The Maltese is a small Toy dog that stands no more than 10 inches at the shoulders. He weighs between 6 – 9 pounds and is covered in a long mantle of white, straight silky fur. Maltese are extremely sweet and loveable little dogs that have been apart of aristocracy for more than 28 centuries. This breed was celebrated by the Greeks, Italians and, of course, residents of Malta.
Even though the breed is now adored by both the rich and everyday people, he still holds true to his natural traits of devotion, love and trust towards his owner. The gentle temperament of the Maltese and his spirited nature is what continues to win the hearts of so many.
That being said, they should not be overly pampered as this can ruin their ideal temperament traits and make the dog extremely overprotective of their owner, and jealous of others that spend time with their master. Furthermore, they will be hard to control if he is allowed to walk over his family. Like all dogs, he must be taught his place in your home. He requires proper socialization and basic obedience training.
Maltese are the perfect size for apartments and are happy living in close quarters with their owner. They do require sufficient exercise, but they are rather active indoors. Therefore, a few short walks per day and play time should suffice.
This breed is easier to love than he is to care for. This is because his silky white coat requires daily care, as does his eyes. This breed is susceptible to tear stain, a condition that causes the dog to have watery eyes that form goopy discharge at the corner of the eyes. It also causes the hair under the Maltese’s eye to turn a deep rusted red color. Keeping their hair out of their eyes, by tying it up on their head if it is long, and by wiping up the buildup, helps keep tear stain under control.
Maltese dogs do not shed, but their coat easily mats and becomes dirty. This means anyone who owns a Maltese must be prepared to purchase grooming supplies such as combs, a brush, and dog shampoo. All of these items are a regular part of Maltese care.
If the dog does not have his hair clipped short (which requires daily combing), and his hair is left long so that it trials on the floor, his coat will require brushing a few times per day. Furthermore, he should have a bath once a month to keep his coat a pristine white. The coat should also be clipped regularly.
Maltese usually live to be 15 years of age. In rare cases, they have even been known to live as long as 18 years. They are prone to sunburn, kidney stones, tooth, eye, and knee problems. These dogs also tend to shake. This could be because the dog has the chills or is experiencing a condition known as White Dog Shaker Syndrome.
The Maltese loves his family, tolerates well mannered children and does not mind other house pets. He is a superb family companion and a true sweetheart among dogs.