The Maltese (Owner's Guides to a Happy, Healthy Pet)


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Maltese are lively, playful little dogs, which respond well to training. They can perform well in obedience classes, and are well able to learn tricks. They need careful socialization, because they are so small, but are generally friendly with people and other dogs. Older children get on well with these dogs, though they are a little too fragile for households with toddlers.

Owners should make sure their Maltese can cope with being alone. It's so easy to pamper such cute dogs, and always have them around, but they can suffer when they have to be left alone, and their owners haven't got them used to it. They aren't dogs to leave home alone while you are out at work, because they like to be active indoors, and can be barky. They are quieter if you can take them for a walk before you go out. It also helps to have a repertoire of indoor games for cold wet days.

Grooming can be time-consuming, though Maltese don't shed a lot. Many owners clip their coats so that they are easier to brush, and don't collect so much mud on walks. Maltese love being taken out for walks, and tend to like going through muddy puddles! They do feel the cold, though, so like a little jacket when it's wet and windy. They may also be reluctant to go out for a wee when it's nasty outside, and a short walk helps them to perform better than just opening the door - they will probably come straight back in without doing anything, if it's really nasty outside.

Generally, this is a healthy breed, though Maltese can suffer from liver and eye trouble, hypothyroidism, and tend to be sensitive to veterinary pharmaceutical products.

Bobbie Linden is a breeder of Maltese. She documents the history of the breed, and gives advice on choosing and caring for a Maltese. There is a lot of help with grooming and showing Maltese, as well as advice on training. Her affection for this charming breed comes through in this book.