The Maltese is one of the most gentle mannered of all toy dogs. Even though they are a very small dog, they tend to be fearless and brave, acting like a big dog trapped in a little dogs’ body.

Maltese are devoted to their masters and can be very protective of their owners. They love to play and are full of energy, making them great family dogs. However children must be taught how to treat a small dog, and must learn to be gentle. They are also very intelligent little dogs that are fast learners.

Due to its small size they are easy to manage, and are recommended as a good candidate for the first time dog owner.  Males and females are of equal temperament.

* Maltese Breed History *


The Maltese is among the oldest European toy breed, and has been estimated to have originated around 8,000 years ago.
This small toy dogs name and origin is believed to have originated on the island of Malta, which is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.  Malta became a very prosperous trading port around 1500 B.C. where the Maltese was distributed as an exotic article of trade.  From there they we exported through out the civilized world.
Some believe the early Maltese were used for rodent control, but soon became very popular with the "upper class women".  This breed has been a favorite of the aristocrats for over 28 centuries, back as far as the 1500’s they were claimed to have been sold for $2,000. The Maltese we see today are very much the same size as the first Maltese
In America, they were first shown as "Maltese Lion Dogs", and were recognized in 1888 by the AKC.

*The AKC Maltese Standard *

* Maltese Temperament *

MN Maltese Breeders Specializing in Breeding Top Quality AKC Maltese Puppies for Companion and Show

The Maltese is a toy dog covered from head to foot with a mantle of long silky white hair.  He is gentle mannered and affectionate, eager and sprightly in action, and despite his size, possesses the vigor needed for a satisfactory companion.

 Head

Of medium length and in proportion to the size of the dog.  The skull is slightly rounded on the top, the stop moderate.  The drop ears are rather low set and heavily feathered with long hair that hangs close to the head.  Eyes are set not to far apart, they are very dark and round, their black rims enhancing the gentle yet alert expression.  The muzzle is of medium length, fine and tapered but not snipy.  The nose is black.  The teeth meet in an even, edge to edge bite or in a scissors bite.


Neck

Sufficient length of neck is desirable as to promote a high carriage of the head.

Body
Compact.  The length from the withers to the ground equaling the length from the withers to the root of the tail.  Shoulder blades are sloping, the elbows well knit and held close to the body.  The back is level in topline, the ribs well sprung.  The chest is fairly deep, the loins taut, strong and just slightly tucked up underneath.

Tail
A long-haired plume carried gracefully over the back, its tip laying to the side over the quarter.

Legs and Feet

Legs are fine-boned and nicely feathered.  Forelegs are straight, their pastern joints well knit and  devoid of appreciable bend.  Hind legs are strong and moderately angulated at stifles and hocks.  The feet are small and round, with toe pads black.  Scraggly hairs on the feet may be trimmed to give a neater appearance.

Coat and Color
The coat is single, without undercoat.  It hangs long, flat and silky over the side of the body almost, if not quite to the ground.  The long hair may be tied up in a topknot or it may be left hanging.  Any suggestion of kinkiness, curliness, or wooly texture is objectionable.  Color, pure white.  Light tan or lemon on the ears is permissible, but not desirable.

Size
Weight under seven pounds, with from four to six pounds preferred.  Over-all quality is to be favored over size.

 Gait
The Maltese moves with a jaunty, smooth, flowing gait.  Viewed from the side he gives the impression of rapid movement.


Temperament

For all of his diminutive size, the Maltese seems to be without fear.  This trust and affectionate responsiveness are very appealing.  He is among the gentlest mannered of all little dogs, yet he is lively and playful as well as vigorous.