Maltese Breed Profile

 If you own a Maltese, you already know that they are lively and fearless dogs.  These tiny dogs have long been symbols of status and royalty and are the oldest European toy breed.  As far back as 500 years ago, they were sold for $2000 or more! Unlike some other toy breeds, the Maltese is not simply a smaller version of another dog.  Rather, the first Maltese dogs were the same size as today’s breed standard. AKC recognizes the Maltese standard weight between 4 and 7 pounds.

 

Attitude and Behavior

Maltese dogs are both affectionate lap dogs and exuberant playmates.  They’re friendly with children, although care should be taken when allowing toy breeds to play roughly with children.  They’re usually good with other animals, although they may foolishly challenge larger dogs.  Maltese are generally reserved towards strangers, but are well suited to family life. They bond very quickly to family members. If you are raising a puppy around children I strongly suggest that you keep a close eye on the activity for obvious reasons, for the safety of your new puppy, but just as important watch the temperament of the puppy, his/her accepting or denying the behavior towards the activity with the children.  If the puppy seems angry and appears to show signs of negative actions or being too aggressive or even trying to get away from the children then its time to remove him/her from the children and give the Maltese a break.  Teach children that this reaction means he/she needs a break or is trying to express that he/she does not prefer that particular game or activity.  Sometimes its not even your children that are causing the abnormal behavior and can be your children's friends. Be sure they are also watched closely because they may not be used to playing with a dog/puppy in general, much less a petite one.

A little History

A gentle-mannered and affectionate toy dog, the Maltese has been an aristocrat of the canine world for more than 28 centuries.  Originating in the Mediterranean, was once known as "Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta." In the first century, the Roman governor of Malta, Publius, had a beloved Maltese named "Issa," and the Egyptians, who erected tombs to their Maltese, are believed to have worshipped the breed. Around 1972, Danberton in History Naturelle wrote that "ladies carried them in their sleeves." A white Maltese, listed as the Maltese Lion Dog, was exhibited as a Maltese Sky Terrier in 1979. This toy dog makes a lively and playful companion. Covered from heat to foot with a mantle of long, silky white coat, the Maltese weighs under 7 pounds. Maltese are full of energy, and tend to be bold and curious.  They learn quite quickly, but can become stubborn.  Reward-based training involving food or play goes a long way to keeping your Maltese engaged but be careful not to reward too much, or your Maltese’s waistline may suffer. Happy voice rewardig is my favorite approach!

 

 Exercise and Nutrition
Maltese tend to stay in reasonable weight, but it may be difficult to tell because of the abundance of fur.  You should be able to feel the ribs, but they should not be too noticeable by sight.  Feed a balanced diet, as recommended by your veterinarian, and reduce calories and increase exercise if needed.  Remember that the calories in treats add up fast with a toy breed dog.
 
Maltese make lively and alert housedogs as long as their exercise needs are met.  A daily walk around the block, coupled with several play sessions, will usually suffice.  Dog parks provide a welcome change of scenery, but should be considered carefully if there is not an area separated for small breed dogs.  Use caution when letting your Maltese run off-leash – choose only enclosed areas such as a well fenced dog park or yards.

Maltese do not shed and therefore good for people with allergies.  Due to their small size are great indoor dogs and do not require a lot of exercise however they do love to sit and smell the outdoor breeze, ride in a car, bike or go for a short walk. They are great watch dogs but NOT yappy. They do not have an undercoat like most breeds and therefore can become sunburn and/or chilled in cooler climates so little t-shirts and coats are a good idea.

 

 CRITICAL BEHAVIOR PERIODS

I found this article written by Carol Kufner and so I must disclose I am not sure if it applies to all breeds but I still find it interesting enough to give it consideration while raising puppies and share it on my site.  

Age (weeks) 3-14. Socialization Period. If socialized later than 14 weeks (or between 12 - 14 weeks in some dogs) shyness or agressiveness may dominate behavior.

Age (weeks) 6 - 8. Optimum Socialization. If socialized earlier, shyness often develops, along with over-dependence on owner, which may lead to over-protectiveness.

Age (weeks) 8 - 10. Fear Imprint. Traumatic, fear-producing experiences may be permanently impress causing defensive reactions in some circumstances.

Age (weeks 12 - 14. Puberty Onset. Meaningful sexual mounting often occurs. Males display erections.

Age (weeks) 18-40. Protective-Aggressive. Barking at strangers and other territorial and social group protective tendencies may occur. Leg lifting may begin in males.

Age (weeks) 35 - 56. Functional. Many dogs become more serious about protective-aggressive behavior. a general persistence in behavior problems is noted and corrections become more difficult.

Age (weeks) 104 - 208. Achievement. Protective-aggressive behavior can become especially purposeful.  Problem behvior appears to become self-rewarding, habitual. Corrections markedly more difficult.