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The Maltese

It is really difficult to find a more endearing breed than the Maltese. Their intelligence and out going personality combined withtheir beauty make them a joy to own. Although the Maltese is a toy dog, this small breed is full of personality and a wonderful zest for life. Their small size makes them easy to manage and they can fit in with anyone's lifestyle. The Maltese is happy to be your companion - ready to play, take walks or just curl up in your lap.

Maltese and Children.

Maltese love children, but do not always make the best pet for a child too young to understand that these dogs could be seriously hurt by rough handling. Very young children will need supervision whilst they learn how to gently handle a tiny Maltese puppy.

Where to buy.

A pet shop is not the most perfect place to purchase your Maltese. Most of their puppies come from either commercial breeding establishments or from backyard breeders whose only concern is for the almighty dollar. Little concern is given to quality, care or socialisation of the animals. If answering newspaper ads try to see as many as possible before making your purchase. Try to locate a dedicated breeder/exhibitor. The goals of these breeders are to improve the breed and they spare no expense in trying to breed the best Maltese they can. By contacting this type of breeder you have the opportunity to see where the puppy was raised and, possibly see several generations of ancestors.The personality and appearance of these older dogs will give you an indication of how your puppy will mature. When you choose a puppy from a breeder/exhibitor you will have someone to call on for advice and assistance in all aspects of puppy care. A breeders commitment to her/his puppies is lifelong and they will welcome hearing from you.

Pet or Show?

One question you will be asked by the breeder is whether you want your Maltese to show or as a pet. Many people who want "pet quality" do not understand why buying from a pet store is not a good idea. Many of the qualities which breeders select in their efforts to produce a show dog are also essential for pets. The parents of your pet puppy represent years of knowledge and study. They were bred to produce the best in temperament, conformation, coat, intelligence, health and soundness. Those puppies who do not reach the rigid show requirements still posses all the same essential inherited qualities.

Male or Female?

Actually either sex makes excellent pets. The male Maltese is equally affectionate and loving as the female. A neutered male does not "mark" his territory if he is properly house broken and neutered at an appropriate age nor will he exhibit other undesirable traits associated with male dogs.

Which Puppy?

When you find a breeder that you like, spend time discussing your family and lifestyle. Then allow your breeder to help pick a puppy for you as she/he has spent weeks with the puppies and knows there personalities. The reputable breeder wants you to have the puppy that best suits you and that you will be happy with. If you are not happy then the puppy wont be happy either.
Most reputable breeders would like unwanted puppies returned to them.

Health and Feeding

As stated in the Royal NSW Canine Council's "Code Of Ethics" no puppy should be sold under eight weeks of age. A puppy under this age is subject to stress from conditions such as overhandling and not getting enough rest or refusing to eat due to changes in home and or food. This stress can result in "hypoglycaemia" - a condition in which the blood-sugar levels drop which requires immediate veterinary attention. The puppy should also have received at least one inoculation against distemper, hepatitis and parvo virus before going to anew home.

The Maltese is basically a healthy dog and can live 12 or more years.

Care of Maltese

TEETH - The teeth of toy dogs are often a problem. Some dogs retain their baby teeth particularly the canine teeth and may have to be removed by your veterinarian.

EARS - In drop eared breeds such as Maltese, the ears should be kept clean and free of excess hair and debris. Your Maltese will alert you to problems by scratching or shaking his head and the ears will have a dark smelly secretion. At this point, veterinary care is advised.

TOE NAILS - Toe nails should be kept short. A good time to trim toe nails is after a bath while the dog is still wet as the quick is easier to see.

TEAR STAIN - Some Maltese tear and stain more than others and are more likely to stain as puppies when they are teething. Try to keep the hair under the eyes dry. Use a fine tooth comb or a soft toothbrush dipped in warm water to remove the matter at the corner of the eye.

GROOMING - Grooming the Maltese coat is a particular concern of every prospective owner. Long or short it is up to each individual which look is best suited to your lifestyle, it matters very little to the Maltese. A pin brush or slicker brush and a steel comb are the essential tools. A thorough brush and comb two or three times a week will keep your Maltese in good coat. For those who would like to hear about other options contact your nearest Dog Parlour where you will be able to discuss various styles.

Reaserch Material used: Thank you to the"Maltese Association of America" .

Reprinted with kind permission of Nan Carter Tamslee Maltese, Australia

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