As smart and cheerful guide dogs, the small, snow-white Maltese enthusiasts numerous animal lovers. They are great buddies for people who like to have their four-legged friends around and who like to take care of the silky soft coat.
The dark pin eyes and black nose in combination with a radiant white coat immediately melts the heart of many dog lovers. Despite the height at the withers of only 21-25 cm and a weight of up to 4 kg.
This cheerful appearance is immediately noticeable. The silky coat has no undercoat and reaches to the ground. However, this well-groomed appearance of the Maltese requires extensive care from his owner.
Optically, this breed is very similar to its relatives, the other ‘bichons’ – ‘lap dogs’ in Dutch. The resemblance to the white Coton de Tulear is particularly great. Nevertheless, the Maltese is smaller and has a smooth coat.
The origins of this breed take us back to ancient times: one theory tells that the Maltese ancestors came from Egypt, from where they were distributed by merchants. For example, archaeologists found in the tomb of the famous Pharaoh Ramses II., Who died in 1225 BC. died, small dog statues that already resemble today’s Maltese.
Paintings on vases from around 700 years later show a small dog, next to which is the word ‘Melita’. However, the past cannot be explained unambiguously, just like the name of the breed: it was long assumed that it referred to the island of Malta off the coast of Sicily or the Dalmatian island of Milet.
However, it is nowadays suspected that the name of the Semitic word ‘màlat’ comes from, which stands for harbor and was used in many village names.
In any case, we are sure that the small dog’s ancestors were known in ancient times and were already popular as a companion dog back then. Over the years, the lovely dogs were coveted buddies of chic ladies, nobility and emperors and kings.
The happy owners of Maltese included, for example, the British queen Victoria as well as the French queens Marie Antoinette and Joséphine Bonaparte. To date, the Maltese is a popular dog, which can also feel completely at home in the city.
Mated on four legs
Maltese offset their small size with positivity and a lively look. They are smart, good-natured, play a lot and love to learn new tricks. They are vigilant but do not bark quickly.
The Maltese often has to get used to strangers – he attaches himself completely to his owner, that he prefers to be around. Being alone is difficult for the breed, which has been bred for thousands of years to delight people with their company.
That’s why you shouldn’t leave this affectionate four-legged friend home alone for a long time. He is an uncomplicated companion: playing together, outings or doing nothing together – the Maltese always spreads a good mood, as long as he is with his beloved people.
Studious four-legged friend
The education of this studious dog is not difficult even for beginners. The Maltese are known for being eager to learn, but he is also very sensitive – avoid roughness in dealing with this sensitive dog, who prefers to fulfill every wish of yours as an owner.
However, when discovering new things, the following also applies: Don’t pamper your Maltese – the little dog is generally brave and open and much more than just a lap dog. Of course, the Maltese also need consistent upbringing to learn what they can and can’t do – don’t be tricked by begging glances and make no exceptions when he’s not allowed to go to bed, for example – even when it’s hard to resist. If you give him his way once, you have to start all over again.
Like many small dogs, this breed is also prone to patellar luxation, the painful shifting of the kneecap. To prevent this, it is best to ensure that your dog is not overweight and moves regularly because this strengthens the stabilizing muscles around the knee.
In addition, they tend to diabetes as well as tear duct problems. To prevent the latter, you should keep the eyes hair free so that the ends of the hairdo not get into the eyes and irritate them.
Clean your buddy’s eyes the best daily with special eye cleanser for dogs. To keep the dog healthy, the beautiful coat also includes daily brushing, as felts can quickly lead to inflammation or skin fungi. In good health, a Maltese can live to be 14 to 16 years old.
Nutrition of the Maltese
In a light dog that weighs a maximum of 4 kg as standard, it is all the more important to avoid being overweight. Remember 2 kg too much on the ribs corresponds to a human, who weighs well above 100 kg instead of an ideal weight of 70 kg! Overweight Maltese have an increased risk of joint and heart problems as well as diabetes.
The manufacturer’s guidelines with regard to the daily amount of feed are only guidelines, which you must adapt to your four-legged friend. So weigh the Maltese regularly to make adjustments where necessary. If your dog comes to live with you, ideally give him the food known to him to help him get used to a new environment more easily.
Dietary changes should generally be made with caution, for example, by daily mixing a little more of the news feed with the known feed. This way you avoid hypersensitivity reactions like diarrhea or vomiting.
Depending on the choice of wet or dry food, the food must have high meat content – this way your four-legged friend can optimally process the nutrients.
A diet with high-quality food or cheap fillers and whether these are tailored to the nutritional needs of your four-legged friend is also reflected in a shiny coat, healthy skin and smooth digestion.
Also, pay attention to good quality with treats: in addition to dental care snacks with additional benefits, for example, freeze-dried snacks without grain are fine as a small reward in between. It goes without saying that your Maltese must always have sufficient fresh drinking water.
Even a very small dog has enough space for a large coat – the Maltese are living proof of this! The care is intensive and should not be underestimated by newcomers! If you don’t like coat maintenance, you shouldn’t choose a Maltese.
After each walk, you should check your Maltese for leaves or twigs that have stuck in its coat and remove them. The long silky coat needs to be brushed daily, otherwise, it quickly becomes felted.
In addition, there is a bath at least twice a month on the care program: get your puppy used to this ritual immediately and use mild dog shampoo for long hair or shampoo for a white coat.
Thoroughly brush your dog’s coat before bathing. Use lukewarm water for this, massage the shampoo carefully and then rinse it thoroughly. A second wash with conditioner provides extra coat care. Finally, dry and blow-dry the coat, as a wet Maltese can catch a cold quickly.
If necessary, take care of the ears with an ear cleaner and keep the eyes, which you should regularly clean with eye cleaner, free of hair. Also check the nails regularly, especially at a later age they often become too long and need to be trimmed with nail scissors.
As much as a Maltese is also a ‘lapdog’ – this dog also hides a little adventurer who prefers to explore every day and sniff around to his heart’s content.
He loves to play. Find a good balance between physical and mental stress – too much ‘ dog sport’ can balance the little four-legged friend because he always waits for the next stimulus.
So make sure you have enough quiet hours in which you cuddle and rest together. The Maltese love toys – such as pull toys, balls, and frisbees or intelligence toys.
Clickers are also a fun time for the smart Maltese, who likes to learn tricks, in which you also strengthen the bond with each other. Dog Dancing is also a good opportunity to train the body and head at the same time.
Do you suspect that you like little whirlwind agility? Agility equipment for small dogs now also exists for training. Take breaks in between so that your four-legged friend with his short legs is not too exhausted.
Challenging steps in dog sports should only be taken once your Maltese has grown so that you don’t damage the musculoskeletal system.
Basic equipment for your Maltese
Before your four-legged friend moves in, you can shorten the waiting time by choosing meaningful basic equipment. A Maltese needs a comfortable sleeping place as a retreat place and you can choose between numerous beautiful dog beds and blankets.
Collar and harness, as well as a leash, are also part of the dog equipment as well as bowls for water and food.
Also, think about how you want to take your dog in the car – here you can choose from several options, from transport boxes from different materials to a dog leash.
A protective blanket for the car can also be very useful for frequent trips. This beauty on four legs requires a number of care items: in addition to a soft brush, a coarse comb is suitable for the front work.
In addition, you also need special dog scissors to trim the coat in a number of places. Purchase a mild dog shampoo and conditioner – when withdrawing from a young dog, opt for puppy shampoo, then switch to dog shampoo for long hair or a white coat later.
In addition, you need ear cleaner and a special eye cleaner is also useful with this breed because Maltese often suffer from the tear ducts. A nail scissors and tick ‘s care package.
With whom does the Maltese fit?
Anyone interested should at least enjoy stroking, brushing and walking. The affectionate four-legged friends do not like to be alone for a long time and therefore need people who often deal with them extensively.
The breed is very suitable for seniors who spend a lot of time outdoors in nature, but also for workers who can take their four-legged friends to work. They attach themselves strongly to their owner and are also an excellent travel companion due to their size.
The Maltese also feels at home in a home in the city, if he is allowed enough walks. He may like to play exuberantly, but he does not need a sports load. The breed is also suitable for studious, novice dog owners.
Where can I find the Maltese of my dreams?
Those who have fallen in love with the breed should go to a responsible breeder with a lot of know-how about the character, type, and health of the breed to buy a puppy. With ‘casual litters’ or sellers who mainly breed for money and without pedigrees and association membership, you have no guarantee that this is a real Maltese.
Health and character can also turn out differently: often these four-legged friends are ill and not well socialized. In short: the investment of time and money in looking for a good breeder is well worth it – after all, you are not looking for a bargain but a buddy for many years!
Ideally, when visiting the breeder’s home, you can also get to know the puppy’s parents and see how the puppies are growing up. They should all make a healthy and balanced impression.
The breeder will be happy to provide you with information about the health examinations and advice on which puppy might be best for you. He is also the point of contact for nutrition and coat care and will probably have a few tips for you.
Your little Maltese moves in with you at the age of eight weeks at the earliest. In the luggage, he has a vaccination certificate in addition to a pedigree bean. Take into account the refresh dates to ensure the protection of the vaccination.
If you are looking for an dog, you can usually find success at the local animal shelter, which will occasionally mediate Maltese or other Bichons.
You will be able to find a Maltese online anyway, as something can always happen that will make a Maltese look for a new home – be it because the previous owner underestimated coat care or due to a divorce or death of the owner. The cuddly Maltese suffer a lot without human buddies and are very happy with a new home!
We wish you a wonderful time with your cheerful teddy bear!