A common question dog parents ask when getting a Maltese or any other dog is, “do they shed?” For some people, shedding is a huge deciding factor when getting a dog. In some cases, it could be due to a personal preference or an unwillingness to vacuum up dog fur often. However, for other people, the amount a dog sheds could greatly affect their allergies. So, it’s important to research any dog’s coat type before bringing them home.
What is a Maltese?
Maltese are one of the most well-known companion dogs. In their early years, the breed was kept as a symbol of wealth and fashion. They were suspected to have appeared in the early 1800s, but it’s possible that they existed even before then. Despite being so small, they were initially labeled as “perfectly proportioned” and a “Roman Ladies’ Dog.” Today, these adorable pups are kept in all types of households, especially families with children. They are just as desirable as always, but are much easier to find now.
These dogs are considered a toy breed, typically weighing 7 pounds or less and standing only 7 to 9 inches tall. Their appearance stands out from other breeds, but they don’t have much variety. All Maltese are pure white from head to toe. This is desirable to many people, but it also means that a lot of grooming is needed. Their hair is soft and silky, which means it needs frequent brushing.
In photos, Maltese are commonly seen with long, flowing hair that drags on the ground. In addition to that, they usually have the hair on the top of their head tied up with a cute clip or bow. This is a common style for dog shows, but not so much for family dogs. On a daily basis, you’re more likely to see Maltese with short coats, sometimes still with bows in their hair. This is simply because the long coats take a lot of effort to maintain.
Maltese are often the perfect mixture of playful and relaxed. They’re charming, happy dogs that love to be with their humans as much as possible. They are adaptable to different lifestyles, so they can make great companions for both single-person homes or larger families with kids. As long as they have someone to love them, they’ll be content.
Since Maltese were one of the earliest lap dog breeds, it makes sense that they’d love to be the center of attention. They’re eager to please their humans and they can quickly warm up to new friends. They tend to be more intelligent than most other small breeds, which makes training them a breeze. Since they’re so devoted to their family, they could be prone to separation anxiety though. So, make sure you get them used to be alone from time to time.
Maltese Coat Type
Most dogs are known for having fur, but Maltese actually have hair instead. The main difference between hair and fur is the amount of shedding. Dogs with fur shed frequently, especially as the seasons change. These dogs do not need their fur to be trimmed because their coat naturally protects them from the weather and adjusts based on the season. On the other hand, dogs with hair shed about the same amount as a human would. Their hair is usually soft and silky, and it continuously grows. This means that a Maltese’s hair would need to be occasionally cut like a human’s would. A Maltese will always have a beautiful coat of white hair.
Do Maltese Shed?
A common misconception is that dogs with hair never shed. However, that isn’t necessarily the case. Dogs with hair will shed less than dogs with fur, but all dogs shed at least a little bit. You likely won’t have to vacuum your home frequently or use a lint roller to keep your clothes hair-free with a Maltese, but you should still expect some dog hair floating around your home now and then. Brushing your dog can always help control their shedding better.
What Does Hypoallergenic Mean?
Dogs with hair are also commonly labeled as hypoallergenic, which is an appealing term to many people. “Hypoallergenic” simply means less likely to cause a reaction. This term is most commonly used for dogs, but it can also be seen on labels for shampoo, makeup, and other substances that come into contact with your skin. Hypoallergenic products and animals are never guaranteed to stop your allergies, but they will likely be the safest for you.
Are Maltese Hypoallergenic?
Yes, Maltese are hypoallergenic, but it might not mean exactly what you think it means. Many people assume that hypoallergenic means that the dog will never cause allergies, but that’s not always the case. Hypoallergenic dogs are less likely to cause allergies, but there’s still a small chance that they could.
The reason for this is that hair and fur are not what causes human allergies. Instead, it’s the dander (dead flakes of skin) that causes the most allergic reactions. With less shedding, it’s less likely for that dander to travel around the house and in the air, but it will still be present on your dog. So, Maltese can be great dogs for people with allergies, but you just need to remember that no dog is completely allergy-free.
Maltese Grooming Requirements
Despite being a low shedding breed, Maltese still have high grooming requirements. Their silky hair is prone to getting mats and tangles, so they should be brushed more than once a week to maintain their soft coats. Mats can be painful for dogs because it causes a lot of pressure in one area of their body. So, if a mat gets too dense, you might have to shave your dog’s hair down and then grow it out again for your dog’s safety. Many Maltese parents prefer to keep their dog’s hair long, but that can only be done if you brush them regularly.
These small dogs should also visit the groomer occasionally, probably about every 6 to 8 weeks. Even if you’re growing out their hair, the groomer can still give them a nice bath and brush out while also trimming their hair slightly. That way, their coats can stay nice and healthy, making it easier for them to grow longer. However, if you don’t want to deal with excessive brushing, then it’s perfectly fine to get your Maltese’s hair cut short too. Most grooming appointments include nail trimming, which should be done at least once a month for any dog breed.
In between grooming appointments, you will likely need to bathe your Maltese yourself. They should get a good bath at least once a month, but possibly more if they love playing outside. Since their coats are pure white, it’s easy for dirt and debris to show. So, find a high quality shampoo to help your Maltese look clean and feel soft at all times. Always brush your dog after their baths to keep their hair extra healthy.
Yes, Maltese do shed a little, but all dogs do. Luckily, they’re still one of the best breeds for people with allergies though because their shedding is often unnoticeable. Their low shedding makes them less likely to cause allergic reactions and it can help keep your home clean too. However, you need to remember that grooming a Maltese is not always cheap or easy. They require a lot of brushing and trips to the groomer. So, make sure you have enough time and money to commit to grooming your dog before bringing home a Maltese.