Maltese

Maltese môltēz´ [key], breed of very small toy dog of obscure origin that was widely popular in Europe by the beginning of the 19th cent. It stands about 5 in. (12.7 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 2 to 7 lb (0.9–1.4 kg). Its long, flat-lying, silky coat is pure white and hangs down on either side of the body almost to the ground. The Maltese is probably an ancient breed dogs closely resembling the modern type were kept as lap dogs in Rome and Greece before the Christian era. Today's lively breed makes a popular house pet. See dog .

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.