The Maltese is one of the sweetest little dogs you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. It’s cute, it’s small and it’s just so pretty you want to take them all home with you. The Maltese breed hails from Malta, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, and has been around since ancient times dating back as far as 500 BC.
In fact, Aristotle was the first to reference the dog, calling the Maltese the “Canis Melitaeus.”
The Maltese has picked up a number of nicknames along the way, including the “Roman Ladies’ Dog,” the “Maltese Lion Dog,” and “Cokie,” which originated on the East Coast in the 1960s.
The first things people notice about the Maltese are their pocket-perfect size and silky, white coat. While one might assume that a dog with such long hair would shed, in fact, the opposite is true: The Maltese doesn’t have an undercoat and doesn’t shed, making it the ideal choice for pet parents who suffer from allergies or simply people who’d rather not deal with lint rolling their clothes—or furniture!—every five minutes. (Can’t win ’em all, folks.) While the Maltese can certainly grow their hair to be insanely long, most owners opt for what’s called the “puppy cut,” which is a cropped, fluffy cut that’s much easier to maintain.
The Maltese is a gentle, affectionate breed that makes the perfect companion for those looking for a petite pet. They may be small in stature—they do fall under the “toy” category and can technically be carried in a purse, after all— but their fearless personalities are anything but. With a lively, loving demeanor and an energetic, playful side, there are endless reasons the Maltese is one of the most beloved dogs of all time.
The Maltese’s furry little face is defined by a black button nose, big brown eyes, floppy ears, and dark skin around the eyes, which are referred to as a “halo.” If your furry friend stays indoors during the winter and doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, his nose might fade to a flesh-colored pink or light brown, then darken back to black during the sunny months.
One of the reasons the Maltese is so loved (besides their incredible personalities, of course) is their teacup-esque stature.
Averaging just seven pounds and standing shorter than one foot, the Maltese is the perfect lap dog and is easily transported (a definite bonus for those of you with take-your-dog-to-work privileges).
They weigh 7 to 9 pounds, so they’re tiny. The American Kennel Club recommends having them tested for two major hereditary issues: patellar luxation (that’s a medically fancy way of saying, the kneecaps go out of whack) and a cardiac exam to rule out Congenital Heart Base (Patent Ductus Arteriosus).