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Does Your Maltese Dog Live Up to the AKC Maltese Breed Standard?

According to the American Kennel Club each dog breed has a standard set of features and tempermant they are supposed to exhibit.

The Maltese dog breed is known to be quite the sophisticated little white dog. Throughout history, Maltese were prized by the upper class, aristocrats, statespersons and royalty.

When I read the Maltese breed standard, it became quite obvious that my Maltese dog Marley has quite a few "flaws."

Although she wouldn't stand a chance at being a show dog, Marley is always a perfect 10 to me!

Read below to see how your Maltese compares to the AKC breed standard. Marley added a few comments of her own...


Maltese General Appearance

AKC: "The Maltese is a toy dog covered from head to foot with a mantle of long, silky, white hair."

Marley: "My hair is SHORT and silky, does that count?"

AKC: He is gentle-mannered and affectionate, eager and sprightly in action, and, despite his size, possessed of the vigor needed for the satisfactory companion."

Marley: I'm not just satisfactory, I'm a magnificant companion!


Maltese Head

AKC: Of medium length and in proportion to the size of the dog. The skull is slightly rounded on top, the stop moderate.

Marley: Ok I admit it... I've got an apple head.

AKC: The drop ears are rather low set and heavily feathered with long hair that hangs close to the head.

Marley: Yep, I've got hairy white grandpa ears. Whattaya lookin at?


Maltese Face

AKC: Eyes are set not too far apart; they are very dark and round, their black rims enhancing the gentle yet alert expression.

Marley: Black rims? I think the little splash of pink under my one eye gives me a more feminine look.

AKC: The muzzle is of medium length, fine and tapered but not snipy. The nose is black.

Marley: First of all, I have NEVER snipped at anyone. Secondly, my nose changes color like a chameleon from brown to black.

AKC: The teeth meet in an even, edge-to-edge bite, or in a scissors bite.

Marley: I don't have an underbite or overbite, but I think that's kinda cute.


Maltese Neck

AKC: Sufficient length of neck is desirable as promoting a high carriage of the head.

Marley: My neck is sufficiant length for sniffing and looking around, but it could be longer. That way I could reach the cookies on the coffee table.


Maltese Body

AKC: Compact, the height from the withers to the ground equaling the length from the withers to the root of the tail. Shoulder blades are sloping, the elbows well knit and held close to the body. The back is level in topline, the ribs well sprung. The chest is fairly deep, the loins taut, strong, and just slightly tucked up underneath.

Marley: Ok, I'm confused. Anybody know what a "wither" is?


Maltese Tail

AKC: A long-haired plume carried gracefully over the back, its tip lying to the side over the quarter.

Marley: If this means a poofy tail that curls a bit, that's definitely me!


Maltese Legs and Feet

AKC: Legs are fine-boned and nicely feathered. Forelegs are straight, their pastern joints well knit and devoid of appreciable bend. Hind legs are strong and moderately angulated at stifles and hocks.

Marley: My legs are strong enough to get me up on the couch. That's all I care about.

AKC: The feet are small and round, with toe pads black. Scraggly hairs on the feet may be trimmed to give a neater appearance.

Marley: My little totties are quite petite. Trim my scraggly foot hairs? I don't think so!


Maltese Coat and Color

AKC: The coat is single, that is, without undercoat. It hangs long, flat, and silky over the sides of the body almost, if not quite, to the ground.

Marley: My hair is SHORT and silky, does that count?

AKC: The long head-hair may be tied up in a topknot or it may be left hanging.

Marley: Leave it hangin' baby!

AKC: Any suggestion of kinkiness, curliness, or woolly texture is objectionable. Color, pure white. Light tan or lemon on the ears is permissible, but not desirable.

Marley: I stay white for about 5 min after my bath. Is brown a permissible color?



Maltese Size

AKC: Weight under 7 pounds, with from 4 to 6 pounds preferred. Overall quality is to be favored over size.

Marley: Oops! I'm a bit over the weight limit at 9lbs. I'm sure lot's of Maltese boys like a little larger woman though. I'm quite proud of my extra fluff!


Maltese Gait

AKC: The Maltese moves with a jaunty, smooth, flowing gait. Viewed from the side, he gives an impression of rapid movement, size considered. In the stride, the forelegs reach straight and free from the shoulders, with elbows close. Hind legs to move in a straight line. Cowhocks or any suggestion of hind leg toeing in or out are faults.

Marley: I don't run. I either walk or I'm carried everywhere. Holly cowhocks Batman!


Maltese Temperament

AKC: For all his diminutive size, the Maltese seems to be without fear. His trust and affectionate responsiveness are very appealing. He is among the gentlest mannered of all little dogs, yet he is lively and playful as well as vigorous.

Marley: I'm afraid of my own shadow! My nickname is "The Gentle Maltese."

How does your Maltese dog compare with the Maltese breed standard? Does her tail curl to one side or is her head not the right size? Tell me all about it! Send me pictures of your most interesting doggie parts and I'll put them on this website for other Maltese Maniacs to see.
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