American Standard for the Maltese
The Maltese is a toy dog covered from head to foot with a
mantle of long, silky, white hair. He is gentle-mannered and affectionate, eager
and sprightly in action, and, despite his size, possessed of the vigor needed
for the satisfactory companion.
Of medium length and in proportion to the size of the dog. The skull
is slightly rounded on top, the stop moderate. The drop ears are rather
low set and heavily feathered with long hair that hangs close to the head. Eyes
are set not too far apart; they are very dark and round, their black rims
enhancing the gentle yet alert expression. The muzzle is of medium
length, fine and tapered but not snipy. The nose is black. The teeth
meet in an even edge-to-edge bite, or in a scissors bite.
Sufficient length of neck is desirable as promoting a high
carriage of the head.
Compact, the height from the withers to the ground equaling the
length from the withers to the root of the tail. Shoulder blades are sloping,
the elbows well knit and held close to the body. The back is level in top line,
the ribs well sprung. The chest is fairly deep, the loins taut, strong, and just
slightly tucked up underneath.
A long-haired plume carried gracefully over the back, its tip
lying to the side over the quarter.
Legs and Feet:
Legs are fine-boned and nicely feathered. Forelegs are
straight, their pastern joints well knit and devoid of appreciable bend. Hind
legs are strong and moderately angulated at stifles and hocks. The feet are
small and round, with toe pads black. Scraggly hairs on the feet may be
trimmed to give a neater appearance.
Coat and Color:
The coat is single, that is, without undercoat. It hangs long,
flat, and silky over the sides of the body almost, if not quite to the ground.
The long head-hair may be tied up in a topknot or it may be left hanging. Any
suggestion of kinkiness, curliness, or wholly texture is objectionable. Color pure
white. Light tan or lemon on the ears is permissible, but not
Weight under 7 pounds, with from 4 to 6 pounds preferred.
Overall quality is to be favored over size.
The Maltese moves with a jaunty, smooth, flowing gait. Viewed
from the side, he gives an impression of rapid movement, size considered. In the
stride, the forelegs reach straight and free from the shoulders, with elbows
close. Hind legs to move in a straight line. Cow hocks or any suggestion of hind
leg toeing in or out are faults.
For all his diminutive size, the Maltese seems without fear.
His trust and affectionate responsiveness are very appealing. He is among the
gentlest mannered of all little dogs, yet he is lively and playful as well as
The coat requires daily brushing to keep its elegant appearance. Despite his
size the Maltese is without fear. The Maltese is a good choice for people who
live in small apartments because of his size, but for the same reason it is not
a good candidate for those with small children, unless the owner can provide
The Maltese is a toy dog covered from head to foot with a mantle of long, silky,
white hair. He is gentle-mannered and affectionate, eager and sprightly in
action, and, despite his size, possessed of the vigor needed for the
Did you know?
The Maltese is known as ''ye ancient dogge of Malta,'' which for more than 28
centuries has been an aristocrat of the canine world. The first Maltese
exhibited in the United States was white and listed as a Maltese Lion Dog at Westminster
first show in 1877. The American Kennel Club accepted the Maltese
for registration in 1888.
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