There is some uncertainty about the exact origins of the Maltese Terrier. Certainly, similar breeds have been around since ancient times and images of the dogs have been found on Etruscan pottery. They were first imported into the UK in the mid-19th century. There are entries in UK stud books going back to about 1860. In the United States they were recognised as a breed by the American Kennel Club in the late 1880s.
The color of a Maltese Terrier is pure white. The coat is usually long and silky. Some Malteser Terriers have curly hair but in the show ring this is considered a fault
Maltese Terrier Character
The Maltese Terrier is bred as a companion dog. It is happy to spend hours curled up on your lap. It loves being part of a family and is generally good with children. However, they can be snappy with children if they become too boisterous. Because they are quite fragile, Maltese Terriers (particularly puppies), can be damaged by really rough handling by children.
It is probably better if they are only taken into homes with adults and older children.
Despite their small size, they are a bold fearless dog.
Maltese Terriers tend to be finicky eaters and they can be difficult to house-train. They are an ideal breed to have in an apartment. They shed lightly, but their hair does grow long and needs daily brushing to avoid matting. The alternative is to clip their hair fairly short. They need a daily wash around the eyes to avoid tear-staining.
Maltese Terriers are good house dogs and will give you plenty of warning when someone approaches the door. The downside is that they love to bark and can become annoying for neighbors. Many owners who surrendered Maltese Terriers at shelters often say the barking habit is their main reason for doing so
Training Maltese Terriers
Maltese Terriers have an independent personality and don't respond well to training which involves punishment.
Positive reinforcement training does bring good results and should be started as early as possible in your dog's life.
Using these methods, it is possible to teach a Maltese Terrier lot of tricks.
The Health Of Maltese Terriers
Maltese Terriers are quite long-lived dogs. On average they live to between 12 and 14 years. There are some things to watch out for the keep them in the best of health.
Although they are bold, they are quite small and delicate. They can be badly damaged if they become involved in a fight with another dog. If you see trouble brewing the best thing to do is pick them up and walk away.
As with most pedigree dogs which have a closed register (and therefore no new genes being introduced), Maltese Terriers do have some genetic health problems.
They can be prone to heart murmurs but usually tend to grow out of this as they get older.
They have a small skull which means they have relatively small jaws. This can mean that their teeth are very crowded - which brings an increased risk of oral disease.
The gene which governs the white coat in Maltese Terriers can also cause deafness and a disease known as shaker dog syndrome. This syndrome is caused by inflammation of the brain which makes the dog shake. The symptoms can be treated, but the condition may recur from time to time during a dog's life time.