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Switzerland- Maltese Breed Standard
by Jay
Started on 11-21-97

Special thanks and appreciation to Janine for translating the webpage that was in German on a Swiss website with regards to the breed standard for the Maltese.

Here is the translation:


Mediterranean regions

The Maltese, a social and companion dog, is very elegant with his long white hair. With a shoulder height of 21-25 cm (8 1/4" - 10" approx.) for the male and 20 to 23 cm (8" to 9" approx.) for the female, his weight reaches between 3 - 4 kg (6.60 lbs - 8.80 lbs) and he is one of the smallest dog breeds. Daily care of his long hair is a must.

The Maltese is levely, affectionate and possesses an alert mind. He develops almost a sick concern and affection for the people who take care of him. Less nervous Maltese bark uninterrupted with strangers. Nevertheless, he is very courageous. When he feels threatened or is afraid for his lovely person, he will even try to bite.

His origin should go way back to the Romans and before Christ. But we must record that those dogs did not have the same elegance of the today's Maltese. The story always tells about small white dogs, but those dogs are probably closer looking like the Bichon. Retrospectively, we also know that small white longhaired dwarf dogs existed in classic old Greece at the time of the Pharaohs. Also at the time of the Romans, small white dosgs were known and loved, and we know that today, without doubt. The today's look of the Maltese, is however, with certainty, to be attributed to the English Maltese breeders of the 19th and 20th centuries. Even if today the big kennel clubs of Italy are considered to be the Motherland, and are looked upon for the description of the breed standard, we find the Maltese at the most perfection specially in North America but also in the rest of the world.

General appearance: small, with an extended torso. Covered with a mantle of long white hair, he is very elegant and holds it's head with pride and looks distinguished.

Important proportions: The length of the torso surpasses the withers' height by approx. 38%. The head length is 6/11 from the withers' height.

Behavior and Temperament: lively, affectionate, very quick to learn, very intelligent.

Head: the length is 6/11 from the wither's height. He is rather wide. His width exceeds half the length by a little.

Skull region: the top of the head is somewhat longer then the muzzle, the width between the cheekbones corresponds to his length and is by that wider then half of the head length. Depending the orientation, the form is slightly oval; the top of the skull is flat, the main back apophysis is little pronounced; the protuberance of the frontal bone and the arch of the eyebrows is well developed; the forehad groove is not apparent, because not much pronounced. The skull sides are almost convex.

Stop: the forehead is well marked and forms a 90 angle.

Nose: seen in a profile, the front side stands vertical at the extension of the nose bridge. Big, nostrils open, the nose is round and black.

Muzzle: the muzzle length is 4/11 from the head length; therefore he is a little shorter than half the length of the head. The area underneath the eyes is well engraved. It's height is some 20% shorter than his length. The sides are parallel, but if you look at the muzzle from the front, it cannot be allowed to look square, because the front is curving up to the side areas. The nose bridge is straight, with well-marked grooves in the middle part.

Lips: seen from the front, the upper lips make a big open curve at their connection. They are not much developed in their height and the lip loop is not visible. The upper lips fit to the bottom lips completely, so that viewed from the side, the muzzle at the bottom is defined by the lower jaw bone. The lip border must be black.

Jaw: normally developed, not strong, the jaws fit perfectly together. The lower jaw bone's ramifications run straight. and it's front part is not projected to the front nor the back.

Teeth: the teeth meet in an even scissors bite. They are white, the bite is well developed and complete.

Eyes: open, have an alert expression; they are bigger than usual and the lid opening forms almost a circle. The eyelids are in close contact with the eyeball, who is not allowed to lay dip, but linded with the head, comes out easy. The eyes lie in front at almost the same level. Viewed from the side, the sclera should not be seen; the eyes are dark ochre color; the rims are black.

Ears: almost triangular, the width is approximately 1/3 of the length. They are way up the cheekbones, barely raised, hanging close to the head.

Throat: although the throat is fully covered with hair, she is clearly recognizable from the neck. The upper line runs bent. Her length corresponds to approx. half of the withers' height. She is carried upright and will not show any lose skin.

Torso: measured between shouler end and ischium humps, the length of the torso exceeds the withers' height by 38%.

Upper line: runs straight to the beginning of the tail.

Withers: the withers rise lightly from the back line.

Back: the length is approx. 65% of the withers' height. The chest is fairly deep and reaches down above the height of the elbows; ribs are not very strongly bulging. Bust measurement exceeds by 2/3 the withers' height.

Chest: sternums very long.

Rump: at the extension of the back-loin-line, is the rump very wide and long; his horizontal tendency amounts to 10.

Tail: at the extension of the rump, tick at the root, thin at the tip. The length corresponds to approx. 60% of the withers' height. The tail makes a big unique arch, whose end lies between the hip bones and touches the rump. The tail tip lying to the side over the quarter is tolerated.

Front limbs: in the whole, the forelegs are well placed against the body and steady.

Shoulder: the lenth corresponds to 1/3 of the withers' height and she has a horizontal tendency of 60 to 65. In relation to the median level of the torso, she is close to the perpendicular.

Upper arm: longer then the shoulder, he is missing 40 to 45% of the wither's height; his horizontal tendency amounts to 70. In the upper two thirds he is pressing himself to the torso and lengthwise he is close to parallel to the torsos' median level.

Elbow: parallel to the torso median level.

Forearm: he is dry, with not many visible muscles, but by comparison to the size of the breed, he has rather a strong bone structure. He is shorter then the upper arm and is missing 33% of the wither's height. The height, measured between the ground and elbow tip, corresponds approx. to 55% of the wither's height.

Tarsus: he is situated in the steady forearm, is very mobile, without thickening; he is covert with thin skin.

Metatarsus: he has the same characteristics as the tarsus and stands vertical because of his small length.

Paws: round, toes well closed and vaulted; the middle sole and the toe pads are black; the nails are also black or at least of dark color.

Back Limbs: they are of strong bone structure, looked as a whole they are parallel to each other and, seen from behind, vertical from the ischium humps to the ground.

Upper thigh: provided with a strong muscular system, it's back delimitation runs convex. The thigh is parallel to the torsos' median level, runs vertical from top to bottom and bends slightly from back to front. The length is close to 40% of the wither's height and the width is slightly less then the length.

Lower tigh: horizontally bend at 55. The lower thigh is slightly longer then the upper thigh.

Hocks: the hocks' angle is 140

Back Metatarsus: the distance between the ground and the top of the hock is slightly longer then 1/3 of the wither's height. That length meets the hocks' height. He is completely steady.

Paws: round like the front paws, with which they share all characteristics.

Gait: the Maltese moves freely in an even way, trotting with short and quick steps.

Skin: close-fitting to the body, the skin is pigmented with dark spots and wine red color, specially on his back. The eye rims and the lip borders are black.

Coat: tight shiny, it hangs long, and is of silky texture; it is long all over the body and stays flat, without any trace of curls. The length should exceed the withers' height and drop heavily to the ground, like a well-adjusted cape that stays close to the body without getting open and without curling or flaking. Curls and flakes are permissible at the front limbs from elbow to paw and at the back limbs from knee to paw. There is no undercoat. At the top of the head, the hair is very long; on top of the nose bridge it is so long that it is mixed with the beard hair, and on top of the skull it is long enough to drop down and mix with the ears hairs. The tail hair drops only to one side of the torso, flank and thigh, and is so long that it drops to the hock.

Color: pure white; light ivory is permissible. Traces of orange color, which give the impression of soiled hair, are tolerated, but not desirable and show imperfection.

Size: withers' height: male 21 to 25 cm, female 20 to 23 cm

Weight: 3 to 4 kg

Faults: any deviation from the previous description should be considered as a fault, which assessment should be in precise relationship to the degree of the variation; this is also valid for a double side squint and when the torso length exceeds the withers' height by 43%.

Heavy faults: clear bulging nose bridge; prominent bites, if the look of the muzzle is disfigured. Size of the male: more than 26 cm or less than 19 cm; for the female: more than 25 cm and less than 18 cm.

Disqualification Faults: Very important difference in the defining lines of the skull and muzzle; full depigmentation of the nose or nose of a different color than black. Bite, eye, full depigmentation of the rims, no tail either from birth or brought on; curly hair; all other color than white with exception to light ivory; spots of different colors, without regard to their area. Males must have two obvious normal testicles fully descended in the scrotum.

Thanks for the translation. It is interesting to compare it with our AMA standard. I notice that there is no mention of the names of the Maltese chosen as "models." :-)
Beverly B. Passe 11-22-97
Why is the American standard so short compared to this one? Is there a longer version somewhere that I don't know about?
Connie 11-22-97
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