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Maltese Topknots
 Maltese topknots

In the United States, with Maltese topknots, a single Maltese bow is often done for puppies and a double or a "2" topknot is most popular for the adult dog, especially for  show.

A single topknot is most widely seen in Europe and other countries outside of the U.S.; this is also the look for many Maltese puppies.
Why a Topknot?

The topknot is a popular method of keeping the long hair out and away from the eyes and face of some dog breeds.  For some breeds such as the Shih Tzu and Maltese, a topknot is expected when the owner decides to keep their dog's coat long, also known as the "Show dog" look.

In the United States, the double topknot is most popular.  This look of 2 sections of hair pulled up into 2 bows is expected when showing your dog at events.  Outside the states, the single topknot is usually preferred.  In any area of the world, a single topknot is most often created for puppies, as their coat has not grown in enough to fill 2 bows.

Where Do I Begin?

While a professional groomer can create truly exceptionally fancy topknots, with intertwined colored threads and fancy twirls, creating a topknot for your Maltese can be rather easy.

You will need a few things:
  • Rubber bands - you will want to use non-stick rubber bands that are coated so that hairs will not attach to them and strands will not rip out when the band is removed
  • A dog comb- each Maltese breeder will "swear by" a certain type of comb, however you may use a fine tooth or wide tooth comb and the result will still be the same.  The most important element of the comb is to remove any tangles and to be able to comb the hair smooth and long
  • A bow/s.  Many owners have a collection of bows in every color of the rainbow, to match their dog to their own outfit or occasion.  What color bows are best for dog shows?  While an owner may choose any color, hues that represent elegance are most often used: royal red, navy blue, dark maroon, or emerald green.
  • Gel - using gel for a dog show event can be seen as the use of a foreign substance and can cause your dog to be  disqualified.  It is wise to check with officials well in advance before using any for the top knot.  For everyday topknots, some owners wish to use human hair gel to help the dog's hair "poof" out more and hold in place.  If you decide to implement this, be sure to use a hypo-allergenic brand.  If your dog shows any signs of itching or irritation, this can signal an allergic reaction to the gel and use should be immediately stopped.
  • Paper or plastic - the most common method of creating a double topknot on a Maltese dog will involve using "permanent paper" , the type used for human permanent wave solutions.  It is a thin, see-through paper approximately 2x2 inches.  These can be purchased at the same shop you choose to buy the bows.
Maltese top knotsHow to Tie a Maltese Single Topknot

Forget about all of the complicated instructions that you may find on the web!  Creating a topknot is easy.

1. Sit your dog on top of a table in front of you so that you are looking level at your dog's head
2. Using a comb, make 2 parts on the top of your dog's head, creating the one piece that will be held in the bow
3. Comb the coat so that it is sleek and smooth
4. Wrap the rubber band around the base of the section of hair
5. Check that the band is not too tight or pulling the skin of your Maltese
6. Add the bow - bows are pre-tied and simple slip over the rubber band

How to Tie a Maltese Double Top Knot

This method is not so different than a single topknot; you will simply part the hair to make 2 even sections of hair on the top of your dog's head.   To create a double-back, you will place 1 band low on the section of your dog's hair.  Use a 2nd band about 1 inch above the 1st band.  Fold the hairs back, so that the 2nd band lines up with the 1st band.  Use a 3rd band to then hold that in place.  Once done, add the bow!

Don't worry if you struggle a bit when you first create a top knot for your Maltese.  Time and some practice will help turn you into a pro!  In the meantime, if you are having a very difficult time and just don't seem to be getting the hang of it, you can always bring your Maltese to a professional dog groomer and ask that at the end of the grooming session, they show you the methods of topknots.  An experienced dog groomer will appreciate your visits, know that you will be a repeat customer for at least yearly regular groomings for your dog and would be more than happy to show you.

Even More DETAILED Grooming Information

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