Acquired: Breeder (professional)
Posted September 21, 2014
Bogie came to my grandparents back in 2001 who lived just a few houses away from us as an itty bitty puppy. My grandmother took him to obedience class every week and they both walked him as much as they could. But... he was a little "wild child". Even though they were taking him to the obedience class, they were not able to keep up with it at home and at their age, it was difficult to give the attention to a rambunctious little 10 week old puppy that he needed.
Bogie grew up a sweet, kind, but somewhat unruly little man with my grandparents. My grandmother passed away first, leaving my grandfather to care for him alone. His health was not the best to care for Bogie, but we helped out so that he could keep him as the two of them were now inseparable.
In his younger years, Bogie was quite playful. He loved to play fetch, and tug of war constantly. He was a ball of energy! As Bogie aged into being 5-6years, he calmed down rather quickly. He turned into quite a lapdog and began to cuddle a lot more.
A few years ago, my grandfather passed away as well, and therefore we inherited Bogie. Since we had been helping in his care for his entire life, it wasn't much of a transition for him, simply a different house and added siblings that he already got along with and loved. (he does get along great with other dogs and cats)
Now, as he is an "old man" he is quite grouchy around anything "lively" and doesn't play much anymore, but he still loves to destroy his toys.. big, full of fluff toys are his favorite to rip apart all over the entire house.
He has always had issues with children. I have met a few other Maltese with dislikes for small children, but at the same time I've met some that love children. I think its hit or miss with this bread on the idea of being safe with small children. They are small, but still a bite is a bite and all dogs should be watched around children very closely especially until you are comfortable with how they will react with them. Bogie was not raised directly with any small children around him, but he did have the neighborhood kids around him on a regular basis. This didn't seem to help any. I do believe that getting a puppy is best with a family with small children so that they can grow up being comfortable with your lifestyle and children's behaviors instead of dropping an adult dog into an uncomfortable situation that may never be able to be resolved. (this of course is a generalization.. and many adult dogs do amazingly well in new homes with children.. but just something to think about as far as small dogs.. they too can be dangerous with children just like a large dog can)
Some of the health problems that Maltese are known for, and that Bogie has himself had issues with have been bad teeth, ear infections, and skin tags, or cysts. We have had to have several of his teeth removed over the years. The first one was at about 6 years old or so. It is recommended with many small dogs, but particularly with Maltese to have their teeth professionally brushed by a vet on a regular basis. It may seem like this is an extravagant cost early on when they are younger, but later on when you are paying a thousand to have one tooth removed..and there are others that are bad as well... you will realize the annual teeth cleaning weren't so bad after all...
We didn't start getting his cleaned until he was about 4 years old when there started to be issues. In hind site, we could have possibly saved his teeth if we would have started much earlier and kept on a more regular schedule. Maltese have some of the worst teeth of all the small dogs, .. we learned this the hard way.. our vet told us.. "you may have some issues with his teeth as he gets older" or "you should think about having his teeth cleaned" but we really weren't as encouraged as I feel now we should have been.
With Maltese dogs I think getting their teeth cleaned is almost as important of a regular care as grooming and food. This does add up in cost quite quickly. monthly grooming can be anywhere from $50-$75, food can be $25 or so a month depending on the food you buy (and given their teeth, you need to buy a higher quality food), & $200 for a complete vet annual tooth cleaning (your groomer can usually do a maintenance brush for $15-$20 each)
On the grooming note... Maltese also do not shed. This is an amazing benefit for families who have family members with allergies! Often people with dog allergies can have dogs that do not shed such as Maltese. The trade off of this is that you do absolutely have to have them clipped on a regular basis as their fur is actually more like hair and will continue to grow if not clipped. You can save money and learn to do it your self.. but be careful not to clip too short or cut into your dogs skin. this can be both very painful for the dog, but also make your dog afraid of the clippers in the future and make it difficult if not impossible to groom later. It is also important to begin taking your dog to the groomer as early in their life as possible since this will be a life long process for them. The happier they are.. they happier you are. If they are miserable every time you take them to the groomer.. once a month for their entire life.. that is going to be a long 10-15 years for both you and your dog! Even if you just take your puppy in to meet the groomer & hear / see the clippers once a month before you are ready to get him/her clipped that will make your lives so much better when the time comes to actually get your dog groomed.
Maltese are wonderful, rambunctious young dogs that age into being great companion lap dogs. Just be aware of where you are in your life and what you want from a dog. This will help you make the right decision for you of if you truly want a puppy to grow with you and your family, or an adult dog who will be your stead fast companion as you relax at home.