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Continuing on the trend of toy breeds revered in ancient times, we come to the stunning, elegant, and bull-headed Maltese. According to their American Kennel Club profile the breed is known for their charm, stylish coat, willfulness, and history predating even ancient Greek society. While the Maltese gets its name from the island country of Malta located in the Mediterranean, your favorite purse pal was introduced to Malta by the Phoenicians, who ruled the Mediterranean before the rise of Greece.

Personality-wise, Maltese are very outgoing whether around dogs or humans. In fact, they don’t do well alone and so anyone who adopts or purchases a Maltese should be ready to always have this sidekick present. With that said, this dog is in the “toy” group for pet size so being so small in size means that they can get hurt easily if mishandled. For this reason, households with small children in them aren’t ideal for the Maltese. While many dogs with similar personalities are “runners” the Maltese is hardly a flight risk (unlike the Siberian Husky, for example).

Maltese are surprisingly low maintenance in the sense that they require only some vigorous indoor activity and daily short walks to keep them fit. But what about grooming? While they do require more hair care than some other breeds, along with daily brushing, it may come as a surprise that Maltese actually shed very little! As with any other canine companion, you’ll need to give the Maltese regular baths, brush their teeth, etc. Maltese are also rather temperature sensitive meaning they need adequate temperature control in your home to keep them comfortable. Remember these helpful tips for managing hot weather as summer winds down and keep in mind that fans alone do not cool our dogs as well as they cool us!

What else should you know about this classy dog that resembles a doll? We cannot overstate just how affectionate the Maltese are. They were bred to stay by your side through thick and thin. Because of their intense love for you, they can actually serve as remarkably effective guard dogs if you need them to! However, the Pet MD website cautions (potential) pet parents that without proper training, those impulses may actually turn into negative behaviors.

As with any other breed you must invest in proper training. It’s especially essential for this little diva though, because the Maltese is not afraid to take charge of the household, you, or anything else for that matter. Sometimes small dogs are stereotyped as unintelligent but, in this case, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Maltese are incredibly intelligent but have big personalities and will assume the alpha role unless you teach them not to.

Once you discover your love for the Maltese, where should you find one? There are breed-specific rescues with adoptable purebred and mixed Maltese who need loving homes the minute you can offer them! You can also search for reputable breeders in your area. Once you welcome this fabulous furball into your home, be sure to bring them into NOVA Pets for their first wellness exam and possibly purchase a wellness plan for their long-term care!