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Maltese

Life span: 12-15 Years

Height: 8 – 10 inches (male), 8 – 9 inches (female)

Weight: 6 – 10 lbs.

The Maltese is a small-sized breed that belongs to the toy group. It has large brown eyes and a coat of long white, silky hair which gives it an elegant and innocent appearance. The Maltese is an ancient breed that can trace its roots back thousands of years, and to this day it remains a popular breed. While the Maltese is not highly active, it does take well to a limited exercise routine.

This breed is charismatic, loving, and fun to be around. They demand as much attention as they give, maybe even more! However, they may not be particularly toleran with younger children, unless they are raised around them.

Physical Characteristics

Their ears are small and fold down, with a small tail that curls over their back. The eyes are brown with a black nose. Their long coat is straight, stuff, and dense. Coat color is always white, giving it the appearance of a fluffy cloud or pillow.

History

Originating in Malta, this breed has varied names that identify it. Some of these are Maliae dog, Maltese Terrier, Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta, Roman Ladies Dog, Spaniel Gentle, Bichon, Maltese Lion Dog, and Comforter. It was highly popular among nobility and artists. However, its most popular, and perhaps the most important, job was to be a “comforter”for highly ill people in Egypt and Europe. It was believed that they had healing properties, and were therefore placed next to ill people. There are many records of them in forms of poems, paintings, etc.

Personality

This breed is as loving as it likes to be loved, especially given that they were bred to be family dogs, companion dogs. They want to be the center of attention at all times, and have plenty of charisma to achieve it. They get along well with older children, but unless raised with them, might not be particularly tolerant of younger ones. Training should begin as soon as possible, being gentle but firm at all times. Early socialization is also highly important for this breed.

Health

Although generally healthy, this breed may suffer from:

  • Collapsed Trachea, in which rapid intakes of air flatten the trachea, making it difficult for air to pass through.
  • Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, is easily treated when detected early, but if too severe can be life threatening. Symptoms include shivering, slowing down, and becoming listless. If too advanced, the puppy will collapse, start having convulsions, go into a coma, and eventually perish.
  • Luxating Patella, in which the kneecaps may dislocate or move from its proper place.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.
  • Portosystemic Shunt, which is a congenital disease in which blood vessels let the blood bypass the liver, causing it to not be cleansed properly by the liver. It can be noticed through lack of appetite, hypoglycemia, urinary tract problems, etc. Surgery is recommended.
  • Reverse Sneezing, which may happen at any moment, is when the nasal secretions go into the soft palate and cause the windpipe to close. The dog will begin wheezing and panicking. Calming them down and helping them breathe is the best solution, which can be done by talking soothingly, forcing them to breathe through their mouths by covering their nose, etc.
  • White Dog Shaker Syndrome, which predominantly affects white dogs, may begin when the puppy is as young as six months. Symptoms include lack of coordination, rapid eye movements, and body tremors. They are not painful, and can be treated.

Care

This breed can sometimes be high maintenance, given that they need daily brushing, and regular baths. Their nails should be trimmed regularly, as well as their teeth brushed and ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections. The eyes should be checked regularly and if there is a lot of tear staining, a vet visit is recommended. This breed is not particularly high energy, and should be content with a small daily walk or simply running around the house or an enclosed area. Training can be difficult given that they tend to be stubborn but with consistent training and positive reinforcement, it can be achieved.

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