It’s surprising how many people are allergic to dog hair. If you’re one of those people but still want a dog, you’ll be searching for dogs that don’t shed. One dog you may have come across is the Maltese, and you’re now researching the answer to the question, do Maltese shed?
Before we answer that question in-depth, can I say this to you? All dogs shed, some a great deal and some just a tiny amount. Even a hairless dog will shed. He will not shed hair, but he will shed the one thing that allergy sufferers need to be wary of, and that’s pet dander. What’s pet dander, and why is it essential to know this information if you are an allergy sufferer.
What Is Pet Dander, And Does A Maltese Have It?
Pet dander is tiny pieces or flakes of skin shed by dogs. All animals and birds shed it, but we want to focus only on dogs. So, yes, Maltese do have pet dander. These small flakes of skin are not visible to the naked eye, but every time a dog shakes or scratches himself, the microscopic particles fly off into the air. As they say, what goes up must come down, and so does dander, to settle on your soft furnishings, carpets, beds, etc.
Most people are unaffected by these tiny pieces of skin, but other people react and are allergic to these triggers.
It’s not only allergens from the dog’s skin that can cause allergic reactions. Some people can be allergic to the proteins found in the saliva, urine, and feces of individual animals, a dog being one. The most common protein in dogs causing these allergies is Can f 2. When a dog licks himself, the saliva will dry on his fur. Once dry, it can become airborne, and along comes an allergy sufferer and breathes in this dried airborne saliva giving themselves an allergic reaction. Similarly, dust from a dog’s feces can also be airborne, with the same result.
Dogs with fur will carry allergens not specific to dander, such as dust; strangely, the coat is not usually the allergy trigger. Because of this, short-hair or hairless dogs do create problems for allergy sufferers. They are just as bad as long-hair dogs for the allergy sufferer.
Is A Maltese Dog Hypoallergenic?
To emphasize the point, dogs cannot be non-allergenic. Even though the Maltese only has one coat (no undercoat) and he will shed less than most other breeds, he will not be hypoallergenic.
The advantage of being the pet parent to a Maltese is you won’t find masses of his hair over your furniture, carpets, and wherever else he goes. Of course, being such a small dog means you won’t see anywhere near as much of his coat lying around your home, anyway.
As we mentioned, a Maltese has a single coat, and his coat is hair, not fur. Dogs having two coats have an undercoat, which does most of the shedding; a coat of this type is the main reason people see a Maltese as hypoallergenic. Dogs having double coats usually shed twice a year, once in spring and once more in fall, to accommodate the weather changes. So even though they always shed, the most shedding occurs in those two times of the year.
Why, if he doesn’t have an undercoat, do we say the Maltese sheds? Well, you lose some of your hair all year round, yes? It’s the same with a Maltese. When hair dies or becomes damaged, it drops to make way for new hair growth. There’s no specific time of the year for this to happen; only when a hair dies or is damaged does it fall out.
You won’t notice a lot of hair on your soft furnishings, bed, or anywhere else around the home from a Maltese. Lack of hair loss is one reason that people with allergies choose the Maltese dog. When it does fall, his hair tends to get caught up in his other hair, and only when you brush him do you see any substantial amounts of hair.
However, you will still see some small tufts on your furniture occasionally. The Maltese coat needs brushing every day if you like his coat in its best condition. It also helps make a Maltese feel more comfortable when he’s brushed.
Maltese Hair Care
If you keep his hair very long, then he will pick up all kinds of dirt, debris, and rubbish, his coat will act as a magnet, and you’ll find yourself brushing him every time you take him for a walk. And of course, he has a white coat, so if it’s wet and muddy out, well, let’s say you have your work cut out.
Also, Maltese hair has a very fine texture; the more so, the longer you keep it. Because of this, it will matt and tangle easily if you don’t brush it out every day. The other alternative is to keep his hair short in the puppy-cut. Depending on how you like your Maltese to look, this can be an attractive alternative and collect a lot less dirt and debris.
No undercoat means less protection to his skin. So choose a brush wisely. If it’s too harsh, you will scratch and make his skin inflamed. A pin-head brush will do the trick, and he needs a gentle brushing. If you leave his hair too long and it matts, you will have a terrible job getting them out without hurting your Maltese.
Don’t bathe your Maltese too often. It will dry out his skin and potentially give him allergies. They don’t have that doggy smell about them, so it’s not difficult to allow them to go a month between baths.
Do Maltese shed? Yes, they do, but nowhere near as much as many other breeds. Are you allergic to dogs? If so, you might still be allergic to a Maltese. But a Maltese is a small dog and doesn’t lose his hair during spring and fall, so there’s no significant hair fall. So a little hair drop might help you to control your allergies more favorably.
If you brush his hair every day, you will eliminate dirt, debris, and tangles from his hair. Brushing will also help remove other potential allergens he may have in his coat.
As a kid, I grew up with lots of dogs in my family. My earliest recollection was a Labrador mix called Bruce, and I must have only been about three years old.
When I was around seven, we began to move around frequently, so having a dog was very difficult until we adopted a baby long-haired Dachshund. I was thirteen by then. We called him Pepe; I have no idea why; all I can say was it wasn’t my idea. But he did seem to grow into the name.
I’ve personally been the parent of a Great Dane called Lady, a French Bulldog we called Spike. I have also had the privilege of being the parent of one of the gorgeous cats on the planet; a British Blue Shorthair called Ellie. Right now, we have an amazing little Havanese in our family; we call Biscuit; he’s four years old.
I pride myself on being the very best dog-parent I can be. I refuse to bring a dog into my life without investing as much time as possible to understand that dog’s particular needs. Every dog I have parented has been an experience, and they are all different with incredible personalities.
To understand dogs as much as possible, I have taken several courses regarding dog care and training. The most recent course is The Truth About Cats And Dogs, offered by The University Of Edinburgh.
My dogs and cat have been the funniest and most unique animals I have ever been privileged to spend my life with. They can teach human beings so much if we take the time to watch and listen to them. My ambition is to share what I have learned with other passionate dog lovers.
I am obsessed with writing and researching everything I can about dog health, care, psychology, and finding the best dog products available to help ensure a dog’s life is as happy and contented as possible.