A Maltese is a small breed of dog in the toy group. The Maltese does not shed and is covered with long, silky white fur. The Maltese breed of today is descended from dogs long associated with the island of Malta. It is one of the oldest dog breeds.
The coat is long and silky and lacks an undercoat. The color is pure white and although cream or light lemon ears are permissible, they are not desirable. Some individuals may have curly or woolly hair, but this is outside the standard. The Maltese may grow with curly hair.
For all their diminutive size, Maltese seem to be without fear. In fact, many Maltese seem indifferent to creatures and objects larger than themselves but can also be quite aggressive for their small size, which makes them very easy to socialize with other dogs, and even cats. They love time with owners. This is because they were bred to be companion dogs and thrive on love and attention. They are extremely lively and playful, and even as a Maltese age, his or her energy level and playful demeanor remains fairly constant and does not diminish much.
Maltese are very good with children and infants. Maltese do not require much physical exercise, although they should be walked daily to reduce problem behavior. They enjoy running and are more inclined to play games of chase, rather than play with toys.