Maltese are small toy dogs that originated from Malta thousands of years ago. They are known as alert, playful and gentle companions, and are characterised by their beautiful white coat.
Do they shed much? Maltese have long, silky, straight coats that shed very little. And they’re listed on the American Kennel Club website as being hypoallergenic, which means that they are generally considered to be more suitable for people with pet allergies than most dogs.
So they’re ideal if you’re looking for a low shedding, hypoallergenic dog. However, they do require more effort to groom than the average pooch, so it’s a bit of a trade off in that respect.
Read on to learn more.
Maltese Dog Shedding
Maltese are a very low shedding dog breed.
That doesn’t mean they never shed any hair at all, because all dogs with hair will molt at least some hair from time to time, but you’re not going to notice hair all over your floors, furniture and clothing as you would with some dogs.
That being said, it does depend on the individual dog and there are some factors that can cause excessive shedding.
For example, stress, poor diet, fleas, or allergies (along with a whole host of other things) can cause excessive shedding in most dogs. So if you are noticing heavy molting, it might be worth contacting your veterinarian for assistance. In most healthy Malteses though, you’re not going to notice much hair floating around.
Why don’t they shed much?
One reason is because the hair growth cycle of a Maltese is slower than with higher shedding dogs. Which basically means it takes longer for their hair to grow, die, and fall out. And this is also why their hair is so long and continues to grow, similar to human hair.
Another reason is because they don’t have an undercoat. They are a single-coated breed, which means they only have one layer instead of most dogs which have both an outer coat and undercoat. And as such, they have less fur to shed and they don’t “blow coat” each year as seasonal shedders do.
They’re also a very small dog. Which doesn’t impact the rate at which a dog sheds, but small dogs only have so much hair to lose. So the shedding in a smaller dog is always going to be more manageable than a larger dog that sheds their hair at about the same rate.
Are Maltese hypoallergenic? Yes, according to the American Kennel Club, Maltese are a hypoallergenic dog breed because they have a non-shedding coat that produces less dander.
It’s important to understand, however, that no dog is ever 100% hypoallergenic. Not even completely hairless breeds. And the reason for this is because the thing that causes pet allergies (dander) is produced to some extent by every single dog. So, while Maltese are less likely to cause allergies, there is no guarantee your allergies won’t flare up.
Grooming Your Maltese
Maltese have long, silky, straight coats that are pure white. And this type of coat, while low shedding, is higher maintenance when it comes to grooming.
The main reason for this has to do with the length of their hair. Because their hair reaches the floor, they need to be brushed daily to remove any mats and tangles.
Matting and tangling can become painful for the dog, as it pulls at their skin, and the longer you leave it the worse it gets and the harder these are to remove. So daily brushing is key. Which isn’t difficult but it can be a little time consuming, especially when you start adding up the time you spend brushing over a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
How do you brush a Maltese?
Start by checking over their coat for any mats by hand, and if you find any, carefully work these out with your fingertips and with the aid of a detangling spray if needed. Once you’ve removed these, gently brush the coat with a metal comb or pin brush to maintain the coat and remove any loose hairs. And, optionally, follow up with a bristle brush to massage the skin and add shine to his coat. Learn more about the different types of dog grooming brushes here.
Can you shave a Maltese?
You can shave or trim your Maltese, and the benefit of doing so is that it can save you a lot of time brushing, and your Maltese will be less likely to get mats in their coat.
There are some drawbacks to shaving though.
For example, by shaving his coat you may notice more hairs around the home since the old, dead hairs aren’t as easily trapped in a short coat as they are within a longer one. Also, because they don’t have an undercoat, cutting their hair short can make them even more subject to cold conditions, so you may need to get them a proper dog coat to keep them warm in winter, especially if you live in a colder climate.
Aside from brushing and trimming, Maltese also need regular baths with a good quality, moisturizing, dog shampoo to keep their coat in good condition. And because they are prone to getting tear stains on their white coat, you’ll need to learn how to manage this too if you want to keep their beautiful white coat looking its best.
Maltese are beautiful little dogs that have been adored for centuries. And it’s not hard to see why. Not only are they incredibly cute, but they are full of personality and make excellent companions. And to top it off, they don’t shed much, and their coat is non-allergenic.
So if you’re looking for a low shedding dog that is less likely to upset your allergies, the Maltese could be just what you’ve been looking for!
That said, their coat is higher maintenance than the average dog. So if you are looking for a dog that only needs the occasional brush, there are more suitable breeds. Like the Basenji or Italian Greyhound for example, which are both low shedding, hypoallergenic dogs with short, easy-to-groom coats.
Either way, I hope you found this article helpful!