Historically tied to the nation of Malta, Maltese dogs are a breed of toy puppies that have existed for centuries, but still capture the hearts of many people when they encounter them today. This little pup’s silky, milk white coat makes him stand out in any crowd, and generally attract a lot of attention whenever he hits the road. These dogs enjoy being with their owners, and are generally very energetic and playful despite their small size. They make an ideal pet for many people, but their silk white coat may be a deterrent for many.
Though people adore seeing this coat, they ultimately understand that it may be a bit difficult to maintain and care for, especially because it is a very active pup with a mind of his own. There are also many other reasons why Maltese dogs may or may not be the ideal option for many people, but before deciding, it is better to have all the facts about this dog. Here are the major determining factors about the Maltese dog, that will help you decide whether to run out and adopt one, or adore their cuteness from a distance.
History and Origin of Maltese Dogs
While the name of its ancient descendants are hazy, Maltese dogs date back to many centuries ago in the island of Malta, found in the central Mediterranean. In the 16th century, Maltese dogs made their way to Europe, specifically to Britain, and quickly rose to the top of the social hierarchy for dogs by becoming one of the favorites of Queens for years to come. After some time, owning a Maltese became a symbol of wealth and power, and only the wealthiest and most noble of people and families could afford to have one.
After a decrease in the population due to its status, the Maltese dog became more easily trained and started being sent to many different countries. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the Maltese finally came to the United States, and became instantly popular and loved by many. Unlike many other dogs in the US, the popularity of the Maltese never significantly decreased, and every year it has continued to be one of the most revered and adored dogs in the country. It is important to note however that the rise in many other toy dog breeds such as the Pomeranian, have presented other options for those who want to adopt.
Appearance and Physical Attributes
Maltese dogs are known for their silky white coat, that can grow as long as you let it when left untrimmed, but an unfamiliar notion to many, is the fact that these dogs actually come with other markings. These include an ivory tint on the ears, or lemon looking marks on the fullness of their coat. They do not have an undercoat, but the thickness of their hair helps to keep them warm during winter months. Maltese pups can also be identified by their drooping ears and their small button nose that changes colour during different seasons.
Completely covered in soft and silky fur, these dogs generally don’t grow past 12 inches, and are usually about 3 to 10 pounds in size when fully grown. They are toy pups, meaning that they are naturally small, but there sturdy bodies allow them the luxury of being very playful and energetic, without tiring as easily as other toy dogs. While the sizes and specifications for the ideal Maltese pup vary among different clubs, this little pup despite his size, will be a joy to have around.
Temperament & Personality
This breed is known for its energetic and playful personality, but more than ever, these dogs love to spend quality time with their owners. Some dogs may even become so attached to their owners, that they may suffer from separation anxiety when left alone. These dogs were bred as companion dogs, and are normally used to constantly having their owner around. Apart from being loving and dedicated, Maltese dogs are also generally very active, but also very loyal. They enjoy yards, where they can run around and play, but may also be content with small apartments, as long as there’s enough space for them to get their daily exercise.
One of the major complications people face when they want to adopt a Maltese is its inability to be house trained. Though many Maltese generally do well in following instructions, and respond well to proper training and socialization, they are unfortunately the worst when it comes to housetraining. Your best bet is getting an outdoor litter box or a covered potty area for your dog, especially if you live in a city where it is constantly rainy and cold. Ultimately, the small issues of this breed cannot compare to the immense joy that they will bring you as a new pet.
These dogs, because of their small size, are prone to developing certain complications that can only be found in toy dogs, as well as other complications that are specific to their breed. Many of these health problems can be prevented if you are mindful of them and put preventative measures in place, but some are inherited by the pup and cannot be changed by outdoor factors. The major health issues associated with the Maltese dogs are:
- Eye diseases – Many Maltese dogs may develop severe eye diseases such as glaucoma and even progressive retinal atrophy if left undiagnosed and untreated. These conditions can be prevented, but they can also be treated to prevent your dog from becoming completely blind.
- Injury – As a toy dog, the Maltese is at an increased risk for suffering from bone fractures and other joint and bone related issues.
- Chronic allergies – These normally appear in the form of skin irritations and in some cases, recurring ear infections if not dealt with properly.
- Heart disease and epilepsy
The Maltese is a lot more than what meets the eye when you spot him in a park, but with adequate training and socialization, your new puppy could change your life for the better.