AKC Maltese puppies for sale AKC Champion Maltese

Storybook Maltese

Grooming The Maltese For Easy-Care

With about a ½ hour - 1 hour a day, you can keep your Maltese looking like a Show Dog...

Grooming The Maltese For Show...

You will need the following grooming supplies to keep your dog in a Show Coat.

Pin Brush
The pin brush I prefer is the Special Master #1 pin brush.  Avoid the pin brushes with balls on the end as this will break the coat.

Combs - small & large greyhound, rat-tail
I use 3 types of combs: Large greyhound comb, small greyhound face comb and at rat-tail comp for parting.

Slicker Brush
Do not used a slicker brush on a Maltese except for on the feet, which gives a fluffier appearance to the feet. Used anywhere else a slicker brush will damage the coat.

A pair of 6 or 8 inch straight edge scissors made for dogs or human hair will work just fine.

Nail Clippers
There are several types but I avoid guillotine type.  Always take care not to cut into the dogs quick and keep some clotting power on hand just in case.

Rubber Bands
The rubber bands I use are the small, extra stretch type which can be purchased from showoffproducts.com as they are designed not to break the coat.

Grooming/Conditioning spray
I personally prefer the PurePaws product line, but any good conditioning spray will do.

Brushing Techniques

Brushing your dog is the single most important thing that you can do to keep the coat looking nice and mat free. You must brush everyday if you have your dog in full coat. This can be done in the evenings while watching television and the dogs, if you do it correctly, enjoy being brushed.  Mine line up on the floor by the couch awaiting their turn.  If I don’t get to it as soon as they think I should, they will pat my leg and look at the couch, ‘asking’ to be brushed.  It is important to brush the entire coat and not just the top portions.  Lay the dog on his back and using the pin brush begin to brush the top portion of hair straight out.  Gradually pick up more hair working your way down the side to the belly.  Once you brushed all the hair on the belly, make sure to get the armpits, roll the dog on his belly and brush the back and each leg.  Place the dog upright and brush all the hair downward before finally brushing the neck, head, face, and doing the topknot. Do not flip your wrist upward as you brush as this will break the coat. The grooming stroke should be a long stroke through the hair finished off with the wrist flat.

Removing Mats.

The best advise is not to let mats happen, but when they do, a letter opener can be used straight down through the mat to break it up and comb it out.  Be very careful not to hurt your Maltese or you will find him much less willing to be brushed next time. If the mats get out of hand, have the dog shaved down and start over.


The Maltese kept in show coat needs to be bathed at least weekly and should be conditioned as well.  Dilute the shampoo in a larger squirt bottle and saturate the coat with the shampoo.  DO NOT RUB or SCRUB, but rather work it through the hair with your fingertips in a downward motion from the top of the back to the ends of the hair.  Be very careful not to get shampoo in the eyes and consider using baby shampoo for the face.  You MUST rinse thoroughly because residue will cause your dog to itch and scratch not only causing him to suffer, but breaking the coat you are trying to grow out and causing mats.  Follow with conditioner and rinse well.  Squeeze as much water as possible out with your hands before wrapping your Maltese in a towel.  

Blow Drying

For best results use a professional grooming dryer on low heat and low air.  Using high heat can cause the coat the break and can burn your dogs delicate skin. Use a long stroke with your pin brush as you blow dry the coat.  Continue with one section until it feels dry to the touch and then move on to another. If the coat has any curl, the longer you hold the stroke, the straighter the result will be.  The coat can be re-wet with a mist bottle if necessary to straighten.  The feet can be dried easier using a slicker brush. The face should be dried last using a small metal face comb. Be sure to get the ears dry so that your dog doesn’t get an ear infection.


The hair between the toes must be clipped short or it will mat and cause infected sores and require a visit to the vet. Train your Maltese to lay on this back and let you work with his feet.  I use a cordless mustache trimmer to trim the hair on the feet and then move on the clipping the nails.


Maltese should have their teeth brushed when bathing as small dogs are more prone to tooth decay.

Ears-To Pluck or Not to Pluck?

Here is a great article about plucking the ears and ear care:

Click Here to learn about ear care

Anal Glands-To squeeze or not to squeeze?

Here is a video from Dr. Becker explaining why expressing anal glands can cause more problems than it solves.

Anal Glands - To Express or Not To Express - That is the question!


There are many short clips to choose from that are adorable and will keep your Maltese easy to care for.  We begin teaching our puppies at 3 weeks old to lay quietly on their back and enjoy being brushed and combed.  We work with them to accept holding still while we work on their face to clean their faces or put in a top knot and hold still while we trim their nails and cut the hair on the pads of their feet.  Our puppies desensitized to the sounds of a blow dryer and clippers from a young age.  Once they are 6-8 weeks of age, we beginning bathing them so that they are used to it by the time they leave for their new homes at 12 weeks old.  

Care must be taken to clean the eyes daily.  This is easy to keep up with if done daily.  For tear stains we recommend washing the area with solution of Boric Acid and Distilled Water, which can be purchase ready to use as Bausch & Lomb Eye Wash Irrigating Solution.

Most Maltese puppies will have tear stains until their permanent teeth are in.  For particularly difficult stains we use Vetericyn Ophthalmic Gel.

Maltese, as with many small breeds, are prone to tooth decay and it is recommended that their teeth be brushed regularly and that they have a dental cleaning yearly.

Groomed for show

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