Sweet, gentle Maltese dogs are a popular toy breed with a distinctive long, silky white coat. If your Maltese is a show dog, you have to keep that floor-length hair carefully tied up to prevent it from becoming tangled or breaking. But if your Maltese is strictly a companion with no one to impress but the neighbourhood dog walker, you can elect to groom it in a puppy cut to keep it neat with much less upkeep.
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Things you need
- Detangler, optional
- Dog shampoo
- Dog conditioner
- Dog dryer, optional
- Oster A5 clippers
- No. 10 blade
- No. 4 or No. 5 blade
- Dog grooming scissors
Prepare the area where you will be grooming your Maltese. Set out the shampoo, conditioner, towel and all grooming supplies so you won't have to stop to retrieve any items while you are in the midst of grooming.
Brush and comb your dog thoroughly to remove any dead hair. If you encounter a mat, first carefully try to work it out with your fingers. If that does not work, spray detangler on the mat and try to loosen it with your comb. Cutting the mat out should be a last resort. Remove all mats or knots before bathing your Maltese, because water can tighten the mats and make them even more difficult to remove.
Bathe your dog in warm water using a shampoo especially for white dogs. Take care to avoid its sensitive eyes and ears. Wash, rinse thoroughly, and repeat. Rinse until the water runs clear. Either apply rinse-out conditioner and rinse thoroughly or spray your dog with leave-in conditioner.
Dry your Maltese using a towel until it is just damp. If you wish, you can now use a dog dryer to complete the drying process. Never use a hair dryer meant for people on a dog -- it gets far too hot and can cause serious burns. Be sure your dog is dry before beginning the next step.
Clip your dog's hair in a downward motion using the No. 4 or No. 5 blade. Go from the neck to the tail, avoiding using the clippers on the legs, head or tail. Clip the bottom of the chest (your dog's underbelly) in this manner as well.
Exchange the No. 4 or No. 5 blade for the No. 10 blade. Carefully clip the sides of your dog's face, going from front to back using the No. 10 blade. Clip under the ears to help keep them clean, but do not clip the ears themselves.
Trim your Maltese's ears using scissors. To make the trademark "mustache", use the scissors to shape the area around its mouth into a circle. Trim the hair above the eyes and on the top of the head to about 1 or 2 inches using the comb and scissors. If you prefer to leave the hair on the top of the head long, use a rubber band or ribbon to tie it back out of your dog's eyes.
To keep your Maltese's tail neat, you may wish to trim it as well. Use scissors to trim the tail to a manageable length, being very cautious when you are scissoring close to the body.
Blend the longer hair on the legs into the hair on the body using your scissors, then round off the hair around the feet for a smooth, neat look. Trim around the pads of the feet.
Tips and warnings
- While you are grooming your Maltese, you should also take the time to trim its nails and clean its teeth.
- Take care your first time using the clippers -- they can cut skin if you are not careful.
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