Maltese Curly Hair Care: Useful Tips And Dog Grooming Guide

The Maltese is a popular dog breed owned by many people worldwide. But not all of them know about the Maltese curly hair.

Maltese dogs are known for their silky long hair. However, there are cases where this breed is born with a curly hair. It can also get more curly over time. And there are a notable few reasons for this.

What are the key characteristics of the Maltese breed?

The Maltese got its name from the country of Malta, from where it gets its name. This dog’s breed history starts from many centuries ago. The breed was finally recognized by the AKC in 1888.

This is a small dog breed with a height of 7-9 inches and a weight of under 7 pounds. Its average lifespan is around 12-15 years. The usual coat of this dog is silky and long, usually coming in white color. Sometimes this white can be mixed with lemon or tan color. Black points can also appear on the eye rims, paws, nose, and lips at times.

The temperament of the Maltese makes it energetic and affectionate. While it is small, it is bold when dealing with other dogs.

Why do some Maltese dogs have curly hair?

The curly fur of Maltese dogs can be a result of a few things. One important factor is genetics. As Paw Print Genetics explains:

The Cu Locus (Curly hair) impacts hair curl as a result of a DNA variant in the KRT71 gene which produces a form of keratin, a major structural component of hair. The CuC variant of KRT71 prevents keratin from binding together in a regular pattern which alters the structure of the hair and results in a curly coat.

To make the coat curly, your Maltese should inherit this gene from both parents. If only one parent transfers it, the coat may end up looking wavy.

Humid environment

Another cause for the curly coat of the Maltese is the environment. If the air is too humid, the normally straight hair can start curling. This is because moist air has more water molecules that contain hydrogen. “When hydrogen bonds form between the proteins and water molecules in your hair, it will become curly and, potentially, frizzy.”, according to HowStuffWorks.

Mixing the breed

You should be careful when buying a purebred dog from breeders. Sometimes, you may end up getting a mixed curly-haired dog breed. And while a mix like the Malshipoo is a great option, it might not look like what you imagined. This can have a big impact on the look of the dog’s coat, making it curly rather than straight.

Grooming excessively

You can be the cause of having a curly-haired Maltese by not taking care of its coat properly. If you bathe the dog too often, you risk the coat changing texture and becoming curly. Using the wrong shampoo can have the same effect on your dog. This can also happen if you cut your dog’s hair too often or too short.

How can I care for a Maltese with curly hair?

A big problem for these dogs is that their long hair can easily entangle and cause knots. These can be very painful for the dog and serve as breeding grounds for bacteria and other parasites. So there are a few grooming tips for Maltese with curly hair you should follow if you want your dog to look its best.

Using the right instruments for grooming

Curly fur can be harder to maintain due to the fact it matts much easier. To prevent this matting, you should brush the coat daily, or every two days. Make sure to use a slicker brush and try to detangle any knots you find. You can also try detangling by using your fingers or a detangling spray. Then, you can use a metal comb and make the coat smoother.

If you use the comb first, you risk pulling at the mats, causing immense pain to the dog. This will associate the pain with grooming and the dog will act out aggressively whenever you decide to brush it. If you can’t detangle the coat in any other way, the last thing you can try is to use scissors and cut the hair.

Brushing in order

To make sure you are providing the best Maltese curly hair care, you need to follow a schedule of brushing. Always start brushing at the neck and start from the front toward the back. Brush carefully from the skin to the top of the coat and keep an eye out for any mats.

Once you are done with the body, you can move on to the areas around the eyes, mouth, and ears. Be careful not to point the scissors at the dog to avoid spooking or hurting it. Cut parallelly to the skin and try to calm the dog as much as possible. In the end, you can continue this action to the feet, and finally the rear. Check the anal glands for any changes while you are back. If you notice any swelling, No Scoot or Glandex can help with the problem.

Bathing appropriately

Caring for Maltese with curly fur means providing regular bathtimes. These dogs need to be bathed once every 4-6 weeks. Bathing too often can cause symptoms of overbathing. This happens because the natural oils of the coat are removed and the skin becomes dry. It can lead to the dog losing its fur and experiencing additional complications.

Make sure to use proper pet grooming products like dog shampoos. Human shampoos can contain substances that damage the dog’s skin. Using a dog conditioner will help to additionally moisturize the fur to prevent tangling.

While bathing, pay special attention to the areas around the eyes and mouth. These dogs often have discharge in these areas. The discharge makes the dog look dirty and can expose it to infection. This is why the areas should be wiped while bathing.

Additional advice

Another point when caring for a curly-coated Maltese is to watch out for the humidity. Keep your dog in a cool and air-conditioned place where it will not be exposed to such humid air. If you live in an area with high humidity, don’t let it spend too much time outdoors.

Providing proper nutrition to the dog is also essential. Make sure the diet is such that the dog gets all the vitamins needed to keep its coat healthy. Dogs can eat beef fat to get some healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Adding fish oil supplements is another important thing for shiny fur.

If you need help with grooming your pet, you can always get the dog to a professional groomer. They can give you advice on how to handle your dog’s coat.

A Maltese with curly hair

So what did you learn about Maltese curly hair?

These dogs are a popular choice for many dog owners. And its captivating personality and beautiful appearance traits prove why this is so. Even though most Malteses come with a long and silky coat, some differ from their counterparts by having curls in their fur.

The curly coat can be a result of a mutation. Sometimes, this mutation can happen because of crossbreeding, but it can also occur in purebreds. A moist environment can also be a cause of the phenomenon.

If you want the dog’s coat to stay clean and healthy, it’s essential you provide proper hair maintenance. This means brushing and bathing on time and using the right tools to do so. Otherwise, you risk damaging its skin and fur.


Are Maltese dogs hypoallergenic despite their curly coats?

Although no dog is considered to be truly hypoallergenic, these dogs are put into that category. This means that people prone to allergies can have them around and not experience any symptoms.

Can I trim my Maltese’s curly hair at home?

You can try cutting the Maltese curly hair yourself if you are careful enough. Make sure you use proper scissors and prepare the dog by bathing and brushing it first. Cut to the direction of the hair growth and try not to cause any injuries.

How can you tell if a Maltese is purebred?

Besides looking at the physical features and temperament of the dog, you should also ask the breeder for legal documents. Pedigree papers are documents that prove the lineage of a purebred dog. DNA testing is a scientific way to prove the breed of the dog.

More information on the Maltese

Here are a few other resources that offer more information about the popular Maltese.

You can find a lot more information on Maltese on our site Dogisa!

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