There are many well loved and cherished dog breeds in the world today, and preference differs all across the globe between dog lovers and dog owners alike as to which dog is the best to have as a pet in general. One of these breeds that has definitely made its mark on the hearts of many is that of the Maltese dog breed. Often seen featured in dog shows as one of the top competitors, the Maltese is known for its beautiful long white fur, playful and affectionate personality, and many other features and traits that it exhibits on a daily basis. There are often many who don’t realize that they Maltese, however, is more than just a snooty show dog, and that is why we are her. In this article, we are going to count down the top twenty facts that you may or may not have known about the Maltese dog breed, and why they are still so popular among dog lovers and owners today. With that said, let’s get started with our count down:
Their Origin Story
The Maltese dog breed is actually said to have originated on the small island of Malta, which is located in the Mediterranean Sea, though the majority of researchers often locate the origination of the breed to somewhere in the central Mediterranean region of the world. This breed is one of the oldest breeds that is in existence today, as it has had references that trace back all the way to about 500 B.C. It has also been stated that Aristotle was actually the first person to make any sort of reference to the breed, and he referred to it as the Canis Melitaeus. Since then, the breed itself has made its way all across the globe, even being part of many royal families and empires throughout its long history. Although this breed has had some changes throughout the course of its history, it is still most certainly one of the cutest toy breeds that is in our society today.
They Are Often Fearless
As we will get to later in this article, the Maltese is a dog of amazingly sweet personality. They are always on the go, always energetic, and always eager to meet new people and discover new things. This can be a blessing and a curse at the same time, as this makes the breed utterly fearless. This is why it is so important to keep a watchful eye on your pup, as they will have no problem walking up to any creatures, even if they risk a potential danger or putting themselves in harm’s way. It is good to remember that, even with a fenced in back yard, it is best to stay outside with your dog while they are doing their business or just exploring in the grass.
They Typically Don’t Shed
Allergy sufferers, you can take a huge sigh of relief, as the Maltese is one of the better dog breeds that you can bring into your home if you are allergic to dog dandruff and fur. The Maltese, although sporting a long, silky, white coat in some cases, does not shed whatsoever; This is because the breed does not have an undercoat lying beneath their long white hairs that cover their body, which makes them less likely to shed throughout the home in general. This can also help with grooming as well, although it is best to brush or comb through their fur at least once or twice a week to keep the tangles and snarls at bay. It is also good to bring them into a groomer every once in a while to trim the hair that forms around the face, so that they can at least see where they are going, right? If you don’t want to dedicate time to the hassle of having to bring your Maltese to the groomer for a cut, you can easily trim their hair at home as well.
They Are Powerful Jumpers
As we said before, the Maltese dog breed is one that is fearless, and loves to explore and discover. They also have an intense energy, that when combined with their agile physique, allows them to be excellent jumpers in general. Although they seem little and dainty when simply lying on the couch, these dogs will do whatever it takes to jump and get where they want to go. This can mean jumping from object to object, jumping off of higher ledges or other high spaces, and leaping out of your reach and the comfort of your hold without a notice whatsoever. It may also be good to keep your special belongings and precious keepsakes out of the reach where they could make their way, just as a forewarning!
The Puppy Cut
While there are quite a few Maltese pups out in the world who keep their coats long and luscious (almost skirt like), especially those that are often competing in dog shows, the majority of families choose to give their dog what is known as the “puppy cut”. This cut often includes significantly trimming or even shaving your dog so their hair is an inch or less in length. When the fur is cut, there are some Maltese puppies that can have curly white hair develop, especially around the ears, but this is typically not quite common for the breed in general.
They’ve Had Many Different Names Throughout The Years
While they are strictly known as the Maltese today, the dog breed itself has had quite its fair share of nicknames throughout its history as a dog breed. Some of the names that have circulated in various generations have included the Maltese Lion Dog, the Melitaie Dog, the Maltese Terrier, the Spaniel Gentle, the Roman ladies’ dog, and a few others as well. These various nicknames, obviously, have very different origin stories, but we are glad they have shortened it to the Maltese today.
They Can Easily Sunburn
It may go right over your head the majority of the time, but our pets can also sunburn too during the hot, summer months, just as easily as humans can! This is especially prevalent with the Maltese dog breed, as they have fair, pale skin lying beneath their shimmering white fur coat. This is also a problem as the Maltese does not have an undercoat, as we mentioned before. This makes their coats more fine, and their skin more visible to the sun’s rays when they spent a lot of time outside. So, if you decide to bring one of these pups into your home, make sure to practice safety when they are going to be outside for extended periods of time. If you need more tips or advice for the safest way to protect your dog’s skin from the sun, you can find a ton of information online, and for your particular breed as well (for the Maltese, for example).
They Are Excellent With Children And Other Animals
This is no surprise with their sweet personality, but the Maltese is one of the best breeds when it comes to integration with children, large families, and other household pets as well. They are very sociable, as we have mentioned time and again, making them the perfect playmates. Although their are often full of energy when they first encounter new people, children, or animals, they will eventually calm down and just enjoy the company of everyone around them. You will have no fear whatsoever leaving your children or other pets unattended with a Maltese pup, that is for sure.
They Are One Of The Smaller Breeds Of Dogs In The World
The Maltese is often popular in homes, and for dog owners and competitors all around the world because of its miniature stature. The dog breed averages at about seven pounds when it reaches maturity, and makes one of the best lap dogs that you can have. They are also easy to take with you places, if you are into the whole “purse dog” scenario, making them a very versatile toy breed to have in your home and with your family. Either way, it is no doubt that their small stature and presence makes them irresistible to so many dog lovers all across the globe.
They Are Often Used As Therapy Dogs
As we have eluded to before, the Maltese is a breed that is very affectionate, no matter if it is a stranger or their favorite human that is walking into the room. This affection, along with their small stature, soft fur, and ability to relax on the lap of anyone they meet, makes them an excellent therapy dog. It has been shown in various studies that holding and petting an animal, especially a dog, can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and can help to bring better feelings to an individual. This is why the Maltese, along with several other dog breeds have been used to help with therapy for many who are dealing with problems such as anxiety, depression, and other detrimental situations.
Smaller Isn’t Always Better
This is more a piece of advice than anything else — If you are looking for a Maltese puppy to bring home to your family, make sure that you stay away from the term “teacup”, and for various reasons. First of all, the term “teacup”, especially for a Maltese, isn’t really a true statement. If you find someone selling a “teacup” Maltese, it often is referring to the runt of the litter, and a pup that will more than likely not reach a weight of over four pounds. Although this sounds cute and cuddly, this dog can also end up being plagued with a bevvy of health problems that they could potentially carry for the rest of their life. This, along with the commitment of their lifespan in general (as we will talk about later), can often be difficult for the family that is always on the go. With that said, make sure to really do you research when lookin for the perfect Maltese puppy for your home.
They Can Often Have Tear Staining
This is a problem that is often found in all Maltese dogs every now and again, although it can be found on other dog breeds in the world as well. The ‘tear staining’ is a dark coloration that forms on the fur just below the tear ducts under the eyes. While its not necessarily a problem, it can often be an eyesore for some owners, and is usually just caused by overwatering of the dog’s eyes or even just the size and production of their tear ducts in general. If you aren’t so find of the tear staining on your Maltese pooch, you can apply a topical solution or powder, which can be found at pet stores, that will help to lighten and get rid of the staining and coloration under the eyes.
Controversy Over Classification
For several years now, there has been much debate between dog lovers and other dog enthusiasts all across the world as to whether the Maltese dog breed should be classified as a Terrier breed, or as a Spaniel breed. Although a decision has never fully been made, the Maltese does in fact share quite a few similarities to that of the Spaniels that we see in our society today. Because the decision has not been made, and the debate is not quite over, the Maltese is simply listed as a toy breed or toy dog, although that is quite vague in nature.
They Can Be Quite Susceptible to Dental Problems
The most prevalent dental problem that is often found in the Maltese dog breed is the overdevelopment of cavities in the mouth, which can further lead to various infections and loss of teeth as the dogs continue to get older. This cavity development, of course, is accentuated when there is no proper care being done to your pup’s teeth on a regular basis. Although it may seem like an unnecessary waste of time, it is important to give you dog’s teeth a good brushing with a soft bristled brush and a pet safe toothpaste on a regular basis each week in order to keep them safe and free from infections.
Sometimes, Their Noses Can Change Color Too
This isn’t the case for every breed, but for the Maltese, who has a fairer and paler skin tone lying underneath all of that fur, they can sometimes have some changes to their noses as well. The most significant difference will be in the color; If your Maltese spends the majority of the time indoors, especially during the winter months when there isn’t much sunlight, you may notice that the coloration on their nose will turn paler, or a light brown color (this is often referred to ‘winter nose’ by professionals, which is pretty self explanatory). This isn’t permanent, however, as once the summer comes back around, and they are outside more often, their nose will turn back to its original dark brown/black color.
They Can Live For Quite Some Time
Unlike some other dog breeds that are out in the world today, the Maltese dog breed is one that can often live for over a decade with proper care (Their average lifespan ranges anywhere from twelve to eighteen years!). This means that it is important to make your annual vet visits to get them checked out, get them the vaccines that are necessary, and any other care they might need. It is also important to always keep your eye on them. With their size and stature, keeping them outside unattended can lead to many different potentially hazardous situations. With that said, it is crucial that you are ready for the commitment that comes with this long living puppy, and that you will be able to give it the love, care, and undivided attention that it so rightfully deserves.
They Often Suffer From ‘Reverse Sneezing’
This is in no way a medical dilemma, but rather just a unique quirk of the Maltese breed in general. The breed is often known to be more susceptible to something called a ‘reverse sneeze’, where instead of a sneeze like we are often used to, the dog will make a different sound (such as honking, gagging, or even snorting). This is not dangerous or harmful for the dog, and often ends after a minute or so into the sneeze. The reverse sneezing can often be caused by your Maltese puppy becoming over excited while playing, or even by other factors such as allergies. If you have concerns about the reverse sneezing, you can contact your vet, but it is often not a serious issue.
They Are Not The Best Guard Dogs
This, of course, is meant in the most pure and sweet way, as the Maltese is well known for its amazing affection and personality. The breed itself is very sociable, and will win over the hearts of virtually everyone they come in contact with. Because of this affectionate personality, the Maltese is also a dog that is easily trainable, as they are eager to please their owners and family members every second of the day. IF you are wanting to train them and teach them a plethora of tricks, especially for those wanting to enter them into dog shows, you will want to begin training at a young age, and continue throughout their life span. With all of that said, they may not be the best dog to guard the door at night from a stranger or other potential danger that could lurk.
We Can Thank The Romans For Their Color
It has been stated that the Romans are actually responsible for the pure white coat that the breed is so known for today. During the time of the Roman empire, the color white was a sacred color and symbol for the Roman emperors, and because they kept these dogs as their royal pets, they wanted them to also show that pureness and divinity through the coloration of their fur. All we can do is thank the Romans for blessing us with one of the cutest and most beautiful dogs that is in existence today.
They Need To Release Their Energy
As we have mentioned before, the Maltese dog breed is often a pooch that is full of energy. In fact, they are often rated as having a medium energy, according to the American Kennel Club and its standards. That being said, it is always good to take a Maltese puppy out at least once a day to get in some exercise and to release some of that energy as well. This can include a daily walk around the neighborhood, or even just running around the back yard for a little while each day as well. Either way, it is important to make sure you can keep up with this Maltese puppy before you decide to bring it home to your family, as they will take up a good chunk of your day to day.
As the decades have gone by, it is clear to see that the love and popularity of the Maltese dog breed is unfailing. Many families are looking for that loveable, beautiful, and all around amazing toy breed to bring into their home; A dog that can be versatile enough to run around crazy during the afternoon playing with the kids, cuddle on your lap after a long day, and then take a ride in your purse when you are out running errands. While the Maltese is a dog breed that is hard to beat among the rest, they can be quite a commitment, what with their long lifespan, and need for attention 24/7. Either way, there are many things that can be learned when having a Maltese in your home, and we are sure that they will complete any family with a loving heart and warm personality. If you would like to find out more information about the Maltese dog breed, you can find everything you need online, or you can contact your local vet or animal shelter as well.