5 Surprising Maltese Facts

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It's no wonder the Maltese was a darling dog of history -- it played a starring role in early writings.

According to the AKC, in the middle of the 1st century A.D., Publius, the governor of Malta, had a Maltese named Issa that he loved. A poet of the times, Marcus Valerius Martialis, wrote lavishly about Issa:

"Issa is more frolicsome than Catulla's sparrow. Issa is purer than a dove's kiss. Issa is gentler than a maiden. Issa is more precious than Indian gems... Lest the last days that she see light should snatch her from him forever, Publius has had her picture painted."

The Renaissance poet Ludovico Aristo also wrote about the Maltese in his epic poem "Orlando Furioso," published in its complete form in 1532:

"The tiniest dog Nature has ever produced --

Her coat of long hair, whiter than ermine,

Her movements exquisitely graceful and

Matchless elegance of appearance." (Vol. II, Canto 43)

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