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The Maltese is an ancient breed with a history that can be traced back many centuries. Darwin, father of the Theory of Evolution, believed the breed to have originated in 6000 BC. The Maltese is believed to be a descendant of a Spitz type dog found among the Swiss Lake dwellers, and selectively bred down to its current average size of 7 lbs or less. Although there is some evidence that the breed may have originated in Asia, the Maltese is usually associated with the Isle of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea.
The little white dogs were favored by the wealthy and royalty alike! Some royals that purportedly owned Maltese include: Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, Josephine Bonaparte and Marie Antoinette. The Maltese has been known by a variety of names throughout the centuries, including “Majestic Creature,” “The Comforter Dog,” “Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta,” and “The Roman Ladies’ Dog.” Women, however, were not their only admirers! Publius, the Roman governor of Malta, prized his Maltese “Issa” so much that he commissioned a portrait of the famous little dog and even had poetry written about her. Today, the graceful breed is an adored pet and sought after show dog!
The Maltese is among the gentlest mannered of the Toy breed dogs. Bred for companionship, Maltese thrive on love and attention. Maltese are gentle, trusting and devoted to their masters. They’re lively, happy, and energetic. Due to their high level of intelligence, the Maltese is a quick learner. They are also courageous and will bark if they hear a suspicious noise. The breed sheds little to no hair, and is highly recommended for those who suffer from allergies. The Maltese requires regular grooming and bathing to prevent their beautiful white coats from staining.
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