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Maltese Grooming
Grooming for a Dog Show

Maltese owners have a choice in grooming:
  • Allow the dog's hair to grow long, most commonly done for show dogs although some owners simply prefer this look
  • Keep the hair short, most commonly known as the "family cut".  This option is for owners who prefer a lower maintenance "puppy" look
  • Discussed here will be grooming for the show dog look.  For trimming your Maltese for a family cut, please see Grooming - Basics
We will address the topics of the Do's and Don'ts of show dog grooming.

Maltese grooming
Maltese Grooming

When choosing to groom your Maltese for a long show dog look, much care must be taken to keep the coat as it should be.  The coat of a show dog Maltese should be:
  • Soft
  • Long to the floor
  • Free of any tangles or matts
  • Sparkling clean
  • A topknot tied at the top of the dog's head
There are steps you should take to care for the coat of your Maltese. There is also a method called Wrapping, which many believe allows the coat to grow faster.   This grooming method simply involves taking sections of the dog's coat and wrapping it (folding) in silk paper and then securing it with a wide rubber band.   If doing so, one must take care to take out the wraps every other day.  In addition, the coat must not be allowed to become damp; mildew can begin to grow beneath the silk paper and will discolor the  hair.  There are basic grooming methods to allow your dog's coat to grow without the exhaustion of wrapping the hair every 2 days.

grooming a MalteseBeginning when your Maltese is a puppy,  comb and brush the dog's hair daily with a
metal comb, slicker brush and pin brush without balled ends. To brush thoroughly, lift up a top layer of the dog's thick coat and work through the hair closest to his skin. Then brush and comb the outer layer. 

Daily grooming is an absolute must; as a small mat in the hair can quickly turn into a large one; thus having the potential to ruin the long, sleek coat.  

Brushing should be done after spaying a light coat of condition on the dog.  If you use too much, this may irritate the dog's skin, so use this sparingly; the goal is to spray enough so that you may comb and brush carefully through any tangles without causing breakage. 

The key to growing the Maltese coat to an elegant floor length is to keep the hair in perfect condition.   You should use long, even strokes beginning at the top and working your way down.  Do not curl the brush, this will also cause breakage.

It is vital to take your time to brush every inch of the Maltese for the show dog look.  Grooming must be done to all areas, even the hair on the bottom of the paws   The hair on the paws may be long on top, but do take care in regard to hair beneath the paw;  hairs should not be allowed to grow over the pads of the paws.  This will need to be trimmed periodically; many owners choose to have a qualified professional dog groomer perform any trimming; as one slip out can set an owner back for many months in the goal to achieve the show dog look.

Gels, Dyes & Other No-No's

If you are showing your dog,  beware of the rules!  Any foreign substance on a dog can have the dog disqualified and your reputation will be ruined.   What are some unethical practices in regard to showing a Maltese?  It is surprising what some owners will do to "create" a perfect dog:
  • Dying the hair of the Maltese to create a perfectly white coat
  • Spraying oil on the coat to make it appear shiny
  • Dying the nose of the dog to erase any shading or pigmentation

See also:  How to Keep a Maltese White  | The Best Shampoo for a Maltese Dog  |

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 downloadable book (easy PDF format, no special device needed)

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