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Maltese

Personality:Gentle, playful, affectionate; fearless in a charming toy-dog way

Coat & Grooming:The show-stopping, floor-length hairdo of a full-coated Maltese needs lots of brushing and combing

Energy Level:Somewhat Active; A classic lapdog, but Maltese still like brisk walks, playtime, and learning tricks

Originally: Malta

Nicknames: Comforter Dog

Size: Small

Meet the Maltese

​Maltese are toy dogs weighing less than seven pounds, covered by a long, silky coat. Beneath that all-white mantle is a compact body moving with a smooth, effortless gait. The overall picture depicts free-flowing elegance and balance. The Maltese face—with its big, dark eyes and black gumdrop nose—has been enchanting owners since the Bible was a work in progress. Don’t let the showy looks fool you: These are hearty, adaptable pets. It takes a whole lot of dog to survive three millennia.

What's Their Story?

​Malta, smack in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, was a highly civilized commercial hub of the ancient world—think of a Bronze Age Manhattan with ox carts instead of subways. It was here that seafaring traders bartered luxury goods (including a certain little white lapdog) for export around the world. For three thousand years Maltese have been favored pets of nobles and notables. Among those who figure into Maltese history and legend are Aristotle, St. Paul the Apostle, Mary Queen of Scots, and Napoleon.

What are they Like?

​These living artifacts from antiquity can charm the most jaded modern sensibility. Like the little aristocrats they are, Maltese love sitting in the lap of luxury. But they’re also feisty watchdogs and game agility competitors. Maltese are low-shedding, long-lived, and happy to make new friends of all ages. Sometimes stubborn and determined, they respond well to rewards-based training. Many pet owners trim Maltese in a “puppy clip” to reduce grooming time. Happily, the dog beneath the ’do is irresistibly cute.

See more Maltese photos here

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