John K. Rosembert
The Maltese is an ancient breed, one of several small “bichon” dogs found around the Mediterranean for thousands of years. His exact place of origin is a mystery, with conjecture including Sicily, Egypt, and southern Europe, but most historians pinpoint Malta for the development of the breed. With its teeny-tiny stature, flowing white coat, and high trainability, this toy breed has beauty and brains. For that, it’s been cherished since its earliest days in ancient Italy and has long been seen as a portable and charming companion. The Maltese puppy truly is the quintessential lap dog, with its fluffy white fur, adorable black-button nose, dark eyes, and sprightly demeanor. “They’re like a little stuffed animal,” Derse says. The Maltese has a compact, athletic body, small floppy ears, and a tufted tail that curves over her back. By the time a Maltese reaches her full 7–9 inch height and 4–6 pound weight, those white tresses become silky smooth, requiring daily brushing along with regular baths to maintain their regal appearance.
If you’re looking for a friendly dog with elegance and charm, look no further than the Maltese! With their silky, pure white coats and warm temperaments, it’s no surprise that they’ve made popular companions for people for centuries. People fall head over heels for this breed because of its adorable look, but their loyal personality makes them a fantastic option for anyone that’s looking for a canine friend. You will find no lack of adorableness, loyalty, or intelligence in this famous toy dog breed.
Like other toy breeds, Maltese are prone to certain health issues. However, some of these conditions can be prevented if you keep up with routine care and checkups, here below we listed some of the most common illnesses run in their genes…
Let’s get started:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Other common health conditions Maltese face affect their intestines. The breed can also develop severe food allergies and sensitivities. Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or IBD for short, occurs when your dog’s intestines become overactive with lymphocytes and plasmacytes. These are immune cells that attack harmful organisms in your dog’s gut, but they can cause vomiting and diarrhea when they become overactive. Diet and lifestyle changes will help this condition.
Seizures and epilepsy can occur in Maltese as well. These conditions tend to be genetic, so if the dog’s parents or other direct relatives have a history of seizure, then your dog will have a higher chance of experiencing them. Because Maltese dogs have low body weight, they are at risk of experiencing hypoglycemic seizures. Hypoglycemic seizures are caused by low blood sugar levels. Seizures start as an excessive surge of electrical activity in the brain. The surge becomes excessive and overwhelms the neurons, resulting in a temporary malfunction of the brain. Depending on which regions of the brain are affected, a seizure manifests as muscle spasms or other symptoms.
- Knee Problems
Sometimes your Maltese’s kneecap (patella) may slip out of place (called patellar luxation). You might notice that he runs along and suddenly picks up a back leg and skips or hops for a few strides. Then he kicks his leg out sideways to pop the kneecap back in place, and he’s fine again. If the problem is mild and involves only one leg, your friend may not require much treatment beyond arthritis medication. When symptoms are severe , surgery may be needed to realign the kneecap to keep it from popping out of place.
- Heart murmurs, congestive heart failure
This is most often seen with senior Maltese dogs age 10 and up. Because heart murmurs rarely have any outward signs, this is usually discovered during a wellness check when the veterinarian is listening to the dog’s heart.
Murmurs do not always lead to congestive heart failure, but they can. These are graded on a scale from 1 to 6. Typically no treatment is required for a grade 1 to 3 murmur. However, this is often a progressive disease. If the murmur worsens to a grade 4, 5, or 6, there can be issues such as troubled breathing, coughing, and exercise intolerance.