Country of Origin: Malta
First Use: Ratting
Origins: 500 BC
Temperament: Friendly, alert
Of Bichon stock, this tiny, attractive dog has a long, silky, pure white coat which contrasts starkly with its dark, oval eyes and black eye rims. The coat may have slight lemon colored markings, notably in the vicinity of the head.
History: Possibly the oldest of Europe’s toy breeds, the ancestors of the Maltese were thought to have been introduced to Malta by the Phoenicians. This lively, intelligent breed has since attracted countless generations of enthusiastic owners.
Remark: Despite its “stuffed toy” appearance, this dog, once called a Maltese Terrier, was a renowned rat catcher.
Other Names: Bichon Maltaise
Notes: The Maltese has a pure black nose, stop is centered between tip of nose and occiput, dark brown eyes, and long straight coat that should not impede the dog’s action.
Source: Dogs by David Alderton and AKC