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Grooming a Maltese
Grooming a Maltese - Important Basics...How to Groom a Maltese to Create the Perfect Foundation

When you own a Maltese, you will make a decision regarding which haircut you wish for your dog to have:

The show dog look or the family cut.

The family cut is also known as the puppy cut.  This  is preferred by many Maltese owners due to the easier maintenance.

Beside from the element of fur care, a Maltese owner must also groom and care for their dog's:
  • Ears
  • Eyes
  • Teeth
  • Nails
  • Over cleanliness & hygiene
  • Trimmings
              grooming a Maltese
As the owner of a Maltese, it is important to set aside time each day specifically for grooming your Maltese


Giving your Maltese a proper bath is vitally important, not only to maintain cleanliness but also to keep the dog healthy.  This is the first step in Maltese grooming. Using the proper shampoos and soaps are crucial in regarding to dog grooming.  If you are not showing your Maltese,  your dog should have a bath every 1 or 2 weeks.

Some tips to keep in mind regarding bathing:
  • Make sure that your dog's fur is completely wet before you apply the dog shampoo
  • Never use human shampoo, soap or conditioner.  A Maltese can be allergic to just about any element including shampoo: use a hypo-allergenic shampoo for dogs
  • Be sure that no dog shampoo remains before you apply the conditioner
  • Dry your Maltese by patting them with a soft towel, rubbing may cause matts to form

A dog's nails can grow quickly and they can also become ingrown or mis-shaped.  Most Maltese owners prefer to have a professional trim their dog's nails.  Unless you have experience in this grooming element, it is best to leave this to professionals.  Trimming too far can cut the "quick" in the nail and cause pain and bleeding.  Many Maltese dogs have white or clear colored nails; it will be easy to see the dark line running down the center and know where you must not cut; however there are also many Maltese dogs who have darker nails and seeing this vein is difficult. 

If you do choose to trim your dog's nails use professional grade clippers and do not forget about the dew claws.


When one wonders how to groom a Maltese properly, one must remember that each body part, when properly groomed shall come together to make for a healthy looking, clean and beautiful dog.

A dog's ears must be cleaned and not forgotten about during routine grooming.  Using  damp cotton balls, the ears should be wiped out until the cotton has no matter on it.  Never use a Q-Tip as dipping down too far can cause damage.  For show dogs, excessive ear hair is plucked out after applying ear powder, however as long as you keep your Maltese clean there is no need to overdo this.  Excessive, straggly hair should be removed as they can hold water and lead to an ear infection.   When you bring your Maltese to their professional groomer for a shave, any extra fur will be taken care of.

grooming a MalteseGrooming Care

Grooming a Maltese will also involve small touches that will give the dog a nice, neat finish. Beside offering weekly baths, a Maltese should have a good brushing every other day.  The fur should be checked around the anus and on the paws.  This fur can grow quickly and may need a trim in between full shavings.   The frequency of full shavings will depend on your preference and also how rapidly your dog's coat grows. For hygienic reasons, fur should be shaved around the anus so that feces does not stick to your dog's coat when they have a bowel movement.  Long hairs should be plucked from the ears, this can be done with tweezers or with your fingers and a touch of ear powder to get a better grasp.  Any hairs on the bottom of the paws should be trimmed away so that your Maltese is never walking on any hairs.

Around the Eye Stains

With the Maltese being a white colored breed, "tear stains" can be very apparent.  What causes a Maltese to have a darker shade of color around the eye? This is usually caused by excessive tearing that leads to a red yeast bacterial infection.  Your dog's veterinarian will be able to provide you with topical medication to clear this up.

Stains can also occur to do normal eye discharge that builds up over time.  Dogs can get that "sad puppy dog look".  You may wipe the eye area with a soft, damp wash cloth.  Alternatively you may use doggie eye wipes that are specially formulated to clean this delicate area of the Maltese dog.  Shockingly, some breeders or show dog owners use bleach: this should never be used!  Read more about Tear Staining

Even More DETAILED Grooming Information with Photos

For 400+ pages with exact, detailed Maltese information, including:

Photos and step-by-step detailed directions on how to groom a Maltese. Click here to learn about the PetMaltese Book.

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