Breed Standard

Maltese Club Breed Standard
Last updated June 2015

A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch section of the Kennel Club website here for details of any such current issues.
If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.

General Appearance
Smart, white-coated dog, with proud head carriage.
Lively, intelligent, alert.
Head and Skull
The skull is gently rounded viewed from the front and sides but never domed or apple-headed. Stop well defined. Muzzle broad, not snipey. Slightly shorter from nose to stop than from stop to occiput. Muzzle never shorter than in the ratio of 1:2. Nose black.
Oval, not bulging, dark brown, black eye rims, with dark haloes.
Long, well feathered, hanging close to head; hair to mingle with coat at shoulders.
Jaws strong, with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Teeth even.
Medium length.

Legs short and straight. Shoulders well sloped.
Well balanced, essentially short and cobby. Good spring of rib, back level from withers to tail.
Legs short, well angulated.
Round, pads black.
Feathered, carried well arched over back.
Straight and free-flowing, without weaving. Viewed from behind, legs should neither be too close nor too wide apart.
Reasonable length, never impeding action, straight, of silky texture, never woolly. Never crimped and without woolly undercoat.
Pure white, but slight lemon markings permissible.
Height not exceeding 25 cms (10 ins) from ground to withers.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.