The Maltese is a small square shaped dog that gets most of its shape from its long silky coat that it has. The dog has around a head and a small muzzle that forms from the eye line and slopes gently towards the nose. The nose of the dog is mostly black, though several variations of color may be seen. The dog has the front legs straight and the back legs are slightly arched. It is important to note that in as much as the back legs may be slightly arched, the top line of the dog is level. The tail is set high on the back and is also slightly feathered.
The Maltese comes in a silky long coat that covers most of its body. The color coats may vary from pure white to ivory. The ears of the Maltese droop halfway and they are also covered in hair. The hair coat of the dog grows quite fast and can touch the ground when well groomed as is seen in most of the dogs. Trimming of the hair coat regularly is common among owners. Average height of the dog is 8 – 10 inches and the weight range is 61/2 – 9 pounds.
If you are after a spirited, energetic, playful and jolly dog, the Maltese fits this. It loves company and is a very sociable dog. It loves to play with children and as such is a perfect companion as a family dog. As a precaution, it is recommended that the dog only deal with older children who can be able to assert leadership and the dog to view them as a pack leader.
As the dog is quite small, it is very common to experience the small dog syndrome. This is as a result of poor leadership and the dog’s desire to be the pack leader. The owner must ensure that they offer good leadership to the dog which allows the dog to view their master as the pack leader. It is also advisable that the dog should be exercised. 30 minute exercise is recommended to ensure that the dog’s daily requirement is satisfied.
The dog is prone to numerous health problems including eye, skin, slipped stifle and poor feeding. In hot weather, they may get very uncomfortable. Dental hygiene ought to be maintained top keep the dog healthy.
The aforementioned issues cause early mortality when not addressed early. The average lifespan of the dog is about 15 years.
The long coat of the dog should be groomed on a daily basis to ensure matting does not occur and that the dog looks good. Occasional trimming is recommended to ensure the coat is not too long. Regular cleaning is advised and ear cleaning and hair trimming should be done.
The Maltese is a dog whose origin is traced back to Italy in Malta where its immediate relatives were the poodle and the Miniature spaniel. Royalty were the class who owned the dog in those ages. It has however evolved to become a very popular dog in most regions of the world. The AKC registered it in 1888.