Few breeds are as loved as the Maltese. This intelligent and affectionate pet is popular around the world with the rich and famous, as well as commoners.

The Maltese is a playful and adventurous little dog with a rich history dating back over 28 centuries.

As with all breeds, there is some disagreement about the earliest traces of the breed. Some say that the dog originated in Sweden and is descended from a Spitz-type dog.

The Greeks believe that the first Maltese originated on the island of Malta. They called this dog “Melitaie Dog”. Melitae was the old name for Malta. Some sources indicate that Maltese originated in Asia.

The first artifacts resembling Maltese dogs were found in Egypt. These date from between 600 and 300 BC. C., which suggests that the ancient Egyptians worshiped the first forms of Maltese.

There are many historical pictorial representations of these dogs. Greek pottery art and many Greek and Roman philosophers also mention Maltese. Aristotle and many other notable philosophers and historians mention the dog. The Greeks even erected tombs for their Maltese.

It is very likely that these little dogs made their way through Europe and the Middle East as nomadic tribes migrated. Some say that the little dogs were used in bartering and in this way the Maltese made its way into Europe and beyond.

The Maltese was considered a high-class dog, prized by aristocrats, statesmen, and royalty. In the mid-19th century it was considered very fashionable to have a Maltese in your pocket or purse. Some even believed that the dog possessed magical healing powers.

The earliest records of the Maltese in Britain are during the reign of Henry VIII. Many royals have enjoyed Maltese companions ever since. Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria also owned Maltese.

No one documented how the Maltese came to America. The Maltese were first seen in the US in the late 19th century. The first Maltese was white and was listed as “Maltese Lion Dog” at the first show in 1877. The American Kennel Club began recognizing the breed in 1888.

Maltese owners come from all walks of life. Many pop culture icons have owned these good-natured pooches. Marylin Monroe, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor and Tony Bennett are some of the famous owners.

Most likely, its white color and long, silky fur had a lot to do with its popularity. It also has a lot to do with her great personality.