11 Spunky Facts About the Maltese


Everyone loves to pamper these little white dogs—one look at their expressive eyes and button noses and it's easy to see why. Learn more about one of the world's oldest lap dogs. 


Vicki Terry

Unlike some breeds (looking at you, Labradors), the Maltese probably does come from its namesake, Malta. They were bred down from a spitz-like dog that was native to the area and was used for hunting rodents. Some suggest the little dogs actually have a pawhold in Asia, but evidence is murky. The history of the Maltese has been difficult to tease out, as the term was often used as a catchall for several breeds of toy dogs; many historical references to "Maltese" dogs, it turns out, were actually descriptions of Pomeranians.

The most compelling theory so far is that the dogs were bred in Malta, but were quickly snatched up by the Romans. In 1804, a knight of Malta wrote that, "There was formerly a breed of dogs in Malta with long silky hair, which were in great request in the time of the Romans; but have for some years past greatly dwindled, and indeed are become almost extinct." 


Over the course of its existence, the breed has had a number of different monikers. Some include comforter dog, Maltese lion dog, Maltese terrier, Melitaie dog, Roman ladies' dog, shock dog, and the Spaniel gentle. 


The Maltese is one of the oldest-known breeds of dogs, and is said to be over 2800 years old. The small dogs happily sat on the laps of the Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. 


These lap dogs were a hit among royalty; queens especially would cherish these pooches, feeding them out of gold dishes. The dog's likeness has been found on ceramics and other pieces of artwork in Egypt and in Greece, where owners would construct elaborate tombs for their deceased canines. Publius, the governor of Rome in the first century, had a little Maltese named Issa that was endlessly spoiled. Her likeness was captured in a painting and the poet Martial wrote a poem praising her beauty. Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots both had and adored their little Maltese pups. 

More recently, the dogs have become a favorite with Hollywood royalty (famous fans include Halle Berry and Elizabeth Taylor).


Vicki Terry

The dogs were specially bred by Roman emperors to have that white coat we know today. The color white was sacred to the Romans, who wanted their pets to exhibit an air of divinity. 


Sporting a thick coat of hair instead of fur, these little dogs don’t shed. Instead, they need occasional haircuts to keep their mops in check. Their white tufts are hypoallergenic, making them great for families with allergies. 


Maltese have profuse coats, meaning they need a lot of attention. To keep their fur silky and white, they need to be brushed daily. Most non-show owners prefer to keep their dogs in a puppy cut to avoid having to constantly groom them. 


Though they be but little, they can jump. They also seem to have no fear of gravity and have no problem leaping out of your arms or off high ledges. 


At Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center in Florida, Riley the Maltese is helping people every day. He has been working as a therapy dog since 2009, participating in more than 400 therapy sessions. Dogs like Riley are a wonderful help at nursing homes, hospitals, disaster areas, and underprivileged schools. Petting an animal can reduce stress, encourage empathy, and decrease bullying (just to name a few of the many ways dogs can make our days brighter). Maltese make great therapy dogs because they’re loving and small, which means they can cuddle right up to whomever they're trying to help. 


The Maltese standards describe these dogs as loving and gentle, but also fearless and loyal. You can count on yours to come to your aid no matter what. 


Meet Take Trouble, the Maltese worth $2 million. When real estate developer Leona Helmsley died in 2007, she left $12 million to her pooch in her will. The government eventually trimmed the inheritance down to a measly two million, but that didn’t stop the dog from living it up until her death in 2011.

Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

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Monitor Your Cat's Health at Home With This Litter Box Sensor

The WeCare Smart Health Monitor for cats may help you save money on veterinary bills.
The WeCare Smart Health Monitor for cats may help you save money on veterinary bills.
Bill Oxford/iStock via Getty Images

Monitoring a cat’s health can be tricky. Often, conditions like weight gain or loss, urinary tract infections, arthritis, or heart disease can be difficult to spot. Wrangling a cat for veterinary check-ups is no picnic, either.

A new start-up called CatLink is offering an alternative. Their WeCare Smart Health Monitor is a scale and activity sensor that fits underneath a cat’s litter box and tracks changes in weight or frequency of visits to help spot health problems early. For a limited time, it’s available for $49 on Kickstarter.

The WeCare Smart Health Monitor uses a scale to keep track of your cat's health status.CatLink

The WeCare spots sudden weight gain as well as weight loss, which can indicate health conditions from heart disease to diabetes. The scale also measures how frequently a cat uses the box. Urinating too often, for example, could mean a urinary tract infection. Staying in the box too long might be a symptom of bladder stones. The WeCare app compiles this data and alerts owners to unusual behavior.

If you live in a multi-cat household, the WeCare is able to differentiate between cats using weight as a guide. It’s also adjustable, so you can fit virtually any size litter box on top of it.

The WeCare has exceeded its Kickstarter goal of $2000 and is currently taking orders. The scale is 50 percent off for early bird backers at just $49, but there is a limited supply of those bundles left. However, the next bundle is just $10 more, and those are fully in stock. The WeCare Smart Health Monitor is expected to ship beginning in October.

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