“Who’s Your Daddy?”
This is surely the “Queen (or Princess) of the dog world. How regal, how royal, how lovely is the Maltese? Small, yes, but this dog really demands your attention. Finding out who’s the Daddy of this breed was not very difficult, just confusing. There are several origin stories for the Maltese. We know the Maltese is one of the world’s oldest breeds. It has been a companion animal for nearly 3,000 years! It is believed to have descended from dogs living in the Central Mediterranean area. Its name and origins relate to the island of Malta. Another camp claims otherwise.
This group believes that the Maltese descended from the “Spitz” type of dog belonging to the Swiss Lake Dwellers. There it was selectively bred to arrive at its small size. Still, there is evidence that it originated in Asia and was related to the Tibetan Terrier. From there it made its way through the Middle East, to Europe. No one can say with any certainty, which is right.
The dog has been known by many different names throughout the centuries. Originally called the “Canis Melitaeus” in Latin, it has been known in English as the “ancient dog of Malta,” the “Roman Ladies’ Dog,” and the “Maltese Lion Dog.” The “Maltese” was the name settled on by the Kennel Club of the United Kingdom in the 19th century. The Kennel Club is the oldest kennel club in the world. The Maltese made its American debut at the American Kennel Club’s first Westminster show in 1877. The breed was registered a year later.
The dog has been written about and picture for thousands of years. Roman poets wrote about them and the Greeks had special tombs built for them. They were so spoiled and beloved that they danced around royalty and lived in luxury. This was because they knew how to behave. They are loving, gentle, obedient and well mannered. They love attention and reward their humans with devotion and loyalty. Today they are found in millions of homes, royal or not.
The first thing you notice about a Maltese is its beautiful, long, snowy white coat. This is the ONLY color a pure Maltese exhibits. Instantly you can tell that this is a dog that requires a significant amount of grooming. This silky coat requires daily brushing to keep it from matting. On the upside, they do not shed very much so the breed is a good choice for allergy sufferers. They also need their eyes and ears cleaned regularly. Be gentle, this petite dog only weighs between four-to-six pounds and its height is between eight and ten inches. Its tiny size can fool you because the Maltese is feisty and fearless. Generally healthy, they can experience dental problems. Keep their teeth clean. The Maltese can live as long as 18 years. On the downside, the Maltese is notoriously difficult to housebreak and is known for its excessive barking.
In researching this article, a strange fact emerged. The Maltese does bark a lot. Early intervention and obedience training may possibly prevent this. However, it must be a maddening trait because the Maltese is the most abandoned (dumped) dog in Australia and South Korea. Keep their few faults in mind if you are considering a Maltese for yourself.
The Maltese is the last dog to make an appearance in “Who’s Your Daddy?” We hope you have enjoyed learning the origins of different breeds. There are so many, many other dogs with unusual origins. Perhaps we have encouraged you to do some research on your own about a breed that interests you. It has been our pleasure to bring these interesting origin stories to you!