The Maltese is a toy dog covered from head to foot with a mantle of long silky white hair. He is gentle mannered and affectionate, eager and sprightly in action, and despite his size, possesses the vigor needed for a satisfactory companion.
Of medium length and in proportion to the size of the dog. The skull is slightly rounded on the top, the stop moderate. The drop ears are rather low set and heavily feathered with long hair that hangs close to the head. Eyes are set not to far apart, they are very dark and round, their black rims enhancing the gentle yet alert expression. The muzzle is of medium length, fine and tapered but not snipy. The nose is black. The teeth meet in an even, edge to edge bite or in a scissors bite.
Sufficient length of neck is desirable as to promote a high carriage of the head.
Compact. The length from the withers to the ground equaling the length from the withers to the root of the tail. Shoulder blades are sloping, the elbows well knit and held close to the body. The back is level in topline, the ribs well sprung. The chest is fairly deep, the loins taut, strong and just slightly tucked up underneath.
A long-haired plume carried gracefully over the back, its tip laying to the side over the quarter.
Legs and Feet
Legs are fine-boned and nicely feathered. Forelegs are straight, their pastern joints well knit and devoid of appreciable bend. Hind legs are strong and moderately angulated at stifles and hocks. The feet are small and round, with toe pads black. Scraggly hairs on the feet may be trimmed to give a neater appearance.
Coat and Color
The coat is single, without undercoat. It hangs long, flat and silky over the side of the body almost, if not quite to the ground. The long hair may be tied up in a topknot or it may be left hanging. Any suggestion of kinkiness, curliness, or wooly texture is objectionable. Color, pure white. Light tan or lemon on the ears is permissible, but not desirable.
Weight under seven pounds, with from four to six pounds preferred. Over-all quality is to be favored over size.
The Maltese moves with a jaunty, smooth, flowing gait. Viewed from the side he gives the impression of rapid movement.
For all of his diminutive size, the Maltese seems to be without fear. This trust and affectionate responsiveness are very appealing. He is among the gentlest mannered of all little dogs, yet he is lively and playful as well as vigorous.