Although the exact date and location of the Maltese's origin is unknown, these dogs have been captivating people for many, many years. A vase, found in the Etruscan city of Vulci and dated about 500 B.C., depicts a dog that closely resembles a Maltese. It's possible they were the dog of choice for Arimidorus, Strabo, and Artistotle! The Maltese may have appeared in England during the time of Henry VIII, when they were included in painted portraits, sitting on the laps of ladies in the aristocracy. By the middle of the nineteenth century, this breed had established itself as a pet dog in England, and a Maltese was exhibited in America for the first time in 1877, at the first Westminster show.
The Maltese is a toy dog with a long, white coat that needs regular grooming. His silky white hair will hang to the ground when left unclipped, but most owners clip the coat so it isn't constantly dirty from dragging along the ground. The Maltese does not have a thick undercoat like most other breeds, which makes this breed a popular choice for allergy sufferers, although no dog is guaranteed to be hypoallergenic.
The Maltese is a companion dog and will require quite a bit of attention from his owner. Take care not to step on your Maltese, as he will want to be with you at all times and may end up underfoot quite often. The Maltese should be carefully supervised, especially if there are toddlers in the home. This breed is tiny and delicate and can easily be injured by a curious toddler, no matter how well-meaning he or she might be.
Maltese are extremely loyal and affectionate, and will just love to be around you. They are also very intelligent, quick to learn commands and tricks. The Maltese can even be a good guardian of the home—not a vicious guard dog, but a protective companion who will alert you to any intruder or other trouble in the house. If you want a dog that is a faithful and smart companion, the Maltese can make a perfect pet.
Additional Information on this Topic: The Maltese