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The descendants of today’s Maltese date their ancestry back to antiquity. In fact, one famous account tells of Issa, a Maltese who was the pet of the governor of Malta, who ruled at the time of the Apostle Paul. Pictures of Maltese can even be found in ceramics dating from the fifth century. However, Maltese were first seen in the US in the late nineteenth century, and participated in some of the earliest shows of the Winchester Kennel Club. However, the popularity of the breed grew very slowly until the 1950s, when Maltese took off among breeders. By the nineties, the Maltese ranked among the top fifteen most popular breeds in the US, with more than 15,000 dogs registered annually.
Appearance of Maltese
The Maltese is a cute toy dog that is covered with a pelt of silky white fur, although some dogs may have light tan or lemon coloring on the ears. An adult Maltese measures around ten inches from its withers to the ground and weighs an average of seven pounds. Despite its tiny stature, the Maltese walks with a proud carriage and a jaunty gait. Its expressive face is framed by two drop ears and long head hair that is traditionally tied back in a topknot.
Temperament of Maltese
Although the Maltese is one of the smallest dog breeds, it is also one of the bravest, and seemingly without fear. Maltese are well-known for their gentle nature, making them ideal family pets. They love to be around people, and are lively, with the energy of a dog twice their size. Small children, however, should be supervised when playing around them. With proper socialization from an early age, Maltese can be among the most sociable pet you could ever have. Maltese are good house dogs, since they prefer living in enclosed spaces, and even do well in apartments. However, when raising Maltese puppies, they should not be too sheltered and must be given some independence to assure they grow up to be well-adjusted adults. And, like all dogs, they should be taken for daily walks and given time to play.
Role of Maltese
Maltese make ideal companion dogs, since they thrive in the company of people. However, they may not be the best choice for the elderly since their high energy levels may make them too demanding for older individuals to keep up with them. But they make good additions to families since their gentle and affectionate nature will endear them to adults and children alike.