Maltese are one of the most faithful dog breeds that belong to the toy group, most popular for its silky, long, and white hair. Though there are different coat colors such as cream, light yellowish, and pale ivory tinge, but pure white color always leads the most popular demand list. On an average, a full-grown will weigh around 6.6 - 8.8 pounds (3 - 4 kg). The males are 7 - 12 inches (18 - 30 cm) tall, while females are 8 - 9 inches (20 - 23 cm) tall.
Maltese dogs have a slightly rounded and dome-shaped skull. The eyes and nose are pure black in color. Their looks are expressive, mainly because of the dark pigmented skin around the drop ears. Also, you might notice fading of the nose color to pink or brown shades or both. This condition is called 'winter nose' and happens when they are not exposed to enough sunlight for a prolonged period. In such a condition, increase the sunlight exposure and the color will become normal (black).
On an average this dog survives for about 12 - 15 years. There are also records that some dogs have lived as long as for 18 years. Nevertheless, it depends upon how you groom and take care of them.
Here below are some tips:
- This breed is highly prone to Cardiovascular diseases, congenial diseases, and cancer. Hence, lookout for symptoms and go for regular check ups.
- Spaying/neutering reduces the chances of cancer in both males (testicular cancer) and females (ovarian and uterine cancer).
- A simple tooth loss can lead to many infections so dental care is a must.
- Even passive smoking can harm this dog so keep it away.
- Maintaining a good diet and exercise routine is the most important but apart from that, maintaining a dry and comfortable environment is necessary too.
These were some basic things. Below is a section of care while grooming.
► Unlike some other dog breeds, these do not have an undercoat or down hair and hence they shed minimal or nothing at all. This is the reason why, they make the best pets for people who have allergy problems. For easy grooming, most pet owners trim the coat and maintain it in a short length. Especially the hair near the ear, which should be cut short, so that they do not clog the ear canal.
► Daily combing is advisable in order to maintain the silky white fur. Make sure you brush with slow and gentle strokes. Tear staining near the eyes is a common problem with these dogs. To avoid such a case, clean the eyes daily with a soft wet cloth. Also, do not forget to clean the mouth area and beard after meals. After bathing and shampooing, you can pat and dry the fur properly with a clean absorbent towel.
► It is also important to spend time with them by walking outdoors, if possible on a daily basis. Otherwise, if kept in confinement for many days, they will become lethargic and may show health problems and behavioral changes.
As compared to other pet dogs, these dogs are cuddly and usually have a good temperament. In fact, they are considered as one of the best small dog breeds. With proper supervision, these pet dogs can be the best playful companion for kids. You can enjoy their company even if you do not have a yard or lawn, an apartment would be fine. Give them lots of love, check for their basic requirements, and follow proper dog care tips. And, you'll see your pet will live happily and survive to its fullest.