Few breeds are as beloved as the Maltese. This intelligent and loving pet is popular around the world with the rich and famous, as well as commoners.
The Maltese is a playful and adventurous little dog with a rich history dating back more than 28 centuries.
As with all races, there is some disagreement about the first traces of the race. Some say the dog originated in Sweden and is descended from a Spitz-type dog.
The Greeks believe that the first Maltese originated on the Island of Malta. They named this dog “Melitaie Dog”. Melitae was the ancient name for Malta. Some sources indicate that the Maltese originated in Asia.
The first artifacts resembling Maltese dogs were found in Egypt. These date back to between 600 and 300 BC. C., which suggests that the ancient Egyptians worshiped the first forms of the Maltese.
There are many historical pictorial representations of these dogs. The Greek ceramic art and many Greek and Roman philosophers also mention the Maltese. Aristotle and many other notable philosophers and historians mention the dog. The Greeks even erected graves for their Maltese.
These little dogs most likely made their way through Europe and the Middle East as nomadic tribes migrated. Some say that small dogs were used in bartering and in this way the Maltese found their way through Europe and beyond.
The Maltese was considered a high-class dog, appreciated by aristocrats, statesmen, and royalty. In the middle of the 19th century it was considered very fashionable to have a Maltese in your pocket or purse. Some even believed that the dog possessed magical healing powers.
The first records of the Maltese in Britain are during the reign of Henry VIII. Many royals have enjoyed Maltese companions ever since. Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria also owned Malta.
No one documented how the Maltese came to the United States. The Maltese were first seen in the US in the late 1800s. The first Maltese was white and was listed as a “Maltese lion dog” at the first show in 1877. The American Kennel Club began to recognize the breed in 1888.
Maltese homeowners come from all walks of life. Many pop culture icons have owned these cute little dogs. Marylin Monroe, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor and Tony Bennett are some of the famous owners.
Most likely, its white color and long, silky coat have had a lot to do with its popularity. It also has a lot to do with his great personality.