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Delightful. Devoted. Cheeky. Maltese are vivacious little dogs with heaps of personality and a propensity for play. They love to be near their human masters whom they will do almost anything for and appreciate lots of love and attention.

If you are looking for a small dog with luscious long locks that you can show off to your neighbours and friends, a Maltese may be the right dog for you.

Where I'm From

The exact origins of the Maltese breed are unclear. One of the older dog breeds, Maltese dogs are thought to originate from the larger Spitz-type breeds found in the Swiss lakes area or from the Tibetan Terrier of Asia. Though its true beginnings remain a mystery, Maltese-type dogs became popular in the Mediterranean region of Europe a couple thousand years ago. The dogs are mentioned in ancient Greek and Roman literature and Aristotle himself was first to cite the breed by name around 370 BC. Millennium later, the dog became the favoured lapdogs of aristocrat ladies and nobles across Europe from the 1400s including in France and the British Isles.

The breed was nearly decimated in the 17th and 18th Century after breeders erred in trying to make the breed the size of a squirrel. English breeders saved the breed by mixing the remaining Maltese with small Poodles and Spaniels, which developed into the toy-sized white dog we see today. Maltese were first entered in dog in the late 1800s.

What I Look Like

Maltese are an all white, small yet sturdy toy dog with a long, silky hypoallergenic coat. Though breed owners often keep them shorn short with a “puppy cut”, which gives Maltese an endlessly youthful appearance. The only non-white features are their big brown eyes and small black button nose. With furry drop ears and a curled tail that touches their back, Maltese are the epitome of an adorable toy breed.

How I Act

Maltese are very lively little creatures that love oodles of attention and affection. They retain a puppy-like playfulness for their entire lives. Though they can be snappy towards young children, early socialisation will help moderate these tendencies. Bred as lapdogs, Maltese love to be around their masters at when at home or wherever they journey.

Maltese do well in obedience training due to their intense loyalty and wanting to please their master. Early socialisation and training is a must for the Maltese to ensure a well-adjusted dog that is less likely to act out with any aggression. Training should be calm and consistent, and Maltese react well to reward-based schooling.

Like with many smaller breeds, toilet training can be a challenge for the Maltese with patient crate or paper training crucial.

Though Maltese are energetic, their small size means they only require 20-30 minutes of daily exercise to stay in shape. Plenty of exercise also ensures any behavioural issues are kept to a minimum.

Looking After Me

Maltese can be fussy eaters and should not be fed table scraps or anything else that might put them off their main staple. A meal of high quality dry dog food twice a day will keep your dog’s insides healthy and teeth clean. This can sometimes be supplemented with canned food and a liver treat on occasion.

If you plan to keep your Maltese’s hair at their naturally long length they will require a lot grooming. This single coat does not shed and is prone to matting, so will require daily combing and brushing to remain tangle free. Even when shorn short with a puppy cut, Maltese need daily brushing and a monthly bath as their white coat can become very dirty.

Maltese may also suffer from brownish tear stains under their eyes, which requires daily cleaning with warm water and the hair around their eyes needs to be trimmed or held back with a tie. If a tearing problem persists it is best to consult a vet.

Maltese though generally healthy may suffer from a number of ailments including locked kneecaps, heart problems and dental issues.

It is advisable to check the temperament and medical history of a puppy’s parents and view veterinarian clearance certificates to ensure you get a healthy dog though not every ailment can be predicted. Be very wary of uncertified backyard breeders.

Maltese can be affected by too hot or cold weather and should be kept in temperature-controlled environments.

Maltese typically have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

Am I the pet for you?

Hip Surgery for rescued puppy

2 weeks ago whilst we were in Fiji we rescued an abandoned puppy that we estimate is about 3 months old. She was starving, filthy, covered in ticks and could barely stand or walk. We fed her, washed her, removed all ticks and just gave her love. We called her Pretzel as she was so skinny when we found her that all her bones were sticking out and her hip bones looked like a big twisted pretzel and her long skinny legs looked like Pretzel sticks. Our intention was to find her a home in Fiji but after a week or so she had gained weight, but we noticed that her left hip bone was still protruding and that when she walked we noticed that her left back foot turned out slightly. Also, when she ran she would use both back legs together and hop like a bunny. We took her to an animal shelter in Fiji called Animals Fiji and they examined her and advised that they thought it might be dislocated. They X-rayed her and then sedated her to try and manipulate the bone back into the socket. This was unsuccessful. The vet advised that it appeared that the end of the bone where the ball should be round was malformed either from a trauma/injury when young or by birth. He advised that he does not have the equipment in Fiji to treat her properly and that she would need surgery to correct the bone and to tighten the ligaments to her support her leg. We are exporting her to Australia on the 7th of March and are trying to raise some funds to assist us. We are hoping that you can assistance to find a Vet in Melbourne that could assist with the operation at a reasonable price.