- Breed name: Maltese lapdog
- Country of Origin: Italy
- Weight: 3-4 kg
- Height (height at the withers): males 21-25 cm, females 20-23 cm
- Life expectancy: 12-14 years
- Maltese are companionable and loving fuzzies who need constant contact with the owner.
- Maltese lapdogs are smart, but they do not show much zeal in their studies, so in the process of training a pet you will have to sweat a little and get a little nervous.
- Masterfully adapt to the character and type of temperament of their own owner. They are sincerely devoted to a single owner, even if they live in a large family.
- Fastidious gourmets. They know a lot about delicacies and with a plentiful diet they quickly gain fat.
- Maltese is one of the most fashionable breeds, wealthy representatives of which are dressed by such giants of the fashion industry as Gucci, Versace and Burberry.
- Lapdogs are sociable, very curious and love to bark (often for nothing).
- Are contactable and peaceful. They easily find an approach to other pets and children.
- Despite the long and thick coat, Maltese is considered a hypoallergenic breed. Dogs almost do not shed.
- Maltese lapdogs suffer from forced loneliness, so an animal left alone with itself is capable of minor dirty tricks.
Maltese Lapdogs - the favorites of the French monarchs, glamorous charmers who are begging for the cover of a glossy magazine. Even in the harshest times for dogs, these snow-white fuzzies were pampered and pampered, which could not but affect their character. Deprived of the need to compete for a bowl of chowder, Maltese have evolved into careless majors who do not mind any adversity. Never discouraged and slightly flighty lapdogs have turned into real psychotherapists who can cure the most protracted depression. It is understandable: to find a second such breed, whose representatives are in a state of mild euphoria all 365 days a year, is simply unrealistic.
History of the Maltese breed
The history of the origin of Maltese lapdogs is full of hypotheses and assumptions and almost no reliable facts. According to experts, the glorious Maltese family is more than two thousand years old, and it's not hard to believe, since the first images of big-eyed fuzzies can be found in the drawings of the ancient Egyptians. As for the name of the breed, the lapdogs owe it to a geographical error.
At first, the animals were called melites – in honor of the island of Meleda in the Adriatic Sea. However, this piece of land had a "twin brother" - today's Malta, also called Meleda. There was simply no one to fix the difference between these two islands at that time, so they preferred to forget about it. Later, melit was renamed Maltese lapdogs, without paying attention to the fact that the real homeland of the animals was not Malta at all.
The earlier history of the breed is no less controversial. In the debate about how the ancestors of Melit reached the Adriatic coast, scientists reach the point of absurdity. Some experts attribute to the lapdogs a kinship with the Tibetan terrier and a journey along the Silk Road from Asia to Europe. The fact that two thousand years ago, the aforementioned route was not popular, scientists prefer not to mention. The version about Maltese's Swiss roots looks relatively plausible: in ancient times, the inhabitants of the Swiss Alps really bred spitz-like dogs that looked like today's lapdogs. Some researchers are trying to fit into the pedigree of Melit poodles that lived on the islands of the Adriatic Sea, although these two breeds have nothing in common.
The heyday of the popularity of Maltese lapdogs occurred in the Middle Ages. Most of all, glamorous pets were infatuated in France and Italy. Maltese fashion reached the shores of Foggy Albion only by the XVI century, and even later to America.
Famous owners of Maltese Lapdogs:
- Susan Sarandon,
- Patricia Kaas,
- Elvis Presley,
- Barack Obama,
- Elizabeth Taylor,
- Alla Pugacheva,
- Cindy Crawford.
Video: Maltese Lapdog
The breed characteristics of Maltese lapdogs are fixed by the standards of three cynological associations. For example, domestic breeders trust the standard of the International Cynological Federation (FCI) more. In England, they prefer a set of characteristics approved by the nursery of the United Kingdom (CC). The fuzzies living on the other side of the Atlantic have their own standard, developed by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Note: American maltese are very different from their European relatives. Overseas lapdogs weigh less (ideally up to 2.7 kg), their fur is much shorter, and the muzzle is slightly narrower than allowed by the FCI standard.
A separate caste consists of the so-called mini maltese and baby face maltese. In the first case, these are miniature individuals with a weight of 1.5 to 2.5 kg, which are more common among "Americans". Baby face puppies are born in both American and European lapdogs. Their distinctive feature is a shortened muzzle, which gives the dog a touching, deliberately childish look. Such animals are not allowed to exhibition events, but among maltese lovers they are in high demand precisely because of their own "photogenicity".
The skull of the Maltese lapdog is egg-shaped, medium-sized (mesocephalic gradation), with well-developed brow arches. The back of the head is flat, with a barely noticeable occipital protuberance. The parietal zone is slightly convex, the forehead line is parallel to the muzzle line. The median groove is almost invisible.
Maltese's muzzle accounts for ⅓ part of the length of the entire head. As you move away from the base, the muzzle gradually narrows, and its tip is rounded. There is a pronounced stop between the forehead and nose (about 90°).
The nose is straight, covered with long hair reaching the lower jaw. The lobe is large, moist, with well-opened nostrils. In individuals conforming to the standard, the lobe is black, not sloping and not protruding beyond the back of the nose.
The upper lip resembles a semicircle in outline and slightly overhangs the lower one. Maltese's lips are black in color and covered with fur.
Teeth and jaws
Jaws are well developed, but not massive. The bite is full, scissor-like, the teeth are strong, white.
The purebred Maltese has large, rounded and slightly protruding eyes. The perfect shade of the iris is dark ochre. Eye lids with black edging, tightly fitting. The look is lively, open.
Hanging type, tightly fitting to the muzzle, in the shape of a triangle with a wide base. Set high. The hair on the outside of the ear cloth is thick, reaching to the shoulders. In a state of excitement, the ears may slightly rise.
Hides under abundant fur and holds almost vertically. The length of the neck is approximately equal to the length of the head.
Deep chest with moderately curved ribs. The withers are implicitly pronounced, the loin is smooth, strong. The inguinal zones are located quite low and slightly tightened. Maltese's croup is wide, smooth, with a slight slope in the tail area.
The front legs of the Maltese lapdog are smooth. The blades are movable, placed at an angle of 60-65 °. The shoulders are longer than the shoulder blades, tilted at an angle of 70 °. Elbows tightly pressed to the body, looking straight. Turning the elbow outward or inward is considered unacceptable. On the back of the forearms there are rich oches. Pasterns are almost vertical, strong. The paws are rounded, abundantly pubescent, with black pads. A long coat grows between the arched, balled fingers.
The hind limbs are straight. The hips are dense, embossed, slightly tilted forward. The lower legs are bony, the hock joints are normal with an angle of 140 °. When viewed from behind, the imaginary line drawn from the hock to the floor should be vertical.
The Maltese lapdog's tail is a logical continuation of the dog's rump. In a calm state, it is gracefully curved and the tip touches the back (sometimes a slight deviation of the tail to the side is allowed by the standard). The tail is covered with soft hair hanging down on one side of the body. Ideally, the suspension of the tail should reach the hocks and, mixing with the fur on the trunk, form a lush cascade.
Light, straight, flowing in the form of a mantle. The undercoat is weakly expressed and almost imperceptible. In purebred lapdogs, the hair has a silky structure and is characterized by density. The normal length of the maltese coat is from 20 cm or more. The coat should be smooth, outlining the contours of the body. The presence of protruding tufts of hair and so-called feathering is unacceptable. The exception is the back of the front and hind limbs. Here oches have the right to exist.
The standard color of Maltese lapdogs is white. Not ideal, but an acceptable color option is a shade of ivory. Individuals whose fur has a pale orange tone are considered defective and do not participate in exhibition events.
Curious fact: until the beginning of the XX century, most cynological associations allowed variation in maltese colors. And only by 1913, a single breed standard was approved, recognizing only purebred individuals with white hair.
Defects and defects of the breed
It is customary to classify as defects of appearance everything that does not fit into the framework of the breed standard. Deviations can be both light, like wrinkles on the head or a narrow croup, and serious, affecting the exhibition "career" of the pet. The main vices threatening the Maltese lapdog with complete disqualification:
- disproportionate head;
- depigmented nose lobe;
- bend of the back of the nose;
- pronounced undershot or overshot;
- eyes of different shades;
- pink eyelids;
- cryptorchidism (incorrect location of the testicle);
- short tail;
- markings on the coat.
The reason for disqualification may be incorrect movements of the dog. This is especially true of lapdogs with the gait of a Pekingese (ambling), who do not push off from a horizontal surface, but simply rearrange their limbs. A healthy dog should move at a fast trot. The step of the representatives of this breed is short and energetic, so Maltese rushing about his business resembles a rolling ball.
Photo of an adult maltese
The character of the Maltese lapdog
Maltese lapdog is a playful fidget who just needs to stay in the thick of things and be aware of all the news. Moderately friendly, but at the same time confident in their own exclusivity, Maltese will never conflict with pets. In dogs of other breeds, these energetic fuzzies see, if not friends, then at least playmates with whom you can run around and fool around. But the lapdogs do not intend to share their master's attention with any living creature. It is worth the owner of maltese to caress another animal, as a little jealous person wakes up in his pet, capable of any meanness in relation to a rival.
Despite the fact that the Maltese lapdog breed is considered to be a family one, it is at least unreasonable to bring an animal into a house where there are small children. Maltese has a peaceful disposition, of course, but patience is by no means limitless. With strangers, the relationship of dogs is quite strained. Any unfamiliar person for Maltese is a potential enemy who should be scared in advance and properly. Usually, the owner learns about the arrival of an unwanted guest from the dog's point of view by the pet's choking barking. In this way, the lapdogs show their wariness and suspicion towards the stranger.
White and fluffy on the outside, maltese, unfortunately, do not always remain so on the inside. The main negative character trait of lapdogs is considered stubbornness. If the dog finds the training useless, it will be difficult to convince her. Another dark side of the breed is the fear of loneliness. If you are used to leaving your pet alone for more than an hour, get ready to take the mess in the apartment for granted. Once in a stressful situation, the dog will try to cope with the phobia in its own way, that is, gnawing wires, scratching shoes and making puddles wherever possible. Otherwise, ex-Melites are quite good–natured and docile creatures. They just need a little more affection and attention than representatives of other decorative breeds.
Training and education
Do not succumb to the natural charm of Maltese and do not neglect the upbringing of the dog. Lapdogs, whose whims are constantly indulged, quickly acquire a "crown" and begin to openly get impudent. It is better to teach snow-white pets the basics of etiquette from the very first months of life, and you should not expect much obedience from representatives of this breed. Yes, Maltese are smart enough dogs, but discipline is clearly not their strong suit.
Maltese lapdogs are brought up by the method of positive encouragement: the pet must understand that at the end of the educational process he will definitely receive a treat. It is useless to put pressure on the dog's conscience in this case. The absence of a tasty bonus at the end of the "lesson" is regarded by the animal as a deception, so next time Maltese will simply ignore your call to classes.
It is very important to develop the correct reaction in the puppy to the command "To me!". This is due to the fact that during walks without a leash, Maltese lapdogs turn on the "research mode". The animal is constantly distracted by external factors: it disappears into the bushes in search of the source of an unusual smell, looks into abandoned buildings, and so on. In such situations, the command "To me!" uttered in a strict, non–objectionable tone is the only way to bring the pet back to reality.
Important: up to three months of Maltese lapdog puppies should never be punished. The exception is extremely stubborn individuals who do not respond to prohibitions, as well as defiantly and systematically violating them.
Getting involved in serious maltese training is pointless. This is a decorative breed designed more for interior decoration and creating home comfort than for routine service. The only thing worth working on is dancing and acrobatic numbers, which Maltese lapdogs come out really funny. But keep in mind that it can take weeks or even months to learn one simple dance, so be patient in advance and have a bag of treats to stimulate the four-legged artist.
Maintenance and care
Due to their miniature physique, Maltese lapdogs feel free and comfortable even in small-sized apartments. Equip the dog with a secluded corner with a couch away from drafts and sunlight, and she will be immensely happy. Maltese puppies have a fragile backbone, so they need to be handled as carefully as possible. In addition, restless fuzzies love to poke their noses into the most unexpected places of the apartment, which is why it's easy to step on them. The best way to protect a baby from accidental injuries in the first months of life is to fence off his habitat with a small aviary where you can place a toilet.
Things that a Maltese lapdog will need:
- a couch or a house;
- combs for combing;
- claw cutter;
- squeaker toys (maltese love them);
- leash with collar or harness;
- ceramic or metal food bowl.
With regard to walks, Maltese are not picky and are willingly content with short outings "into the light". While the puppy is small, often take him to places where other dogs walk (not stray). This way the process of socialization will be faster. Usually, after several promenades, the kid ceases to see four-legged strangers as a threat and relaxes. By the way, finding both a puppy and an adult dog in the fresh air is worth dosing: maltese are not designed for long hiking trips and get tired quickly.
The average duration of a walk for an adult Maltese lapdog is 15-20 minutes. In frosts and off-season pets are walked in clothes. So, when preparing for winter excursions, do not be lazy to go to shops selling shoes and clothes for dogs.
Maltese is a breed for perfectionists. And although lapdogs are reputed to be neat and clean pets among breeders, their glamorous appearance is 99% the result of the owner's work. Accordingly, if you are not ready to bother with daily combing and regularly pay visits to the groomer, it is better to refuse to buy a Maltese lapdog.
It is allowed to wash animals once a week using shampoo and conditioner. After the "bath", the wool is dried with a towel and a hairdryer, after which it is wound on papillotes made of tissue paper. Such manipulations help to protect the hair from contamination and tangling, and also improve its structure. To prevent an overly excited animal from tearing off the papillotes, you can put special socks on its hind legs.
To make the wool silky, breeders recommend using indelible oils from the vetapteka, which must be applied immediately after washing. Another effective way to avoid tangles is a silk jumpsuit. The smooth fabric of the suit protects Maltese's hair from crumpling and tangling, thereby simplifying the process of pet care.
Comb the lapdogs every day. First, the hair is disassembled by hands, paying special attention to the abdomen and armpits – areas where the wool often gets tangled. Then the "fur coat" of the animal is sprinkled with talc and passed over it with a metal comb with frequent teeth. It is better to collect a long "bang" on the pet's head in a ponytail and secure it with an elastic band.
If participation in exhibitions does not shine for your maltese, it can be cut, which will save you a lot of time. In addition, it is necessary to regularly cut the hair between the fingers, as well as around the anus and genitals of the dog.
Maltese lapdogs have very sensitive eyes, which also often water, leaving ugly dark grooves on the muzzle. To prevent this process from evolving, excess natural mucus in the corners of the eyes is removed with a cotton swab. Some breeders recommend wiping the eyelids of lapdogs with tea infusion or chamomile decoction, but this method also has opponents who claim that there is very little use from such homemade lotions. In addition, due to the too frequent use of herbal decoctions, the hair around the dog's eyes begins to fall out, which can become a reason for the disqualification of the animal at the exhibition.
Taking care of Maltese's ears and teeth is no different from taking care of any other purebred dog. The ear shells of lapdogs are examined once a week, removing the accumulated dirt in them with the help of lotion and a cotton swab. Teeth are cleaned every 7-14 days with a soft brush with veterinary paste applied to it. If a lapdog has a tartar, contact a veterinarian who will solve the problem quickly and professionally. Pay attention to the dog's claws twice a month. The best option is to remove the excess plate with a claw cutter, then sand the remaining part of the claw with a nail file.
Maltese lapdog can be fed with natural food, or it can be "dried". In any case, the main thing is not to overfeed, if you don't want to find a clumsy wool lump at home one day, suffering from shortness of breath. Half of a dog's natural diet should be meat. The remaining 50% of the daily menu falls on cereals (rice, buckwheat), vegetables and fruits. Once a week, meat can be replaced with offal or boiled sea fish. Fermented dairy products in the maltese diet should also be present. Several times a month, the pet can be treated with quail yolk mixed with vegetable oil. Another kind of delicacy useful in all respects is walnuts with a drop of natural honey.
How to feed: up to six months, the lapdogs are fed four times a day. At 6 months, the number of meals is reduced to three. Yearling dogs are completely transferred to two meals a day.
Like most other breeds, maltese is extremely harmful to smoked meats, sweets, potatoes and legumes. It is recommended to include spicy cheeses, pickles and cabbage in the same list.
Dry food for Maltese lapdogs should be selected individually and preferably in the company of a veterinarian, since some industrial varieties of "drying" can provoke allergies in dogs. To understand that it's time to change the diet, the pet's eyes will help, which begin to water excessively if the food is selected incorrectly.
Maltese Health and Diseases
The most common malady of Maltese lapdogs is eye diseases such as glaucoma, lacrimal duct overlap, retinal atrophy and distichiasis. In addition, Maltese inherited a tendency to dermatitis and deafness from their ancestors. Often, Maltese lapdogs are found to have hydrocephalus, hypoglycemia and heart disease, which in the initial stages are amenable to drug treatment. But the congenital subluxation of the kneecap is eliminated only surgically, so before buying a puppy, it is worth focusing on the condition of his limbs.
How to choose a puppy
The first and most important rule when choosing a maltese puppy: the animal must fully comply with the breed standard. And this means – no discounts on malocclusion, "small" breasts and other defects. Carefully evaluate the condition of the future pet's coat. Since Maltese lapdogs have oily and dry skin types, the hair structure of each individual will be very different.
The most common buying mistake is to choose the most fluffy puppy from the litter. Of course, such animals look prettier than their fellow tribesmen, but too much wool for maltese is rather a disadvantage than an advantage. Do not be afraid of puppies with slightly wavy hair. With age, the animal's fur gains strength and straightens. At the same time, it is necessary to distinguish dogs with a wavy fur coat from truly curly pets. Maltese lapdog puppies with pronounced curls of wool are a real plembrak.
Photos of maltese puppies
How much does a Maltese lapdog cost
In domestic kennels, a purebred Maltese lapdog puppy can be bought for $250 - $300. Individuals with an exotic appearance like maltese mini and maltese baby face are much more expensive: on average from $350 to $450. You can buy a snow-white fluffy from your hands for $100 - $150 . The relatively low cost in the latter case is an indicator of the risk that the buyer is taking. Not all puppies, which are sold through virtual bulletin boards, have a pure pedigree and fit into the framework of the breed standard.