Published on: 03/21/2024, updated on: 03/21/2024

Maltese Cut and Hairstyle Guide: Top Looks & DIY Tips

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Are you tired of seeing your Maltese's beautiful white coat marred by unsightly tear stains and those pesky mats that seem to appear overnight?

As a fellow Maltese owner, I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to keep their silky hair looking its best. That's why I've put together this ultimate guide to Maltese grooming, featuring the top 10 Maltese haircuts, a step-by-step DIY puppy cut tutorial complete with photos, and expert tips straight from a professional groomer.

Say goodbye to grooming woes and hello to a fresh, fabulous Maltese!

What is a Maltese?

The Maltese is one of the world's most adored toy dog breeds, cherished for their silky white coats, playful, affectionate personalities, and compact size.

Adult Maltese typically weigh between 3-6 lbs and stand 8-9 inches tall at the shoulder. Known for their loyalty and long lifespan of 12-14 years on average, these pint-sized pups make wonderful lifelong companions.

As a Maltese owner, understanding the unique qualities of their coat is key to selecting the ideal haircut and keeping their hair healthy. Their single coat is long, straight, and silky, lacking an undercoat like some other breeds.

While this makes for a beautiful, flowing appearance, it also means their hair tangles easily and requires frequent grooming to maintain.

Maltese Grooming 101: Why Regular Trims are Non-Negotiable

Due to their fast-growing hair and propensity for matting, regular grooming is a must for Maltese.

Their pristine white coats also show tear stains more readily than other breeds, which can be unsightly if not managed properly.

Choosing the right Maltese haircut not only keeps your pup looking polished but also significantly reduces daily brushing time.

In my experience with my own Maltese, I've found that maintaining a consistent grooming routine is the best way to keep their coat healthy and tangle-free.

This includes:

  • Brushing their coat daily with a pin brush or slicker brush to prevent mats and distribute natural oils
  • Bathing every 1-2 weeks with a gentle tear-stain removing shampoo designed specifically for white Maltese coats
  • Trimming nails monthly to avoid overgrowth and discomfort, using the best dog nail clippers or a nail grinder
  • Cleaning ears weekly with a vet-approved ear cleaner to prevent wax buildup and infections
  • Scheduling professional grooming appointments every 4-8 weeks, depending on the desired cut

Top 10 Maltese Haircuts: From Practical Puppy Cuts to Stylish Show Trims

01. Puppy Cut

maltese short cut hairstyle

This low-maintenance trim is the most popular choice for Maltese owners.

The short, even length across the body makes it a breeze to brush and keeps your pup cool in hot weather.

Perfect for active dogs or those who prefer a fuss-free style.

02. Teddy Bear Trim

Teddy Bear Trim

A slightly longer variation of the puppy cut, the teddy bear trim features a rounded face and fluffy legs for an adorably cuddly look.

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Regular trims around the eyes and ears are necessary to maintain the style's signature shape and prevent tear stains on Maltese.

03. Lamb Cut

Lamb Cut

The lamb cut features a longer, fluffy trim that emphasizes the Maltese's cuddly appearance.

This style requires more frequent brushing and professional grooming to prevent matting, but the end result is a soft, huggable pup.

04. Westie Trim

Westie Trim

Borrowed from the West Highland White Terrier, this cut involves leaving the hair longer on the face and legs while trimming the body shorter with high-quality dog grooming scissors.

The result is a plush, teddy bear-like appearance with a terrier flair.

05. Maltese Bob

Maltese Bob Cut hairstyle

 Inspired by the classic human bob haircut, this style features a shorter body with longer hair on the legs and face.

The Maltese bob is a stylish compromise between the practical puppy cut and the more high-maintenance longer styles.

06. Topknot with Short Body

maltese top knot hairstyle

For owners who love the cute factor of a topknot but prefer a more manageable length, this cut pairs a short body trim with a longer, banded topknot.

Great for showing off your Maltese's expressive face while keeping the rest of their coat easy to maintain.

07. Show Cut

Maltese Medium Length Haircut

The longest and most glamorous of the Maltese haircuts, the show cut features flowing hair parted down the middle and cascading to the floor.

This high-maintenance style requires daily brushing and regular trimming to keep the hair from becoming tangled or dirty.

08. Shaved Cut

maltese shaved cut hairstyle

While not a traditional Maltese cut, the shaved style is the ultimate in low-maintenance grooming.

This cut involves clipping the hair very short across the entire body, ears, and tail using the best dog grooming clippers.

It's a practical solution for Maltese with severely matted coats or those living in hot climates.

09. Practical Top Knot

maltese top knot hairstyle

A variation on the classic topknot style, this cut features a shorter, more practical length on the body while still allowing for a cute banded topknot.

Perfect for owners who want a balance of style and manageability.

10. Round Face

Round Face

This cut emphasizes the Maltese's big, expressive eyes and baby-doll appearance by trimming the hair on the face into a rounded shape.

The body can be left longer or trimmed into a puppy cut, depending on the owner's preference.

At-Home Grooming: Step-by-Step Maltese Puppy Cut Tutorial

When I first got my Maltese, Bella, I was hesitant to try cutting her hair myself. But with patience and practice, I've mastered the art of the puppy cut! Here's how you can achieve this low-maintenance look at home:

Tools You'll Need:

  • High-quality clippers with a #10 blade
  • Thinning shears for blending
  • Steel comb
  • Slicker brush
  • Maltese-specific tear-stain removing whitening shampoo and conditioner

Step 1: Bathing and Brushing
Begin by giving your Maltese a thorough bath using the tear-stain removing shampoo and conditioner formulated for their delicate white coat. Rinse completely and gently pat their coat dry with a towel. Once your pup is dry, use a slicker brush or steel comb to carefully remove any tangles or mats, taking care not to pull or tug on the hair.

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Step 2: Body Trimming Using your best dog grooming clippers with a #10 blade, start at the back of the neck and work your way down the body, following the direction of hair growth. Trim the hair to your desired length, typically between 1/2 to 1 inch for a puppy cut. Be sure to move the clippers slowly and steadily to avoid any nicks or cuts.

Step 3: Leg Trimming For the legs, use your steel comb to gently pull the hair away from the body and trim it to the same length as the body. This will create a smooth, blended appearance. Take extra care around the delicate paw pads and toes.

Step 4: Face and Ear Trimming Carefully trim around the face, ears, and paws using your thinning shears. This will soften any harsh lines left by the clippers and give your Maltese a polished look. Be extra cautious around the eyes and ears to avoid causing any discomfort or injury.

Step 5: Final Touches Finally, use your scissors to trim any stray hairs and create a neat, finished appearance. Give your Maltese a final once-over with the slicker brush to ensure an even, polished result.

Remember, the key to a successful at-home puppy cut is taking your time and being patient. If you encounter any uneven spots or missed patches, simply use your thinning shears to gently blend the hair until you achieve a smooth result. Don't forget to give your pup plenty of breaks and positive reinforcement throughout the process!

Before and After

Before and After

Ask a Groomer: Maltese FAQs with Sarah Johnson

To get answers to some of the most common Maltese grooming questions, I interviewed Sarah Johnson, a certified groomer with 12 years of experience working with toy breeds like Maltese.

How often should I take my Maltese dog to the groomer?

The frequency of professional grooming largely depends on the style of cut you prefer. For puppies or adult dogs in a shorter trim like a puppy cut, every 6-8 weeks is usually sufficient to maintain the style. However, if you keep your Maltese in a longer cut, you'll likely need to schedule grooming appointments every 4 weeks to prevent matting and keep the hair looking neat.

What's the best age for a Maltese puppy's first haircut?

I recommend scheduling a Maltese puppy's first haircut around 12-14 weeks old, or after they've received their second round of vaccinations. This allows them to get used to the grooming process while their coat is still relatively short and easy to manage. Starting early helps prevent fear or anxiety around grooming later in life.

Help! My Maltese puppy had a grooming accident and now has some uneven patches. What cut would you recommend while it grows out?

Is it okay to shave my Maltese dog in the summer to keep them cool?

While it may be tempting to shave your Maltese during hot weather, it's generally not recommended. Their coat actually helps to insulate them from heat and protects their delicate skin from sunburn. A better option is to trim them into a short puppy cut, which will keep them cool and comfortable without compromising their natural cooling abilities.

What's the best Maltese haircut for dogs that hate being groomed?

If your Maltese isn't a fan of grooming, a short puppy trim is usually the most comfortable and stress-free option. This cut involves trimming the hair to a uniform length across the body, ears, and tail, which means less time spent on the grooming table and fewer opportunities for tangles or mats to develop. You can also pair the short cut with positive reinforcement techniques, like treats and praise, to help your pup learn to enjoy the grooming process.

More Maltese Grooming Tips

Maltese dog grooming. Haircut dog. Helping animals.

In addition to regular haircuts and daily brushing, there are a few more grooming tasks that Maltese owners should keep in mind:

  • Brush your Maltese's teeth at least 2-3 times per week with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and dog-friendly toothpaste to prevent dental issues and bad breath.
  • Check your pup's ears weekly for signs of wax buildup, redness, or odor. Clean them gently with a cotton ball dampened with a vet-recommended ear cleaner.
  • Trim your Maltese's nails every 2-4 weeks, or as needed, to prevent overgrowth and discomfort. If you're uncomfortable doing this yourself, your groomer or vet can easily take care of it during regular appointments.
  • Bathe your Maltese using a tear-stain removing whitening shampoo specifically designed for their delicate white coat. Avoid using human shampoos, which can be too harsh and strip the natural oils from their hair.

Keep an eye out for these warning signs that your Maltese may need a trip to the groomer:

  • Visible mats or tangles in the coat
  • Dull, yellowing hair that has lost its bright white appearance
  • Overgrown hair around the eyes, ears, or paws
  • Nails that are clicking on the floor or curling under
  • Persistent tear stains that are not responding to at-home cleaning

Catching these issues early can help prevent more serious coat problems and keep your Maltese looking and feeling their best!


With the right haircut, tools, and a consistent grooming routine, you can keep your Maltese looking and feeling their absolute best. By taking the time to learn about proper coat care, exploring different cut options, and finding a grooming schedule that works for you and your pup, you'll be well on your way to becoming a confident Maltese grooming expert!

Remember, the key to success is patience, practice, and plenty of positive reinforcement. Don't be afraid to experiment with different styles until you find the one that suits your Maltese's unique personality and your lifestyle.

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