Maltese dogs have a single coat which means they shed very little, this has advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages are low shedding in your house, on your clothes, and hypoallergenic which is more tolerable for allergy sufferers. The disadvantage is more grooming, you need to brush the hair or it will tangle and mat. The right tools will help you a lot but so will the right technique. Below are a few tools and products we use to groom our dogs…
1. Double Sided Metal Toothed Comb; a must have for grooming! We use this comb to brush through the coat finding and removing tangles/mats. This is the first step to all grooming, comb out the Maltese thoroughly while gently separating tangles and mats with fingers and the end of the comb.
Start by grooming the belly, this area is often overlooked but is nevertheless important. Gently work through the hair until smooth, start with the wide side of the comb and then the fine side.
After completing to belly migrate to the sides using the same technique and sectioning the hair to keep track of areas groomed. We work from the sides to the legs, neck, ears, face, beard, bib (a term used for the chest hair) and finally the tail and bottom.
This is the first step to all grooming; make sure the coat is completely tangle/mat free and thoroughly combed before moving on to other grooming procedures.
2. Pin Brush; this type of brush is used to quickly smooth over a combed coat quickly. The pin brush should have long straight pins without tips on the pins and be set in a soft rubber backing.
This type of pin brush can be purchased online, in some select pet stores and at dog shows.
3. Shears; are used for trimming the bottom of the paw pads, rounding the feet (curved work best for rounding work), trimming the vent area, and trimming the long hair once floor length to prevent tripping. Good quality shears are an investment, they can be sharpened and make cleaner cuts. A few shears used on Maltese are long and medium straight, curved and blunt tip. Trimming is important not only for the overall appearance of the Maltese but also the overall health of the dog.
- Maltese are hair factories and grow hair not only all over their bodies, but also the bottoms of the feet. If this hair is allowed to grow too long it will cover the pad and prevent the Maltese from gaining traction, thus causing slipping and possible harm to the dog. The paw pads must be trimmed to prevent slipping and sores from forming in between the pads.
As professional groomers we use small shears for trimming the pads - however exercise caution it is very easy to accidentally injury your Maltese. Clippers also work for trimming the paw pads, use a #10 or #40 blade; this is quick, safe and effective.
- Rounding the feet is a technique to give the foot a tidy, well groomed appearance. Use rounded shears to form the shape of the foot.
- The vent area is a term for the anal area, trimming in this area is sometimes referred to as "clearing". Exercise caution when trimming in this area, the goal is to remove excess hair which can potentially cause excrement to become packed in the coat. Use blunt tip shears or clippers #10.
- Trimming the hair once floor length to prevent impeding action. This is only necessary when the coat is actually down to the floor. Maltese coats will usually start to break to the appropriate length if left natural or will continue to grow beyond the floor if wrapped or oiled. Trimming this hair is sometimes referred to as the skirt and this provides a well groomed appearance.
4. Conditioning Spray; this is used when brushing your Maltese as it will prevent some breakage of hair and assist in detangling mats and snarls.
We use Crown Royale Magic Touch formula #2, this product is diluted in water. Use the diluted product in a spray bottle which can be spritz onto the coat during grooming wet or dry coat.
*We do not endorse any single product as there are many to choose from, and all work differently according to coat. These products work well for us, we also use many others. Have fun exploring and trying new stuff, we do!
5. Small Nail Clippers; these are for trimming the nails of your Maltese. Regular trimming of the nails is very important for all dogs including Maltese, if nails are left too long they can ruin a foot. Maltese can have black or white nails - the quick can easily be seen in white nails and with practise can also be found easily with black nails. The trick to trimming nails is finding a small notch in the nail where the quick ends, this can be seen on the bottom of the nail and with practise felt with the clippers. Once the notch is found clip in a 45 degree angle and file sharp edges.
Caution: have styptic powder which is a coagulating agent to stop the nail from bleeding if accidentally cut to short.
See diagram of the nail below.
6. Hair Elastics; these are used for creating top knots. To grow long hair sometimes elastics are also used for banding, which keeps the hair out of the eyes and mouth.
Make sure the elastics are not too tight as to pull on the delicate Maltese skin.
7. Bows; The finishing touch and crown of a Maltese - traditionally doubles are used but single bows can also be used on well groomed top knots.
Only three breeds of purebred dogs are privileged to wear bows according to standard in conformation dog shows;
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Shih Tzu
Have fun with the choice of bows, there are many to choose from and these are not gender specific!
Maltese Pet Groom
Many people prefer to keep their Maltese in a comfortable pet trim, which is low maintenance. Below are some examples of our Maltese...