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The Maltese, the oldest European toy breed,
has been depicted on objects of art as old
as 3000 years. The name Maltese comes from
the old Latin name, Canis Melitaeus, which
referred to the dog's place of origin. There
is debate as to whether this was actually
the Island of Malta, or the town of Melita
in Sicily. Throughout Europe, the Maltese
was often used as an object of barter along
trade routes and it gained human interest
wherever it was left. The main function
of this charming toy breed has always been
to serve its master as friend and companion.
The Maltese has been recognized and exhibited
since 1862 in England, since 1877 in the
States, and since 1901 in Canada. This tiny
breed fits well in any size accommodation
and does not require very much exercise.
The height of a Maltese is 10" (25.4cm)
The Maltese weighs 4 - 6 lbs (1.8 - 2.7
The long, flowing coat of the Maltese should
be straight and silky, and neither woolly
nor curly. The most common color is all-white
but beige or lemon markings are permitted.
There is no undercoat, yet care and grooming
of the coat requires dedication and attention.
Daily brushing and frequent bathing keep
the Maltese coat tangle-free and clean.
The Maltese is a mild-mannered,
gentle dog. It is an animated and intelligent
creature that enjoys human companionship,
including that of children, and, in return
is very affectionate.
The Maltese can be prone to digestive,
eye, respiratory and skin problems. This
breed is also sensitive to hot weather and
damp conditions. The average life expectancy
for a Maltese is 15 years, although many
can live much longer.
This tiny breed nearly became extinct
in the 17th and 18th centuries when breeders
tried to make it even smaller than it already
was. The disastrous results were reversed
by crossing the breed back with other Toy
breeds, which helped the Maltese regain
its vim and vigor.
AKC: Group 5 - Toys
ANKC: Group 1 - Toy
CKC: Group 5 - Toys
FCI: Group 9 Section 1 Bichons and related
KC: Non-Sporting - Toys
UKC: Companion Breeds