The Maltese is inherently playful and one of the most charming lap dogs you can find. But if you’re debating on which dog breed to bring home, a legitimate (and common) concern is how bad the shedding can be.
So, does the Maltese shed? Though the Maltese is a known hypoallergenic dog breed, they still do shed some hair. And just because they’re extremely low-shedding dogs doesn’t mean they don’t need grooming. You may still find hair on your clothes and around the house without these basic grooming tips.
If you believe the Maltese is a non-shedding dog, we’re sorry to inform you. Regardless, the lack of shedding offers a ton of advantages that may be in line with what you’re looking for.
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The Maltese Will Still Shed
The Maltese, along with other dog breeds, shed and re-grow fur because this cyclical process helps regulate the body temperature through different seasons.
Fur is essential to all dogs. It also protects the canine from environmental elements such as the harsh sun, cold climate or rough terrain.
Typically, when the hair of your Maltese stops growing or gets damaged, it’ll shed. This is shortly followed by the growth of new hair.
When Do Malteses Shed?
A Maltese will “shed” year round. However, they may experience slightly heavier shedding when temperatures start to rise around spring time.
In theory, a dog will retain much of hair during the winter season. They need the fur to keep warm during seasons with colder temperatures.
However, once spring time comes around, dogs tend to shed heavily in preparation for warmer summer temperatures.
Since Bella my Maltese is the only dog I’ve owned, I wasn’t even aware of what seasonal shedding was. It’s always the same with her (very little shed fur) all year long.– Tiffany M. (Maltese owner)
Seasonal shedding is undeniably more obvious for dogs that have a double coat, but an increase in shedding is still noticeable in single-coated dogs. And if you didn’t know already, the Maltese has a single coat.
Keep in mind that this may vary for individual dogs. I’ve heard stories of some Malteses that shed “quite a bit” during this time, while others see no change.
Phases of Maltese Shedding
Like with nearly all dogs, the shedding of a Maltese is cyclical with many distinctive phases. All dogs go through these same phases.
However, the time a Maltese spends in each phase differs quite a bit from a dog breed that excessively sheds, such as a Husky.
1. Growing Phase (Anagen Phase)
The very first phase of the hair growth cycle stars with the Anagen Phase. This initial period is when new hair begins to grow out.
In the Anagen Phase, the hair of the Maltese will go to the full, genetically determined length.
2. Transition Phase (Catagen Phase)
There will be a point in time when hair follicles stop growing on a dog. At the end of the Anagen Phase, the Transition Phase will have already started.
The coat follows this up by shrinking and detaching from the “dermal papaillae,” which is essentially part of the skin. We call this, well, shedding.
3. Resting Phase (Telogen Phase)
This is sort of a limbo phase for your dog. In the Telogen phase, the hairs have stopped growing and there is no shedding.
Simultaneously, new hairs begin to grow in the first Anagen phase, once again.
4. New Hair Phase (Exogen Phase)
Finally, the hair on the Maltese sheds during this final phase. In addition, the new hair that was simultaneously growing is ready and takes over.
The duration that a dog breed spends in each phase will vary. But according to this growth cycle, a Maltese will spend a much longer time in the growing phase (anagen phase).
Typically, all low-shedding dogs (hypoallergenic dogs) will spend more time in this first phase.
How Much Do Malteses Shed?
As you already know, Maltese dogs do technically shed. However, how much does a Maltese shed? It can vary a lot depending on the individual dog.
So, we decided to ask real Maltese owners by surveying popular Maltese forums around the web to see if their Malteses were low, moderate or excessive shedders.
One owner says that they don’t really “shed” but still do: “while they don’t shed, there are hairs that fall out or break off. It’s like human hair when you brush your hair or take a shower.“
Another Maltese owner said that the fur only really comes out when they brush them. He explains, “I brush Elon in the morning and at night. There’s allot of hair in his brush but after that he’s good. I’m not a fan of dog hair…hmm so I have a long haired dog.“
Another owner says the same thing.
“Lately we find Bella’s hair on our clothes. I was told that Maltese don’t shed? She is now 6 months and sometimes we let her in the couch and no noticeable hairs on the couch but then when I check my couch blanket it has little white hairs.“
Other Maltese owners experience moderate shedding: “I brush Fuzz daily for about one hour and I feel like I get a lot of hair from him. I don’t really know how to measure hair but I could probably roll all of his loose hair up into a golf ball.“
The consensus seems to be that a Maltese will lose hair just like how humans will lose hair (you do too, but maybe don’t notice it!).
There may be some exceptions, but for the most part, they are all the same. However, just because they’re low-shedding dogs doesn’t mean they don’t need to be groomed regularly.
How to Groom a Maltese’s Coat
A Maltese is not your typical dog breed that frequently sheds. And as we mentioned, this doesn’t mean they don’t need grooming at all.
In fact, a Maltese will still need regularly grooming. On the bright side, the grooming won’t be too difficult for most people. A huge win for Maltese lovers and owners!
Here’s exactly what you need to know to properly groom your Maltese.
1. Brushing Your Maltese
Brushing is essential for all dogs that actually have fur. Not only does it remove hair from the coat, but also removes any debris stuck on the fur. Yes, debris.
It happens with dogs more frequently than you expect, especially if you have a Maltese that likes to play in the yard (or anywhere outdoors). That said, you should brush your Maltese 2 to 3 times a week.
Another important reason to brush a Maltese’s coat is to prevent the coat from matting (densely tangled clumps). Malteses have relatively long hair. So without brushing, they may experience annoying tangling, which can be painful for your dog.
Most owners recommend using a pin brush when brushing a Maltese. These brushes have polished stainless steel tips that are perfect for long-haired single coated dogs – exactly like a Maltese.
I highly recommend getting the Chris Christensen Oval Pin Brush. It’s perfect for untangling small knots in the fur of your dog’s single coat.
Torres (Maltese owner) says he loves the long pins because it goes deeply into the coat to make the brushing process much quicker. If you’re interested, I highly recommend you check it out here.
2. Bathing a Maltese
Bathing is important for your Maltese for two reasons: it keeps them clean and removes the loose hair stuck on the coat of your dog.
When it comes to bathing, there’s a bit of a balancing act. You want them to stay clean and remove loose fur, but you don’t want to bathe them too often.
Giving a dog baths too frequently can result in dry skin. You’ll know it’s happened if your dog is still constantly scratching after baths. In addition, too many baths will remove the essential oils on the coat that help protect your dog.
For these reasons, you’ll want to give your Maltese a bath twice a month. Depending on your dog, how often they play outside and how dirty they get, anywhere between 1 to 3 baths a month is the maximum.
As for shampoo, I highly recommend using something gentle, such as all-natural oatmeal dog shampoos. By far my favorite and the one I’m currently using for my dogs is the Bodhi Dog Oatmeal Shampoo.
It’s 100% all natural and made with high quality oat protein and baking soda. It soothes and moisturizes itchy and dry skin for a hypoallergenic soothing relief.
Their plant botanical based solution contains aloe vera, coconut, vitamins A, D & E and fruit extracts to provide instant cooling and relief to inflamed or damaged skin. I’d highly recommend checking it out here.
3. Cutting a Maltese’s Hair
Although Malteses have long stunning hair, some owners make the decision to cut the coat short. Unlike some other dog breeds, I have absolutely no problem with cutting a Maltese’s coat.
In fact, there are many stylish and trendy cuts that are popular with these dogs. Really, there’s a cut for every owner’s taste. Everything from the show cut to the puppy clip, bob cut and the teddy bear cut – they’re all beautiful trims.
Hands down – puppy or teddy bear clip is by far the best. Who wouldn’t want their Maltese to look like an adorable teddy bear?– Alwaysxmasholly (Reddit)
The only complication with cutting a coat is when a dog has a double coat, which Malteses do not. A dog’s double coat will not grow back the same if cut short or shaved.
You should also consider cutting your Maltese’s coat if you live in warmer climate. Another thing to consider may be the season of the year. Obviously, summer time means hotter weather – so it’s a good idea if you want to keep your Maltese cool.
On the other hand, if you live in cold climate, giving them a haircut may not be the best idea. However, the comfort of your dog is up to you, so try to make a smart decision for the sake of your dog.
Is the Maltese For You?
Picking a dog breed is a huge decision, considering you’ll be taking care of them for the next 10 plus years. So, is the Maltese right for you?
Personally, I think the Maltese is perfect for anybody. They’re the ultimate lap dog with a cheerful and positive attitude. They get along with people, cats and other dogs. What’s not to like about a Maltese?
There’s no doubt the Maltese is better for people that suffer from allergies. Sensitive dog owners that are allergic to dogs are actually allergic to “dog dander,” which is the equivalent of human dandruff.
Every time a dog sheds, dander will release into the air. It’s the dander floating around that actually causes people to start sneezing. So a dog like the Maltese, who rarely sheds, will be a more pleasant experience for allergic owners.
But no matter how you look at it, these dogs are simply awesome. Give these dogs a chance and you won’t regret it!
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