early civilizations. Almost all forms of art such as pots, paintings, and poems have depicted this breed of dog, and although the Maltese has never been encased in a glass coffin like Snow White, special tombs were erected for them by the Greeks. The Egyptians brought their adoration for the Maltese to another level by believing they had powers to cure the ill.

The Maltese is well recognized by its silky, immaculate-white hair that hangs over the dog’s sides and eventually falls all the way to the ground. When they walk, they resemble a small white fluffy cloud floating over the ground. Such hair requires a lot of visits to the groomer and daily combing. The Maltese weighs around 5 to 7 pounds and stands 7 to 12 inches tall.

Very spirited and bubbly, the Maltese can make friends with everyone including children. [2] But do not let this ball of fur fool you, they can stand their ground against dogs twice their size if need be. Unfortunately, this can also be a concern. Being bold can be impressive, but being completely unaware of your actual size is a different matter. Other dogs ten times the size of a Maltese might just be tempted and accept the tiny dog’s challenge. The result could be traumatic and the owner should keep a close eye on their dog.

There seems to be nothing that can diminish the Maltese’s curiosity or subdue their seemingly endless energy for that matter. They love to frolic outdoors and run in the backyard. Because of its adorable people-oriented nature and cute facial expressions, sometimes it becomes difficult not to spoil these dogs. However, doing so will not necessarily benefit this dog. Also, remember that when adopting a Maltese it is important to find a reputable breeder and avoid “backyard breeders.” [3]



[2] Nancy Furstinger, Maltese (ABDO, 2010), p. 8.

[3] Joe Fulda and Betsy Sikora Siino, Maltese: Everything about Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Behavior, and Training (Barron’s Educational Series, 2006), p. 26.

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