The Maltese it is a canine breed of uncertain origins: for some, the breed would take its birth from the Sicilian city of Melita (near Messina); for others, the name itself would demonstrate a link with the Greek word “màlat” (port and / or refuge) which would indicate all small long-haired dogs capable of carrying out task of mouse hunters on ships and near the port; for still others, the Maltese would originate from the island of Malta.
In reality it is also believed that the Maltese may be the progenitor of the Bichons category, a particular type of dog which includes the Bichon à poil Frisé, the Bolognese, the Lowchen and the Coton de Tulear.
Many testimonials have highlighted the great popularity which the Maltese benefited from in imperial Rome, a reputation that consecrated him from then on as a companion dog par excellence, an elegant small-sized friend with an elongated trunk. In 1954, despite the fact that the breed was largely bred in England before the world wars, the origin of the Maltese was attributed to Italy.
CHARACTER AND BEHAVIOR
The Maltese has a lively, attentive and sweet character. This small dog is loyal to his human friend but also bonds with the other members of the family. The Maltese dog is characterized by its remarkable learning ability, a gift that makes it the most receptive and playful companion dog in the category. The remarkable degree of attention that the Maltese is endowed with makes it perfect also as a guard dog (in fact it perceives intrusions and unusual noises).
The Maltese puppy looks like a small dog with a nice appearance, an appearance that changes with growth: the darker colored spots on the back and head of the puppy are destined to disappear with development. And not only. Growing up the Maltese puppy changes the type of coat that is changes from short hair to thick white hair.
We must be wary of breeding or private individuals who promise “pocket” versions of the Maltese dog. According to the breeders registered with the ENCI (Italian National Dog-loving Body) and the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale), the “Maltese Toy” does not exist. In reality, the specimens called “Maltese Toy” are dogs suffering from rickets and with serious genetic defects, a consequence of breeders driven mostly by the growing demand. If taken from a serious breeding, in fact, the cost of a Maltese specimen it does not fall below 1000- 1400 euros.
L’food of the Maltese, as for all small dogs, it must be extremely calibrated in order to avoid disorders or diseases. A’feed based on industrial feed is certainly the best solution. In fact, being specifically formulated, these foods are able to provide the nutrients necessary for the growth, development and well-being of every little Maltese.
After maternal nourishment, the weaning should be gradual and set on moistened kibble (since they do not yet have a well-developed chewing system, they could swallow them healthy and thus develop gastrointestinal problems). Once reached 3 months, it is advisable to switch to a regular, well-marked nourishment based on highly digestible kibble with low protein and fat content.
Grooming and hygiene
The Maltese’s coat requires very demanding grooming. The peculiarity of the coat of the canine breed is the length: it raises dust, plant residues and dirt from the ground and collects tears, forming felted masses of hair that cause damage to the skin and eyes, for example. The hair, among other things, not undergoing the natural process of seasonal moulting, it tends to grow abundantly and to agglomerate in knots and felts (its disproportionate growth causes irritation and dermatitis due to the lack of ventilation of the underlying skin). In this sense, it is advisable to brush the Maltese’s coat at least once a day and cut it every two months, perhaps by contacting a professional.
HEALTH, CHECKS AND VACCINATIONS
From a genetic point of view, the most common pathologies in the Maltese are: cardiorespiratory problems, conjunctivitis and deafness (essentially due to long hair), hypoglycemia and intestinal sensitivity.
Actually not presenting particular genetic diseases, the Maltese maintains a life expectancy of around 12-15 years. By following a busy schedule of periodic visits to the trusted veterinarian, it is possible to diagnose each specific pathology and remedy it immediately. In this sense, the classic vaccinations (distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and rabies) and deworming (elimination of parasites in the stomach) play an important role for the well-being of the paw friend.
- Head The head must have a length equal to 6/11 of the height of the withers and must be rather broad, a little over half of the total length.
- Eyes The open eyes must be larger than normal and must have the eyelid that tends to round. The eyelids are well adherent to the bulb, never sunken but rather protruding, somewhat protruding. The eyes must be in a sub frontal position. Seen from the front, they must not reveal the sclera; they are deep ocher in color; the eyelids are black.
- Ears The ears must be almost triangular in shape and must have a width equal to 1/3 of the length: they are hanging and in contact with the lateral walls of the skull.
- Mouth The jaws must match perfectly. The dental arches must have a scissor bite. The upper lips must join perfectly with the lower ones and are rigorously pigmented with black.
- Neck The neck must have the clearly visible demarcation of the nape despite the abundant hair. The upper profile must be arched and must have a length corresponding to half the height at the withers.
- Body The top line must be straight up to the attack of the tail; the withers must be slightly elevated on the line of the back; the rump must be very broad and long; the broad chest should drop below the level of the elbows.
- Tail The tail should be set on the line of the rump, thick at the root and fine at the tip. It forms a single large curve, the tip of which falls between the hips touching the rump.
- Front limbs The forelegs, seen as a whole, are well joined to the trunk and well upright.
- Hind limbs The hind limbs seen as a whole are parallel to each other and seen from behind are vertical from the tip of the back to the ground.
- Feet The feet must be round, with toes together and arched and must have the soles of the plantar and digital pads pigmented in black, as the nails must be equally black or in any case dark.
- Coat and color The coat, dense, shiny, shining, which falls heavily and has a silky texture, is very long all over the body and remains straight along its entire length, without traces of undulations or curls. Only pure white and a pale ivory tint are allowed.