A gentle and fearless breed of dog, the Maltese greets everyone as a friend. Their glamorous white coat gives them a look of haughty nobility, but looks can be deceiving.
This is a lively, energetic dog that excels not only as a companion, but also as a therapy dog and participant in dog sports such as agility, obedience, rally, and tracking. But most of all, they love being with their humans. Even novice pet owners and apartment dwellers will find these pups to be excellent furry family members.
The Maltese is one of the oldest miniature dogs, with a history that goes back at least two millennia. Artists, poets, and writers immortalized this little dog in the early great cultures of Greece, Rome, and Egypt. They were even mentioned by Aristotle. The Greeks erected tombs for their Maltese, while depictions of Maltese-like dogs on Egyptian artifacts suggest they were valued by that ancient culture. The Egyptians and, centuries later, many Europeans, thought the Maltese had the ability to heal people of diseases and placed one on a sick person's pillow. This inspired one of its names - "The Comforter." Even before the Christian era, the breed was widespread in Mediterranean cultures.
Despite its prominent place in history, the exact origin of the Maltese is uncertain. Many believe the breed was developed on the Mediterranean island of Malta from Spitz or Spaniel-like dogs. Others believe it was developed in Italy, and still others believe it came originally from Asia and played a role in the development of many of the smaller Asian dogs.
The Maltese is an actor with a lively personality. Because he is so people-oriented, he tolerates training well and responds positively to rewards in the form of food, compliments and play.
Fearless, Maltese assume that everyone they meet - human or animal - is a friend. They are sweet and adorable and have been known to always get their way - even with people who have no intention of spoiling them.
- Otitis externa (inflammation of the external auditory canal)