GENERAL APPEARANCE : Small in size, elongated body. Covered by a very long white coat. Very elegant with a distinguished and proud bearing of the head.
Personality: Active, alert and agile.
Power Level : Active.
Good with children: Yes.
Good with other dogs: With supervision.
Life Expectancy : 12-15 years old.
Bark level: Bark when necessary.
The name Maltese does not mean that he originates from the island of Malta, because the adjective “Maltese” comes from the Semitic word “malat” which means refuge or port; this Semitic root appears again in a whole series of maritime place-names; for example the name of the Adriatic island of Méleda, the Sicilian city of Melita and also that of the island of Malta. The ancestors of this little dog lived in the ports and sea towns of the Central Mediterranean where they hunted mice and rats that were found in profusion in the warehouses of the ports and in the holds of ships. In the list of dogs existing at the time of Aristotle (384-322 BC) he mentions a small breed to which he attributes the Latin name of “canes malitenses”. This dog was known in Ancient Rome; favorite companion of matrons, was praised by Strabon, Latin poet of the First Century AD Representations of the Maltese by numerous Renaissance painters show this little dog in the salons of the time, alongside the beautiful ladies of that time.
Country of Origin: Italy.
BEHAVIOR AND TEMPERAMENT: Lively, affectionate, very docile and very intelligent.
HEAD: Quite wide, slightly exceeding half its length.
Skull: Slightly longer than muzzle; the bizygomatic width is equal to its length and consequently greater than half the length of the head. At the sagittal direction, it is slightly egg-shaped (ovoid); the upper part of the skull is flat, with a slightly marked occipital ridge. The bulge of the frontal bones and superciliary arches are well developed; the notch of the frontal sulcus is very small or not marked, the lateral faces of the parietal bones are somewhat convex.
Stop : Strongly marked nasofrontal depression, making a 90° angle.
Nose: In the extension of the nasal bridge; profile view, its front face is vertical. Voluminous, with open nostrils, rounded and absolutely black.
Muzzle: The length of the muzzle is slightly less than half the length of the head. The supraorbital region is well chiseled. Its depth is much less than its length. The sides of the muzzle are parallel, but the muzzle, viewed from the front, should not appear square, as the front face is joined to the sides by curves. The snout is straight with a well-marked groove in its central part.
Lips: Seen from the front, the upper lips are shaped like a very open arch at their junctions. They are poorly developed in depth and the labial commissure is not visible. The upper lip adapts perfectly to the lower lip, to the point that the lower profile of the muzzle is defined by the lower jaw. The edges of the lips must be absolutely black.
Jaws and Teeth: Normally developed and light in appearance, perfectly adapted. The mandible, whose ramifications are straight, is neither prominent nor recessed anteriorly. The dental arches are perfectly adapted and the incisors articulated in scissors. The teeth are white, the dentition is well developed and complete.
Eyes: Lively and attentive, larger in size than would be expected; its shape tends to be round. The eyelids are in contact with the eyeball, never set deeply, but level with the head, slightly protruding. The eyes are set on an almost frontal plane. Viewed from the front, they should not show the sclera (the whites of the eyes); they are dark ocher in color; eyelid rhymes are black.
Ears: Almost triangular in shape; its width is about 1/3 of its length. They are set high, above the zygomatic arch, pendant, drooping close to the sides of the skull, slightly erect.
NECK: Although covered with abundant fur, the back of the neck is clearly visible. The upper profile is arched. The length of the neck is approximately half the height at the withers. It is carried upright and has no loose skin.
BODY: Length from point of shoulder to point of buttock is 1/3 greater than height at withers.
Topline: Straight to tail set.
Withers: Slightly above the topline.
Back: Its length is approximately 65% of the height at the withers.
Croup: In the extension of the dorso-lumbar line, the croup is very wide and long; its obliquity is 10° below the horizontal.
Chest: Broad, deep, well developed, let down below the elbows, with ribs not too sprung. The sternal region is very long.
TAIL: Set on at the level of the croup, thick at the root and thin at the tip. It forms a single large curve, the tip of which falls between the hips, touching the croup. A drooping tail to one side of the body is tolerated.
General appearance: Overall , legs are close to the body, vertically straight and parallel. Arms: Longer than the shoulder blades, with good angulation.
Elbows: Neither turned in nor out. Forearms: Dry, with few visible muscles, but with a very robust bone structure in relation to the size of the breed.
Shoulders: Its length represents 1/3 of the height at the withers, with the tips of the shoulder blades widely spread and well turned back.
Carpi: In the vertical line of the forearm, flexible. It shouldn't be knotty. Covered with a thin skin.
Metacarpals: It has the same characteristics as the carpus and because they are short, they are vertical.
Feet: Round, closed and arched toes, plantar and toe pads, black; nails should be black or at least dark in color.
General Appearance: Robust bone structure. Parallel legs seen from behind, vertical, from croup to ground.
Thigh : Strongly muscled and its posterior edge is convex. Its downward and forward direction is somewhat oblique to the vertical.
Knees: The joint is free, neither open nor closed.
Legs: With a barely visible shin between the tendon and the bone. Its obliquity below the horizontal is 55º. They are slightly longer than the thighs.
Angulation of the hocks: The anterior angulation of the hocks is 140°.
Metatarsals: Distance from ground to point of hocks is slightly more than 1/3 of height at withers. Hocks short and perfectly straight.
Hind feet: Round, toes closed and arched, the pads should be black, as well as the nails, which should be at least a dark color.
GAIT/MOVEMENT: Uniform, low to the ground, free, with short strides and very fast trot.
SKIN: Very adherent on all parts of the body, pigmented with dark spots and reddish-wine spots, especially on the back.
Coat: Dense, shiny, glossy - falling heavily and of a silky texture, very long over the whole body; straight over its entire length, with no sign of curl or curl. On the trunk, it should be longer than the height of the withers and falls heavily to the ground, like a cape well placed on the trunk without splitting or forming flakes or clumps. Flakes or streaks are acceptable on the forelimbs, from knee to paw. It has no undercoat. On the head, the hair is very long, as well as on the muzzle where it mixes with the hair of the beard, also on the skull where it falls until it mixes with the hair on the ears. On the tail, the hair falls back on one side of the body, that is, on one of the flanks and on the thighs, in a length that reaches the hocks.
COLOR: Pure white, but pale ivory is allowed. Pale patches of orange shade are tolerated but not desired and constitute an imperfection.
SIZE: Height at the withers: Males: 21–25 cm. Females: 20 – 23 cm.
WEIGHT: 3 – 4 kg.
Any deviation from this standard should be considered a fault and penalized in exact proportion to its severity and its effects on the health and well-being of the dog.
• Aggressiveness or excessive shyness.
• Any dog that shows any sign of physical or behavioral anomaly must be disqualified.
• Atypical dogs.