For twenty-eight centuries and counting, the loyal and deeply beloved Maltese Terrier has left clear and concise marks on the record of history, and on the hearts of some of the most powerful and influential royalty of all time. The astounding findings of archeologists turned up an elaborate molding of a Maltese Terrier in the Fayum of Egypt. Egyptian kings were buried with artifacts and statues of their most beloved, and most worshipped, possessions and Gods. The Maltese terrier figure is thought to have been created in the common style of an Egyptian idol, lending weight to the early portrayals of this tiny dog being coveted and worshipped through many of the early centuries.
The Maltese Terrier, or “Ye Ancient Dogge De Malta,” is classified in the toy category, and should not weigh more than 7 pounds for show quality considerations. It is not uncommon to find these dogs slightly obese by way of spoiling, but it is recommended that killing your Maltese Terrier with kindness may not be the kindest to show your love. He is a vital, cheerful, and resilient creature, not at all as delicate as one might assume from a dog of this wee stature. He owns the terrier mantra, “If I can’t see it, I have to catch it!” His flowing, silky hair and enlarged, emotionally expressive eyes should not sway you from the true nature within. He is agile at full speed, and gracefully precise when on the hunt.
This breed does not have an undercoat, which would explain its ancient survival in desert climates such as Egypt. His single coat should be of stark white, flowing straight and preferably touching the ground beneath him. A slight tone of cream or tan is permissible, but not readily desirable according to the breed show quality standard. The facial and forelock hair should never be cut, but left flowing down or tied in a breed specific bun knot above the eye brow.
The Maltese terrier is thought to be the most affectionate and responsive of the toy or miniature class breeds, and he offers much comic relief and emotional stimulation to his masters. Publius, the Roman governor of Malta circa 40 AD, was the proud companion of a Maltese named Issa, and his love for her was forever held in history by the writings of Publius’ friend, the poet Martialis, wrote this passage of the devoted pair:
“Issa is more frolicsome than Catulla’s sparrow. Issa is purer than a doves kiss. Issa is gentler than a maiden. Issa is more precious than Indian gems…Lest the last days that she see light should snatch her from him forever, Publius has had her picture painted.”