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MALTESE BREED STANDARD - UKC

Standards - Maltese: UKC

HISTORY

The Maltese, one of the many Bichon breeds indigenous to the areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, is believed to be as much as 2,000 years old. It is of spaniel origin, descending from the same stock that produced the Portuguese Water Dog, the Barbet and the Poodle. The breed was prized for its beauty and companionship, especially by women.

The Maltese was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1948.

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Maltese is a toy type, "bichon" breed, covered from head to feet with long, silky, white hair falling in a mantle.

Faults: Lacking in body substance. Poor condition.

CHARACTERISTICS

The Maltese seems to be without fear, considering its diminutive size. The breed-typical trust, gentle manner and affectionate responsiveness are very appealing. Although a gentle-mannered little dog, the Maltese is lively, playful, eager and vigorous.

HEAD AND SKULL

The medium length head is in proportion to the size of the dog. The top of the skull is slightly rounded, rather broad between the ears and moderately well defined at the temples. The stop is moderate. The medium-length muzzle is fine and tapered, but never snipey. The underjaw is good and firm. The lips are black.

Fault: Lack of lip pigmentation.

TEETH - A full complement of strong, white teeth meet in an even, edge-to-edge, or scissors bite.

Faults: Overshot or undershot bites.

EYES - The dark brown, round eyes are set not too far apart. Eye rims are black, and enhance the gentle, yet alert expression.

Faults: Eyes set too wide. Prominent, bulging eyes. Lack of eyelid pigmentation.

NOSE - The small nose is black.

Fault: Lack of pigmentation.

EARS - The drop ears are set rather low. They are heav-ily feathered with long hair that hangs close to the head and mingles with the coat at the neck and shoulders.

NECK

The neck is of sufficient length to promote a high head carriage.

FOREQUARTERS

The shoulder blades slope at an approximate 45-degree angle.

FORELEGS - The fine-boned, straight forelegs are nicely feathered. The well-knit elbows are held close to the body. The wrists are well knit. The pasterns are devoid of appreciable bend.

BODY

The body is compact and balanced. The height, measured from the withers to the ground, is equal to the length, measured from the withers to the mot of the tail. The backline is level. The strong, taut loins are just slightly tucked up underneath. The chest is fairly deep. The ribs are well sprung.

Faults: Roached back. Backline not level. Poor balance.

HINDQUARTERS

HIND LEGS - The strong, fine-boned hind legs are nicely feathered. The stifles and hocks are moderately angulated.

FEET

The small, round feet have black toe pads. The hair on the feet may be trimmed to give a neater appearance.

TAIL

The long-haired tail is set high and is carried gracefully and well arched over the back. The tip lies to either side over the quarters.

Faults: Gay tail. Low set tail.

COAT

The breed is single coated (having no undercoat). The silky, flat coat hangs long over the sides of the body from a center part almost, if not quite, to the ground. It should not impede movement. The long hair on the head may be tied up in a single or double topknot or left hanging.

Faults: Any suggestions of kinkiness, curliness, woolly texture or cosmetic alteration. Undercoat.

COLOR

The only acceptable color is pure white. Light tan or lemon on the ears is permissible, but is not desirable.

WEIGHT

Weight is to be under 7 pounds, the preferred range being from 4 to 6 pounds. Overall quality is not to be sacrificed in favor of size.

GAIT

The ideal gait is jaunty, smooth and flowing. When viewed from the side, there is an impression of rapid movement, considering the size of the breed. The forelegs reach out straight and free from the shoulders, the elbows are close. The hind legs move in a straight line. The head is held high and the tail is carried gracefully over the back and rests on the hindquarters.

Faults: Cowhocks. Any suggestion of toeing in or out by the hind legs. Weaving.

DISQUALIFICATIONS

Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Albinism.


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