Maltese Breed Magazine - Top Notch Toys

On Judging the MALTESE


Reprinted From April 2011

In your mind what constitutes a Maltese and makes it unique from any other breed? Most importantly, it is a Toy breed with a white silky coat, with black eyes and nose that flows around the ring. With this in mind, our standard describes our dogs and basically, this will be the end result. M any times in our standard, the word medium is used, which in judging should be kept in mind. Nowhere does it say anything about exaggerated necks, legs or heads. Our standard calls for a dog ideal from four to six pounds, but overall quality is to be considered before size. Sometimes pounds do not properly describe a dog as you can have a large rangy dog that only weighs five pounds and you can just as easily have a very well bodied smaller dog that can also weigh five pounds. Our dog's coat texture is unique as it is silky but not at all the same as Yorkies or Silkies. You can have a Maltese that has silky hair and has 100 hairs per square inch, which will make it look fuller, but still silky, or you can have a dog that has silky hair and only has about 50 hairs per square inch as well. Beware as sometimes Maltese that have less hair may not necessarily have silky hair, but very fine hair that easily breaks and this does not mean it is silky. Those types of dogs can have a very fine undercoat that mats, therefore easily damaging the log hair the grows. Our dog's expression is unique to our breed as well. They are not rounded heads, often referred to as Chihuahua heads, and not totally flat terrier heads as well, as our standard states, moderate from the rounding of the skull to the moderate stop as well. Of course, we do not want an upturned Shih Tzu faces, or downnosed pencil faces either. The Maltese expression is enhanced by black rims around the eyes and a black nose. As fashion has set in other breeds, the word "Halo" or the skin around the eyes does make a more piercing expression, however, nowhere in our standard is that called for. Many dogs that are from local areas where the sun is out longer or stronger often have better halos. However, if a dog is a very good specimen of the breed, it should not be penalized for lack of halos providing the total eye pigment is around the eye. If the Maltese flows around the ring, generally the build of the dog is correct. Just think if you can put a plate on the back of the dog in your mind, and it doesn't go up and down, but stays level, all the legs are working correctly. Also, the tailset should be coming straight off the backline, up and over the back with the tip touching the hind quarters. If you see a twitch to the tail, it is working like a rudder, and there is something wrong with the rear assembly. Maltese are real clowns and love attention. If they are naughty in the ring, that is part of their personality. I have just touched on a few things for your education about the breed. Please contact our Co-Chairmans, Daryl Martin or Mary Day or and we would be happy to give you more information.


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