Maltese (breed of dog)

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Maltese, (Maltese)
Maltese (breed of dog)
FCI Standard No. 65
1.1 Bichons
Origin :

Central Mediterranean area

Patronage :


Withers height:

Male 21–25 cm.
Female 20–23 cm


3-4 kg

List of domestic dogs

The Maltese is an FCI recognized dog breed that originally comes from the central Mediterranean region. ( FCI Group 9, Section 1.1, Standard No. 65 ). Italy has taken over the patronage .

Origin and history

Despite numerous references, the origin of the breed has not been fully clarified. Phoenician merchants probably spread the ancestors of this breed from Egypt to the Mediterranean region over 2000 years ago . In the tomb of Pharaoh Ramses II (1301 to 1225 BC) statuettes made of natural stone were found that already resembled today's Maltese. There are from the time of 500 BC. Images on vases that are very similar to the Maltese, next to the dog the name "Melitae" can be read. From today's perspective, however, the relationship is not unequivocal and, according to L. Beckmann, it could also have been the ancestor of the dwarf Spitz.

As the FCI describes in the standard, the name probably does not go back to the island of Malta . A derivation is derived from the Semitic word màlat , which means refuge or harbor and is the root of many place names. The FCI describes the origin as follows:

“This Semitic root can be found in a variety of maritime place names, such as B. in the name of the Adriatic island of Méléda, in that of the Sicilian city of Melita and also in that of the island of Malta. The ancestors of this little dog lived in the ports and coastal towns of the central Mediterranean, where they fought the mice and rats that reproduced abundantly in the warehouses of the ports and in the holds of the ships. "

- FCI standard of the Maltese.

According to Callimachus , Pliny the Elder , Stephen of Byzantium and Constantine VII , the name of this dog breed goes back to the island of Mljet (in ancient times Melita or Melitaea).

Strebel is of the opinion that the Maltese emerged from a medium-sized German shepherd through purposeful breeding for smallness. What is certain is that there was already a long-haired and apparently white dwarf dog in classical Greece, which was also known to the Romans. It is conceivable that this precursor came to Great Britain via Malta , where it was bred to the present form. These dogs still had little of the elegance of today's Maltese.

Physical characteristics and appearance

Very small, up to 25 cm tall and up to 4 kg heavy companion dog, pure white, a pale ivory tint is permitted but not desirable. The males are usually a bit larger than the females. His coat is silky and has no undercoat. At exhibitions, the Maltese often have long hair that reaches to the floor, while it can otherwise be cut shorter. The coat needs constant care.

Health aspects

The Maltese is generally a sturdy and healthy dog. However, it is one of the brachycephalic races and is affected - to varying degrees - by associated health problems.

As with other small dog breeds, there are often problems with the kneecaps and their suspension, known as patellar luxation . Therefore you should always make sure that the dog is not overweight.

Due to the long hair of the Maltese, the eyes can be irritated, which can lead to conjunctivitis and increased secretion of tears. The eye discharge often causes a reddish color of the fur around the eye area.

Web links

Commons : Maltese  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Oldest reports about the Malteser. Hans Räber : Encyclopedia of pedigree dogs. Origin, history, breeding goals, suitability and use. Volume 1: Farmers, shepherds and cattle dogs, shepherds, mastiff-like dogs, pinscher-like dogs, spitz-like dogs, Nordic dogs, Schensi dogs, dwarf dogs, poodles, Dalmatians. Franckh-Kosmos, Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-440-06555-3 , p. 645.
  2. Brief historical summary. In: Maltese. FCI Standard No. 65 / April 6, 1998 / German
  3. Leop. Jos. Fitzinger : Investigations into the ancestry of the dog. In: Meeting reports of the Imperial Academy of Sciences. Mathematical and scientific class. Department 1: Biology, Mineralogy, Geography. Vol. 54, 1866, ISSN  0371-4810 , pp. 396-457, here p. 400

    »The Melitean puppies (Catuli Melitaei), which , according to Callimachus , came from the island of Melita, which lies between Illyricum and the city of the Gnidians, or the present-day island of Mljet on the coast of Dalmatia , and which was named after it. «