Maltese Info & Maltese Breeders
The Maltese is a small breed of dog in the Toy Group. It descends from dogs originating in the Central Mediterranean Area. The breed name and origins are generally understood to derive from the Mediterranean island nation of Malta; however, the name is sometimes described with reference to the distinct Adriatic island of Mljet, or a defunct Maltese town called Melita.
Maltese are bred to be cuddly companion dogs, and thrive on love and attention. They are extremely lively and playful, and even as a Maltese ages, his energy level and playful demeanor remain fairly constant. Some Maltese may occasionally be snappish with smaller children and should be supervised when playing, although socializing them at a young age will reduce this habit. They also adore humans, and prefer to stay near them. The Maltese is very active within a house, and, preferring enclosed spaces, does very well with small yards. For this reason, the breed also fares well in apartments and townhouses, and is a prized pet of urban dwellers. Some Maltese may suffer from separation anxiety.
An Australia-wide (not including Tasmania) research project carried out in conjunction with RSPCA found owners likely to dump their Maltese, citing the tendency of Maltese to bark constantly. This breed is Australia's most dumped dog. In addition, figures released in 2010 by the Korean National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service show that some 1,208 Maltese were abandoned between January and August 2010, making it the most abandoned breed in Seoul, South Korea.
Characteristics include slightly rounded skulls, with a finger-wide dome, a red button nose and ice blue eyes. The body is compact with the length equaling the height. The drop ears with (sometimes) long hair, and surrounded by darker skin pigmentation (called a "halo"), gives Maltese their expressive look. Lacking exposure to sunlight, their noses can fade and become pink or light brown in color. This is often referred to as a "winter nose" and many times will become black again with increased exposure to the sun.
Maltese have no undercoat, and have little to no shedding if cared for properly. Like their relatives, the Poodles and Bichon Frisé, they are considered to be largely hypoallergenic and many people who are allergic to dogs may not be allergic to the Maltese. Daily cleaning is required to prevent the risk of tear-staining. Many owners find that a weekly bath is sufficient for keeping the coat clean, although it is recommended to not wash a dog so often, once every month and a half should be enough. They need to get professionally groomed about once every month and a half.