Maltese are beautiful, snowy white dogs with sweet personalities and dainty ways. They are a toy breed, meaning that they hardly ever grow to be more than six or seven lbs., and they can be shown in AKC (American Kennel Club) dog shows. If you are considering buying a Maltese as a show dog, you should work with a trusted breeder to purchase the best dog possible. One quality your Maltese will be judged on is the shape and quality of her head.
Place the dog on a table to better examine it. Maltese are so small that they can be difficult to judge if they are standing on the ground.2
Notice the shape of the skull. It should be gently rounded and not too big or small in proportion to the rest of the body.3
Look at the ears. The ears of a Maltese should be set fairly low on either side of her head and be covered with long hair that hangs down on either side. The ears should drop down rather than perking up.4
Check the eyes. Maltese have black eyes that should not protrude and should be rimmed with black. The eyes should be alert and gentle in appearance. This is a somewhat subjective area, but generally a glassy-eyed dog is not feeling particularly well. This particular trait can vary in dogs from day to day.5
Rate the shape of the nose and muzzle. The muzzle should be of medium length--again, compared to the head and body--and should not be too pointy or "snipey." The dog's nose should be black.6
Check the bite. The teeth should fit together evenly. They can either meet edge-to-edge or overlap slightly, like the blades of a pair of scissors.