The Maltese is a confident, loving, loyal, playful and extremely lively dog. He can be a handful, and needs a great deal of time with his owner. He doesn't like to be left alone for long, and may bark too much if ignored. He is rambunctious, yet also gentle and sweet. He loves to cuddle and curl in your lap. He adores play time and loves to run and play chase with you around the house much more than wrestling with his toys. Outside, he's liable to jump straight into mud puddles! He doesn't need a great deal of space for his romping, but he does like a daily walk. He should be leashed when he walks if you want him to stay out of puddles, and also to avoid confrontations with larger dogs, who may misunderstand his energy and confidence. He is not at all afraid of other dogs and cats, and for this reason in fact gets along well with them. He can be wary of strangers, however, and makes a good watchdog because he is quick to sound the alarm when he hears strange noises or sees a new face. You will need to teach him when he has barked enough, and it is time to stop. He isn't easy to train, and requires gentleness and a loving approach as well as lots of rewards to make training sessions worth his time. He can be difficult to housebreak. He is good and polite with children, but since he is a sweet dog and doesn't like rough play, he should be supervised with very young children, who must learn to respect his smallness and gentleness. He basically doesn't shed (you'd be hard pressed to find a hair anywhere in your home), so would make a good pet if you like your house free of hair.
The Maltese is 8 to 10 inches tall (to shoulders) and weighs 4 to 7 pounds. He has a long, silky coat. His coat color can be white or light tan.
Pet coat: Requires only the occasionally brushing and is clipped short every few months. Show coat: Needs to be brushed for 10 to 15 minutes daily to avoid matting and tangling, and is trimmed every 6 weeks.
The Maltese is a very ancient dog who can be traced back to pre-Biblical times, to the island of Malta. The ancient Greeks built tombs for him, and the Romans wrote poetry about him. He lived as a privileged companion to royalty and nobility, and was especially favored by royal women, who tucked him into their sleeves. In modern times, he's been the favorite pet of kings and queens and of movie stars including Elizabeth Taylor. He was first shown in the United States in 1877, and was admitted to the AKC in 1888. His AKC popularity was 19th out of 157 breeds in 2007.