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Did you know...?

The Maltese breed is over 8,000 years old!

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The Accepted and Approved Standard
For The Maltese

General Appearance

The Maltese is a toy dog covered from head to foot with a mantle of long, silky, white hair, with little to no shedding. A popular hair style for family pets (not for show dogs) is a "puppy cut" -- the hair is trimmed short every 6-8 weeks, resembling the look of the Maltese as a puppy. He is gentle-mannered and affectionate, eager and sprightly in action and, despite his size, possesses the vigor needed for the satisfactory companion.

Head

The head should be of medium length and in proportion to the size of the dog. The skull is slightly rounded on top, the stop moderate. The drop ears are rather low-set and heavily feathered with long hair that hangs close to the head. Eyes are set not too far apart; they are very dark and round, their black rims enhancing the gentle yet alert expression. The muzzle is of medium length, fine and tapered but not snipey. The nose is black. The teeth meet in an even, edge-to-edge bite, or in a scissors bite.

Neck

Sufficient length of neck is desirable as to promote a high carriage of the head.

Body

Compact. The length from the withers to the ground equaling the length from the withers to the root of the tail. Shoulders and blades are sloping, the elbows well knit and held close to the body.The back is level in topline, the ribs well sprung. The chest is fairly deep, the loins taut, strong and just slightly tucked up underneath.

Tail

A long-haired plume carried gracefully over the back, its tip laying to the side over the quarter.

Legs and Feet

Legs are fine-boned and nicely feathered. Forelegs are straight, their pastern joints well knit and devoid of appreciable bend. Hind legs are strong and moderately angulated at stifles and hocks.

Coat and Color

The coat is single, without undercoat. Unless trimmed to "puppy cut" length (not acceptable for show), it hangs long, flat and silky over the sides of the body almost, if not quite to the ground. The long head hair may be tied up in a topknot or it may be left hanging. Any suggestions of kinkiness, curliness, or wooly texture is objectionable. Color, pure white. Light tan or lemon on the ears is permissible, but not desirable.

Size

Weight under seven pounds, with from four to six pounds preferred. Over-all quality is to be favored over size.

Gait

The Maltese moves with a jaunty, smooth, flowing gait. Viewed from the side he gives the impression of rapid movement.

About the Breed
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Characteristics | Standard | Grooming | History |
Pricing | FAQS | Pet Zodiac | Maltese Breeding
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