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Maltese Facts

Origin: Mediterranean Basin (Malta)
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Breed Group: Toy
Coat Type: Long and silky
Coat Colours: White
Temperament: Gentle, Playful, Affectionate
Height: 18-23 cm (7-9 inches)
Weight: 1.4-4 kg (3-9 lbs)

Introduction

Maltese for Sale Ireland

The Maltese Terrier, a beloved member of the Toy Dog category, is a small-sized, purebred lap dog known for its playful and intelligent nature. It is named after the area of Malta and this breed has also been known as the “ancient dog of Malta” and was originally called the “Canis Melitaeus”, which is Latin for “miniature dog”. This affectionate breed thrives in homes where tidiness and daily walks are cherished. Their sweet temperament and remarkable trainability make them excellent companions for families and individuals alike. The Maltese is a people-oriented breed, exuding friendliness to everyone they meet, whether human or furry.

One of their most captivating features is their expressive, dark eyes set against a pristine white coat. Despite their small stature, Maltese dogs are sturdy, fearless, and full of spunk. They love engaging in activities like advanced obedience, agility, and trick training. Remarkably, this breed’s size has remained consistent since Medieval Times, making them a compact yet spirited addition to any household.

A Brief History

The history of the Maltese breed can be traced back to the Mediterranean island of Malta, where it acquired its name. These little dogs have been cherished companions for over two millennia, dating back to the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome. They were highly favoured by the aristocracy and royalty, often depicted in paintings and sculptures as symbols of luxury and refinement.

Maltese dogs are characterized by their distinctive long, flowing white coat, which has been a hallmark of their breed for centuries. This luxurious fur wasn’t just for show; it served a practical purpose, providing warmth to these tiny dogs in their early days of existence.

As time passed, the Maltese made their way across Europe and eventually to Ireland, from Dublin to Cork and beyond.

Origins of the Maltese

The Maltese dog, a native of the Central Mediterranean area, is one of the distinguished Bichon breeds that have thrived in the regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Historians speculate that this toy-sized wonder, like many ancient canine breeds, had humble beginnings as a working dog. It is believed to have descended from a Spitz-type dog selectively bred for the purpose of hunting rodents in wooded or marshy areas.

An Ancient Legacy: Over 8,000 Years of History

The Maltese boasts a remarkably ancient lineage, with a history spanning more than 8,000 years. Objects predating the time of Christ bear witness to the presence of this small dog breed. While the precise origins of the Maltese, like those of many ancient canine breeds, remain a subject of debate, historical records from the eras of Darwin and Aristotle provide fascinating insights. The tiny Maltese, referred to as “canis Melitae,” was a beloved lap dog cherished by fashionable men and women of the time who carried these diminutive companions with them wherever they roamed.

Depictions Across the Ages

Evidence of the Maltese’s popularity and presence in history is abundant. Both Greek and Roman pottery feature numerous depictions of these small, long-haired dogs. In ancient Egypt, the Maltese found favour among the ladies of harems. Some suggest that these tiny dogs may have been objects of veneration, as they are prominently represented on Egyptian artefacts dating between 600 and 300 B.C.

Arrival in the United Kingdom

The Maltese embarked on a journey to the United Kingdom during the reign of Henry VIII. This petite breed continued to capture the hearts of British queens, who held their Maltese pets in high regard. These royal canines were pampered with the finest foods, served from golden vessels. It is believed that the dignified demeanour of today’s Maltese dogs is a testament to their centuries-long role as cherished lap dogs of cultured and affluent individuals.

Journey to the United States

The Maltese made their debut in the United States of America during the late 1880s. They quickly gained popularity and became prominent participants in the early Westminster Kennel Club shows. In the early years, Maltese dogs often displayed coats with tan or mottled patterns. However, the first officially registered Maltese, born in 1873, was solid white with black ears. This pure white presentation became the standard recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and has endured to this day.

Recognized by AKC and UKC

The Maltese breed received official recognition from the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1888, solidifying its place in American canine history. Later, in 1948, the United Kennel Club (UKC) also granted recognition to this delightful breed. Known for their affectionate and playful nature, Maltese dogs have become cherished and adaptable companions with an easy-going temperament.

Maltese Facts

  • Originated in Malta: The Maltese dog is named after the area of Malta and was originally called “Canis Melitaeus,” Latin for “miniature dog.”
  • Many Names: Over its history, the Maltese has been known by various names, including the “Roman Ladies Dog,” “Maltese Lion Dog,” “Maltese Terrier,” “Spaniel Gentle,” and “Melita” (the former name of Malta).
  • Not a Bichon: Despite common misconceptions, the Maltese is not a Bichon but belongs to the family of small dogs.
  • “The Comforter”: The Maltese earned the nickname “the comforter” due to their naturally affectionate and comforting nature.
  • Coat Colours: In the past, Maltese dogs were bred in different coat colours, but today, they are known for their pure white coats.
  • Nose Colour Change: The Maltese’s black nose may fade to pink or light brown in climates with dark winter months and little sunlight, a condition known as “winter nose.”
  • Famous Companions: Throughout history, famous individuals who have chosen Maltese companions include Roman Emperor Claudius, Leona Helmsley, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand, Britney Spears, Ellen DeGeneres, and Halle Berry, among others.

Maltese Puppies

If you’re considering bringing home a Maltese puppy in Ireland, it’s essential to understand the responsibilities that come with it. Maltese puppies are adorable bundles of energy and require a loving and attentive environment to thrive. Here are some key points to consider:

Finding a Reputable Breeder

Start your journey by seeking out reputable Maltese breeders in Ireland. Look for breeders who prioritize the health and well-being of their puppies, ensuring they are raised in a clean and nurturing environment.

Socialization

Proper socialization is crucial for Maltese puppies. Introduce them to various people, animals, and experiences to help them grow into well-adjusted adult dogs.

Grooming

The Maltese’s beautiful coat demands regular grooming. Brushing, bathing, and occasional professional grooming are essential to keep their fur in top condition.

Training

Maltese puppies are intelligent and eager to please. Positive reinforcement training methods work exceptionally well with this breed, helping them develop into obedient and well-mannered companions.

Teacup Maltese

Teacup Maltese is a term that often captures the attention of those seeking an extra petite companion. These dogs are even tinier versions of the already small Maltese breed. While they are undeniably adorable, there are some important considerations to keep in mind:

Size and Weight

The standard Maltese typically stands at around 20-25 cm (8-10 inches) tall at the shoulder and weighs between 3-4 kg (7-9 lbs). Teacup Maltese dogs, on the other hand, are significantly smaller, usually standing at 15-20 cm (6-8 inches) tall and weighing just 1-2 kg (2-4 lbs).

Health Concerns

Teacup Maltese are prone to certain health issues due to their diminutive size. These can include fragile bones, dental problems, and susceptibility to injuries. It’s crucial to provide them with extra care and attention to ensure their well-being.

Availability

Finding Teacup Maltese puppies in Ireland can be a challenge. Reputable breeders prioritize the health of their dogs over extreme size reduction, so it’s important to approach this trend with caution and prioritize the welfare of the dogs.

Size and Weight

Understanding the size and weight of Maltese dogs is essential for prospective owners. This breed’s petite stature makes them a popular choice for individuals and families living in smaller spaces. Here are the measurements in both metric and imperial units:

Height

  • Standard Maltese: 20-25 cm (8-10 inches)
  • Teacup Maltese: 15-20 cm (6-8 inches)

Weight

  • Standard Maltese: 3-4 kg (7-9 lbs)
  • Teacup Maltese: 1-2 kg (2-4 lbs)

These dimensions make Maltese dogs a versatile choice, suitable for both urban and rural living in Ireland.

Coat & Colours

The Maltese coat is a defining feature of this breed, adding to their charm and elegance. It is long, silky, and straight, with a pure white colouration. Their luxurious coat requires regular grooming to maintain its beauty and prevent matting.

While white is the most recognized colour for Maltese dogs, some may have slight lemon or tan markings, particularly on their ears. However, these markings should be minimal and not detract from the overall white appearance.

Temperament

Maltese dogs are known for their affectionate and friendly disposition. They thrive on human companionship and form strong bonds with their owners. Here are some key aspects of their temperament:

Affectionate

Maltese dogs are incredibly affectionate and enjoy snuggling and cuddling with their loved ones. They make wonderful lap dogs and are often described as “velcro dogs” because they love to be by your side.

Alert

Despite their small size, Maltese dogs are excellent watchdogs. They are quick to alert their owners to any approaching strangers or unusual sounds, making them great little guardians.

Playful

These dogs have a playful and lively nature. They enjoy interactive games and toys, which can help keep them mentally and physically stimulated.

Good with Children

Maltese dogs are generally good with children, but due to their small size, they may be more suitable for families with older kids who can handle them gently.

Maltese Terrier Ownership Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Loyalty, Intelligence, and Love: Maltese Terriers are known for their unwavering loyalty, intelligence, and affectionate nature towards their owners.
  • Excellent Watchdog: Despite their small size, they make excellent watchdogs, alerting you to any approaching individuals or potential threats.
  • Child-Friendly and Sociable: Maltese Terriers are typically good with respectful children and get along well with people of all ages.
  • Sturdy and Playful: These dogs are both sturdy and playful, making them delightful companions for interactive play and exercise.
  • Non-Shedding: Maltese Terriers are a non-shedding breed, which can be a relief for those who prefer a cleaner environment.
  • Trainable and Gentle: They are highly trainable and exhibit a gentle nature, making them responsive to positive reinforcement training methods.
  • Adaptable: Maltese Terriers adapt well to various living situations, whether in an apartment or a house with a yard.
  • Agility & Trick Training: They make excellent candidates for Agility and Trick Training, showcasing their agility and intelligence.
  • First-Time Owners: Maltese Terriers are a great choice for first-time dog guardians, given their trainability and affectionate disposition.

Cons

  • Moderate Activity Level: These dogs are moderately active and enjoy playtime. Owners should be prepared for regular exercise and engagement.
  • Regular Grooming: Regular grooming is a must to maintain their long, silky coat, which can become easily tangled and matted.
  • Escape Artists: Maltese Terriers may have a talent for escaping, so proper containment and supervision are crucial.
  • Boredom-Related Behaviors: If they become bored or under-stimulated, they may exhibit behaviours like chewing, excessive barking, or attempting to escape.
  • Separation Anxiety: Like many small breeds, they may suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods, requiring attention and companionship.

Maltese for Sale Ireland

If you’re interested in bringing a Maltese dog into your home in Ireland, you’ll want to explore your options for finding one. Here are some avenues to consider:

DogsIreland.ie

Our website, DogsIreland.ie, can be a great source for finding Maltese dogs for sale in Ireland. Be sure to thoroughly vet sellers to ensure the well-being of the dogs.

Reputable Breeders

Start your search by contacting reputable Maltese breeders in various Irish counties. These breeders prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs and can provide you with a healthy, well-socialized puppy.

Rescue Organizations

Consider adopting a Maltese from a rescue organization. There are dedicated rescue groups across Ireland that work tirelessly to find loving homes for dogs in need. Adopting a rescue dog can be a rewarding experience.

Maltese Mixes

Here is a list of some popular Maltese mixes, also known as designer dogs:

  1. Maltese-Poodle Mix (Maltipoo): A cross between a Maltese and a Poodle, often resulting in a low-shedding, intelligent, and affectionate companion.
  2. Maltese-Shih Tzu Mix (Mal-Shi): Combines the Maltese’s playfulness with the Shih Tzu’s charming personality, resulting in a friendly and adaptable hybrid.
  3. Maltese-Yorkshire Terrier Mix (Morkie): A blend of the Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier, producing a small, energetic, and loving companion.
  4. Maltese-Bichon Frise Mix (Maltichon): Combines the Maltese’s elegance with the Bichon Frise’s cheerful nature, resulting in a friendly and affectionate dog.
  5. Maltese-Chihuahua Mix (Malchi): A cross between the Maltese and Chihuahua, often producing a small, alert, and loyal companion.
  6. Maltese-Dachshund Mix (Moxie): Combines the Maltese’s affection with the Dachshund’s elongated body, resulting in a unique and charming hybrid.
  7. Maltese-Cocker Spaniel Mix (Cockerese): A blend of the Maltese and Cocker Spaniel, typically resulting in a friendly, intelligent, and sociable dog.
  8. Maltese-Jack Russell Terrier Mix (Jacktese): Combines the Maltese’s elegance with the Jack Russell Terrier’s high energy and intelligence, resulting in an active and spirited hybrid.
  9. Maltese-Beagle Mix (Maltibeagle): A cross between the Maltese and Beagle, often producing a friendly and curious companion.
  10. Maltese-Pomeranian Mix (Maltipom): Combines the Maltese’s charm with the Pomeranian’s spunky personality, resulting in a small, lively, and fluffy hybrid.
  11. Maltese-Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Mix (Cav-A-Malt): A blend of the Maltese and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, typically resulting in a gentle, affectionate, and sociable dog.
  12. Maltese-French Bulldog Mix (Frenchie-Maltese): Combines the Maltese’s elegance with the French Bulldog’s distinctive appearance, often resulting in a small, friendly, and unique-looking hybrid.

Useful Links

To aid you in your journey of bringing a Maltese into your life in Ireland, here are some useful links to organizations and resources: