Physical characteristicsThe Maltese is a small sturdy dog with a compact body and luxurious silky coat. The body is slightly longer than tall. The topline of the back is level. The dropping ears are set low and heavily feathered with long hair, hanging close to the head. The round eyes are very dark, with black rims. The nose is black with open nostrils. The muzzle tapers slightly. The chest is fairly deep. The legs are fine-boned and nicely feathered. The tail is plume-like, covered with long hair and carried gracefully over the back. The gait is smooth and flowing.
Maltese dogs weigh up to 7 pounds.
TemperamentEven though they're small, these dogs have a brave and fearless heart. They thrive on love and attention. Trusting and affectionate, Maltese dogs are a great choice for those who want a vigorous yet well-mannered companion. They adapt well to living in an apartment, but daily walks are a must anyway. Maltese dogs love to run and play, giving vent to their extra energy. Easy to train. Unlike most other small breeds, they do have a desire to please. Highly spirited, they can be snappish with inconsiderate children. Usually, they get on well with other pets and dogs. May be difficult to housebreak. Be sure to become a good pack leader lest the dog develops the "small dog syndrome."
Coat and groomingThe single coat is soft and pure white, with no sign of waviness or curliness. Show dogs must be brushed daily. Frequent bathing is also recommended.
HealthMaltese dogs can be prone to skin, respiratory, eye and tooth problems. Like some other small dogs (e.g. Papillon or Pomeranian), they may sometimes suffer from slipped stifle. To prevent tear stains, clean the eyes daily.
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