Gentle, fearless and sweet, the Maltese breed makes a great companion. Don’t let his glamorous white coat fool you – these dogs are in no way pretentious. In fact, they’re often chosen as therapy dogs and make excellent competitors in dog sports, including obedience, agility, tracking and rally.
The Maltese’s stunning coat is what makes this breed so adorable and attractive, but grooming can be intensive.
Maltese Coat Needs and Care
The Maltese coat is silky, straight and long, often reaching down to the ground. Because they don’t have undercoats, like so many other breeds, shedding is rarely an issue.
Still, their long and silky coats are prone to matting and getting dirty. It’s also common for them to develop tear stains on their faces.
Because their coats are so long, Maltese pups require frequent grooming and bathing. Experts recommend:
- Daily brushing
- Weekly bathing
Careful, frequent care will keep your dog’s coat beautifully silky and smooth.
Dealing with Mats
Mats are very common problem with Maltese dogs, and they can happen even if you brush your dog daily.
If your pup develops mats, you can try gently working out the mat using your fingers. Just be sure to apply coat conditioning oil or a detangler spray first. Once you’ve managed to pull the mat apart as far as you can, you can use a comb to loosen up the individual hairs.
Here are a few other mat tips:
- Never try to remove an entire mat with a comb or brush. Work the mat with your fingers first to prevent pain, discomfort or damage to the coat.
- Always remove mats before bathing. Mats will tighten when wet.
The Usual Grooming Routine
The Maltese grooming routine is simple, but does require time. Brushing daily is a must, but you should also bathe your pup every week to keep his coat looking healthy and clean.
Each weekly bathing session should also include:
- Ear cleaning
- Nail trimming (if needed)
- Blow out
Because Maltese dogs have long, floppy ears, they require a little extra care. A thorough cleaning will keep the ears looking their best.
It’s important to remember to remove mats from your dog’s coat before bathing to prevent the mats from getting worse.
After you’ve taken care of these tasks, you can move on to trimming your dog’s coat.
How to Trim the Maltese Dog’s Coat
Some dog owners love the Maltese’s long, flowing coat. Others prefer a short, no-frills cut that’s easy to care for.
Trimming the Maltese coat can be a tedious process, but it will keep your pup’s fur looking beautiful and healthy.
Here’s how to trim a Maltese coat:
- Start by standing at the rear of your pup and clipping just along the back bottom of the neck (behind the Occipital bone). Clip in the direction of the coat growth.
- Next, clip over the rump, down the rear leg, over the croup and about one inch down the tail.
- While supporting your dog’s rear, clip the undercarriage, moving from back to front. Trim against the growth direction.
- Now, move to the front of your dog. Lift his head and hold his beard out of the way.
- Clip along the jawline and move over the chest to his undercarriage.
- Lift his ears and trim the shoulders and neck starting from just under the bottom of his ears.
- If your pup has a strong, healthy back and knees, you lift him up from the front to trim the undercarriage. First, move the clippers against the growth direction and then again in the opposite direction.
- Lay your pup down on his belly. Lift his front legs, and trim along the front legs in the direction of the coat growth.
- Next, take a pair of scissors to trim the coat and sensitive areas. Make sure to trim the pads of the feet and the beard (in a semi-circular shape).
- Finally, trim the tail and the ears using the scissors.
How to Choose the Best Clippers for Maltese
If you’re like many dog owners, you want to take grooming and coat trimming into your own hands. After all, grooming your pup yourself can be a rewarding and satisfying experience.
There are many things to consider when looking for clippers:
Comb guides are important if you plan to keep your pup’s coat a little longer or you want to trim it from long to short. These guides attach to the blade to ensure that your pup’s coat is cut precisely to a certain length.
Many modern clipper kits come with guides, but some do not. Even if the clippers don’t come with guides, they are typically available for purchase separately.
Cord or Cordless
Another thing to consider is whether the clippers are cordless or corded. Because the Maltese doesn’t have an undercoat, trims don’t require heavy-duty clippers. Cordless clippers, in this case, would be a great option.
The great thing about cordless clippers is that you have the freedom to move around without worrying about tripping over cords.
Most Maltese pups are used to the buzzing sound of clippers because they’re first exposed to them at an early age.
Still, it’s important to consider noise level when buying clippers. The quieter, the better – for both you and your pup.
Models that have no vents or fans are typically quieter, although they usually come with a higher price tag.
Many clippers come with accessories, such as combs and scissors. These are the ideal choice because they provide you with everything you need to trim your Maltese pup’s coat. After using the clippers, you’ll need to trim the face, the feet and other sensitive areas. You’ll also need to continuously comb the coat as you move through the grooming process.
The best clippers for Maltese dogs are professional quality and quiet. If you can, choose a kit that comes with comb guides, or purchase them separately. Cordless models will give you more freedom, and clippers that come with a comb and scissors are worth the extra investment.
Grooming your Maltese requires a little patience and time, but with the right clippers, you can get the job done yourself.