Get to know the Maltese
All you need to know about the breed
Covered from head to foot with silky, white tresses, and with an upright deportment, the Maltese has an almost regal-like bearing. This is actually quite appropriate as these tiny toy-breed dogs are considered to be one of the aristocrats of the canine world.In fact, they appear to have been positively revered in the ancient cultures of Egypt, Greece and Rome..
During Roman times, the Maltesewas also something of a status or fashion symbol, with upper-class ladies carrying them around almost like an accessory. Later, their popularity rose again in the 1800’s when they became a favourite with royalty –including several queens of England. This meant they were also a fixture at early dog shows.
Today, the Maltese is a popular choice among A-list stars. Among those reputed to have owned a Maltese are Marilyn Monroe, Jane Fonda and Elizabeth Taylor, as well as current celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Jessica Simpson.
Despite their small size, these plucky little animals are quite confident and not easily fazed. In fact, the Maltese can even be a bit stubborn at times, so will benefit from some early training classes. Very smart, the Maltese learns quickly. They also make good watchdogs –at least in terms of barking if not their physical demeanour. What they lack in size, they make up for in attitude.
With a fairly robust constitution, the Maltese is a healthy breed of dog with a good lifespan. Indeed, many Malteses live well into their teens –and, occasionally, even beyond.
Because of their small stature, the Malteseis not recommended for households with toddlers or small children –especially as they can also be a bit yappy at times. Also, they don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time, so are best suited to people who are at home during the day, or take them to work with you.
But, other than that, they make an excellent choice of pet dog all-round. In fact, the Maltese frequently appears in lists of the world’s most popular dog breeds.
2 facts about Malteses
Things to look out for
From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Maltese
Don’t forget your toothbrush
Like many of the toy breeds of dogs, the Maltese can be prone to problems with their teeth and gums – such as gingivitis (gum inflammation) or periodontal disease (inflammation of some or all of the tooth’s support structures). As well as being painful for your Maltese, it can also result in them having difficulty eating and tooth loss, and potentially more serious complications such as kidney, liver and heart disease. Caused by a build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, it is best prevented with daily brushing. Also, routine cleanings/examinations with your vet are recommended.
Regular eye check-ups are important too
The Maltese breed can be predisposed to a condition called ‘glaucoma’ – a problem that can affect people too. It occurs when fluid in the eye fails to drain away, causing a build-up of pressure, and can be quite painful. It can also result in damage to the retina. So, it’s always a good idea to check your dog’s eyes regularly, looking out for symptoms such as squinting, watery irritation or any kind of swelling or bulging. If you spot anything unusual, it’s best to consult your vet at the first available opportunity. It is also recommended that Maltese dogs have a comprehensive eye examination twice a year.
Reducing the chance of cardiac issues
While the Maltese is generally a healthy breed of dog, they can be susceptible to heart problems. In particular, a deterioration of the valve in the left part of the heart – or ‘mitral valve disease’ to use the proper term – is a problem that can affect many small dogs. As the condition is often picked up on a heart check, a yearly cardiology examination is therefore recommended. Though there is no cure, medication may help to slow down the process or alleviate the symptoms. On a general note, good dental care, weight control and regular exercise can all help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Caring for your Maltese
Grooming, training and exercise tips