Height: 4-6 in
Weight: 2-4 lbs
Life Span: 12-15 yrs
Area of Origin: Mediterranean area; Malta
Similar Breeds: Havanese, Bichon Frise, Toy Poodle, Teacup Chihuahua, English Toy Spaniel, Pekingese
History and Origin:
The Teacup Maltese is a relatively recent variation of the Maltese breed, bred specifically to achieve a dog that is significantly smaller than its parents. A Teacup Maltese can be found in the same litter as full-sized Maltese puppies. Established as a breed on the Maltese Islands, the Maltese is an extremely ancient breed. It has been a companion animal for the nobility for over three thousand years, and graces vases, paintings, wall paintings, and other forms of art from Greece, Rome, Turkey, and elsewhere in the Mediterranean. The Maltese may have held religious or spiritual significance, as the Egyptians and some European civilizations believed that the Maltese held restorative properties. In Britain, the Maltese was a favorite of royalty; Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, and Queen Victoria all owned Maltese. An early Teacup variation was attempted in the nineteenth century, and the breed nearly became extinct. Interbreeding with the Toy Poodle, English Toy Spaniel, and Pekinese restored the Maltese, and also influenced the development of the Bichon Frise and Havanese.
Personality and Temperament:
The Teacup Maltese is the perfect companion for those who can be gentle and aware of its fragility. It is an active dog, full of love and intelligence, and can get quite attached to its owner. It is prone to developing Small Dog Syndrome the Teacup even more than the full-sized Maltese, due to its small, pocket size. While it is good with children, the Teacup`s tiny size make it ill-suited for play with young children or those who play rough. Similarly, while its easy-going nature make it a fantastic choice for a nervous or first-time owner, it should always be treated like a dog.
Exercise & Training:
The Teacup Maltese enjoys exercise, however care must be given that it not get injured by other dogs or people due to its small size. It is a perfect dog for apartment living. Intelligent and eager to please, the Teacup Maltese responds well to positive training methods, and can learn many commands and tricks.
A popular breed with allergy sufferers, the Maltese sheds very little. If the iconic long white coat is desired, no clipping is needed. A shorter puppy cut is usually preferred by many owners, and needs maintenance by a professional groomer two or three times a year. Due to its fine, soft texture, the Malteses coat needs brushing a few times a week to prevent matting. Bathe once a month to keep the coat luxurious, however more frequent bathing will dry out the skin and may cause damage.
The Maltese has influenced the development of breeds such as the Havanese and the Bichon Frise; due to revival efforts, it also has English Toy Spaniel, Poodle, and Pekingese blood in it. The development of the Teacup Maltese is part of a trend in Teacup dogs, including the Teacup Chihuahua and the Toy Poodle.
Interesting Facts about the Teacup Maltese:
1. Due to its noble history, the Maltese has held many names, such as Yee ancient dogge of Malta, Roman Ladies Dog, The Comforter, and The Maltese Lion Dog.
2. Philosophers Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, and Strabo have all mentioned the Maltese in their writings.
3. Accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1888, the Maltese is one of the earliest registered breeds in the United States.
4. The Maltese frequently wins the toy category in American Kennel Club shows, and has also won many Best in Show honors.