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Maltese Dog History

Where did this small dog breed come from?

After learning all about Maltese dog history I was suprised to find out that
Maltese dogs didn't actually come from the Island of Malta.

While no one knows for sure, most historians believe the Maltese descended from a Spitz-like dog in Southern Europe.

Want to learn more about this fascinating, 2500 year old, little white dog? Then keep reading...





Where did the Maltese dog get his name?

These small dogs were often traded from the Island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea to all other parts of the world.

Since the Greeks & Romans believed the Maltese actually originated from the Island of Malta, they named this small dog breed the Maltese.


Which famous aristocats owned a Maltese?

Roman Emperor Claudius Roman Emperor Publius Queen Elizabeth I Mary Queen of Scots


What cultures were Maltese popular with?

Numerous pictorial representations of the Maltese occur in Greek ceramic art, such as the vases found at Vulci (about 500 B.C.), and the dog is mentioned in the writings of many Greek and Roman philosophers, and other ancient poets and historians, including: Aristotle, Timon, Callimachus, Aelian, Artimidorus, Epaminodus, Martial, Strabo, Pliny the Elder and Saint Clement of Alexandria.


Which ancient culture worshiped the Maltese dog?

Hard acheological evidence places the Maltese in a prominent place in Egyptian culture around 300 to 600 B.C. where they were virtually worshipped as members of the royal families. The earliest known representations of Maltese dogs on artifacts found at Fayum, Egypt (600-300 B.C.), suggest that the Maltese was one of the dogs worshipped by the ancient Egyptians.


What ancient dogs are related to the Maltese?

Lhasa Apso Tibetan Terrier Tibetan Spaniel Pekingese


What characteristics was the Maltese dog bred for?

They were prized by the upper class, aristocrats, statespersons and royalty. The Maltese was even believed to possess medicinal powers of healing--the ailing would place the dog on their stomach or chest for comfort. Because of this practice, and the dogs warm, affectionate nature and small size, which made it easy to hold in ones arms or lap, the Maltese became known as the "Comforter."


What other names was the Maltese called throughout history?

"Melitae Dog"
"Ye Ancient Dogge of Malta"
"The Roman Ladies' Dog"
"Comforter"
"Spaniel Gentle"
"Bichon"
"The Shock Dog"
"Maltese Lion Dog"
"The Maltese Terrier"


How was the Maltese depicted in ancient art?

During the Renaissance, the poet Ludovico Ariosto in a few lines of his literary masterpiece, Orlando Furioso, describes a dog which is probably a Maltese.

"The tiniest dog Nature has ever produced --
Her coat of long hair, whiter than ermine,
Her movements exquisitely graceful and
Matchless elegance of appearance."

(Vol.II Canto 43) 3

Do you know any other cool facts about Maltese dog history? If so, please email me with your knowledge and I'll add it to this page to share with other Maltese Maniacs.

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