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CuppaT

Is a Maltese the breed for us? Advice please

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CuppaT   

Hello everyone, this is my first post, but I have already learnt so much from this site. I would really appreciate your wisdom about whether I have got it right in concluding that a Maltese is the dog for us. I have been researching this for the last couple of months, and in summary, these are my thoughts:

 

 We have not had a Maltese before, and our only experience with dogs has been with much larger dogs and many years ago - effectively we would be like first time owners. 

 

We think a Maltese might be right for us because:

  • we have a relatively small house and garden,
  • we are a multi-generation household, so we need a dog small enough to be happy playing in a play pen for periods of time, eg like mealtimes or when mum is through in the kitchen getting a sandwich etc - this would be for the safety of both elderly mum and young pup
  • I have read that Maltese can make good therapy dogs - our teenage daughter has some anxiety and social issues, including mild agoraphobia, so it would be wonderful for her to have a pet who would provide her with company and comfort (and a good reason to get out of the house!)
  • I understand that Maltese are intelligent and playful - our 12 yo son would love a playmate. He is a gentle boy, and very interested in training a dog, so we need a pup that loves to learn and who would continue to enjoy playing as it gets older
  • We need a low shedder.

 

We can offer a dog:

  • a small, but completely enclosed garden with no poisonous plants or other dangers where pup could play (although would generally be in the house with us)
  • There is nearly always someone home (I work from home) so pup would rarely need to be left alone (we do understand that we would need to work on pup being comfortable with spending short amounts of time alone, as otherwise we understand there could be separation anxiety issues)
  • we can do twice daily walks
  • we have good local options for puppy classes and for ongoing training help (ie for us, so that we are doing the right thing!)
  • we are taking this decision very seriously, so we have done loads of research and understand eg that we would be making a pretty serious commitment to grooming, socialising, training etc

 

We are committed to a purebreed.

 

Any advice would be much appreciated - eg have we missed anything, are there other breeds we should consider, are there downsides we might not have thought of etc? Thank you!

 

 

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There are so many dog breeds that would suit your family circumstances, it is hard to know where to start.  There being so many, I think it would really come down to the breed of dogs whose looks appeal to you.  If that is Maltese, go for it.  I’ve owned, rescued and fostered many Maltese over the years and they are delightful little dogs and are always up for cuddles.  However, they have strikes against them for two of your wishes.

 

1.  They shed and they need regular grooming, particularly when they are puppies as their hair is so fine.  Maltese should come with a warning:  High Maintenance :laugh: :laugh:.  

 

2.  I think I contributed vastly to the profits of cheese producers over the years trying to train the various Maltese who’ve lived with me.  Spectacular failures one and all and that includes me.  I am sure plenty of people have had success, but I’m not one of them.  

 

They are notorious for having bad teeth even with a good diet.  

 

Here is my Tamar, playing at being The Lion Queen.  I put this in to show you that they love going through the bush as much as any dog.  She is off lead here and having a wonderful time.   

 

36142560494_39a4863884.jpgIMG_0496 by Cynthia Waters, on Flickr

 

Edited to add:  Tamar is not full Maltese, she has some Shih Tzu in there somewhere 

 

Edited by Loving my Oldies

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asal   

I am wondering if a bichon might suit better. do not shed, yes same grooming requirement,  and clipping but you can soon learn, similar size and from the ones ive seen very trainable. you can have loads of fun creating different style of coat clip.

 

I had a toy poodle and I changed his many times, you dont need to stick to traditional clips ,  although the lamb is the one I did the most, just all over short with clipped feet and face, if you like a fluffy face you can do that too. For me if I got another it would be a poodle but you can get a bad one, my last was both partially blind and deaf, heartbreaking so make sure of health checks.  our family had three before and all perfect , amazing, loving, highly trainable .

 

clippers are not expensive anymore and I think you and the kids would enjoy styling your puppy.

as for train-ability the poodle (the good lines) are incredible .  But I dont think people who have a bichon think theirs are far behind.

 

both great breeds, but remember to check the parents are they calm quiet and smart or high strung?

 

remembering in many cases the owner can strongly influence that too having baby sat what were supposed to the high strung and picky eaters for a friend. who mimicked my dog within 24 hours and ate everything i set before them once their human had left.  

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=bichon+frise+trainability&rlz=1C1GGRV_enAU753AU753&oq=bichon+fise+trainab&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0.18109j1j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

 

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Dogsfevr   

We board and groom a number Malts ,all great dogs ,easy to train .

As already mentioned they do need regular grooming and they can be demanding so owners need to set the consistent rules from day one .

 

Also consider a Havanese and Shih Tzu ,a little bigger and sturdier .

We board stacks of Shih Tzus great dogs 

 

 

 

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My vote would be for a Havanese as well.  Delightful little dogs and don't seem to have any health problems.  I have met quite a few Maltese with Cushings in the last few years.

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RuralPug   

I second the recommendation for a Bichon Frise  - they are as smart as a poodle but you are less likely to strike one with a health problem. One is advertised here.
Another breed that would suit you very well is the Havanese. The Havanese is another member of the Bichon family but because the coat is always brushed out it is more like a Maltese in ,looks except that the Havanese comes in a variety of colours. Breeders advertising they have puppies for sale can be found here.

Edited to add that ha ha If I'm going to start a reply and then get distracted and come back a couple of hours later to finish it I really should ceach to see if other replies have been posted in the meantime! Glad to see the Havanese jumped to the minds of others as well! :laugh:

Edited by RuralPug
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Rozzie   

I would suggest either a Bichon or a Shih tzu. Have had a Bichon who learned to herd goats and was much better at it than my too laid back Kelpie. I've also trained a Shih tzu in agility, they are amazingly personable little dogs.

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Scratch   

The Havanese do seem to be a bit sturdier than the pure maltese. We see quite a few Havanese in grooming these days. I normally prefer boys, but I find I like the disposition of the female Havanese a little better than the boys. A couple have had patella issues, a knee joint issue not uncommon amongst many of the small breeds. But I also know 2 that have Legge Perthes In the hip joints. Saying that, I’d choose a Havanese over a Maltese. 

Another delightful small breed is the Lowchen. Definitely worth consideration. Don’t let the traditional haircut put you off, pets can easily be kept in a cute short teddy/lamb trim 

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CuppaT   

Thank you so much everyone for your valuable suggestions. I have done so much research and got myself a bit fixed on a Maltese as the best temperament for our family needs, but it is great to hear that I could be looking a bit more broadly. I have written to one Maltese breeder but had no response, so I will definitely broaden my search. The right pup for us is out there somewhere! Thank you again, and I am sure I will be back ...

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Dogsfevr   

If your happy to go a tad bigger also consider a Tibetan Terrier ,

Great kids dogs .loyal,amazing to train and playful .

 

A very popular breed in junior handler classes in the show ring and I grew up showing them in juniors .

If your son wants a good playmate ,walking dog perfect and there great therapy dogs  

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CuppaT   

Well, it turns out she was already out there - the most beautiful little black & tan Havanese girl will be joining us in a few weeks! We are very excited, and busy getting everything ready for her arrival ... I will post again (with a pic) once she is here! Thanks again for all your advice - I considered all the breeds you suggested, and am very happy that we have made a good choice.

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Tassie   

Oh that's so exciting.   All the Havanese I've met have been loving, fun dogs .. and don't let anyone tell you they're not trainable .. friend is working on her boy heading towards Rally O .. he's a smart little lad .. not as quick as her girl ..  but a lovely confident boy.

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