As one of the most ancient toy breeds the Maltese Dogs have a great history in Greece where the Greeks actually erected tombs for their Maltese and placed images of them on artefacts. It was thought at that time, and even later by Europeans, that Maltese were able to cure people and so when someone got sick they would place the dog on the pillow next to the sick person. This is why they came to be known the comforter.
It’s unclear where the Maltese dog originated from. Some believe they came from Malta, others Italy and then some believe Asia. In the 15th and 16th century though they were very popular with nobles, although the breed was nearly wiped out in the 17th century when someone tried to breed the dog to make it the size of a squirrel.
The Maltese were first seen in the US in the late 1800’s and since the 1950’s the breed has been extremely popular.
Personality of a Maltese Dog
The Maltese dog has an extremely friendly personality, they are everyone’s friend. Because of this friendly nature, they are very easy to train and respond really well to reward and praise.
They are extremely confident and outgoing, and because of this nature, they tend to get their own way and are easy to spoil.
Grooming a Maltese Dog
The Maltese have a gorgeous white silky coat which often hangs to the ground. They don’t shed very much, however, their coats are very prone to getting dirty and matted. They also are prone getting tear stains on their face.
To keep your Maltese in tip top condition you should brush them daily, even if their coat is not as long as some Maltese. This way you prevent any matting from building up and remove any signs of dirt.
It’s likely you will need to wash your Maltese weekly or make a trip to the Groomer. Maltese hair can get tangled very quickly, so it’s important to take your time with the washing, brushing and drying process.
Size of a Maltese Dog
A Maltese should be no more than 7lbs in weight, and ideally, should only be 4-6 lbs at their healthiest weight. They stand at 8-10 inches, with the female breed being slightly smaller.
Many breeders do breed smaller ‘tea cup’ Maltese, but as with any smaller breed, they can be prone to a range of disorders due to their small size.
The Maltese it quite a fragile dog. They are very small and you need to be aware of where they are sitting and walking so you don’t accidentally injure them. They much prefer though to spend time sleeping on your lap.
How Much Exercise Does My Maltese Need
A Maltese will enjoy their daily walk, along with playing games like hide and seek and fetch at home. They do need to be out in sunlight and if their nose starts to go a grey colour, or has lighter patches on it, it is a sign that they need more sunshine. A black nose is a sign they are healthy.
Maltese are susceptible to the damp weather, so while this shouldn’t stop them from getting their daily walk it is important that you get them a raincoat if the weather is extreme.
Diet – What Should I Feed My Maltese Dog
It’s recommended that you feed your Maltese twice per day with a specialist food for their breed. Measured portions will ensure that they don’t overeat.
Consult with your vet about the best brand of food, and portion size, for your dog.
Breeders – Where Can I Get A Maltese Dog
There are lots of rescues in Ireland that will have Maltese dogs up for adoption, so we would always recommend that be your first place to look if you are considering making one a member of your family.
If you are considering buying a dog from a Breeder then always make sure you ask to see the mother and father, and if the dog is a pure breed make sure you see all documentation.
Never purchase a dog from a Breeder out the back of a car or without seeing both parents. It’s important to make sure that you are not purchasing your Maltese from a puppy farm.
How Much Does A Maltese Dog Cost
A Maltese dog could cost anywhere from 150 euros to 500 euros plus. It really depends on whether they are pure bread or not. The Irish Kennel Club will be able to put your in touch with a registered Breeder and offer advice on your purchase.
Make sure when you purchase the dog you find out if they have been vaccinated and received their initial dose of flea and worm treatment. If they have been vaccinated make sure you obtain their vaccination card as proof.
Should You Get A Maltese Dog
The Maltese dog is a lovable, friendly and fun natured dog. They would be perfect for someone with only a very small garden space or someone maybe living in an apartment. They don’t need huge amounts of exercise, due to their small size, but they do need lots of attention and room to run around.
They do like the company of people and would not be suited to being left all day on their own without a visit during the day to let them out for the bathroom. Like any dog if they get bored they will become destructive.
The Maltese usually lives to 15 years, often up to 18 years, making them the perfect lap dog companion.