Maltese Dog Information and Frequently Asked Questions
I'm looking for a rather "low maintenance" dog. Do Maltese require a lot of grooming?
It depends on what you consider "a lot" of grooming. If you are wanting to purchase a Maltese for show, then yes, you will need to spend a considerable amount of time grooming your dog as he or she will be in "show coat." That is, allowing their coat to grow to its full length. Regular brushing, at least once a day, de-matting and de-tangling the soft, silky fur is a routine you will need to establish, just like brushing your teeth. However, if you are going to purchase a Maltese for a family pet, you can opt to have your dog wear a "puppy clip." A puppy clip can be done by either yourself (if you've got the equipment and the patience) or a professional groomer about once every month or so, depending on how long you let the hair grow. The hair is trimmed to anywhere from about 3-4 inches to about 1/2" from the skin. This eliminates the daily brushing routine. Whether you opt for the puppy clip or the show coat, your Maltese will need to have regular examinations of his ears and claws, and a bath regularly (although Maltese are pretty much odor-free dogs). Most owners bathe the Maltese in the kitchen sink and usually only once a month. Eyes will need to be cleaned daily. Please see the section on grooming for more information. If you want true low maintenance, you might consider another breed. I have allergies. Would a Maltese aggravate my condition?
The Maltese coat is hypo allergenic. Generally speaking, if you have allergies, a Maltese is an excellent choice for a pet. However, if you have extreme asthma, unless your dog is kept brushed and groomed regularly, you may have some problems. I have a good friend who suffers severely from asthma. When she visits me, she has no problems being around my Maltese angels. But it must be noted that I keep them brushed and combed on a regular basis. Why do some Maltese have that reddish-brown stain under their eyes?
The stain around the eyes is either caused by tears staining the fur, or can be color inherited from the bloodline. To lessen the effects of color, the it has been recommended that you feed your puppy food that does not contain artificial coloring. Also, if you only give your puppy purified water, it will help reduce the amount of staining, because tap water can contain elements that bring out the color. You may notice heavier staining if your puppy is stressed, nervous or anxious.
The color around the eyes could also come from the bloodline of the puppy. Maltese whose bloodlines originated from England or France can have a large amount of color around the eyes and face or other parts of the body. The English and French highly prized Maltese that had color -- brown, yellow, apricot, tan and black -- were bred specifically for color. These traits have been passed on in our American breeds, so the color you see may be inherited, and not purely from tear stain.
I also use and highly recommend a product called "Angel's Glow" for tear stains. I have more information on this product under the Anna Recommends section.
For additional information on tear stains, ask your vet for a recommended product to help reduce the stain, or do some additional research on the web. Most groomers can trim away the affected hair safely to improve the appearance, too.
Why does my Maltese sometimes make choking sounds and is unable to breathe?
My veterinarian told me that this is common to small dogs of many breeds, not just Maltese. As long as the vet says your puppy does not show any allergies, or physical defects, you shouldn't worry about it. Most of the time, you will notice this happening when your puppy greets you after you've been gone and return. They will get so excited to see you, they lose their breath. Just speak calmly to them and they will eventually calm down. But they won't stop wagging that tail! Are Maltese good with children?
As a breeder, I feel that if the Maltese is a larger Maltese (7 pounds and above), that a Maltese would be fine with a child under the age of six. I learned the hard way and sold a puppy to a wonderful family who had a small child. In loving that puppy, the child squeezed it, punctured the lung of the puppy, which caused the puppy to go into cardiac arrest and die. I will not sell any of my smaller angels to families with small children for this reason. Maltese are wonderful with children -- they are just so fragile, especially when they are puppies -- and they have no fear, jumping off of anything, walk in front of anything, or even approach a larger dog without fear, putting them in harm's way. You must watch your baby Maltese as if it were a human baby. Therefore, putting a baby in the care of a baby is not a good idea unless supervised at all times. What are some Maltese myths?
There are a few myths about Maltese. First, there is no official AKC designation for a "teacup," "toy" or "miniature" Maltese. Many breeders will refer to these terms to reference sizes, but there is no official AKC classification for anything other than Maltese, which is a member of the Toy group. Another myth is that the Maltese is a terrier. It is not -- it is descended from Spitz or Spaniel origins. Do Maltese require a special diet?
Not particularly, although avoiding foods with artificial coloring is recommended if your puppy is extremely prone to tear staining. Those foods without preservatives will also help to keep the tear staining to a minimum, in this regard. Generally, your Maltese will want to eat what YOU eat! It's very hard to ignore that cute, little face looking up at you silently when you are eating! If you feed him from your plate, of course, he will expect tidbits from you every time you eat in front of him, so train him early to not expect your food. If you're like most Maltese owners, you can't resist sharing, so don't give him anything but meat if you do so. Maltese are dogs, and dogs are canines. They are used to processing meat, and that won't upset their digestive system. Spicy foods, or those with garlic or onions, are no-no's. Sugar and sweets are definitely not a good thing to give your dog. He should get all the protein, minerals, and vitamins from his dog food. Keep your "people food" meat as a treat.
I also recommend adding Shark's Liver Oil, Nutri-Cal vitamins, and Puppy Bee Pollen to their diet for good health. These are supplements that my parent dogs and their litters receive. Since none of my puppies have ever been born with worms or any other canine disease, I am a firm believer in these supplements.
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