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Maltese Shedding: How Much Does a Maltese Shed?

Thinking that the Maltese might be the perfect dog for your family, but want to make sure they don't shed too much? Learn all about Maltese shedding habits below.

Last Updated: September 10, 2020 | 7 min read

Fluffy Maltese Dog Running

Fall in love with the fluffy Maltese, but want to know how much they shed before bringing one home? First and foremost, yes, the Maltese does shed. No dog is truly Hypoallergenic. The Maltese has a coat that needs a lot of care and attention to keep it looking magnificent. Their coats are not double coats though, which means they don’t shed nearly as much as other breeds.

The Maltese is a tiny dog who is also known as ‘ye ancient dog of Malta.’ His brilliant white coat is his most distinctive feature, and it falls beautifully all the way to the floor. But, he does still shed that coat a little bit. So, whether you’re already a proud Maltese mom or you’re a soon-to-be Maltese dad, this Maltese shedding guide is a must-read.

In the article below, we’ll let you into all the Maltese coat secrets, including how best to care for his coat, and tips on how to manage it. After reading this guide, your Maltese will be the most magnificent looking pup in the neighborhood. So, let’s jump in!

Maltese Coat

Maltese Dog Running in Grass
The Maltese are well known for their fluffy white coat.

Okay, so the Maltese doesn’t shed a lot, but he sheds a little. And before we explain just how much he sheds, you need to understand his coat. The Maltese is a special dog, and so are their coats.

He has a single coat, rather than a double coat. This means that rather than having what most dogs have, which is fur, Malteses have hair. Yorkies are another lower shedding breed that fall into the same category. The Maltese’s hair is a lot like the hair on our own head. This is why many refer to the Maltese dog as a hypoallergenic dog. Because the underlayer that holds onto dander doesn’t exist. But, more on hypoallergenic dogs later.

Most dogs have double coats to help manage their body heat, as well as being weather resistant. It will shed when the seasons change, and they either need a warmer winter coat or a light summer jacket. Because the Maltese does not have the underlayer, technically, he doesn’t shed.

But just like our hair, it falls out lightly throughout the whole year. It falls out when it dies, rather than during the summer or winter, to make way for new bangs. So, expect a light dusting of white hair throughout the year, but it isn’t a lot to notice.

Maltese Coat Colors

The angelic Maltese only has one official color, and that is sheer white. Some Malteses have lemon white or light tan colored ears, but according to the breed standard, this is not desirable. This means that all Malteses lose hair at the same rate and have the same grooming schedule, no matter what color their ears are.

Maltese Shedding Frequency

Maltese sitting on stone
The Maltese doesn’t follow the typical shedding season of a double coated breed.

As you already know, the Maltese doesn’t technically shed. He just loses a little bit of hair. Because he doesn’t get ready for different seasons, he loses hair lightly throughout the year. Instead, his hair keeps growing, which is why it grows to the floor. Once it reaches its full length, which is just to his ankles, it will stop, and his body will get ready to push it out.

The hair that he loses will most likely fall back into his coat, and it won’t be until you brush or bathe him that you’ll see the hair that he has lost. This is a significant appeal factor of the Maltese in that tufts of dog hair around the home are minimal. If you aren’t a fan of dog hair, the Maltese and other hypoallergenic dogs will make an excellent choice for you.

Hypoallergenic Dogs

Hypoallergenic dogs are those that are lower shedding who are more suited to humans with slight dog allergies. This is because, like the Maltese, they do not have the underlayer that holds onto dander. Dander is the collection of old hair, body oils, dead skin, and dust. It is dander that causes allergic reactions.

This is why they are called hypoallergenic dogs. But, they are not totally hypoallergenic, like some would have you believe. No dog is. They are just better suited to those with light dog allergies because they are less likely to cause allergic reactions. Other hypoallergenic dogs like the Goldendoodle don’t shed. Bichon Frise’s don’t shed either, and they are similar to the Maltese in both popularity and shedding frequency.

Shedding Triggers

Nervous Maltese Dog
Stress and anxiousness can cause shedding amongst other things like a change in diet.

Now that you know the Maltese does not shed frequently, it’s essential to take note if he starts to excessively lose hair. This is not normal, and it might need veterinary attention.

One of the biggest reasons for excessive hair loss is stress. It could be as a result of something that isn’t quite right in the family home. For example, if you have gone on, or about to go on, a vacation without him. The Maltese is a sensitive dog, and he will pick up on your stresses or changes in the family environment.

Another sign of increased hair loss is also a sign of pregnancy. When a mother’s hormones are all over the place, her hair can fall out. And hopefully, after birth, her hair schedule will return to normal as and when her hormones do.

Excessive hair loss could also be a symptom of another underlying medical condition. It could be something more serious, such as hypothyroidism or cancer. Or it could be a sign of a skin infection. Usually, you’ll see other symptoms, too, such as lethargy, sickness, or inflamed skin.

Some Malteses will lose hair more than others, so it’s important to notice what is typical for your Maltese. And if it is out of the ordinary, it’s best to take him to the vet just in case.

Managing Your Maltese’s Coat

Maltese getting Groomed on Table
Grooming your Maltese regularly will make any hair they do shed barely noticeable.

Just because he doesn’t shed doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to grooming him. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. His long luscious locks need regular grooming to keep them looking magnificent and healthy. Here are the main ways to keep him looking great.

Brushing

Brushing is by far the best and easiest way to keep his coat healthy and looking good. How much you have to brush him depends on what type of haircut he has. Many choose his natural long flowing locks, but some choose to have it cut much shorter into what is known as a teddy bear cut.

The long Maltese coat will need daily brushing, without fail. His long hair will act like a broom and sweep up the dirt in the house and when he is out on walkies. It is also more at risk of tangling, which leads to matting. If you choose the teddy bear cut, you will only need to brush him a few times a week. It’ll pick up much less dirt, and it won’t tangle as much, so it is much easier.

Brushes

Getting the right tools for the job is essential for an effective grooming regime. As the Maltese has a single coat of hair, rather than a double coat of fur, he will only need a single brush. The pin brush will be your best weapon of choice.

Because he doesn’t have a protective underlayer, you need to find a brush that has protective bubble tips. Some pin brushes are sharper and designed for double-coated dogs. Bubble-ended pins will penetrate his hair, remove tangles and dirt, without being too sharp on his delicate skin.

Shampoo

Maltese Getting Bathed
A sensitive skin shampoo can help make regular bath times more manageable for your Maltese.

Finding the right shampoo can make all the difference to his coat and skin health. Because his skin is less protected, we would advise using a skin sensitive shampoo that is made with natural ingredients. Oatmeal shampoos are a great option.

Alternatively, if your Maltese has less sensitive skin, you could opt for a shampoo for white dogs. Many Maltese owners choose whitening shampoos, especially if their Maltese is a show dog. If you choose this option, you need a high-quality shampoo that does not use harsh bleaching chemicals.

Some shampoos have conditioning ingredients in. Not only will they make your Maltese feel soft and glorious, but conditioning ingredients also help to prevent matting. When it comes to bathing him, look to wash him once every two weeks or so.

Diet

Your Malteses diet will also affect his skin and coat health. High-quality dog food made for the Maltese will not only provide a well-balanced diet, but they also include a variety of omega fatty acids. These will nourish his skin, and in turn, keep his coat looking fabulous. Ingredients to look out for are fish, fish oil, egg products, flaxseed, and oils. A lack of omega fats will make his coat lackluster and dry. 

High-quality kibbles will also ensure that he gets a variety of vitamins and minerals. Those known to benefit his skin and coat are biotin, vitamin E, and folic acid. If you feed him a budget store kibble, you will notice a difference in his coat for sure. So a good diet, and plenty of water, will keep his coat lush.

Supplements

If for some reason, you cannot change his diet to one that has a higher amount of omega fatty acids, another way to make sure he gets them is to give him supplements. Fish oil supplements are a fantastic source of omega fats, and they come in pill or liquid form. Fish oil supplements are also great for his joints, organ function, nutrient absorption, and overall health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Because the Maltese doesn’t shed like most other dogs, owners usually have questions about his coat. So, here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to the Maltese and how best to manage his coat.

Does the Maltese shed a lot?

The answer is technically no because Malteses do not shed like other dogs. Instead, they lose their hair lightly throughout the year. We recommend grooming them with a pair of high-end dog clippers to keep their hair shedding to a minimum.

Why is my Maltese shedding?

If you think that your Maltese is losing more hair than he should be, or usually does, it’s a good idea to take him to the vet. Excessive hair loss can be a sign of an underlying health concern. Another sign that something is not right is if his skin is sore, or he is losing hair in patches.

How do I get rid of tangles?

Even if you stick to his daily grooming schedule, he will still get tangles. It is part of the Maltese course. Tease it out with your fingers first, as this will usually work. If it is more stubborn, use conditioning misting spray and gently use the brush to work it out. If this still isn’t working, you’ll need to snip it out to avoid it getting worse.

Final Thoughts

So, there you are, everything that you need to know about the Maltese and his low ‘shedding’ reputation. He does lose his hair, but unlike most dogs, he doesn’t shed seasonally or produce endless hairballs around the home. With thorough brushing, the right tools, and a good diet, he will look fabulous, and his few hair losses will be even less. The Maltese is an excellent option for those who aren’t a fan of too much doggy hair.

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