Why is there a 12-week-old rule about selling a Maltese
puppy? Have you ever wondered why it is fine to place
a large breed puppy at 8 weeks old as opposed to a small
breed puppy? Why does the American Maltese Association
code of ethics require a Maltese puppy be 12 weeks of age
before they are placed in homes? There are many reasons!!
I am going to compare lab puppies to Maltese puppies because
I have had experience with both breeds in hopes of making it more
easily understandable as to why this "12-week-old" rule
exists for Maltese and many other "toy" breeds.
At birth there is not a lot of
difference between Maltese puppies and lab puppies.......both litters depend on their moms for food,
comfort, and heat. Shortly there after the differences
start to become very apparent. A litter of three week old lab
puppies are up playing and maneuvering around pretty well
and are usually 3 pounds or more in weight. They are
also getting their teeth and starting to eat gruel. A
litter of Maltese puppies at three weeks of age have an
average weight of 13.5 ounces and are just barely starting
to get up on their legs and maneuver around readily....they have very little
coordination at this point.
By four weeks old a lab litter is usually weaned from
their mom. Maltese puppies at 4 weeks old are still
very dependant on their mom's for nourishment although at
this point I have moved the water bowl down for them to lap
and they do lick at mom's food.
By eight weeks there is a drastic difference between a
litter of lab puppies and a litter of Maltese puppies.
Eight week old lab puppies usually have their teeth now and
are eating puppy food. They are also much larger at
this point with an average weight of between 11 to 17 pounds. They also seem to be mentally more mature
at this point to me and are able to go to their new homes.
In many cases, my Maltese puppies do not even have teeth and
are still nursing their moms at eight weeks old.
At eight weeks old my Maltese puppies whose "average"
weight is 1 pound 9 ounces usually start to get teeth
and when those tiny needle sharp teeth start to come in is
when Mom decides it is time to wean. This is a very
important and scary time for Maltese puppies. They are
used to having a milk bar provided for them and many do not
really want to eat that nasty old gruel. Since a
Maltese puppy is still very small, normally less than 2
pounds, they are also in danger of getting hypoglycemia
which is caused by them not eating enough. This can be
a very dangerous time for a Maltese puppy since hypoglycemia
can result in seizures and even death if not taken care of
immediately. This is also the normal time when a
Maltese puppy starts to learn about puppy etiquette from
it's mom and any other adults around and from playing with
siblings, if there is more than one puppy in the litter.
They learn about appropriate doggy behavior at this point.
This is very important for the future well being and mental
stability of this Maltese puppy. Maltese puppies learn some
valuable lessons in the weeks after weaning, including how
to get along with other dogs, and that biting hurts. These
are lessons, all learned in puppy play, that no dog should
be without. Some of the most important lessons in
life, a puppy will learn from it's mom and siblings.
They NEED this time with their mom and littermates!!
An eight week old Maltese puppy may or may not be ready
for it's first puppy shot. Resent studies on
vaccination have proven that vaccinations given to a nursing
puppy are basically worthless. They need to be weaned
for that vaccination to do what it is supposed to do.
My Maltese puppies are usually just receiving their first puppy shot
sometime between 8 and 10 weeks old.
Below are pictures of Rêve, Foxstone's
Daydream Keeper, at 8 weeks old and at 12 weeks old.
You will note that there is not a lot of difference between
an eight week old Maltese puppy and a 12 week old Maltese
She is still a little fluff ball but at 12
weeks old she is better prepared both physically and
mentally to go out and face the world.
So if you are looking for a well rounded
Maltese puppy that is going to easily adapt into your life
style and home with the least amount of problems, that
Maltese puppy should be at least 12 weeks old when you bring
it into your home....no exceptions!!!!
If a person/breeder is trying to sell you a
Maltese puppy that is under 12 weeks old, or heaven forbid, a
that is 8 weeks old or younger, that person is either
extremely unknowledgeable of the Maltese breed as a whole or
that person does not have the best interests of their
Maltese puppies at heart. Either way, in my opinion, you
should steer clear of a person, such as this, since they are considered to be,
in my opinion, unethical
and/or disreputable Maltese breeders.
No "reputable" Maltese breeder is going to sell you a
Maltese puppy that is under 12 weeks old!!!!