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Snowdrop, my sweet little Maltese Dog standing on the beach at The North Sea in winter.
Maltese are small dogs in the toy group and are sometimes called Bichon Maltaise. The breed is considered to be an adored pet and highly demanded show dog.
The Maltese descends from one of the most ancient dog breeds to be found in all recorded history. It has been estimated that the breed originated around 6,000 B.C., which is about 8,000 years ago! The ancient Greeks and Romans believed the dog came from Malta, there is no real evidence that actually proves this to be the case. The breed was distributed as an exotic article of trade from Malta, and sent to far reaches of the civilized World, being prized by the upper class aristocrats and Royalty. The dog is mentioned in early writings of Greek and roman philosophers, as well as poets and historians including Aristotle, and it is recorded that the Roman Emperor Claudius had one himself.
Because of the warm affectionate nature of this little dog, its small size, and unequaled beauty it became known as the comforter, and Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I also had one. Beginning around the mid 1800s and into the early 1900s there was a great debate among the noted dog writers and authorities concerning the question of which family of dog the Maltese belonged to ? A large group felt that the Maltese belonged in the terrier family due to their terrier-like temperament. However others felt that because of its body and coat type it was more spaniel in nature, so it was decided that it should simply be called Maltese Dog, as it was so unique.
They were first shown in London in 1862 when 20 appeared at The Kennel Club of England.
December 18th, 2012
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