Maltese

FCI standard Nº 65

Origin
Central Mediterranean Area, patronage Italy
Translation
Mrs. Peggy Davis
Group
Group 9 Companion and Toy Dogs
Section
Section 1 Bichons and related breeds
Working
Without working trial
Acceptance on a definitive basis by the FCI
Wednesday 13 April 1955
Publication of the official valid standard
Friday 13 November 2015
Last update
Thursday 17 December 2015
En français, cette race se dit
Bichon maltais
Diese Norm ist in deutscher Sprache sichtbar
Malteser
En español, esta raza se dice
Bichón Maltés
In het Nederlands, wordt dit ras gezegd
Maltezer

Usage

Companion and Toy.

Brief historical summary

His name does not signify that he originates from the island of Malta, because the adjective « Maltese » comes from the Semitic word « màlat » which means refuge or harbour; this Semitic root comes up again in a whole series of names of maritime places; i.e. in the name Adriatic island of Méléda, the Sicilian town of Melita and also in that of the island Malta. The ancestors of this little dog lived in the ports and maritime cities of central Mediterranean, where they hunted mice and rats which were found in profusion in the harbour warehouses and in the hold of ships. In his list of dogs existing at the time of Aristote (384 322 B.C.) he mentions a breed of little dogs to which he attributes the Latin name « canes melitenses ». That dog was known in Ancient Rome : favourite companion of the matrons, has been praised by Strabon, Latin poet of the first century A.D. Representations of the Maltese by numerous Renaissance painters show this little dog in the salons of the period at the side of beautiful ladies of the time.

General appearance

Of small size, longish body. Covered by a very long white coat, very elegant with a proud and distinguished head carriage.

Important proportions

Length of body exceeds by about 38% the height at the withers. The length of the head is equal to 6/11 of the height at withers.

Behaviour / temperament

Lively, affectionate, very docile and very intelligent.

Head

Cranial region

Head
Its length is equal to 6/11 of the height at the withers. It is rather wide exceeding slightly half of the length.
Skull
The skull is slightly longer than the muzzle; the bizygomatic width is equal to its length and consequently superior to the half of the length of the head. In the sagittal direction, it is very slightly egg-shaped (ovoid); the upper part of the skull is flat, with an occipital crest very slightly marked; the protuberance of the frontal bones and the supraorbital ridges are well developed; the frontal indentation of the furrow is so lightly marked, that is invisible; the lateral faces of the parietal bones are somewhat convex. 
Stop
Frontal-nasal depression strongly defined making an angle of 90°.

Facial region

Nose
In the prolongation of the nasal bridge; seen in profile, its forepart is vertical. Voluminous with open nostrils, rounded and absolutely black.
Muzzle
Length of muzzle is equal to 4/11 of the length of the head; it is therefore slightly less than its half. The suborbital region is well chiselled. Its depth is a good 20% less than its length. The sides of the muzzle are parallel, but the muzzle seen from the front, must not appear square, since its anterior face joins onto the lateral sides by curves. The muzzle is rectilinear with a well marked furrow in its central part.
Lips
Viewed from the front, the upper lips, at their junction, have the shape of a very open arch. They are little developed in depth and the labial commissure is not visible. The upper lips adapt perfectly to the lower lips, in such a way that the bottom profile of the muzzle is defined by the lower jaw. The edges of the lips must be absolutely black.
Jaws and teeth
Normally developed and light in appearance, perfectly adapted. The lower jaw, with its branches being straight, is neither prominent nor receeding in its anterior part. The dental arches are perfectly adapted and the incisors in scissor articulation. Teeth are white; the dentition is well developed and complete.
Eyes
Open, with lively and attentive expression, larger than would be expected; the shape tends to be round. The eyelids are in close contact with the eyeball, which is never deep-set, but rather level with the head, just slightly protruding. The eyes are set on a same almost frontal plan. Seen from the front, they must not show sclera (white of the eyes); they are of a dark ochre colour; eye rims are black.
Ears
Of almost triangular shape, their width is about 1/3 of their length. They are set high above the zygomatic arch, hanging close to the sides of the skull; with little erection.

Neck

Although covered with an abundant coat, the demarcation of the nape of the neck is obvious. The upper profile is arched. Its length is about half of the height at the withers. It is carried erect and does not show any loose skin.

Body

Body
The length from the point of the shoulder to the point of the buttock is 38% more than the height of the withers.
Topline
Straight to the tail-set.
Withers
Slightly raised above the topline.
Back
Its length is about 65 % of the height at the withers.
Croup
In the prolongation of the lumbar-dorsal line, the croup is very wide and long; its obliqueness is 10° below the horizontal.
Chest
Ample; let down lower than the level of the elbows, with ribs not too well sprung. The circumference of the chest is 2/3 more than the height at the withers. Sternal region very long.

Tail

Set on level with the croup, thick at the root and fine at the tip. Its length corresponds to about 60% of the height at the withers. Forms a single big curve, the tip of which falls between the haunches touching the croup. A tail curved to one side of the body is tolerated.

Limbs

Forequarters

Generality
On the whole they are close to the body, the legs standing straight and parallel.
Shoulders
Its length represents 1/3 of the height of the withers and its obliqueness below the horizontal is of 60° to 65°. In relation to the median plane of the body nearly vertical.
Upper arm
Longer than the shoulder, measures 40 to 45% of the height at the withers, the obliqueness below the horizontal is of 70°. Well joined to the body in its top 2/3, and its longitudinal direction is almost parallel to the median plane of the body.
Elbows
Parallel to the median plane of the body.
Forearm
Lean with few visible muscles, but with a rather sturdy bone structure in relation to the size of the breed.
Carpal
In the vertical line of the forearm, mobile; should not be knotty; covered with a fine skin.
Pastern
Has the same characteristics as the carpus and, because of its short length, is vertical.
Forefeet
Round, toes closed and arched; communal and digital pads should be black, the nails should be also black or at least of a dark colour.

Hindquarters

Generality
On the whole, of sturdy bone structure; parallel and, seen from behind, vertical from the point of the buttock to the ground.
Upper thigh
Hard muscled, hind edge is convex. Parallel to the median plane of the body, its downward and forward direction is somewhat oblique in relation to the vertical. Its length is nearly 40% of the height at the withers and its width is a little less than its length.
Lower thigh
With a groove between the tendon and the bone hardly noticeable; its obliqueness below the horizontal is 55°. It is slightly longer than the thigh.
Metatarsus
The distance from the ground to the point of the hock is slightly more than 1/3 of the height at the withers. Its length corresponds to the height of the hock. It is perfectly upright.
Hock
The forward angulation of the hock is 140°.
Hind feet
Round as the forefeet, with all the same characteristics.

Gait and movement

Even, skimming the ground, free, with short and very quick steps at the trot.

Skin

Really tight to all parts of the body, pigmented with dark patches and patches of a reddish wine colour, especially on the back. The rim of the eyelids, third eyelids and lips are black.

Coat

Hair
Dense, shiny, glossy - falling heavily and of a silky texture, very long on the whole of the body and straight throughout its length without traces of waves or curls. On the trunk it should be longer than the height at the withers and fall heavily back to the ground like a cape fitting close to the trunk without opening or forming tufts or flocks. Tufts or flocks are acceptable on the forequarters from the elbow to the foot, and on the hindquarters, from the stifle to the foot. There is no undercoat. On the head the coat is very long, as much on the foreface, where it mingles with the beard, also on the skull where it falls eventually mingling with the hair covering the ears. On the tail, the hairs fall back to one side of the body, i.e. on the flank and on the thigh, of such length as to reach the hock.
Colour
Pure white; a pale ivory tinge is permitted. Traces of pale orange shades are tolerated but not desirable and constitute an imperfection.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Males from 21 to 25 cm, females from 20 to 23 cm.
Weight
3 to 4 kg.

Faults

• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

General faults

 Bilateral strabismus (cross-eyed).
 Length of body exceeding 43% of the height at the withers.

Serious faults

 Roman nose.
 Accentuated undershot mouth, if it spoils the outer appearance of the muzzle.
 Size in males over 26 cm or below 19 cm; size in bitches above 25 and below 18 cm.

Disqualifying faults

 Accentuated divergence or convergence of the head planes.
 Total depigmentation of the nose or nose of other colour than black.
 Overshot mouth.
 Wall eye.
 Total depigmentation of the eyelids.
 Tail-less, shortened tail, whether congenital or acquired.
 Frizzy coat.
 Any colour other than white, with exception of pale ivory.
 Patches of different colours whatever their extension.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

Bibliography

http://www.fci.be/

 

Detailed history

The Frisé and Maltese Bichons, better known than their counterparts the Bolognese and Havanese, have existed for a long time in the Mediterranean basin. Their sophisticated appearance, which has changed little over the centuries, judging from some of the works of art that have come to light in recent years and on which they are represented, can not fail to make us forget, however, that it is because of the dynamism with which they have always shown that these small animals, and more particularly the Maltese, have been appreciated by past civilizations.

The Maltese Bichon is the oldest of the Bichon family. The statuettes that were discovered in the tomb of Pharaoh Ramses II show in addition that his ancestors were already very popular in Egypt in the fourteenth century BC. A few centuries later, exactly in the fourth century BC, traces of these animals are found in Aristotle's Greece and Roman Italy.

In the 1st century BC, accompanying the merchants along the Silk Road, the Maltese Bichons were then introduced to Asia. The many cynologists who deduce that the race would have received a blood supply of Tibetan dogs are not necessarily wrong. If this thesis can not be scientifically proven, it must be admitted that these two types of dogs met at one time or another. The Greek geographer Strabo (circa 58 BC - between 21 and 25 AD) was interested in the Maltese Bichon.

But his description of this little dog, which he called Canis meletensis, in no way clarifies the current doubt as to the origins of the race. It is probable that, for the eminent geographer, meletensis could correspond to nothing but the Sicilian city of Melenta; as Melenta is also the ancient name of the island of Malta, confusion is inevitable for many lovers of the breed.

Whether or not the cradle of the Maltese Bichons has been this Mediterranean island matters, in fact, little. On the other hand, what is interesting to know is that at the time of Strabo Malta had become the privileged stop for sailors and merchants leaving for Asia and that, consequently, it had been able to shelter a good number of Maltese Bichons, and perhaps even promote their breeding.

Closer to home, the Maltese Bichon appears in 15th century Europe. Like his ancestors on Greek and Egyptian pottery, he appears on tapestries and paintings from the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. He is present in Italy, his adopted country, in France; on the tapestry of The Lady with the unicorn preserved in the museum of Cluny in Paris; and it is found under the brush of Flemish, German, Dutch and Spanish painters such as Memling, Dürer, Bruegel, Van de Venne and Goya.

Pampered by Queen Mary Stuart, who had imported a few subjects from Lyon, the Bichons Maltese had trod the British soil from 1520, where they were soon to become notorious somewhat unusual. For the English, indeed, the dress of the Maltese Bichon cured rheumatism. And this legend seems to have continued today, since it is not uncommon to find gloves and shawls in Maltese Bichon fur across the Channel. For almost a century, breeders have been striving to promote the breed. And even if it is not very prolific, today there are farms all over the world.

The Bichon Frize (or curly hair), also called Teneriffe, and also very popular, causes much controversy. According to some cynologists, we find in writings of the second century before the Christian era allusions to the ancestors of the Bichons with furry hair showing that these dogs were already widespread in the Mediterranean countries, and more particularly in Italy. For others, the Bichon with curly hair only dates from the fifteenth century and would come from the cross between a Maltese Bichon and a Poodle. It seems, moreover, that this last hypothesis is scientifically more well founded.

Introduced in France during the reign of François 1st, this dog was soon to be appreciated by the European courts. The Spanish rulers possessed Bichons with curly hair, who had become accustomed to parading in the royal salons, in the company of other luxury dogs, such as the Maltese or the Dwarf Spaniels. We know the passion of the King of France Henry III for these dogs.

While still in fashion under Napoleon III and the Belle Epoque, the Bichon furry suffered terribly from the First World War: his breeding almost disappear. It was not until the end of the last war that the cynologists once again took an interest in him. But in the meantime, having become highly democratized, he had become the pet of the acrobats, organ players of Barbary, and even guided the blind.

The name of Teneriffe, contrary to what one could logically think, does not mean that the "curly hair" originates from the archipelago of the Canary Islands. If it is widespread enough on the Spanish island, it is first, as for the Maltese besides, because sailors and merchants of all kinds often stopped there. Cynologists have put forward another, more mercantile hypothesis, according to which the first breeders of the breed would have chosen the name of "Teneriffe" for purely commercial purposes, a very specific clientele being attracted by exotic-sounding names.

In any case, when it was recognized, the race officially received French-Belgian nationality. And it is a Belgian breeder who opted for the name of "Bichon Frize". Less sophisticated than its cousin Maltais, the Bichon Frize is now more easily welcomed by families. Because it has the same endearing character, it is also the joy of young and old alike.

Owners of Maltese Bichons or Bichon Frize deliberately chose a pleasure dog. They must therefore accept the continued presence of these small sensitive animals, which have nothing of the dogs that can be left a whole week without company, with only shelter from the weather a niche in a garden. Similarly, giving a Bichon to an acquaintance, whatever it is, during the holidays, is not an easy thing. Very attached to his masters, this dog is unhappy when he feels abandoned, even for a short time.

Brilliant and elegant, the Maltese Bichon is very pleasant in nature. He is also frequently the privileged companion of the elderly, because he devotes to his master or his mistress an affection almost limitless, quickly becoming irreplaceable. Its small size also makes it easy to transport. The Maltese Bichon also adapts very well, and with undisguised pleasure, to more hectic situations. It shares without restraint children's games or family walks. A former owner of the Breed Club even said that his Maltese could walk miles in his company, always with the same enthusiasm. These dogs are not only flat dogs: they love to work outdoors as long as they are given a full and diversified life.

In the house, the Maltese Bichon feels good only in the presence of family members. It is therefore recommended not to leave it alone in a room. Lying in a basket, comfortably seated on an armchair, he will doze quietly if he knows that his little world lives and evolves by his side. It is sometimes said that Maltese knows how to be a good guardian too. Let's not exaggerate: he announces in a high-pitched voice the arrival of a stranger, even that of a friend of his master, but his role stops there. Its modest size prevents it from taking on other functions. Some say that the Maltese Bichon has no sympathy for cats. Again, this is a misconception. The Maltese, excessively pampered, as is too often the case, become rather exclusive and accept badly any change, as the arrival of another animal in the home; but all those who have been brought up with other dogs; or with cats; are sociable in nature.

Despite its small size, the Bichon Frize is full of vitality. When he welcomes a guest whom he appreciates, he is able to make amazing leaps as a token of his joy. Equipped with extraordinary relaxation, he can jump into the arms of his master to be cajoled, then, after being caressed tenderly, it will calm down. Very intelligent, forgetting almost nothing, the Bichon fur was once used in circuses. His comedic appearance, like that of all Bichons, his enthusiasm, his ability to adapt made it one of the favorites of the showmen "learned dogs. "

If some Bichons, such as Maltese, are exceptionally calm, it is otherwise the Bichon furry. This little dog will please those who are looking for a companion always moving, exuberant besides any relative. Obviously, a dog of this size does not have the same need to spend as the shepherd breeds, and it is not likely to cause disasters in the apartment. In a nutshell, the Maltese Bichon, like the Bichon Frize, will suit dynamic dog lovers, even playful, but sweet and full of affection for their master. Their maintenance requires a lot of care, but it only takes a few minutes a day if it is not done for exhibitions. Especially because of competition from other breeds, like Yorkshire or the various small Tibetan dogs, the image of the Bichons has aged a bit, and it's a shame, because these dogs are nonetheless pets perfectly adapted to the constraints of modern life. This does not mean that you have to continually give in to their charm numbers. It would inevitably make them capricious.

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