|Origin||Central Mediterranean Region|
|Dog (domestic dog)|
The Maltese is a breed of dog in the toy group. It is thought to have originated in south-central Europe from dogs of spitz type. Despite the name, it has no verified historic or scientific connection to the island of Malta.: 347 
It traditionally has a silky, pure-white coat, hanging ears and a tail that curves over its back, and weighs up to 3.6 kilograms (8 lb).
Little is known about the origin and spread of the modern Maltese. It probably originated from spitz-type dogs in south-central Europe, where it may at first have resembled the modern Pomeranian.
In 1837 Edwin Landseer painted The Lion Dog from Malta: The Last of his Tribe, a portrait of a Maltese named Quiz commissioned by Queen Victoria as a birthday present for her mother, the Duchess of Kent, whose dog it was.: 345 
A white dog was shown as a "Maltese Lion Dog" at the first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City in 1877. The Maltese was recognised as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1888. It was definitively accepted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale under the patronage of Italy in 1955, at the annual meeting in Interlaken, Switzerland. Parti-coloured and solid-coloured dogs were accepted in the show ring from 1902 until 1913 in England, and as late as 1950 in Victoria, Australia.
The Maltese dog was a lapdog favoured by both the ancient Greeks and Romans, especially their children, and appears on amphorae with the word Μελιταίε (Melitaie). References to the dog can also be found in Ancient Greek and Roman literature. Aristotle mentions the dog around 370 BC. Some ancient writers attribute its origin to the island of Malta in the Mediterranean, called Melita in Latin, others claim it to be from the island of Mljet off the coast of Croatia, also called Melita in Latin.: 63 : 347
Pliny suggests the dog as having taken its name from the Adriatic island Mljet (also Melita in Latin),[page needed] however Strabo, in the early first century AD, identifies the breed as originating from the Mediterranean island of Malta.
During the first century, the Roman poet Martial wrote descriptive verses to a lap dog named "Issa" owned by his friend Publius. It is proposed that Issa was a Maltese dog, and various sources link Martial's friend Publius with the Roman Governor Publius of Malta, though others do not identify him.
John Caius, physician to Queen Elizabeth I, also claimed that Callimachus was referring to the island of Melita "in the Sicilian strait" (Malta).[page needed] This claim is often repeated, especially by English writers. The dog's links to Malta are mentioned in the writings of Abbé Jean Quintin, Secretary to the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta Philippe Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, in his work Insulae Melitae Descriptio.
English writers in the early twentieth century also gave Malta as the place of origin of the breed.
The coat is dense, glossy, silky and shiny, falling heavily along the body without curls or an undercoat. The colour is pure white, however a pale ivory tinge is permitted. Adult weight is usually 3–4 kg (7–9 lb). Bitches are about 20–23 cm (8–9 in) tall, dogs slightly more.
The Maltese does not shed.: 59 Like other white dogs, it may show tear-stains.: 297 : 41 
The Maltese is kept for companionship, for ornament, or for competitive exhibition. It is ranked 59th of 79 breeds assessed for intelligence by Stanley Coren.
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