Deciding about getting a Maltese

I am interested in obtaining a maltese for my wife. Her brother has one and we both fell in love with her. We currently have two cats but no dogs. Some questions: 1. What sex should we consider? We're not interested in breeding as much as having a nice pet. 2. We both work during the day, so the dog will be alone for 8-9 hours. Can a maltese thrive in that type of environment? 3. Should we get a pup or an older, already housebroken dog? It makes no difference to us, but we are not experienced in training dogs. Would an older, non-show dog be better for us? We really love the breed, and any help you could give us would be greatly appreciated.

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