Maltese can have different lengths of hair depending on the sort of hair style you like your Maltese dog to wear. The hair style will determine how often you need to cut their fur. Another major factor is whether or not you intend to put them into dog show competitions.
If your dog is a show dog competitor then you will need your Maltese’s hair cut every month regardless of length. If your Maltese does not have its sights on dominating the dog show industry then it can have its hair cut with a gap of two or three months between grooming sessions.
DIFFERENT HAIR STYLES AND GROOMING REQUIREMENTS
Longer hair styles are much harder to keep clean, tidy and free of matted knots. While they can look very beautiful on your Maltese you should be aware that it will require a lot more grooming to keep it shiny white.
The main reason it is harder to keep clean is because long hair tends to touch more of the ground when your Maltese lays down and rolls over. It is more likely to get stuck on grass, sticks and anything else which might be on the ground. When small sticks and grass gets caught in the long hair it tends to ball up and can cause matted hair or start to create small knots. These will need to be handled by brushing your Maltese almost daily to ensure that knots are removed as soon as possible. If you do not keep up the brushing routine then some unexpected trimming of your Maltese may need to occur in order to remove the knots.
Medium hair styles are easier to look after than the longer hair styles. A medium hair style is a length between the very short shaved hair and hair which can be wrapped around your finger. At this length the hair can be kept in a reasonably presentable condition as it is less likely to mat and tangle.
Cutting a medium length hair style can be done around once every six weeks and even out to eight or ten weeks per session. The exception to this rule is if your Maltese is a show dog and then you will need to get it cut and kept in immaculate order every month.
Short hair is when a Maltese has been shaved or is kept to a very minimum length hair style. Occasionally shaving your Maltese will be required for certain reasons such as by the vet when an injury has occurred. Shaving a Maltese can also be done in Summer when it is very hot. This will cool them down and is more likely to be done in warmer climates.
Short hair is generally not used in the dog shows. Also short hair styles are generally done once and then are let to grow back for the cooler months. If you intend to keep a short hair style on your Maltese you may need to put a dog coat on your Maltese in the winter. Dog coats and dogs can either be a really big hit or miss with your dog and its best to try out one coat before going crazy on the fashion wardrobe for your dog.
SIGNS YOUR DOG NEEDS A HAIR CUT NOW
If your dog looks a mess then it will obviously need a hair cut but there are a few signs which will help identify when you have left it too long between cuts:
- There are knots in your dogs hair when brushing. If you find knots when brushing then you are not brushing often enough for that particular length of hair. The occasional knot may happen but if there are a lot of knots then you either need to up your brushing routine or you need to get a more easier managed hair style on your dog.
- There is matted hair on your dogs coat. If you find any matted hair on your dog then you have definitely left it too long between cuts. Getting their hair cut and your dog groomed should be a priority for you at this stage. Matted hair looks unsightly and is uncomfortable for your Maltese puppy.
- The coat has lost its shine. Your dog’s coat will need a cut if you notice it has lost its shine and is full of microscopic dirt. A quick bath and a hair cut will have them feeling much better and looking great.
- You find fleas on your dog. If you find fleas on your dog then it will be easier to manage the fleas if you shave your dog’s coat or change it into a shorter hair style. A shorter hair style allows you to look through the fur quicker and easier and it makes the fur less hospitable for the fleas to live in. Ensure you give your dog a bath, use a defleaing shampoo and give them a brush preferably with a brush designed to find and remove fleas.
- You find a tick. If you have found a tick on your dog you should get them to a vet immediately. Ticks are lethal to dogs and longer hair makes it easier for a tick to catch on to your dogs fur. They can hide easier in long hair so if your dog is showing any signs of a tick (vomiting, lethargy, back legs unstable) then do a quick check for any ticks.
- You dog is a potential star in a dog show. You will need a hair cut and full grooming session from a professional groomer if you intend to win a dog show. A professional groomer will be able to make your dog look outstanding and provide tips on the best way to care for the Maltese coat in order to keep it shiny and snow white.
OTHER GROOMING HABITS AND WHEN THEY SHOULD BE DONE
Grooming should be a regular routine and there are several grooming procedures which need to be done on a regular basis. We have covered how often the act of cutting your puppies hair needs to happen but what about the other activities. Below is an approximation on how often each of the grooming tasks should be done:
- Bathing your dog. White dogs show up dirt very quickly and Maltese are magnets for the dirt. If you want your Maltese to be spritely and clean then you should be bathing your puppy at least fortnightly. If your dog is to be in a dog show try and target a bath the day before the show. A quick tip on bathing is to use a shampoo which helps with tangles especially if your Maltese has a longer hair style. You should also brush the hair before a bath and after a bath to ensure that any minor tangles are removed and do not progress into bigger knots or matted hair. Another quick tip is that there are some specific shampoos which will whiten your dogs fur. This type of shampoo is safe and can have them looking very white and sparkly. After shampooing your Maltese, ensure you use a conditioner to keep the hair in a good condition and help it keep its shine. Ensure that all shampoo and conditioner residue is removed at the end of the bath as these tend to dull the coat if not rinsed properly. Using a blow dryer on a very low heat is the best way to dry your dog as a towel can introduce more knots and is harsh on the hair. Your dog will shake to remove the excessive water anyway that a towel would normally be used for. Ensure you brush thoroughly after a bathing.
- Clipping your dogs nails. At each bath you should check your dogs nails to see if they need to be cut. There are special scissors you can buy to help you clip the nails or you can go to the vet to get it done. A professional dog groomer will also be able to do it. If you choose to do it yourself then you are looking for when the nail is a hindrance to walking. When you cut it ensure that you do not cut too much as it can cause bleeding and red blood on a white Maltese is not going to be the best look. Cutting the nails too short will also be painful for your puppy and I am sure none of us want our dogs to be in pain.
- Brushing your dog’s coat. It has been said already numerous times in this article that longer hair will require a lot more brushing on a regular basis than shorter hair. For long hair you should be brushing every day or at least every second day. If the hair is much shorter then you may be able to push your dog’s brushing routine out to a couple of times a week. Avoiding brushing will likely turn your dog’s fur into a matted mess full of knots. You want to avoid this mess at all costs as its much more time consuming to remove knots which have built up over time compared to one which has only been there for a day.
- Cleaning eye stains. Maltese are prone to getting stains near their eyes which can be an orange red or black in color. These are due to the minerals in your dogs tears and saliva. The best way to keep these stains from occurring are to wipe your Maltese face especially under the eyes with a cotton ball and some warm water. Providing purified water for your dogs drinking water can also minimize this staining as the purified water will have the minerals minimized or removed. If the tear stains remain check out your pet shop or talk to a vet about it as there are products which can remove tear stains.
- Cleaning feet stains. If your Maltese licks their feet on a regular basis the saliva will start to stain their fur on their feet. This is similar to the tear stains and you should try changing the drinking water of your dog. Another technique for this is to provide your dog with something stimulating to play with as they may be licking their feet due to boredom.
REMEMBER YOU CHOOSE YOUR DOGS HAIR STYLE
The hair style your dog wears is up to you and if you choose a hair style which is longer you can expect a lot more upkeep required to keep it looking good. If you need a lower maintenance hair style for your Maltese then go for a shorter hair style. Grooming, including brushing and cutting your Maltese hair, should be a bonding experience which both you and your Maltese enjoy as you get to spend quality time together to bond and show affection.