The Maltese dog is a small breed often seen as ideal for apartment dwellers or people with limited space. The breed was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1888, but its origins may date back to 5000 B.C. according to Bhe-Jei Maltese. A person who is planning to adopt a Maltese needs to be aware of several key characteristics of the breed.
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the Maltese dog is its long, silky white coat. The hairs are very fine, and this breed entirely lacks an undercoat. The Maltese sheds very little hair and regular grooming keeps the coat in good condition.
The Maltese dog is considered one of the oldest toy breeds in Europe. Males are between 8 and 10 inches tall, while femals are between 8 and 9 inches tall. They can range in weight between 6 and 9 lbs.
The Maltese dog is not an active breed, though they do require regular play and a short daily walk to stay in shape. According to the Dog Breed Info Center, they are active indoors, but they do not require a yard to roam in.
With proper care, Maltese dogs can be long-lived. Their normal life expectancy is around 15 years, but they can live as long as 18 years.
Maltese are thought to be intelligent dogs that are devoted to their masters and skilled at learning tricks. However, these dogs can also be stubborn, and they are known to be difficult to housebreak.
The Maltese is a highly alert breed, and if they are not well-trained, they can become nuisance barkers who sound the alarm at any small provocation. They should not be allowed to think that they are the dominant member of the household, or they may become aggressive with children or adults.
Prone to Some Health Issues
Maltese can be prone to skin and eye issues as well as some digestive issues. They can also become sunburned along the parts in their fur, because their skin is so pale.