A miniature, elegant "snowflake", it is an indicator of status and one of the most prestigious pets of secular society, it is a Maltese lap-dog. The breed is a champion in several categories at once, but the most significant of them is age. Today, looking at the snow-white Bologna in her purse, not many will think through what ups and downs of fate this four-legged one had to go through.
Beauty overshadows the incredible history of the breed. Maltese, as they are now called, were entrances to the royal palaces and fell out of favor, but their strong genes made it possible to preserve the breed to this day. The most ancient dogs are large molosses, similar to modern dogs. This version was not disputed until the discovery of historical references that came from the pen of Charles Darwin himself. A naturalist who traveled most of his life described dogs very similar to the early Maltese. For a moment, descriptions were made with reference to the VI century BC. That is, the Maltese lapdogs can be miniature peers, or even predecessors of Molossians.
A verbal description may show insufficient convincing evidence, but clay figures similar to the Maltese lapdog in the smallest details were discovered in Ancient Egypt. It is known that the "snowflakes" lived in Malta. According to a simplified version, the name of the island played a decisive role in naming the breed. Another version says that the breed is named after the island of Mljet. Despite the fact that Malta is located in the Mediterranean Sea, and Mljet in the Adriatic, both versions can be true. The fact is that at the time of the birth of the breed, all the islands in the Mediterranean basin were called Mljet, and the early Maltese - Meletian dogs. It is believed that the earliest name, mini-dogs received from the Romans and Greeks.
It is interesting! There is a third version, according to which the name of the breed stretches from the city of Melitia (Sicily Island), from which miniature dogs were actively imported for the nobility.
Malta, under the auspices of the Romans, has always attracted the attention of travelers and naturalists. Scientists did not spare beautiful words to describe the nature, terrain and animals living on the island. It is known that early Maltese lived with one of the bishops of Malta. The dog’s name was Issa and she more than once became the object of attention of the creators.
It is interesting! During excavations in Greece, many burials of Maltese lapdogs and images of these wonderful dogs were discovered. The burials were ennobled with tombstones, which indicates the special status of tetrapods.
Dog breed Maltese lap-dog actively conquered the world long before its official recognition. Based on historical data, we can say that Maltese spread from the east of Europe to the west. The first "snowflakes" appeared in China in the 1st century AD. The babies endured travels very well and served as a valuable exchange commodity. Merchants traded exotic dogs for popular Chinese silk around the world, the value of which was commensurate with gold.
It is interesting! Historical records state that Maltese was used in breeding work to breed the Pekingese. The version is often disputed, but the truth of those times cannot be restored.
It should be noted that the Maltese lapdog has always been a value. The increase in the number of breeds was strictly controlled at all times. Puppies of the Maltese lapdog were sold for very solid money, but only in a narrow circle. Most often, the "snowflake" was a gift and a tribute. Mary Stuart, ruler of Scotland, received miniature dogs from the French. By the way, it is believed that in those days, the highest quality and cleanest livestock of Maltese was concentrated precisely in France.
It is interesting! Mary Stuart ended her days in the field of the people's court, she was beheaded. In the annals, this event was described with one interesting detail - under the Queen’s magnificent skirt, after the execution, her faithful Maltese was discovered.
The Queen of Great Britain, Victoria, acquired a male Maltese named Chico, presented to her as a gift. It was the desire to give Victoria a magnificent Bologna that laid the first brick of tribal activity in England. For Her Majesty, two more dogs were brought from the Philippines. During a long journey, the little ones lost their "presentation" and it was not possible to present them to the queen. Bolonki fell into the hands of the breeder Mastiff, lived in a nursery and delighted the owner with healthy snow-white puppies.
Active breeding work around the world led to the division of the Maltese lapdogs into two varieties - Italian, it is also classic and American. According to the standard of the FCI breed (International Canine Federation), the weight of dogs varies from 3 to 4 kg. The description of the breed according to the AKC (Kennel Union of America) says that Maltese should not weigh more than 3.2 kg, and ideally, the range is 1.8-2.7 kg.
As mentioned earlier, the size of the dogs may vary, depending on the country of breeding. Naturally, if a pet is purchased for an exhibition career, you need to focus on the FCI standard. Maltese growth is tied to the sex of the dogs and varies within:
- Male: 21-25 cm.
- Bitch: 20-23 cm.
- Head - quite large for body size, the length of the skull and muzzle is approximately equal to half the height at the withers. The skull box is quite wide, goes into the back of the nose at an angle of 90 °. The back of the nose is even, the shape of the muzzle is more rectangular. The area under the eyes and cheeks are medium-filled. Lips of medium thickness, "dry", with full black pigmentation.
- Teeth - not powerful, but proportionally developed, the bite is full, correct, without a gap between the incisors. The teeth are smooth, white, strong.
- Nose - small, with round nostrils, the color is exclusively black, the pigmentation is complete.
- Eyes - large, expressive with a lively sheen, eyes should not appear bulging or hollow. The eyelids are black, "dry", when viewed from the front, the whites of the eyes and conjunctiva are not visible. The incision is round. The color of the eyes is brown, the more saturated, the better.
- The ears - triangular in shape, semi-permanent type, the tips are rounded, pressed to the skull. At the time of arousal, the ears rise and go straight ahead.
- Body - moderately elongated format, its length is about 1/3 more than the growth of the dog at the withers, the taut contours of the body are hidden by flowing hair. The skin is tightened well, without wrinkles, age spots are acceptable. The neck is flat, without a visible bend, is about 1/3 of the growth at the withers. The withers are weak, the back to the base of the tail is flat, strong. The croup is quite elongated, neatly lowered to the hips. The sternum is lowered just below the elbows, spacious, oval in section, the ribs are moderately rounded and elongated.
- Limbs - with a well-developed skeleton, but moderate muscles. The joints should be strong and flexible, in movement, the dog should not look constrained. The elbows and hocks are directed strictly back, with frontal examination, the front and hind legs are straight. The brushes are tightly assembled, the claws are bent, strong, dark (black pigmentation is preferable), the paw pads are strictly black.
- Tail - is a little more than 1/2 growth at the withers, strong at the base, refined to the tip. The saber-shaped, well bent posture is carried high, the tip touches the back between the femoral tubercles.
Type of coat and color
In the photo, the Maltese lap-dog looks like a figurine or a toy. Such impressions are promoted by the even, maximally long, flowing down even layer of wool. The mouth should not curl or break into curls. To the touch, the hairline is silky, heavy and dense in structure. Beautifying the hair of the head falls with the hair on the body, to the ground. The areas of the beard and bangs harmoniously flow into the hair growing on the face and ears. Tail tow to hocks or lower. On the legs, in the lower part (from the elbow or knee), a slight waviness or ruffle of the spine is allowed. The preferred color is cold and pure white. The standard allowed the shade of beige or ivory, but visually, this coloring gives the impression of dirty wool and is not welcome.
Important! Maltese can become a pet allergy sufferer! It is worth considering that the breed has no undercoat and hypoallergenic coat, but not skin secretions. If you suffer from allergies, but want a dog, it is recommended to contact puppies 2-3 times before acquiring a new pet. Explain your concerns to the breeder and you will not be denied an invitation to tea.
Character and training
The breed characteristic given in the standard describes Maltese as a crowded self-respect and a noble pet. With proper upbringing, the description is true. However, the problem is that many owners ignore the need to raise miniature dogs. Having made erroneous assumptions, after 10-12 months, the owners begin to "tarnish" the character of the Maltese lapdogs. In fact, the problem is not in the pet, but in the neglect of the "parents".
Remember, training a Maltese lap-dog is vital. Given the size of the pet and its inability to survive independently, the “To Me” team should be not only learned, but also worked out perfectly. Naturally, you should not limit yourself to one team, in addition, having passed OKD, it is worth moving on to studying tricks. Maltese have excellent memory and ability to concentrate. Dogs live in order to please their owner, and what will become the reason for your approval is up to you.
Thinking about acquiring a puppy, potential owners want to know all the pros and cons of the breed, but it is impossible to give an unambiguous description of the Maltese lap-dog. This breed can be compared with plasticine, that fashion, then you have to love. Decide to carry your pet in a bag and not allow it to meet four-legged comrades - in a year you will get an aggressive or hysterical dog, give free rein to your behavior - do not be surprised at the shoots.
The breed is very energetic, loves games and hanging out with his family. The level of attachment depends on status, the owner is authority, the rest are tribesmen. If there are children in the family, the dog stands to be afraid, because she will not be able to protect herself from peanuts. Cats and other animals in the house are tolerant if the dog has been actively socialized. The Maltese lapdog does not have a sharply developed guarding instinct, but it can easily "bite" a stranger.
A huge plus of the breed is that it can be accustomed to the toilet in the house - a diaper or a tray. However, the acquired skill does not beg the significance of walks and active games. The Maltese lap dog, locked in a dwelling, gnaws furniture and spoils things. This is natural, and if you have already decided to keep the dog captive, then reconcile yourself to material damage. Are you not ready to buy a new sofa? So, you have to spend money on toys for dogs. Most Maltese especially love rubber squeakers.
Maintenance and care
Beauty requires effort, and thinking about how to care for the Maltese lapdog, you can come to the conclusion that it will not do without victims. Decorative dogs can only be kept in a dwelling, require walking and normalized loads, these rules are also valid for Maltese.
The concept of care should include:
- Daily combing of the hair with a comb. Considering that the breed is deprived of undercoat and changes spine gradually, the puppy should be accustomed to combing from the first days. Giving the pet's hair 20 minutes a day, you will save the effective appearance of the ward, save him from tassels, and yourself from white wool on clothes and furniture.
- Bathing as it gets dirty, but without fanaticism. Many owners believe that a white dog should be washed every day or once every 3 days. In fact, such manipulations will lead to the fact that the pet will get dirty faster, and its coat and skin will become, to put it mildly, unhealthy.
- An excellent alternative to painstaking care is the seasonal haircut of the Maltese lapdog. In summer, the dog cuts his hair short; in winter, the coat stays longer. Only one nuance, show dogs can not be cut.
- Daily eye examinations and eye cleaning as needed. Maltese are prone to a number of eye problems, your attention to redness, nodules or lack of shine can literally save the pet's vision. Do not try to stop the symptoms yourself, but consult a doctor right away. Procrastination can lead to irreversible processes.
- Ear cleaning 1 time in 2-3 weeks. The claws are cut with the same frequency. If the dog is walking in shoes, closer attention should be paid to claw length control.
- Monitoring the condition of the teeth, feeding hygienic sweets, removing tartar as necessary. Close attention is paid to the process of changing teeth. Although Maltese have a "Hollywood smile" by nature, all miniature dogs are prone to late tooth decay. The omission may cost the curvature of the incisors or fangs, the inflammatory process or damage to the bite.
For the sake of maintaining cleanliness and for walking in the cold season, the Maltese lap-dog will need several sets of clothes, if desired, and shoes. Use overalls strictly for walking, otherwise you yourself will provoke the appearance of warlocks. Clothing should be made of natural, non-static materials (except for overalls for rainy weather).
The next important question is the tendency of the breed to dermatitis, or rather, their prevention. Flea and tick treatment is carried out at least once every six months (optimally, every 4 months). Always carefully read the instructions for the drug. Usually, drops that protect against fleas for 3 months protect the dog from all types of ticks for only 25-30 days. Noticing that the dog is suffering from itching, consult a doctor immediately. The reason may be commonplace and obvious, for example, an allergy. And perhaps, to establish the root causes, you need a laboratory scraping. Maltese has very delicate skin, so any kind of dermatitis develops quickly. If the disease is associated with yeast cultures (the breed is prone to this), it is worth using complex treatment.
Next, a brief look at how to feed the Maltese lapdog. The choice is quite complicated and many inexperienced owners are lost among the variegated packages of feed and statements about their harm or benefit.
Any dog that does not have a clear tendency to allergies can be kept on two types of food:
- Semi-moist or dry food of industrial production - an option that more and more breeders and experienced dog owners are leaning towards. The main advantage is a clear balance of nutrients and ease of calculation of the daily food intake. Dry food is convenient for working owners, it can lie in a bowl all day and not go bad. Naturally, this type of food saves time. Of the minuses, individual intolerance (both physiological and taste) and high cost can be called. Good industrial feed cannot be cheap; usually, premium or super-premium products cost 2–3 times more than natural food.
- Natural nutrition (cereals, raw foods, homemade canned food) - A familiar, studied and more natural way of feeding. Natural food has different tastes, which can be used to please the pet.Many dogs love products with original flavors, for example, sweet or sour, and this range can only be provided with natural food. This feeding method is more troublesome, but also economical. Among the shortcomings should be called a lack of vitamins and minerals. When drawing up a natural diet, you need to take into account the calorie content, the amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Given the small weight of Maltese, even small miscalculations can be essential for the health of the pet.
The average life expectancy of a Maltese lap-dog is 12-15 years. Many potential owners doubt the choice, having studied all the flaws of the breed. In fact, if a puppy is purchased in a kennel that has earned respect or from respectable breeders, before the transaction, you will be provided with health documents for both the kids and their parents. The breed can predict longevity, provided that the pet does not have the typical Maltese diseases:
- Congenital dislocation or subluxation of the patella - A common pathology of miniature breeds. It is characterized by improper joint formation or ligament weakness.
- Dermatitis - skin irritations of a different nature, the most common is yeast dermatitis.
- Abnormal eyelash growth (distichiasis) - leads to permanent trauma to the mucous membrane of the eyes and inflammatory processes of the eyelids.
- Glaucoma - A disease affecting the lens of the eye is most often a consequence of cataracts. Maltese are prone to illness at any age.
- Lacrimal duct dysfunction - leads to chronic drying of the mucous membranes of the eyes, while ignoring retinal atrophy and blindness.
- Retinal atrophy - degenerative destruction of tissues, leading to partial or complete loss of vision.
- Blindness - congenital or acquired, hereditary disease.
- Heart disease - a collective concept indicating degenerative changes in muscle tissue. There are many forms and stages of the disease, and this greatly complicates both the diagnosis and treatment.
- Hypoglycemia - A disease characterized by an attack, during which the blood sugar level drops sharply in the dog’s blood. A special risk group includes miniature breeds, especially puppies, chubby and lactating bitches.
- Gatekeeper - pathology due to excess muscle mass in the area where the stomach connects to the first part of the small intestine.
- Deafness - partial or complete, congenital or acquired. In fact, all of Maltese are prone to hearing loss with age.
- Cryptorchidism - pathology of males, characterized by not dropping one or both testes into the scrotum.