Today, decorative dogs are gaining great popularity among animal lovers. One of the most popular is the Maltese, considered one of the oldest breeds. It was bred for communication: this snow-white dog is sociable and energetic. Maltese will fit well into any family and easily acquire the status of a universal favorite dog.
Maltese Dog Breed Origin
The first mentions of the breed are found in Ancient Egypt’s writings, where the image of animals was present. Then unusual small dogs were considered an expensive gift presented to noble persons. The presence of the Maltese in the family indicated the wealth of the owners and their luxurious lifestyle.
The history of breeding modern representatives of the breed begins in Great Britain, where they came from the Philippines. The First World War endangered many species of breeds, including the Maltese.
The breeders had to make a lot of efforts to preserve this breed. Already in the 1930s, a breed club was formed, the Maltese population was gradually recovering. At the same time, dogs are actively spreading in the United States. Today, mono-exhibitions are held there annually.
Description of the Maltese Dog Breed
The Maltese has a proportionally developed body, and its movements are smooth. The weight of an adult dog is no more than 4 kg.
Boys are several centimeters taller than girls. The dimensions of an adult dog are 20-25 cm, which makes the animal very compact.
Description of the breed:
- The skull is flat, larger than the muzzle. The forehead is clearly defined. The ears are triangular in shape, set high, close to the head.
- The nose is small, the lobe is black and large. The jaws are well developed and small. They do not protrude beyond the muzzle, thin lips, scissor bite.
- The eyes are round, the iris is dark brown. The breed standard doesn’t have deep-set or protruding eyes.
- The neck stands out, is covered with thick hair, there are no folds. The back is straight, the chest is deep.
- The tail is set high. It’s thicker at the base, thinning towards the end.
- The shape is arched, a slight deviation to the side is permissible.
- The front legs are close to the body. The limbs are not muscular, but the bones are strong. The fingers are tightly pressed together, the pads are painted black.
The coat of dogs is long and dense, soft to the touch. No curls or frizz. The limbs may be slightly shaggy. The standard color of the Maltese is white, the presence of a pale orange or ivory shade is possible. But these tones can give the coat a gray, dirty look and are therefore considered undesirable.
There is an American subtype of the breed, which is considered its mini version (weight from 2.7 kg, does not exceed 3.2 kg). Such animals’ coat is somewhat shorter, but it cannot be said that this dwarf dog is short-haired.
Maltese Dog Breed Character
The external characteristics of a Maltese completely coincide with its character. A dog that seems funny and cute is distinguished by friendliness, activity, and gentleness.
The pet is loyal to all family members, its docile nature makes the Maltese accessible to an inexperienced dog breeder.
Even despite its fragile appearance, the Maltese will always rush to protect the owners in times of danger. Moreover, it does not matter for them who is a potential threat: an animal or a person.
Usually, the dog warns of its intentions by loud barking, but it can also use its teeth. This behavior proves that even small pets can be brave when it comes to the safety of their owners.
Maltese has an outstanding intellect, thanks to which it can easily master not only basic commands but also complex tricks. However, some of them can be quite stubborn due to the fact that their owners pamper them too much.
It is better not to have miniature dogs in a family with small children, as they can accidentally injure the animal while playing. But with an older child, Maltese will get along well.
Maltese has a friendly disposition towards other animals. It will not harm cats or rodents. The animal is very attached to its owners, so you shouldn’t leave it for a long time. Otherwise, the dog will become anxious, which will lead to severe stress.
Maltese Dog Breed Care
Maltese can live both in a large house and in a small apartment, but the first option is still preferable. So the pet can have constant contact with the owners. The peculiarity of the Maltese, like other small dogs, is that the animal can be potty trained.
To maintain the elegant appearance of the Maltese, the owners will have to make a lot of effort at home. Moreover, this requires not only time but also material costs.
Animal care comes down to the following points:
- Combing. The dog practically does not shed, but the coat needs daily brushing to maintain a neat appearance.
You can also read about Top 10 Small Dog Breeds That Don’t Shed.
- Bathing. The animal should be bathed with the use of special shampoos and balms intended for long-haired dogs. Occasionally, you can use a mating-preventing treatment.
- A haircut. If the owners do not plan to participate with the dog in shows, you can do a daily haircut. A shorn dog wears short hair, the length is retracted to a minimum. Hygienic haircuts are also popular, in which most of the hair is shortened on the genitals. To trim a dog for a show once is not enough. This procedure must be repeated at least 3 times a year.
There is a summer version of a puppy haircut that improves heat exchange in summer. Such grooming allows the owner to take less care of the coat.
Particular attention should be paid to the eyes, where dirt regularly accumulates due to lacrimation. In this case, the eyes become red and dark paths appear under them. This can happen for various reasons:
- the influence of external factors (dust, wind, etc.);
- internal processes in the body (heat, change of teeth);
- disease-related inflammation (e.g., conjunctivitis).
If the eyes are leaking, you must first determine the cause that caused this condition. Typically, most are temporary or treated with medication.
Maltese Dog Breed Feeding
When feeding a Maltese, it is important to consider the following points:
- Do not overfeed. Representatives of the breed are prone to obesity, so overeating threatens gastrointestinal tract diseases, heart and digestion. It is possible to understand that an animal overeats not only by rapidly gaining weight. At first, the dog is seething in the stomach, since the gastrointestinal tract cannot cope with the received volume of food.
- Do not feed with human food. Many products from the owner’s table, for example, sausages, canned food, sweets, can lead to digestive disorders. Also, such snacks can bring down the meal schedule.
- If the owners are going to feed the animal with dry food, the brand must be at least premium. The food is intended for miniature dogs.
If the food is natural, then the pet’s menu should include:
- lean meat (boiled beef or chicken);
- cottage cheese;
- porridge (buckwheat or rice);
If the food is not suitable for the pet, this can be determined by the condition of the coat. When the coat becomes dull, brittle, or dandruff develops, these are signs of improper feeding.
How to Feed Maltese Dog Breed
Puppies can also be fed with natural or manufactured food. With the latter, problems usually do not arise.
Puppies can be fed with dry food from 1 month old. It can be pre-soaked slightly in water for better chewing.
With natural feeding, the puppy’s menu should contain:
- porridge with the addition of meat;
- pure meat (beef, rabbit or turkey);
- boneless sea fish;
- vegetables and herbs;
- cottage cheese.
At the age of 2-4 months, puppies should eat 4 times a day, at 4-6 months – three times a day. From 8 months the puppy gradually becomes an adult dog, therefore feeding should be done twice a day.
Maltese Dog Breed Training
Maltese is not at all like the big fighting dogs, which have been trained since childhood. But this does not mean that you do not need to train the animal. Its socialization and training must also be dealt with from the first days of the pet’s stay in the house. By 2-3 months, the puppy should normally respond to its nickname, know a few basic commands.
The establishment of prohibitions plays an important role in training. If something is forbidden to a pet, household members need to follow these rules. Do not give the dog forbidden food or do not let it sleep on the sofa, no matter how tearfully it asked.
The basis of any training is patience and reinforcement of correct actions. If the owner speaks rudely to the pet, this can discourage any desire to learn and offend it for a long time.
For socialization to be successful, a Maltese, while still a puppy, needs to walk in special places designed for dogs. This will help the animal to perceive the environment calmly.
There is a myth that small dogs should not be trained, but this opinion is not only wrong, but also dangerous. An untrained animal is at great risk outdoors.
Maltese Dog Breed Diseases and Life Expectancy
The formation of the oldest breeds took place without the participation of breeders, therefore, Maltese grown in natural conditions, have strong immunity.
But, nevertheless, they have a number of hereditary diseases:
- lameness due to dislocation of the patella;
- problems with the gastrointestinal tract;
- eye diseases.
With proper care, Malteses live 12-15 years, which is considered a good age for dogs.
Maltese Dog Breed: How to choose a puppy
Choosing an animal for a person who is not an expert in the field of dog breeding is quite problematic. This is due to the fact that puppies are usually taken from their mother at 2 months, but their coat has not yet changed to adult, which makes it difficult to determine its structure. The coat should not be too fluffy or frizzy. Slight waviness is allowed, which usually straightens with the growth of the dog.
The first vaccinations for puppies can be done from 1 month old, so you need to find out in advance which vaccinations the pet already has and which ones are yet to be delivered.
The rest of the requirements for choosing a puppy are similar to choosing another breed. The pet’s body should not have bald patches, redness, eyes and ears should be clean. The puppy does not show aggression or shyness, easily makes contact.
If the owners need a Maltese for breeding, it is best to buy a girl, because the owners often offer males for mating. The first mating should take place not earlier than the third heat, then the expectant mother will finally be formed and be able to bear offspring.
The Pros And Cons Of The Breed
- Molting is practically absent.
- It gets along well with children and pets.
- Does not require a lot of physical activity.
- Well trainable.
- May be kept in the apartment
- Constant care of hair and eyes is required
- No pronounced guarding and watchdog qualities
- Sometimes it can bark for no reason in the apartment
Where to Buy Maltese Dog Breed And Price
The cost of a puppy primarily depends on the availability of a pedigree. It is best to acquire a pet with eminent parents in special nurseries. The price of a thoroughbred puppy with documents can cost about $1100. The cost of exhibition animals starts around $4300 and can go up to $10000.