Maltese Dog Description
They have very long, wavy hair. They do not have an undercoat. They are almost always pure white but can be found in cream and light lemon shades as well. They have long, drop ears. Their noses are black but when not exposed to sunlight can fade to a brown or even a pink shade. They have very dark eyes. The Maltese exact origin is unknown but there is some evidence that suggests the breed was first created in Asia. It is believed they are descendants of the Spitz family. The breed was traced back to 6000 BC by Darwin. It is thought that Maltese was originally bred for rodent control but they are best known as a companion dog. The breed was a favorite among the royal and the rich. Some of the most famous Maltese owners include Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, Josephine Bonaparte, and Marie Antoinette.
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Maltese have a fairly friendly temperament. They are very protective and will bark or even bite if they feel you are threatening them or their owners. They are not ideal pets for young children. They can be intolerant and young children and other pets often irritate them. It is often said that a Maltese does not comprehend how small it is. They seem fearless at times often attacking much larger animals if they feel threatened by them. For this reason, it is better to not have larger dogs if you have a Maltese. Maltese, unlike some other smaller breeds, do have a playful side.
The Maltese are a relatively healthy breed. They can live for up to fifteen years. Some problems that are commonly associated with the breed are luxating patella (slipping kneecaps), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), and Portosystemic liver.
Maltese do not require a great deal of exercise which makes them an ideal pet for apartment living. They are playful at times, especially in the first few years. Maltese enjoy shorts walks and games of fetch.
Special Grooming Needs
Maltese have very long hair that resembles human hair more than fur. They do not have an undercoat so shedding is limited but they still require a good deal of grooming to prevent matting. Many Maltese owners clip the hair for easier maintenance. Others prefer to keep the hair longer. Professional grooming may be required to ensure that a Maltese coat is healthy. Maltese are also prone to “tear staining”, which is when the liquid produced by the eyes stains the area around the eye. Wiping the eye are of a Maltese is necessary to prevent staining.