The Maltese is an aristocrat of the canine world. It's believed that the Maltese came from the Island of Malta. (Malta was occupied by the Phoenicians from 1450 - 732 B.C. and then taken over by the Greeks. The Greeks erected tombs to their Maltese dogs.)

  Maltese dogs have always existed to please their owners. They are the gentlest mannered of all small dogs. The Tibetan terrier of today closely resembles the Maltese dog more than any other known breed. By the middle of the 19th century, the Maltese, as it is known today, seems to have been fairly well established all over Europe.

  The Maltese dog has been classified as a terrier, even though today many regard the Maltese dog as a spaniel. For instance, some naturalists classify the Maltese as a spaniel, which is usually black, but sometimes white. Whatever may be one's individual opinion in the matter, the question has been settled by the decision, not only of the American Kennel Club but also of the English Kennel Club, that the Maltese is neither a terrier nor a spaniel; it's a "toy" dog. The correct designation of the breed is the "Maltese Dog."

  It is interesting to note that the Maltese was originally bred in a color other than white. The all  white version eventually became the favored choice of dog, and was perpetuated during the last century.

  When Maltese dogs were exhibited in the United States many years ago, they were listed as the "Maltese Lion Dog" or "Le Chien Lion." They were also known as the "Maltese Skye Terrier." Before then, they were called the "Shock Dog."

  The first known Maltese dog in the United States, called Leo, was shown at the Westminster Kennel Club in New York, on April 8 - 11, 1879. In dog shows, Maltese dogs were originally placed in the "Non Sporting Group," but later moved to the "Toy Group." The Maltese was accepted for registration as a dog breed in 1888.

  Many Maltese dogs have been imported from Great Britain, Canada, Germany, France, and Italy over the years. They've all contributed to the quality of the American bred Maltese dog and their enviable record in the show ring. The Maltese's prominence in show rings is due to the improvement of the breed and their growing familiarity among the public.

  Because of their small size, the Maltese dog is a good choice for most people, whether they live in an apartment or house. It's a wonderful, loving animal that's sure to bring its owner years of joy.

 


  Reputable and responsible breeders are the backbone of the breed. They leave a lasting legacy for future breeders to follow . . .

  The incentive to be a dog breeder should be based on a devotion to the breed with which they're involved and dedication to their animals. The motivation should be for the betterment and welfare of the breed.

  No reputable breeder will knowingly deal with wholesalers, retailers, brokers, unethical dog breeders, auctioneers, or the like. The breeder should always take back any dog that was sold, at any age and for any purpose, and either try to find the dog another home or keep it.

  A reputable breeder should know the temperament of each and every dog he owns. He should have socialized the puppy, exposed it to human contact, and groomed it at any early age. He should also be well informed about health problems and faults in the breed. He shouldn't say that the breed has absolutely no health problems. The breeder should be able to answer questions and offer advice on caring for and training the puppy, as well as offer guidance after the puppy is sold. The breeder should remain a ready source of assistance throughout the animal's lifetime.

  A reputable breeder will offer names and telephone numbers of other buyers and references. The breeder should also ask questions about the potential owner and his or her family, and learn what other pets he or she currently owns or owned in the past. The breeder shouldn't let any puppy be sold and taken home until the puppy reaches 12 weeks of age. Stay away from breeders who advertise "teacup" Maltese dogs, since there is no such animal.

 


  When considering whether to buy a particular puppy, ask the breeder to show you the puppy's parents so you can see their traits and temperaments, since they may be inherited by the puppy. In some cases, the father may not be on the breeder's premises; the mother, however, should be there. It's a good idea to watch, if possible, the mother and puppy interact.

  When you decide to buy a puppy, the breeder should provide you with a sales contract and a list of the dates of inoculations and worming, a date of birth, and names of the sire and dam. A short pedigree of the parents can be given and a professional pedigree can be purchased through the American Kennel Club. Be sure to get feeding instructions with an appropriate amount of puppy food. An adequate diet and exercise, health care and nutrition are very important to puppies. Contact the breeder if you have any questions on caring for or training the puppy.

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