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I have been asked
many times about how to 'clip" down a Maltese. All of my dogs
are kept in a similar clipped down cut after their show career is
over......I call it their poodle disguise.
Below is a step by step illustrated version done by the late,
Maltese breeder, Marjorie Martin, who was very well known
for her gorgeous Maltese.
How about a Maltese Shortcut ?
from Maltese Tales
September - October, 1983 issue
by: Marjorie Martin
All Maltese would look best in special coat, of course. But
sooner or later, for reasons such as health, comfort,
grooming, and time, most Maltese Champions, broods, studs,
pampered pets and those on the other side of the hill are
wearing cut hair. And what sorry cuts many Maltese get!
Well-meaning owners give them a "hack-in-the-dark" and
groomers do them out like misfit Schnauzers and Poodles.
Maltese deserve their own haircut. It should be attractive.
After all, cut Maltese are often the ones who "sell" puppies
and stud service, greet visitors at the door and go visiting
with you. And since cut hair is essentially an everyday
outfit for the Maltese, it should be simple to do and easy
I've tried a lot of trims and variations and have found one
cut that I think is most practical and complimentary. I call
it the "Maltese Shortcut." It takes no special skills and
little time to do. It's a snip to maintain and grows out
nicely. Scissors, comb, clippers, and three blades (sizes
5,10, and 5/8), then ten short steps and your Maltese has a
Chanel, fresh out of her show coat, has such super thick
hair that she looks pretty sharp in her shortcut, especially
wearing a rhinestone bracelet. Actually, she gets more
attention now on walks than she did in oily wrappers!
Heidi was just in for a bath and touchup. Her shortcut is
two months old and is quickly growing into a puppy cut.
1. Comb the
hair on top of the dog's head back and cut off at the
top of the neck between the ears.
2. Shave the
back and sides of the neck and body with the # 5 blade.
To keep the topline as short as possible, do not shave
even a smidgen onto the tail. Make the arch high above
each leg for a long-leg look.
3. Part the
head hair in the middle and comb down on either side.
Cut a line between the ears and eyes on both sides of
4. With a #
10 blade, shave the sides of the head, the front of the
neck, underside and rear end. Shave also the inside of
each leg down a couple inches from the body to eliminate
5. Shave a
small area between and under the eyes using the # 5/8
blade. This gives a "deep stop" look and eliminates most
tear stain. DO NOT shave the muzzle all the way to the
end of the nose to avoid a pointy profile.
hair on the top of the head into a "mushroom cap"
effect. If the hair is thick and will stand, leave it a
little longer (unless the head is large), for a more
babydoll look. A little longer toward the back is
generally most attractive.
7. Part the
muzzle hair and comb down and forward on both sides.
Trim along the sides straight out so hair is about 3/4
inch at the end of the muzzle and round off toward the
nose. Comb the beard down and scissor to match the
mustache with a point at the chin. Make sure you get
those long hairs stuck in the dog's mouth.
8. Comb ears
down and cut the ear hair off in a bobb-even with the
beard or longer if the hair is suitable. If the ears are
matted or to minimize grooming, hold the ears out and
cut the hair off, about 1/2 inch from the ear edges. The
shorter ear cut makes the neck appear longer and accents
9. Hold the
tail straight out back, comb all the hair down and cut
about two inches long. A little shorter at both ends, so
when it is curled over the back it looks like a pompom.
A sparse haired tail looks better cut shorter. A low
tail set may appear higher with the hair cut quite short
near the body. If the tail does not go up and over at
all, make certain that all the photographs are taken
from the front.
10. Scissor the hair on each leg gradually getting
longer from the shaved areas to make the legs look as
straight as possible. Leave the leg hair about 1 1/2
inches long if it is thick and not a grooming problem.
Cut the nails short and trim the hair off the bottom of
each foot and scissor around the edges to minimize the
foot. Do not shave the toes.
Well, that's my Maltese Shortcut. I think you will be
pleasantly surprised at how easy it is and how good your
Maltese looks in it. (If your Maltese's hair is quite long
or very snarly, you might not get the perfect fit the first
time, but it should be close.) I tie satin ribbons around
the necks of customers Maltese. My owners Maltese wear fancy
collars and name tags regularly and, when we go out,
rhinestone people bracelets or flowers. Shortcut Maltese
look cute in sweaters too. Dressing up is not a Poodle's
prerogative, you know!
With the shortcut, your Maltese can
always be neat, clean and attractive with very little
effort. Just fluff his mustache and comb his ears and tail
once in a while. If he is a superstud, you might have to
spot-wash his rear leg or two! When he does need a bath, it
takes only a few minutes. Once a month, do a touchup.
his toenails and scissor the hair off the bottoms and edges
of his feet.
2. With # 5/8 blade shave a circle ON THE BODY around the
base of the tail to keep the body short and the tail high.
3. Unless you are going to grow coat, trim area between and
under the eyes to keep the deep-stop look and avoid eye
After two or three months, since the hair on the body grows
fastest, your Maltese will look like he has a "puppy cut"
with generous ears and tail. After four to six months, when
your Maltese's hair becomes a grooming problem, repeat the
Thus, with two or three shortcuts a year and a few touchup
minutes, your Maltese is always presentable to show off your
line's disposition and structure -- or just to show off!
Now, don't you and your shortcut Maltese have more fun?
Perhaps one day a Schnauzer or Poodle will ask his groomer
to do him out in a Maltese Shortcut!
Below are pictures of a couple of my cut-down Maltese.
first is a picture of Vanity (of course) after her very
first haircut. You will notice that for her, I took
her hair off of her ears. I didn't particularly like that
look. Eventually, I ended up with keeping her face shaved
like a poodle (she has always had allergies) and leaving
hair on her ears.
second picture is of Image (Vanity's grand-daughter)
after her first haircut. By this time in my
grooming experience I had started doing a little schnauzer
mustache on the muzzle with the scissored short topknot and
the body clipped very short with a 10 blade.