Maltese are beautiful little dogs loved worldwide, and it’s not hard to see why. They are full of personality, and their sweet, friendly, cuddly, and loyal nature makes them excellent companions. Thanks to their small size and calmness, they make great apartment dogs, while their playfulness means they are suitable for families with children.
But before you bring any dog breed into your home, a legitimate question you should be asking is what are their shedding levels? This will determine their grooming needs and your cleaning levels. This issue is even more important to people with allergies. It could mean the difference between a happy and healthy household and having to suffer itchiness, runny nose, shortness of breath, and many more allergy symptoms.
So, do Maltese shed? All dogs shed to a certain degree, and the Maltese are no exception. The good news is they are extremely low shedders. But this doesn’t mean they don’t need grooming. These dogs have long, silky, straight coats that require proper care to prevent mats and stay healthy.
The Maltese coat is his most distinctive feature. In fact, its shedding tendencies are often compared to that of humans. But their white, long coat does require more effort to groom than the average pup. So, it’s kind of a trade-off in that respect.
Due to sanitary concerns or the possibility of allergic reactions, it’s important to understand a particular breed’s shedding before bringing them home. And today, I’m going to let you into all of the Maltese’s shedding secrets, including how much they shed, why and when they shed, tips on how to manage their shedding, and so on. So, let’s jump in!
How Much Do Maltese Shed?
You’d expect these dogs to shed a lot, given their long coats that hang down to the floor. But surprisingly, this is one of the lowest shedding breeds, along with the Poodle and Bichon Frise. But why do Maltese shed very little? For starters, they are single-coated. And with a single layer of fur, they have less fur to shed and don’t blow their coat as double-coated seasonal shedders do. Secondly, this breed’s hair growth cycle is slower than most breeds. This basically means their fur takes longer to grow, die and fall out, which is another reason for their long coats. Lastly, they are tiny dogs. While this doesn’t impact their shedding levels, small dogs only have so much fur to lose. So, the shedding of a small breed will always be lesser and more manageable than larger dogs that shed at the same rate.
Why Do Maltese Shed?
Like all dogs, the Maltese sheds to get rid of loose, dead hairs and regrow new, healthy, and stronger hairs. Fur is essential to your dog; it protects them from environmental elements such as the sun, cold temperatures, and rough terrain. Typically, when the hairs on your doggy stop growing or get damaged, it falls out to allow for new growth.
Aside from the natural hair growth cycle that eventually causes shedding in all dogs, your Maltese could also be shedding due to an underlying problem. With their hardly ever shedding tendencies, it’s quite easy to notice any abnormal shedding, in which case you should see the vet.
Shedding Seasons and Frequency
When do Maltese shed? These dogs lose hair lightly throughout the year. Owners note that when they groom their pooch, the brush is full of fur. This means that one will hardly see their Maltese fur on the floor, furniture, clothes, beddings, and anywhere else the dog visits if they regularly brush them.
You may notice a bit more shedding when temperatures start to rise. Dogs will retain as much fur during winter to help them stay warm, but they shed off that heavy winter jacket during springtime to keep cool in hot weather. Although seasonal shedding is more common with double-coated dogs, you will notice an increase in shedding in single-coated breeds like the Maltese. Keep in mind that this will depend on an individual dog and other contributing factors such as light and temperature, grooming, diet, etc.
As you research how Maltese shed, you may come across some owners complaining that their pooch is losing a lot of furs. Or, maybe you’ve noticed that with your Maltese. There are several reasons why your Maltese could be shedding more than they should. And the first one is if they’re overly stressed out. This could result from separation anxiety, loss of a loved one, the introduction of a new pet, etc. The good news is you can prevent or eliminate stress by playing with your pup, exercising them, and spending as much time with them as possible.
Another cause of unhealthy shedding is a poor diet. Do you know the saying, “You are what you eat?” The same applies to canines. Lack of certain nutrients could lead to a weak, unhealthy hair follicle that falls off all the time. Other causes of unhealthy shedding include allergies, skin infections, parasites, or even a sign of cancer. Take your Maltese to the vest as soon as possible if you’re concerned about their unusual shedding.
What Type of Coat Does a Maltese Have?
To understand Maltese shedding and why they shed the way they do, you have to understand the type of coats they have. They have a single coat, which means one layer of fur, unlike double-coated breeds with two layers of fur. The hair on the Maltese is a lot like what we humans have. Because they lack the underlayer that holds dander and sheds very little, they are often considered hypoallergenic.
These dogs are known for their gorgeous, long hair, which gives them a distinctive appearance. And while they are low shedders, their silky, pure white coats still need regular grooming to stay neat and healthy.
How to Manage and Reduce Maltese Shedding?
Just because the Maltese don’t shed doesn’t mean you don’t groom them. There are two main reasons you may want to manage even the little fur that this dog produces, and the first one is sanitary and convenience purposes. You don’t want your house covered in fur, and the Maltese’s long fur can be that problematic. Managing shedding will also reduce or prevent the risk of pet allergies. Here are a few simple strategies for reducing and managing this breed’s shedding:
Brushing is the easiest and best way to manage and reduce shedding. It allows you to capture loose and dead hairs before they get a chance to drop on your floors and furniture during shedding. Additionally, dogs have natural oils that come from their skin, and brushing helps spread these oils throughout the hair to make it look healthier and shinier. Healthy coats will only be shed when necessary.
Despite being a low shedder, the Maltese are very high maintenance than the average pup. Their long coat will need daily brushing to remove dirt and debris and prevent tangling and matting. Getting the right tools for the job is essential for an effective grooming session. Most owners recommend using a pin brush because they have polished stainless steel tips, perfect for long-haired single-coated dogs like the Maltese.
The Maltese’s long hair can grow to the floor, and some owners choose to trim their hairs. This can help prevent matting, dirt, and debris. Note that I said trimming and not shaving. Your Maltese needs its hairs to protect him from the elements; plus, their fur may never grow back as before if you shave them. Consider taking your pup to a professional groomer.
As mentioned earlier, one of the leading causes of unhealthy shedding is a poor diet. On the bright side, this is a simple cause to rectify. All you need to do is offer your pup high-quality food and a balanced diet. This will ensure your canine’s overall health, including skin and coat. One important nutrient that encourages the growth of healthy coats is omega fatty acids. You can find this in foods such as fish, fish oils, flaxseeds, salmon, and egg products. Your dog’s food should also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. Those known to benefit the coat and skin are biotin, folic acid, and vitamin E. Lastly, don’t forget to provide clean fresh water. Dehydration causes dry, irritated skin that sheds easily and a lot.
Bathing your Maltese keeps them clean and removes loose fur before it falls off during shedding. This doesn’t mean you bathe your pup now and then; once a month should be enough. Overbathing your canine will strip off its natural oils, leaving the skin dry and itchy, leading to shedding. Using the right shampoo can make all the difference to his skin and fur health. I would recommend a skin-sensitive dog shampoo made of natural ingredients. Some owners choose whitening shampoos to maintain the dog’s white fur, especially if their pup is a show dog. If that’s the case, find a high-quality shampoo that doesn’t have harsh bleaching chemicals.
I said earlier that your Maltese needs a high-quality diet to stay healthy and minimize shedding. But if for some reason you cannot change his diet or they are unable to get the necessary nutrients from their current diet, you can use supplements. For instance, fish oil supplements are a great source of omega fatty acids that are known to encourage healthy hairs. Be sure to consult with your vet before making any diet changes for your pooch.
Are Maltese Hypoallergenic?
According to the American Kennel Club, the Maltese are classified as a hypoallergenic breed. This is thanks to their low shedding tendencies. Contrary to popular belief, what causes pet allergies isn’t the hairs themselves but a protein found in the animal’s saliva, urine, and dander. These things attach to the animal’s fur and are released into the environment during shedding. This is why low-shedding breeds like the Maltese are considered hypoallergenic; they release fewer allergens into the environment, thus becoming less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Note that I said less likely to cause allergies. Hypoallergenic dogs still produce allergens, just that they are very few, making them more allergy-friendly. With that in mind, getting a Maltese is a great first step but not a guarantee that your allergies won’t bother you. You can further reduce allergens by regularly grooming and bathing your Maltese. This will allow you to capture fur and dander and collect them in one place before they get a chance to spread all over the house. Secondly, use a powerful vacuum cleaner and HEPA air filter to remove any allergens floating in your home. You also want to avoid sleeping with your dog. Lastly, consult your doctor on the best allergy medication to manage symptoms.