Cadeau KissMaltese History

The Maltese is an ancient breed. As such the research about the origins tends to be a bit clouded. What is known is that there are widespread references to small white companion dogs of a type described as Maltese which date back to Ancient Rome and Greece. Carvings on vases dating back c. 500 BC show images of these small dogs. There is also agreement that these dogs were favored in the port towns of the Mediteranian and likely flourished on the Island of Malta. This history does make the Maltese one of the oldest of our modern toy breeds. During the first century AD, the Roman governor of Malta, Plubius, owned a Maltese called Issa who was famously written about in a poem. The poem describes Issa as: flolicsome, pure, gentle and precious. All of these words echo the character of the Maltese we know and love today.

Maltese in America

The history of the Maltese in America is also clouded, but some records exist of them being exhibited in the late 1800s. The first Maltese registered in the AKC stub book in 1888 coincide with the origins of the AKC stub book volumes themselves. However, it was not until the 1940s that the breed became popularly known in this country. It was Dr. Vincenzo Calveresi, of the famous Villa Malta Kennel, who showed them with such flair that they began to be noticed by Magazine and News publishers. He dominated the Maltese show scene through the 1950s when another important breeder Aennchen Antoneli, with her Aennchen Dancer's, came along and carried the Maltese breed toward the future. Of the many famous dogs she bred, one became the first Maltese to win the Toy Group at Westminster (handled by a 15 year old junior at the time). Nearly all of our American Maltese can trace their pedigrees back to these two important lines. Mrs. Antonelli was actively involved in establishing the national breed club, the American Maltese Association and she was also part of the committee that prepared our current AKC Standard.

Maltese Around the World

The Maltese has been a well traveled breed since its ancient origins in the port cities of the Mediterranian. In more modern times, a great deal of intercontinental sharing has occurred across bloodlines. Dr. Calveresi and Mrs. Antonelli both used Maltese from Italy to ehance their lines. Today we see breeders adding dogs to their pedigrees from all across the globe. It is interesting to compare modern Standards to see how each reflects the character and charm of this ancient and vibrant breed.

The UK Standard

The Canadian Standard (.pdf file)
The FCI Standard (word document)



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