Pawsitively Humane

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Rebel, Shag or Puppy Cut?

“It’s all about the hair and accessories”.  Words of a true fashionista. But in this scenario we’re talking about a dog. You’ve probably seen the Maltese (a small white dog) with various dog haircuts-long hair, short hair, swooshy hair, top knots and bows.  So which dog haircut is right for your Maltese? It all depends on the time or money you’re willing to invest in regular grooming.

The Puppy Cut
If time and money are in tight supply, then stick to the puppy haircut.  As the name suggests, your Maltese’s hair is kept short and clean cut, like a brand new puppy.  No daily brushing is required. You can still get creative and do some styling like the Lion's cut, along with a polka dot dress. Stylish, easy maintenance and oh so cute!

The Rebel Look
The Maltese do not molt and shed clumps of hair like other dogs. But their hair grows fast. Three weeks beyond the puppy cut and that wavy hair grows like weeds. It’s not long enough to keep it straight, but at a length that requires daily grooming. Otherwise the fur starts to mat and next thing you know, someone mistakens your unkempt Maltese for a stray dog—horrors!

The Shag
Despite the 70’s connotation, this dog haircut is a head-turner and the style that captivates in dog shows and graces the covers of dog magazines.  If you enjoy primping and styling your own hair, chances are you’ll spend as much time grooming your Maltese.  If you choose this style, start at an early age. Young dogs will grow accustom to sitting still while you tilt their head, extend their paw and clip between their pads, etc. A fidgety dog risks getting cut by those clippers or shears. 

The shag is a long cascading fur that swooshes like a flapper’s dress. This dog haircut requires daily maintenance. The first commandment to keep the hair pristine white, “thou shall never step on a dirty floor”.  In the morning, the dogs briefly go outside to a dry yard with thick grass or mulch to minimize the risk of soiling their coat.  After morning bathroom duty, the Maltese should be combed not brushed with mink oil, the top knot redone, and eye area cleaned. Then every two weeks the routine should consist of clipping the belly and backside, a sanitary cut, rounding out the feet, plucking the ears and cleaning them (did you know hair grows inside the ears and can be plucked without pain?) and bathing the dog. The blow-drying takes 90 minutes and should be done in layers. 

Below is a helpful DVD and handbook that will guide you with acquiring the right type of clippers, the number blade, eye cleaner and other tools and the how-to’s for trimming the fur. Only $29.95.

Remember, practice makes perfect and your Maltese will be a show stopper!


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