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About the Maltese
Maltese are affectionate toy dogs weighing less than seven pounds, covered by a long, straight, silky coat. Beneath the all-white mantle is a compact body moving with a smooth and effortless gait. The overall picture depicts free-flowing elegance and balance. The irresistible Maltese face—with its big, dark eyes and black gumdrop nose—can conquer the most jaded sensibility.
Despite their aristocratic bearing, Maltese are hardy and adaptable pets. They make alert watchdogs who are fearless in a charming toy-dog way, and they are game little athletes on the agility course. Maltese are low-shedding, long-lived, and happy to make new friends of all ages. Sometimes stubborn and willful, they respond well to rewards-based training.
National Breed Clubs and Rescue
Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country. In 1969, the American Maltese Association became the official AKC Parent Club for the Maltese.
The Maltese should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
The long, white coat of the Maltese is eye-catching and glorious. It requires daily gentle brushing and combing to the skin to prevent mats and tangles. Maltese should also have regular baths and coat conditioning to keep their hair looking its best. They have fast-growing nails that should be trimmed regularly. Check their ears weekly, and remove any excess hair or wax and any accumulated debris. Because Maltese are prone to dental disease as they get older, their teeth should be brushed frequently—ideally each time their coat is brushed. If the dog has excessive tear-staining around the eyes , a visit to the veterinarian to determine a possible cause is recommended.
Maltese are full of energy but require only occasional exercise to keep them healthy and happy. Daily walks with their owner or bouncing around in their fenced yard, or even indoors, will usually suffice to keep them fit.
Maltese are very intelligent, and in centuries of being companions to humans they have learned how to get exactly what they want from their people. It is important to be consistent with their training. Maltese are athletic and talented and make a fun choice as competitive companions in dog sports such as obedience or agility. They can be stubborn and determined, but they respond well to positive training methods.
The Maltese is a healthy breed with few health issues, and will usually live well into the double digits. Responsible breeders screen their stock for health conditions such as luxating patella and heart anomalies such as PDA (patent ductus arteriosus). At this time, there is no screening test available. The American Maltese Association is working with researchers to come up with answers and perhaps a genetic test in the near future. As in all toy breeds, dental maintenance is important, and Maltese should have their teeth brushed daily with a toothpaste specially formulated for dogs, as well as routine cleanings at the vet.
Maltese are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many Maltese in need of adoption and or fostering. There are a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don’t see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward a Maltese rescue.
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