It is common that, when we adopt a new companion, we wonder if it is purebred or not. In reality, we can only guarantee that it is a purebred animal if it has a pedigree that proves it. Otherwise, we can only compare the characteristics of our dog with those of its breed standard to intuit whether or not it is a purebred specimen. In any case, you must remember that the important thing when adopting a new companion is not that it meets any racial standard, but that we can welcome it into our home and adapt to its needs and lifestyle best family pets.
If you’re wondering how to tell if a Maltese is authentic, keep reading this AnimalWised article to try to find out.
Is it important that your Maltese is purebred?
Really, it will only be important that your Maltese is purebred if you intend to participate with it in any dog competition or show that requires the animals to be purebred. The fact that a Maltese is pure implies that its ancestors have been crossed with purebred individuals and, therefore, guarantees that it will largely maintain the characteristics of the official breed standard, stipulated by organizations such as the International Cynological Federation (FCI).
If you do not consider the option of participating in these types of competitions or exhibitions, it will be irrelevant whether your Maltese is purebred or not. The truly important thing will be that you can adapt to its needs and become one of the family, regardless of whether it is a purebred or mixed breed dog.
Physical Characteristics of the Maltese Bichon: Official Standard
First of all, we must know that the official standards of the different dog breeds are established by canine societies. The most prestigious canine society at an international level is the FCI, which uses racial standards as a reference for the perfection of a breed in its dog shows.
The characteristics that are included in the official breed standard published by the FCI, and that can help you know if a Maltese is pure, are the following:
- General appearance: small size and elongated body, with very long white hair.
- Size: height at the withers of 21 to 25 cm in males and 20 to 23 cm in females
- Weight: between 3 and 4 kg.
- Head: rather broad (slightly more than half its length), with a very marked stop (fronto-nasal junction), forming a 90º angle. The nose is voluminous, rounded and completely black. The upper lips adapt perfectly to the lower lips and must be completely black. The teeth are white, the dentition is well developed and complete, and the incisors articulate in a scissor shape. The eyes have an alert expression, being large and rounded. The eyeball is not sunken, but slightly protruding. The eyes should not show the sclera (whites of the eyes) and are dark ocher in color. The edge of the upper and lower eyelids, as well as the third eyelid, are black. The ears are almost triangular and hang on both sides of the head, with little erection.
- Neck: always upright.
- Tail: thick at the root and thin at the tip. It forms a single curve towards the back, touching the tip with the rump. A tail curled to one side of the body is also tolerated.
- Limbs: with a rather robust bone structure, parallel and vertical limbs. The pads are black. Nails should be black or at least dark in color.
- Hair: pure white (or pale ivory), dense, shiny, silky, straight (no waves or curls) and very long all over the body. The coat of hair should fall heavily to the ground like a cape, without splitting, forming tufts or matting.
- Movement: with short, quick steps, uniform movement and skimming the ground.
Character of the Maltese
Temperament is another of the traits that are taken into account when establishing a racial standard, so it can also help us identify if a Maltese is purebred or not. The FCI includes the Maltese within the group of “companion dogs” due to its calm and affectionate character , especially with its family members. It is considered a very intelligent dog , characterized by having a permanent alert expression. He is always attentive to what is happening around him, he is fast, agile and lively.
They have a happy, playful and friendly character , although they are not excessively restless. Although it is not common in this breed, if it lives in a somewhat stressful environment or does not receive adequate education as a puppy, it may behave badly or be somewhat grumpy. However, their intelligence and willingness to learn makes them a very easy breed to educate. Discover How to train a Maltese in this other article.
How do you know if a Maltese is purebred?
The only document that can prove that a dog is purebred is the pedigree . This document guarantees that the ancestors are purebred and that they have been crossed with other purebred specimens. In Spain, the only canine society authorized to process and issue pedigrees with international recognition is the Royal Spanish Canine Society (RSCE).
The process to obtain the pedigree of a purebred dog in our country is as follows. When a breeder has a litter of purebred puppies, he must notify the RSCE and officially register the litter. If the procedures are correct, the RSCE provides the breeder with proof of registration in the Book of Spanish Origins (LOE) for each of the puppies. This proof will be delivered to the definitive caregiver, who may request the official pedigree of their dog from the RSCE. The pedigree may also be processed by the breeder himself, who will transfer said document to the final caretaker.
In summary, if you are wondering how to know if your Maltese puppy is pure, the answer is that you will only be able to know if you were given proof of registration in the LOE or, failing that, the pedigree. If you do not have any of these documents, you will be able to intuit that your puppy is purebred if he meets most of the traits included in the official breed standard, but you will not be able to guarantee it 100%.
What if your Maltese is a mixed breed?
As we mentioned at the beginning, unless you want to participate in a dog show or competition, the fact that your Maltese is not purebred does not matter at all . It only means that some of their ancestors may have been crossed with specimens that are not purebred and, therefore, their anatomical characteristics may differ slightly from the official breed standard.
Remember that racial standards are characteristics that are subjectively selected by certain organizations to differentiate a specific race. Furthermore, these standards change over time, which means that the characteristics that are considered ideal for a breed today may change in the future.
Likewise, you should not forget that the truly important issue with animal husbandry is that it is done responsibly. Regardless of whether the ancestors are purebred or not, the fundamental thing in animal breeding is to ensure that the reproducers are free of any hereditary or infectious disease that could be transmitted to their offspring and, consequently, could compromise their health and well-being. . Likewise, animal welfare freedoms are not always respected , so we always recommend opting for adoption and not purchasing animals.
In short, the fact that your Maltese is a mixed breed has no relevance if what is truly important to you is having a life partner by your side with whom you can share your best experiences. Remember that even if his race is not pure, his heart always will be . For this reason, and due to the number of animals in shelters and shelters, we always encourage you to adopt responsibly and not buy.