On the other hand, most Maltese placed as pets quite simply do NOT have hair with the silk component that resists tangling and matting and is actually somewhat impervious to wear. Instead, the coat is has more of a "cottony" component to it. A silk coat will feel quite cool to the touch as it does NOT tend to conduct heat (from the dog's body) where a cottony coat, although it will often be blinding white in color will feel warm to the touch and will always exhibit a somewhat "dry" feel to it. Invariably, the coat quality on the dindquarters and rear end is not as good as what comes off of the shoulders. We've found this especially true in certain "bloodlines". Also, sice the rear gets dirty quicker, it may simply be its been washed a lot more - perhaps with a harsh shampoo or not conditioned well ]after washing.
If you have a "good" coat, and you keep it groomed - clean and brushed - and wash it no more often than once a week (less is better if it stays clean) and you can't get length - I'd bet on a cottony coat - either that or the dog is extremely ancive and is chewed on by another dog or has its coat broken off from "rolling" on a carpeted floor. A carpet is a Maltese coat's worst enemy.
I hope I've helped. It's hard to answer this without asking more questions.
Good luck. Let me know if there is anything else.
Larry Stanberry - Divine Maltese