Can anyone tell me if an overbite is hereditary? And at what age of the maltese can an overbite be detected? Also is an overbite very common in this breed?
Meranda, Yes! An over bite is an inherited trait. Bites are difficult to truly judge until permanent teeth are cut. Some lines will produce this type of bite more often than others it really depends on what is in the gene pool. Sometimes leaving puppy teeth ,that have not fallen out on their own, in to long will cause a bite problem also.
Overshot, like undershot, is an inherited characteristic. I have only seen one overshot Maltese (where the top teeth and jaw stick out way beyond the lower teeth and jaw). More common is the undershot bite in Maltese. You can help the undershot bite by pulling puppy teeth; an overshot bite doesn't seem to be affected one way or another. Part of the problem seems to come from breeders mixing head types--people want Maltese with the shorter, smooshie muzzles and when you breed a shorter muzzled dog to a longer muzzled dog, the resultant offspring could inherit from both parents.