Saturday, May 12, 2007


Key Facts:

Size: Small
Height: Under 25 cm (10 inches)
Weight: 1.8 - 2.7 kg (4 - 6 lb)
Life Span: 14 years
Grooming: Very demanding
Exercise: Undemanding
Feeding: Undemanding
Temperament: Loyal & sensitive
Country of Origin: Italy/Malta
AKC Group: Toy
Other Names: Bichon Maltais

Physical Characteristics:

General Appearance: Elegant, glossy-white and petite.
Colour: Pure white with slight lemon markings permitted. The nose, eyerims and pads are all black.
Coat: Long, dense, silky, straight and heavy. The average length is 23 cm (9 inches) and the hair hangs down on either side of a straight parting running down the centre of the back.
Tail: Tapering, carried in a large arch over the back and finishing with a long plume.
Ears: Set high, flat, almost triangular, well feathered with long hair reaching to the shoulders.
Body: The body is square and short with a straight topline. The belly is rather low and the ribs are rounded.

Alert, lively, loyal and sensitive. Although Maltese appear delicate at first sight, they are definitely not sissy dogs. They thrive on human companionship and accept and equally love all members of their household. They get along with other household pets and children without any difficulties. Maltese are relatively straight-forward to train and tend to learn quickly.

Maltese require a substantial amount of grooming with their long, silky coats. They need daily brushing and combing and regular washing. The red tear stains can be reduced or removed with special lotions specifically designed for the area. Some owners chose to keep the coat trimmed short if the dog is only a pet and not being shown. Maltese typically have the hair between the eyes tied up in a top knot. Owners who have show dogs often oil the hair and wind it up in curling papers to prevent it from splitting.

These small dogs usually adapt themselves to the family activities to fulfill their exercise needs. They will happily join their owner for a long walk though.

It is believed that these dogs existed and were highly valued as far back as 3500 BC. During the first century AD they were known as 'The Roman Ladies Dogs' and were used in paintings and poems. In 1570 Dr. Caius discussed their virtues and described how women carried them in their bosoms, arms and took them into their beds. The Maltese has been protected and spoilt for centuries. They are said to be one of the oldest European breeds and during the time of Henry VIII they were immediate favourites of the English Court.

Additional Comments:

Maltese make delightful companions for all ages, but are not suitable for owners who don't have the time for their extensive grooming.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Thinking of Getting Lhaso Apso Dog

One of the cutest looking dogs around is the Lhasa Apso. The puppies especially are just irresistible but before one decides to purchase a Lhasa just because the kids are begging for one, there are some things that should be known about this particular breed. Historically, Lhasa Apsos were kept by the monasteries and nobility in Tibet as indoor watch dogs. They would sleep by their masters and with their high intelligence plus keen sense of hearing, would warn of any intruders. Lhasa Apsos were never bought or sold in Tibet. Instead, the Dalai Lama sent Lhasa Apsos in pairs to the emperors of China as gifts. High ranking visitors to Tibet also received them as gifts. They are also referred to as the little bark sentinel lion dogs since fully grown Lhasa Apsos could resemble small lions with all their hair. Lhasa Apso dogs can also behave very much like lions exhibiting no fear when confronted by strangers or even larger dogs. Despite its small size with adult females reaching 12 to 16 pounds and adult males ranging from 14 to 18 pounds, they are extremely hardy as well as rugged. Having existed in the extreme temperatures of Tibet for centuries, they are well suited for and actually enjoy romps in the snow. They are also long lived. Both of my Lhasa Apsos lived past the age of fifteen years. I have heard reports of others living even longer. In appearance, the Lhasa Apso is very similar to the Shih Tzu breed. The face of a Lhasa Apso is not as flat as that of the Shih Tzu. It is believed that the Chinese crossed the Lhasa Apso with the Pekinese which resulted in the Shih Tzu with its flatter face. One thing that all prospective owners should definitely know is that having a fur ball like a Lhasa Apso will require lots of maintenance. The long hair of this breed requires constant care. If left unattended even for a few days, the Lhasa Apso hair will mat up in clumps that cannot be untangled. Their floppy ears are also prone to infections and their eyes can develop problems. If a prospective owner is not willing to make a commitment to the high maintenance of a Lhasa Apso, a shorter hair breed is recommended. The Lhasa Apso is considered by some breeders to be more stubborn and difficult to train than other dogs. Do not let all that cuteness give you the wrong impression as they are the little lion dogs after all. This breed has been revered and highly regarded for centuries in Asia. The genetics may have resulted in some arrogance in them. One must be assertive in the proper training of the Lhasa Apso as this breed will test the new master. Lhasa Apsos are completely loyal and affectionate with their masters but many will not be fond of strangers no matter how obedient they are. This may be part of their watch dog tendency. One of my Lhasa Apsos was quite friendly with visitors but the other one wouldn't even acknowledge their presence. The breed may also not be appropriate with small children. Small children may get clumsy and accidentally poke Lhasas in the eyes or squeeze them too hard. Lhasas will not take this behavior lightly as they are not as patient with kids compared to say Labrador retrievers. Some Lhasas have been known to bite clumsy kids. Lhasa Apso dogs can be very good with children as long as they are treated with respect and care. Despite these characteristics of the Lhasa Apso, they are excellent dogs to have as they can be one of the most loyal companions as long as it is recognized that they are high maintenance and may not be suitable for some families.