The Maltese was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1888 in the toy group, which includes such other small breeds such as the Chihuahua, the Havanese, the Pekingese, toy fox terrier and more. The Maltese dates back more than 28 centuries to the island of Malta. It was first shown in the U.S. at the Westminster Kennel Club in 1877. Today, the Maltese is popular as a companion dog. Because of its small size, it makes a perfect lap dog and fits inside a purse for a quick trip to the pet store or the mall.
The AKC breed standard dictates the desired size of a full-grown Maltese should be less than 7 pounds, preferably between 4 and 6 pounds. The Maltese is spunky and fearless, despite his size. He is gentle and affectionate, a quick learner and an ideal dog for someone living in an apartment as he requires little space. He requires daily grooming for his flowing white hair, often kept in a shorter trim for convenience sake.
The Maltese stays active and lively throughout life, with a playful demeanor. Interaction with children should be supervised, as rough play can prove unsafe to these delicate dogs. The Maltese also may unwittingly get caught underfoot while following family members around home, so take caution to avoid tripping accidents.
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