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Nobody really knows for sure. You can surf the Web and find all kind of stories depending on who wrote them. It's not because he is called a Maltese that he comes from Malta.

This is taken from the french standard of the Maltese called Bichon Maltais in France :

Maltais or Maltese comes from a semitic term "màlat", who means refuge or port. This semitic root can be found in a number of coastal areas, ex. in the name of the adriatic isle of Méléda, the sicilian town of Melita and of course also in the isle of Malta. The ancestors of those dogs lived in harbours and coastal towns of central Méditerranée where they were fighting the mices and rats that proliferated in the harbour warehouses and in the bilge of ships. In the nomenclature of existing dogs of the time, Aristote makes a place for a breed of small dogs to which he attributes the name "canes malitenses".

This is from the german standard :

His origins go back to the Romans and before Christ. But you have to understand that those dogs were not as elegant as they are today. The stories always talk about small white dogs, but in effect they were small dogs that looked like little Bichon. So in retrospect, we can say that small long haired dogs existed already in old Greece in the upper class. At the time of the Romans too, small white dogs were known and loved. The way the Maltese looks today, is with certainty, due to the English Maltese breeders of the 19th and 20 centuries.
 

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Yup, I've read different takes on where the Maltese came from also. What I was surprised about was they used to come in different colors (don't know what colors). Until the 18th or 19th century when all the colors were breeded out, until only white was left, since this was the preferred color. Go figure!!! Vanity in humans run deep.
 

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The stories I have read said that they came from the island of Malta off the coast of Italy. The royal families wanted them and they were sent by ship to Malita where they became members of the "Queens Court". That the king had his hunting dogs and the Queen had her little white lap dog. They are from BC and never breed as ratters, but rather breed for royalty. Originally from Malta or Malita thus the name Maltese. I'll try to find the information that I have and post it.
 

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Originally posted by Sassy's mommy@Sep 19 2005, 04:13 PM
The stories I have read said that they came from the island of Malta off the coast of Italy. The royal families wanted them and they were sent by ship to Malita where they became members of the "Queens Court". That the king had his hunting dogs and the Queen had her little white lap dog. They are from BC and never breed as ratters, but rather breed for royalty. Originally from Malta or Malita thus the name Maltese. I'll try to find the information that I have and post it.
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From what I read earlier this year no one really knows for sure where they came from. There are a lot of different stories on their origin.
 

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I read somewhere that Malts used to have black ears. My theory is that is why many have the lemon coloring on their ears--that is the remnants of the black.
 

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I have read similar stories on the internet about our little fur babies. I know that any where I take him people just take a fit over him. I had one man to say to me "those little dogs are a rich womans dog". I told him I am not rich but he makes my life richer everyday. The man looked at me like i was crazy. :new_Eyecrazy:

 

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Originally posted by Baby Gizmo@Sep 19 2005, 09:50 PM
I have read similar stories on the internet about our little fur babies.  I know that any where I take him people just take a fit over him.  I had one man to say to me "those little dogs are a rich womans dog".  I told him I am not rich but he makes my life richer everyday.  The man looked at me like i was crazy. :new_Eyecrazy:

 
 
 

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Originally posted by Nichole@Sep 19 2005, 04:24 PM
I read somewhere that Malts used to have black ears.  My theory is that is why many have the lemon coloring on their ears--that is the remnants of the black.
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Who knows, look at the Havanese. He is from the same family. And comes in different colors : cream, white, blue, champagne, gold sable, black and chocolate or any combination of these.
 

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There shouldn't be terrier in the breed although sometimes Maltese are mistakenly referred to as "Maltese Terriers". They originated from spaniels, I believe.

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous breeders will mix a little Westie in to get a bigger, sturdier dog for breeding (more pups + less complicated pregnancies = more $$$) The unsuspecting buyer is none the wiser as the puppies still have "papers".

Jennie Silliski (Hollybelle) was suspected of mixing Westie's with her Maltese.

The vet office wher my sister works took in a Maltese that was brought in to be put to sleep. He had been in 3 different homes by age 2. My sister, who has Jack Russells, described him as more hyper than the worst terrier she had ever seen. He actually attacked the TV! Imagine how upset his owner(s) were when they expected a docile little lap dog!

The good news is that he was adopted by one of the lab techs who has done wonders with him, but they figure he's got terrier in there somewhere.
 
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