The Maltese is one of the oldest breeds and most ancient of European toy breeds. Around 1500 B.C. Phoenician traders were credited with the discovery of these little dogs while visiting the island of Malta. The Maltese were bred as purebred dogs on the Island of Malta since the 1500’s. However, there are others who will argue that the dog originated in Asia.
The earliest representations of the Maltese were found in Egypt on artifacts from around 600-300 B.C. Evidence suggests they were worshipped by the Egyptians and the Greeks. Dogs resembling the Maltese were found in Greek art from the 15th century. In fact there is evidence that the Greeks erected tombs to this little dog.
In the early 1300’s the Maltese was brought to England where the upper class took an instant liking to them because of their small size. In fact they became the favorites of Queen Elizabeth I reign and by the 19th century were well established as pets in Great Britain. In 1877 the first Maltese was exhibited in the U.S. at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. In 1888 they were accepted for registration into the American Kennel Club.
The Maltese are beautiful, highly intelligent, gentle little dogs. They are lively, playful, and devoted to their owners. All of this makes the Maltese a fine companion and family dog.
Height: 8-10 in. Males 8-9 in Females
Weight: 6.5-9 lbs.
Lifespan: 12-14 yrs.
Prone to: Skin, respiratory, eye and teeth problems as well as patella luxation
By: Linda Eastabrooks
Former AKC Breeder