THE MALTESE DOG 297
fathers were not averse to improving artificially the points of their dogs.
The snowy whiteness and soft, silky texture of its coat must always cause the Maltese dog to be admired ; but the variety has never been commonly kept in England-a fact which is, no doubt, due to the difficulty of breeding it and to the trouble in keeping the dog's long jacket clean and free from tangle. Thirty or forty years ago it was more popular as a lap dog than it has ever been since, and in the early days of dog shows many beautiful specimens were exhibited. This popularity was largely due to the efforts of Mr. R. Mandeville, of Southwark, who has been referred to as virtually the founder of the modern Maltese. His Fido and Lily were certainly the most perfect representatives of the breed during the decade between 186o and 1870, and at the shows held at Birmingham, Islington, the Crystal Palace, and Cremorne Gardens, this beautiful brace was unapproachable.
It is a breed which to be kept in perfection requires more than ordinary attention, not only on account of its silky jacket, which is peculiarly liable to become matted, and is difficult to keep absolutely clean without frequent washing, but also on account of a somewhat delicate constitution, the Maltese being susceptible to colds and chills. If affected by such causes, the eyes are often attacked, and the water running from them induces a brown stain to mar the beauty of the face. Skin eruptions due to unwise feeding, or parasites due to uncleanliness, are quickly destructive to the silky coat, and constant watchfulness is necessary to protect the dog from all occasion for scratching. The diet is an important consideration always, and a nice discernment is imperative in balancing the proportions of meat and vegetable. Too much meat is prone to heat the blood, while too little induces eczema. Scraps of bread and green vegetables well mixed with gravy and finely-minced lean meat form the best dietary for the principal meal of the day, and plenty of exercise is imperative.