Malta, ca. 1500 v. Chr.
The Maltese is a fine-boned, but sturdy, hardy little companion dog with a luxurious silky white coat hanging straight to the ground on each side of a center part line. It is a member of the Bichon family and is one of the oldest European breeds.
This breed is mild-mannered and affectionate, yet playful and full of animation. Despite its size, posses the vigor needed for an excellent companion. This breed is intelligent and easy to train but is very strong-willed. It enjoys being groomed, petted and fondled.
White, slight lemon markings on ears are permissible.
Long, straight coat, silky texture. Daily combing and brushing is important but be gentle, as the coat is very soft. Bathe or dry shampoo regularly, making sure the animal is thoroughly dry and warm afterward. This breed sheds little to no hair and is good for allergy sufferers.
It is prone to sunburn along the hair parting; skin, respiratory, eye and tooth problems, and slipped stifle. It may get the chills, and it experiences discomfort in hot weather. The Maltese should be kept out of damp areas; it is a good idea to paper-train this breed - to avoid going out in weather extremes. To minimize the risk of your Maltese developing any hereditary health issues, you should buy a Maltese puppy from a reputable Maltese breeder.