Maltese dogs have lived luxurious lives for more than two thousand years. They are probably descended from spaniel type dogs. They originated in Malta, an island near Italy in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Maltese becomes attached to the whole family and enjoys the company of well-behaved visitors, as well as other animals. He's got a lot of sparkle in his personality. He likes to be treated like the adorable baby of the family, but will happily respect common sense rules.
The Maltese is a solid white cloud of silk. His fine coat should be treated like human hair--brushed every day and washed regularly. The length should be trimmed so it won't drag on the ground. He has round, dark eyes and a plume of a tail that curves over his back.
Excerpts from the Standard
General Appearance: A gentle, eager, affectionate toy dog covered with long, silky white hair.
Size, Proportion, and Substance: Weight--under 7 pounds; between 4 and 6 pounds preferred.
In the days when women wore long, full dresses with huge sleeves, they often tucked a tiny dog friend somewhere in the folds of their clothing. Sleeves were a favorite place to carry them, and Maltese were one of the most popular "sleeve" dogs, from the time of Queen Elizabeth I onward. In 1607, Maltese dogs were said to be the size of ferrets, another popular pet then and now.
Excerpted from The Complete Dog Book For Kids © 1996, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.