#20: Maltese

Malta is home to the Maltese dog. The Maltese are descended from spitz-type dogs found on the island and were prized in antiquity. The Maltese has a long history stretching back at least two thousand years. Charles Darwin estimated that the Maltese breed could be as much as six to eight thousand years old. The Emperor Claudius owned a Maltese and the Roman Governor of Malta?s love for his little Maltese inspired a poem and painting that was so lifelike that the original could not be told from the painting. The Maltese breed was prized throughout most of Europe and Asia as a companion for royalty and its disposition makes it the perfect companion to this day. The Egyptians are thought to have worshipped this kind little dog. The dog is often called ?the Comforter.? The breed was much enjoyed by the English; most of the Maltese in the U.S. originated from England. Called by many names, the Maltese dog was one of the first breeds exhibited in dog shows. The first Maltese that was bred in the United States was white with dark ears. Tan and mottled colored Maltese were highly sought after in the early years. The Maltese dog has an alert intelligent expression with dark eyes and nose. The hair is long, silky, and white, forming a lovely cloak for the regal little dog. The earliest Maltese in the United States were allowed to be colors other than white, but this is no longer the case; the only color acceptable now is white. The hair must be straight without any kinkiness, curliness, or wooly texture. The Maltese should be under seven pounds with three to six pounds preferred, but general conformation and temperament is considered far more important than size. Most people will never see the Maltese?s legs but they must be straight. The Maltese temperament is perfect for a companion dog and they do just fine in a small apartment. The breed is considered the perfect companion for the elderly as they are gentle and love to be held and petted. This dog possesses enough energy and personality to make it a fine companion for all. They are gentle, intelligent, and obedient dogs that love attention and affection. Maltese dogs are good with children of all ages, adults, and any household pet. If you are looking for a gentle member for your family look no further.

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