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The Maltese: Richest Dog in the World

Updated on March 10, 2010

The wealthiest dog in the entire world is a Maltese named Trouble. The dog’s owner was the late Leona Helmsley, the real estate and hotel tycoon. Reportedly worth billions, Ms. Helmsley left two of her grandchildren out of her will but remembered her pooch – to the tune of a cool $12 million. Helmsley’s brother, Alvin Rosenthal, was appointed as Trouble’s guardian.

Maltese are used to being in the lap of luxury. They were worshipped by the ancient Egyptians, praised by Aristotle, and prized by the Romans, who referred to the breed as the “Roman ladies’ dog.” The Roman emperors especially liked the all white Maltese, so other colors were purposely bred out.

Maltese are the oldest of the toy breeds and are one of the oldest of all dog breeds. They developed on the island of Malta from an earlier breed brought there by the Phoenicians. Likenesses of the dog have been discovered on objects from as early as 500 B.C. The breed was accepted into the American Kennel Club in 1888.

Today’s Maltese stands about nine or ten inches tall and weighs between four and thirteen pounds. They have dark round eyes and a black button nose. The skull is round, and the dog has drop ears. Instead of fur, the Maltese has silky hair with no undercoat. On show dogs, the white hair should be long and straight, just brushing the floor. Because of this lack of fur, the breed doesn’t shed as much as many breeds and generally cause fewer allergic reactions to people with dog allergies.

This long hair mats easily and requires a lot of grooming. Many Maltese owners who don’t show their dogs often keep the coat clipped short, in a “puppy cut.” This keeps the coat from matting and makes it easy to manage.

As puppies, Maltese are like most breeds – playful, curious, and rambunctious. As they get older, however, they settle down and require only moderate daily exercise, although they still enjoy play time. Maltese adapt easily to apartment and city life and are a favorite with urban dog lovers.

Maltese make wonderful companions for adults and children. Some breeders are producing a "teacup" version that weighs only three pounds, and these are not usually recommended for very young children because of the dog’s small size. Rough housing could injure the diminutive Maltese. The breed is intelligent and easy to train, and they actually make excellent inside alarm dogs. Unlike some toy breeds, however, most Maltese are not overly “yappy,” although some bloodlines tend to have this problem.

The Maltese is a happy, healthy dog that's one of the friendliest and best tempered of the toy breeds, and generally suffer few health-related problems. The most often seen are dental diseases. Because of this, it’s a good idea to brush the dog’s teeth daily.

The Maltese loves attention and thrives on interaction with their humans, so it’s easy to spoil them. Maltese who are overly pampered sometimes develop separation anxiety, however, when left alone.

Maltese generally enjoy a long life. My Maltese, Pumpkin, lived to the ripe old age of seventeen and never had a single health problem until just before his death.

The Maltese is a popular breed, especially with celebrities and royalty. Liz Taylor, HalleBerry, Anna Nicole Smith, Heather Locklear, Torrie Wilson, Eva Longoria, Lindsay Lohan, and Marie Antoinette own or owned Maltese.

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    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 7 years ago from Georgia

      I think these breeds are so cute, they look like royalty so I'm not surprised that they are treated as such.

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 7 years ago

      This is an unbelievable story of Leona dog.

      Here is something interesting about dogs you might want to know: "Ancient Egyptians revered their dogs. When a pet dog would die, the owners shaved off their eyebrows, smeared mud in their hair, and mourned aloud for days."(I read it somewhere and don't know about its authenticity.)

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      A really beautiful breed, though a little too high maintenance for me! LOL

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      They are beautiful and thank for showing and sharing. Can you imagine the work to keep them like that?

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      They are cutie pies, Veronica!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I've read that, too, UH!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Haha, Chris! Pumpkin wasn't high maintenance because we kept him clipped.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      HH - too much work for me! My aunt did keep her Maltese with long hair, but it took a lot of work!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Adorable dogs. Good hub!

    • emievil profile image

      emievil 7 years ago from Philippines

      So this is what a pure-bred maltese looks like. I have a dog (I used her as an avatar more than once) who is a terrier-maltese cross breed and she looks so far from your pic I don't know about the maltese part now LOL. But heck no wonder maltese dogs are treated as royalty, they look so regal.

    • entertianmentplus profile image

      entertianmentplus 7 years ago from United States

      Beautiful dogs. Nice hub

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Beautiful dog. I wish I had it's money.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Pamela! I appreciate your readership.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Emi, the MAltese look a lot different when they're clipped!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Entertainment, thanks for reading!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Yeah, Sandy - I would take VERY good care of this pooch! lol

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      These are such adorable dogs!! I actually like them with their cut short and a bit messy too. For some reason I think they have more character looking a bit raggedy...lol. This picture is beautiful...such a shiny coat!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I agree, Herbi - we always kept Pumpkin clipped, and he was precious!

    • profile image

      quildon 7 years ago

      Is that Ms. Helmsley's dog? I think I saw pics of her and a dog that looks just like this one. He's gorgeous.

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 7 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      this breed is absolutely beautiful......if the dog could ever go through hypnosis i bet he would tell you that he lived in Egypt in another life and is well deserving of his present treatment...lol

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      Oh my dogs would love this - going to have them look at it and they are probably going to want the hairstyle too! Great piece seriously - they are great dogs - I just could not have them because I'm a totally big dog girl!

    • nadp profile image

      nadp 7 years ago from WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA

      This was very well written. My daughter just adopted a "morkie" - maltese/yorkie mix. She is as cute as button! And so is the dog! (couldn't resist this corny old joke)

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Quildon, I don't know if that's her dog or not. Have you left HP??

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Prolly so, Loveofnight!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Audrey, you know I like big dogs, too, but I did have a wonderful Maltese when I was a teen.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Napd, does your daughter have a black button nose?? lol

    • adrienne2 profile image

      Adrienne F Manson 7 years ago from Atlanta

      Ooohh what a gorgeous cutie pie! I love this breed of dogs; but who doesn't? $12 million wheew to rich for my blood.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Adrienne, they are beautiful pooches!

    • BumptiousQ profile image

      BumptiousQ 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Great hub! Entertaining and interesting. Really enjoyed the read.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks a bunch, Bump!

    • profile image

      Dogpawfile.com 6 years ago

      We have some lovely Maltese dogs on our site, you must drop by sometime..wink!!

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      I had a wonderful Maltese named Pumpkin. I'll check out your site!

    • heart4theword profile image

      heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

      I just saw one of these dogs recently! It looked quite abit different, because it's hair was cut short. They looked like two differnet dogs:) The hair was very soft! These are quite the show dogs:) Great Hub!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks! I had a Maltese, but we kept him cut short.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 6 years ago

      Habee, Great hub! Beautiful dog! Peace & Blessings!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      They are beautiful, Deb! I used to have one.

    • gramarye profile image

      gramarye 6 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

      Great hub.

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks!

    • Lizzieboo122 profile image

      Lizzieboo122 6 years ago from Lumberton, TX

      I used to work at a Vet office and every one of the Malteses that came in loved to poop. EVERYWHERE! lol I still love them though. :)

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Ugh! Mine didn't do that. Thank goodness!

    • profile image

      shaizky_^_^ 6 years ago

      nice dog..how i wish, i have like that...

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      They're great little pooches!

    • NP.QUEEN profile image

      NP.QUEEN 6 years ago from Dubai

      very cute dog....

    • habee profile image
      Author

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Many thanks, Queen!

    • lhale profile image

      lhale 5 years ago from Georgia

      Oh my goodness, is that a picture of your dog? My Maltese looks like he just dropped down the garbage shute! We try to keep his hair short, but even then....I see you are from Georgia, me too! Great hub. I'm new to Hubpages, and am amazed at all the topics covered. Yours are great!

    • profile image

      oliwia3435 4 years ago

      maltese are lovely dogs i have 2

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