Dogs 101: Maltese Most Popular Dog Breeds – Animal Facts

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Fun and Interesting Facts about the Maltese Breed Dogs 101

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From wikipedia: The Maltese is a small breed of dog in the Toy Group. It descends from dogs originating in the Central Mediterranean Area. The breed name and origins are generally understood to derive from the Mediterranean island nation of Malta

This ancient breed has been known by a variety of names throughout the centuries. Originally called the "Canis Melitaeus" in Latin, it has also been known in English as the "ancient dog of Malta," the "Roman Ladies' Dog," the "Maltese Lion Dog," and "Melita" (the former name of Malta).[10] The origin of the common name "Cokie" is unknown, but is believed to have originated in the mid-1960s on the U.S. East Coast and spread in popular use. This breed has been referred to falsely as the "Bichon", a name that refers to the family ("small long-haired dog") and not the breed. The Kennel Club officially settled on the name "Maltese" for the breed in the 19th century.[6]

The Maltese is thought to have been descended from a Spitz-type dog found among the Swiss Lake Dwellers and was selectively bred to attain its small size. There is also some evidence that the breed originated in Asia and is related to the Tibetan Terrier; however, the exact origin is unknown.[11][12] The dogs probably made their way to Europe through the Middle East with the migration of nomadic tribes. Some writers believe these proto-Maltese were used for rodent control[8][13] before the appearance of the breed gained paramount importance.

The oldest record of this breed was found on a Greek amphora[14] found in the Etruscan town of Vulci, in which a Maltese-like dog is portrayed along with the word Μελιταιε (Melitaie). Archaeologists date this ancient Athenian product to the decades around 500 BC.[15] References to the dog can also be found in Ancient Greek and Roman literature.[16]

Aristotle was the first to mention its name Melitaei Catelli, when he compares the dog to a mustelid, around 370 BC.[17][18] The first written document (supported by Stephanus of Byzantium[7][19][20][21]) describing the small Canis Melitaeus was given by the Greek writer Callimachus, around 350 BC.[22] Pliny suggests the dog as having taken its name from the Adriatic island Méléda;[19] however, Strabo, in the early first century AD, identifies the breed as originating from the Mediterranean island of Malta,[9][23] and writes that they were favored by noble women.[6][20][22][24]

During the first century, the Roman poet Martial wrote descriptive verses to a small white dog named Issa owned by his friend Publius.[25] It is commonly thought that Issa was a Maltese dog, and various sources link Martial's friend Publius with the Roman Governor Publius of Malta,[26] though others do not identify him.[27]

John Caius, physician to Queen Elizabeth I, also claimed that Callimachus was referring to the island of Melita "in the Sicilian strait" (Malta).[20] This claim is often repeated, especially by English writers.[8][28] The dog's links to Malta are mentioned in the writings of Abbé Jean Quintin d'Autun, Secretary to the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta Philippe Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, in his work Insulae Melitae Descriptio.[29]

Around the 17th and 18th centuries, some breeders decided to "improve" the breed, by making it smaller still. Linnaeus wrote in 1792 that these dogs were about the size of a squirrel.[8][22] The breed nearly disappeared and was crossbred with other small dogs such as Poodles and miniature Spaniels. In the early 19th century, there were as many as nine different breeds of Maltese dog.[8]

Parti-colour and solid colour dogs were accepted in the show ring from 1902 until 1913 in England,[30] and as late as 1950 in Victoria, Australia.[31] However, white Maltese were required to be pure white. Coloured Maltese could be obtained from the south of France.

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61 Comments on “Dogs 101: Maltese Most Popular Dog Breeds – Animal Facts”

    1. we have a 6 month old, BELLA, who is the delight
      of our life. We are retired now, and our daughter and family have moved to RALIEGH. We will be moving there soon as we e

  1. I inherited my mother’s Maltese after she passed away in early 2015. He’ll be 16 in 1 week and still acts like a puppy. Loving, docile, playful, good natured, friendly, fearless. I could go on and on. The sweetest little dog I’ve ever owned. Bossy though. He makes me sit. Seriously, he won’t leave my side for a minute. I can’t even go to the bathroom without him following me. They require professional grooming every six to eight weeks so I keep him in a puppy cut. Their hair is so fine that its very difficult to maintain if its long. He’s my baby!

    1. He sure is. He’s over 17 1/2 now. Doesn’t see and hear too good anymore and is getting a little senile. I’m very sorry to hear of your dogs passing Nick. Lived a long life but I know that doesn’t really help the loss of what I’m sure was like one of your kids. God bless you for being such a caring owner.

    2. I’m sorry to hear of your loss Sandra. I’m sure you gave her a good life and that your father was grateful to know she was going into good hands. Robby’s still going at over 17 1/2. I think a lot of their longevity is determined by genetics. I know how hard it is and I know how empty the house can be after a beloved dog passes. My sincerest condolences.

    3. Thanks all ! He still lives on through pictures and videos thankfully. I know he enjoyed his years while he was with us. He was always so spunky and full of energy even down to his last 2-3 days before his time. He was still smiling and had his moments but all n all he mostly just laid around, ate, and slept. He deserved his rest though he kept us entertained and was so playful for the better part of a full 13-14 years before he slowed down. Maltese are perfect doggies !

  2. my baby Pinky lived to be 16, and she gave us so many beautiful years of love and happiness. I miss her dearly!! Malteses are the best pups in the world! <3333

    1. yes, it’s sad we don’t get every day of our lives with our babies. But, that makes the years together and times together that much more precious. I’m so grateful for the love and time I shared with my baby!!

    1. Melanie Hernandez nava yes, we have one! We named her Mindy (get it?) She looks like a maltese with light brown highlights.

  3. You forgot something!!!! I was talking to a friend who also have Moltese too our dogs MEOW LIKE A CAT it’s crazy really they can, do, and will meow idk… It’s true

  4. You’re talking about Maltese and show a video of someone brushing a curly haired dog. Maltese have straight hair. Period. Look it up in the AKC standards. That was a mixed breed dog or a very poorly bred dog, (fine and dandy, cute and loveable) but not appropriate for a video on Maltese.

  5. My most beloved pet thus far in life was a maltese named Max. My mother brought him home when I was around 9 years old. He was already about 2 years old at the time. But he became attached to my mother from the first day he came home with her. He passed away a little over 2 years ago while I was away (college). He was simply one of the most loyal and loving creatures I’ve ever met, and that includes humans. There’s a reason this breed is beloved by so many.

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