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The Maltese breed profile is sponsored by visit PetWear to custom design your Maltese' next designer dog collar, leash or more and then let PetWear hand make it and then ship for free!

The extensive number of Maltese rescues is a testament to the number of these little dogs needing help (and the number of greedy, unethical breeders) as well as the dedication of many people who love them.  Among the toys, perhaps the Maltese is the most perceived as a "wind up toy" by the ignorant, which leads to many difficulties.  Instead, the Maltese is a very intelligent dog of incredible heritage that should be confident, happy and charming.  This is only the case in those dogs raised by those who understand the guidance necessary to achieve this.  If you don't know how to go about this, please find out how prior to seeking a breeder or getting a Maltese.  Be very careful in your selection of breeders (if you go that route) there are far more disreputable breeders of Maltese than responsible ones.

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By Breed Name
General Information
Group(s): Toy Height: 8-11 inches
Weight: 8-10 pounds Longevity: high teens
Colors: pure white, ivory permitted anything else is undesirable and a deviation from the standard Coat type: dense, long, lustrous, silky white coat, no undercoat, no waves or curls
Recognized Registries: FCI, TKC, CKC, AKC, UKC, NCA and others
Overall Appearance: Small rectilinear (longer than tall) dog with good balance and substance with dramatic solid white, long, straight coat and black pigment (eyes, around eyes, nose, lips).
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderate
General Nature: Very lively, affectionate, gentle and intelligent
  with Children: Generally considered too fragile to be with small children. Older (12 or older) well behaved children are ok.
  with other pets: Generally very good.
  with dogs: Generally very good.
Socialization requirements: Moderate to high to prevent anxiety, tyrannical behavior and shyness.
Ideal home characteristics: Cherishing this dog with a good balance of recognition that this is by nature a confident, happy dog.
Temperament Notes: Easily influenced. Can be made into a quivering nervous mass of dog by someone who constantly coos and drops everything to attend the dog when they act excited.
Training requirement: moderate to high (for the people!): socialization, basic manners and for the people, a clear understanding of how reinforcement works
Trainer notes: The Maltese is brilliantly clever and if a silly person has one, it will be an incredibly silly dog.  Few people understand that dogs respond to what we reinforce so completely, so if you come running to comfort your little darling every time they act "worried" or "upset".  Your dog will quickly recognize that being upset is beneficial and be upset all the time.  Instead, protect your dog from hazards, ignore minor anxious moments (like them jumping on your leg cause they want you to hold them rather than have to meet this new person) and reward/praise/reinforce confident behavior, like happily meeting other people or playing games.  This way you will have a dog that doesn't associate anxiety with your love.  If you don't know what socialization or the basic tenets of dog training are, learn them BEFORE you bring your dog home to avoid painful mistakes.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: Aristotle references what is likely the Maltese around 350BC
Country of Origin: Mediterranean - Italy
Original Function: Companion
History: A ratter of the ports of Italy and the Mediterranean since before Christ, also the companions of wealthy Roman matrons.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard:
Health Notes: white shaker dog syndrome, liver shunt disorder, hydrocephalus, eyelash irritations, hypoglycemia, patellar luxation, deafness, blindness, dentition issues, hypertrophic pyloric gastrophy
Health Testing: BAER, OFA, liver panel, and other examinations
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!
  • How long have you had Maltese?
  • Why do you have Maltese (show, performance, pet therapy, etc.)?
  • What do you consider to be the most important single characteristic of a Maltese?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What criteria do you set for your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • At what age do you sent your pups to their homes?
  • How would you describe the ideal Maltese?
  • How would you describe the ideal Maltese home?
  • Are your puppies whelped in your home?
  • What advice would you offer someone in raising and training a Maltese?
  • How do you assist or help Maltese in need of rescue?
  • Web Sites:

    Support our country, spay/neuter or a host of other causes with matching tshirts from Bark Out Loud! You and your dog can look cool and collected and make an important statement to the world! - Metropolitan Maltese Rescue (NYC) - NorthCentral Maltese Rescue (National now) - Southern Comfort Maltese Rescue - United Maltese Rescue (DC and surrounding areas) - Atlantic Maltese Rescue - Ohio Maltese Rescue - Maltese Rescue - Our hand-knit, custom made sweaters for your Maltese are GUARANTEED to fit!  Adogable Apparel also offers everything Maltese from beds to pocketbooks.  Visit and use coupon code DIGITALDOG for FREE SHIPPING on your total order. - Adopt a Maltese Rescue - Rescue by the American Maltese Association

    Other Resources
    Breed standard: - Standard of the Maltese as per the FCI Maltese Standard as per the American Maltese Association - Maltese Standard in Great Britain

    Breeder Ethics: - Code of Ethics for the American Maltese Association appears just below the first article of their Constitution - Information on how to recognize a responsible Maltese breeder

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