Are you looking for a canine companion for your household? Want one that is small in size but its heart is bigger than any other? Look no further than a Maltese! Wish to know more about a Maltese? Keep reading to learn about the dog’s weight, body, personality, and even its history!
A Maltese is a rather small dog weighing in at only about four to six pounds on average, or two to three kilograms.
They have very compact bodies, and sloping shoulder blades.
Their backs are level with their bodies, with a barrel-shaped rib cage. Their fluffy tails are usually put over their back. The construction of their necks ensures their head is held high.
Their heads are proportional to their body, with a slightly rounded skull as well. Their droopy ears are set low, and are heavily feathered as well. Their dark eyes fit with their black noses, and their muzzles are usually medium length and are tapered slightly.
Their silky and long coats hang low to the ground, nearly sweeping it, giving the Maltese a graceful appearance. The long hair on their heads can be tied into a topknot, or even simply left hanging down their heads. For their fur color, it is a pure white, fitting to their elegant nature.
They move in a way that is both flowing and cheerful.
Maltese usually are very loving, smart, gentle, and always respond and trust their owner (as long as you give the same back). They are great for families, which fit their playful nature, and they even love learning new tricks! But, you must still be careful, as they can be rather snappy with harsh children. Despite its petite size, the Maltese has a fearless presence. When one hears a strange noise, it will unleash a flurry of barks to respond to it.
Maltese dogs are usually quite healthy, and have an average life span of about 12 to 14 years old. They are also rather jumpy dogs, so be sure to keep a firm grip on them, and keep any fragile objects away from where they can reach. Yet, they still have some certain common health issues, such as:
Reverse Sneezing: When they are overstimulated, waking up, or suffering from allergies, a Maltese may make a strange honk or snort noise. While it is not harmful and typically stops quite fast, it is still upsetting for the dog to go through. By giving them a loving hug and cuddle, it will help relax the Maltese, and even yourself!
Collapsed Trachea: A common sign of collapsed trachea is a harsh and persistent dry cough. If your Maltese is suffering from this, it is urgent that you give it medical attention to help them.
White Dog Shaker Syndrome: When they get overexcited, a Maltese may begin shaking and losing their coordination. While it may seem concerning to you or any other Maltese owner, it causes no pain for the dog.
Luxating Patella: Like many other small dogs, a Maltese may have luxating patella. This is due to the knee bones being not properly formed, and leads to the kneecap being able to easily slip out of place. While they usually slide back into place, some cases may be more severe than others and require quick medical and surgical attention.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is an inherited eye condition that gradually worsens their site, and can even lead to blindness. Unfortunately, there is no known cure to this disease, but the use of antioxidant supplements or vitamins may help reduce stress on the cells of the lens.
Living With a Maltese
Maltese are great for a variety of homes, even ones that are small and mostly indoors. Yet, they tend to be hard to housebreak, and are picky with their food. For their recommended daily amount of food, they should get ¼ to ½ cup of dry food per day and divide it into two meals. To prevent them from getting too fat, measure their food and only leave their food out during their two mealtimes rather than all day. To easily tell if your Maltese is getting fat, put your hands on his body, with your thumbs on the spine and fingers spraying onto their sides. If you are able to feel their ribs, then they are at a good weight. But, if you cannot feel them or they are buried in a layer of fat, it is important that you put them on a diet and give them fewer treats. It may take some time for both you and your Maltese to adapt to the change, but it will be well worth it in the end!
Luckily, they are very light shedders, making them great for many who suffer from allergies. Brushing a Maltese daily and bathing it regularly is vital to prevent its coat from matting. The abundance of hair around their eyes should be cleaned every day to prevent any tear staining.
For well over 28 centuries, Maltese spaniels have been high up in the dog world. Some believe that they came from a small island south of Sicily by the name of Malta. The opulent and sophisticated nature of Malta fits well with the Maltese. Now, the Maltese’s elegant coat and nature is finally getting some background to it!
The Roman governor of Malta in the 1st century, Publius, owned a Maltese by the name of Issa. In a celebrated epigram, Issa was described as being “frolicsome … purer than a dove’s kiss, gentler than a maiden … more precious than Indian gems.”Pliny the Elder, Strabo, and many other well-known scholars and authors wrote about the petite Maltese’s elegance and charm that can be resisted by no one. Even the Greeks began to put up tombs for their Maltese. From the 5th century forward, these elegant dogs are shown in many ceramic arts from Greece.
According to evidence from Archeologists, Egyptians owned Maltese dogs, and may have even worshiped them as well!
Throughout time, Maltese dogs have always been put at a rather high value in society. In the 1500s, there was even an account of a Maltese sold for the equivalent of $2,000! Women, in particular, are rather fond of Maltese dogs, making them quite the popular choice for them. Thanks to their small sizes, Maltese dogs are able to fit in women’s sleeves or even their chests. Long ago, scholars would always make their small sizes a point of attention. In 1792, the botanist known as Linnaeus called the Maltese “about the size of squirrels”, being an obvious exaggeration of their actual sizes. In the United States, the very first Maltese dog that was exhibited had a white coat, and, at the first Westminster dog show in 1877, described as a “Maltese lion dog”. Finally, in 1888, the American Kennel Club finally registered the Maltese.
Overall, if you are looking for a dog that is small as it is lovable, the Maltese may be your choice! Although it may take some extra effort to housebreak one as well as taking care of its elegant white coat, getting through that will guarantee a playful dog that is great for almost any type of house!
Written by: Max Kahn