This beautiful, loving, and loyal pint-size breed may be all you need! Look no further then the white Maltese!
A little history about the Maltese
The Maltese is a spirited, pint-size (averaging about 6-9 pounds) all white companion dog that originated from the island nation of Malta off of the Mediterranean coast line. This breed dates back to over 2,000 years ago, often referenced in Ancient Greek and Roman literature. It was kept as a companion by the nobility and many noble women would carry their Maltese in the sleeves of their dresses. Crusaders returned to England bringing the Maltese with them from the Mediterranean. The Maltese finally made its way to America in the late nineteenth century.
The breed was believed to be used for rodent control prior to earning their status within the noble community. They've been considered a companion breed for years.
They are believed to have derived from the poodle and the miniature spaniel. It is even thought that they have Tibetan Terrier in them as well.
Training your Maltese
Maltese are very smart, and will learn quickly with positive reinforcement training methods. Using rewards for behaviors you like, and correcting gently for behaviors that aren't wanted in a household. They can be difficult to potty-train, seeking a professional trainer to help you succeed in this area will be beneficial.
As a dog trainer, I encourage training and socialization at a young age for all dogs, and if you adopt an older Maltese, it is never to late to get started on setting up some rules, and boundaries.
Is the Maltese a Hypo-Allergenic Breed?
Although the Maltese is considered hypo-allergenic (there is no such thing), they do shed, however it is very minimal, thus making them a great pet for allergy sufferers. Regular grooming is needed for this breed, and they are often given the "puppy-cut", a maintenance free short cut. When the fur on the top of their head is long, it is often seen tied up in a cute little topknot.
The Maltese has a Fun Personality with a Low Activity Level
The Maltese is a very loving dog with their family members, but sometimes they can be leery of strangers. They can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time. Maltese are extremely playful, and gentle, but will nip at small children that are not taught to be gentle around them. Maltese do not fair well in a loud, and rough household.
They enjoy a daily walk for 30 minutes, and the rest of the day hanging with their humans. Doggy Daycare is a GREAT option for any dog that has been properly socialized with other dogs. They do well in apartments or condos, but they tend to bark a lot, so keep this in mind if you are considering a Maltese, as the breed, you are interested in. They don't require big yards or fenced in yards as they tend to stay close to their family. This little breed makes for a great traveling partner, and would love to vacation with you.
What is the typical life span of a Maltese?
In my opinion, the life span of all dogs is never LONG ENOUGH. A typical life span is 12-15 years.
As you begin looking for an Maltese, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized, not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescues. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe