Maltese dogs are some of the most fun-loving, gentle, and tender-hearted pups alive. And don’t forget the cute factor. These adorable toy dogs have a serious “awww” factor to them. Combining all of these wonderful qualities together is what makes these dogs popular for pets and show. They are an all around fantastic dog, so let’s learn some cool things about them shall we?
1. The Maltese Is A Dog Of Many Names
Throughout history, the Maltese has been called names such as the “Melitae Dog,” “Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta,” the “Roman Ladies Dog,” “The Comforter,” the “Spaniel Gentle,” the “Bichon,” the “Maltese Lion Dog,” and the “Maltese Terrier.”
2. They are Therapeutic
The ancient Egyptians and later, Europeans, thought that the Maltese had the ability to cure people of disease and would place one on the pillow of a person suffering illness. This inspired one of its names “The Comforter.” Even today, Maltese therapy dogs provide affection, comfort and emotional support to people in hospitals, retirement and nursing homes, schools, hospice, disaster areas and serve people with learning difficulties.
3. Certified Sweet
The Maltese was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1888. They are currently ranked the 29th most popular breed, and are described as “gentle, playful, and charming.” The AKC allows for one color: White.
4. Your Pal For Life
Or at least the next 12-15 years. However, the Maltese can live up to 18 years. What this means for you is that you will have a loyal companion dedicated to keeping your lap warm for many, many years.
5. They Are Outgoing And Friendly, But Delicate
The Maltese is an outgoing, playful and energetic dog. They are kind and loving, but they are actually quite delicate. Children falling on, or squeezing the dog wrong can result in broken bones or other injuries. Because of this, many breeders won’t even sell a Maltese to a family with small children.
6. They Are Hypoallergenic
Having no undercoat means that the Maltese is a fantastic breed for those who suffer from allergies. Their hair is silky and soft, and will grow quite long if you have the patience and time for that. The most popular cut for the Maltese dogs is a puppy cut, keeping the soft coat short all over.
7. Exact Origin Is Uncertain
Despite being one of the most ancient toy breeds, the exact origin of the Maltese is not known. Many believe they were developed in the Mediterranean, on the Isle of Malta, and descended from Spitz or Spaniel-type dogs. Others believe they were developed in Italy, and some believe that they were originally from Asia and a relative of the Tibetan Lion Dog, which is the same as the Shih Tzu was believed to have originated from.
8. Due To Breeding Styles, They Almost Went Extinct
The Maltese was nearly wiped out in the 17th and 18th centuries when attempts were made to breed him to be the size of a squirrel. After it was found to nearly destroy the breed, poodles, miniature spaniels, and East Asian miniature dogs were mixed with the breed to save it. This resulted in the Maltese becoming increasingly varied. So much so that several new breeds were formed. It’s thought that the Havanese, Bolognese, and Bichon Frise are all direct descendants of the Maltese.
9. Ancient History
Aristotle was the first to make written accounts of the Maltese around the time of 370 B.C. when he mentioned Melitaei Catelli, and compares the dog to a mustelid. There is even strong evidence of the Maltese showing up in greek artwork as early as 500 B.C. Yes, that’s approx 2500 years ago!
10. They Have Star Power
Many famous people have loved a Maltese dog. Stars like Halle Berry, Elizabeth Taylor, Eva Longoria, Marilyn Monroe and even Elvis Presley have all had a Maltese best friend. Trouble, a Maltese owned by American Businesswoman Leona Hemsley, was loved so much, he was even added to her will and left 12 million dollars, making him the richest dog ever.