The Maltese is a playful toy dog, instantly recognizable by their long and white silky coat. This compact little pooch has a long history, with an origin tracing back at least two millennia. It is believed these guys first popped up in the Mediterranean. The Maltese was popular among British royalty by the end of the 1500s, along with a prominent history among French aristocrats, ancient Egyptians and the Roman Empire. The Maltese we recognize today was developed by English breeders and first made their way to the U.S in the late 1800s. They were first recognized by the AKC as an official breed in 1888.
While Maltese dogs appear gentle, they are quite energetic and agile canines that compete in many performance events. That said, this breed is well suited to being a lapdog with a daily short burst of exercise sufficient to maintain a healthy dog. Don’t let their perceived innocence fool you, the Maltese is a bold and confident dog that will often challenge larger breeds. They also make a good watch dog, due to their intelligence and tendency to bark at strangers and other dogs. Their eagerness to please makes them relatively easy to train, which is necessary to ensure Maltese dogs recognize boundaries and develop into a well rounded dog. The Maltese is a glamorous dog that can be high maintenance. Their impressive coat doesn’t shed heavily but does requires regular brushing. This miniature breed ranks as the 31st most popular breed by the AKC.
The Maltese almost became extinct in the 17th and 18th centuries as attempts were made to breed them as small as squirrels.
Explore some Embark dogs that share Maltese ancestry.