The Maltese Bichon is a toy-sized breed named after the island of Malta. They are known for their long, silky coat and distinctive white coloring. They are lively, affectionate and intelligent.
The Maltese is a small dog that usually weighs between 3 and 4 kilos and measures between 20 and 25 centimeters at shoulder height. Their life expectancy is 12 to 15 years. According to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), they belong to category 9, which includes companion dogs.
Breed history in brief
The ancestors of the Maltese are among the most common dogs in antiquity. There are numerous references to these dogs in the art and literature of ancient Greece and Rome. Although it cannot be completely certain, most evidence suggests that their origin comes from the island of Malta, which is also the reason for their name. Like many other dog breeds, today's Maltese Bichon is different from the one that existed in ancient times. It is believed that the current one comes from the Victorian era, from crosses of other dog breeds looking to create a new variant. It is possibly one of the dog breeds that has had more crosses. It appears again represented in paintings and sculptures from the XIV century and was highly appreciated by wealthy families for its luxurious appearance and friendly personality. In the 19th century, the requirement was added that, to be considered a breed, the dog had to be white.
The Maltese Bichon has a small, compact body with a level back, short legs and a long, loose tail. They have a wedge-shaped head with a distinctive black nose, large dark eyes and small, erect ears.
The coat is dense and lustrous, silky and shiny. They have no undercoat and the usual coat coloration is usually white, although a pale ivory shade is also acceptable.
Personality-wise, the Maltese Bichon is very affectionate and well adapted to life with people. They are not very aggressive and dominant dogs, with an active, confident and intelligent character. They respond well to positive training. Despite their small size, they are alert dogs and have a good protective sense, not afraid to bark if necessary.
Common health problems
Like all dog breeds, the Maltese Bichon is susceptible to certain health problems. Some of the most common health problems in the breed include hypothyroidism, Shaker syndrome, patent ductus arteriosus, portosystemic shunt and hip dysplasia.
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