Intelligent, lively, and playful dogs. Maltese can be quick learners doing well with reward-based training using treats or favorite toys. Maltese can be energetic, although because of their small size they do well in apartments. Can be quite gentle. Can also bark to defend itself from strangers or other animals.
The history of this breed traces back at least twenty-eight centuries and the Maltese is one of the few known breeds to have retained its name of origin. The Roman Emperor Claudius, and Rome's Governor of Malta, Publius each owned a Maltese. Publius was known to indulge his devotion to his pet with poetry and art immortalizing the dog. It was once believed that the Maltese possessed curative powers. The dog was placed on a pillow and given the finest foods. The Maltese was imported into Britain during the 19th century and became the preferred pet of the aristocracy. In 1888 the breed was registered with the American Kennel Club and by the 1990's, the Maltese was ranked in the top 15 of all breeds, remaining a very popular breed in the United States today.