Archived Message
Grooming - cuts

by Mary Ann

I would appreciate some information on how to better communicate with a groomer. We are trying to ask for a longish puppy cut but every time our ten mo. old female gets groomed, the body always comes out very short - like less than 3/4". The groomer suggested a "teddybear cut" when I asked that the body hair be left longer than when they did a "puppy cut". That resulted in longer hair on the legs but still a very short body. Is there something about the Maltese hair that I am not understanding? Is it either long or done short with a clipper and I shouldn't expect any inbetween or is there some way I can better communicate what I want done? Thanks for any advice you can provide.


Just tell the groomer exactly how long you want it cut. I usually have the trimmed to about 1 1/2 inches.
-Carol Armstrong

I understand your problem. My regular groomer has been booked up for awhile so I had to go to another. They did a terrible job. It was at a pet supply that has a grooming shop in it. When she came out, she was still a mess. I took her back for them to do over (she had a couple mats) and they did but I will now make appointments regularly with my groomer. She cuts the under body and legs shorter so she doesn't pick up stuff when outside but the top of her back and head are left quite long so she has long hair appearance. The very first time I took her to this particular lady she knew exactly what I meant so I assume it just depends on the individual groomer.
-Sandy in Michigan

I had the same problem. Our regular groomer was booked up & she was a matted up mess so took her to another place. I agreed to a "puppy cut" and they shaved all but the top of her head and her tail -- what an ugly rat she was then! I now wait for the regular groomer so as not to ever have to go through that embarrassment again!

I would first change groomers. I used to work for a really good one. Let me know if your in the North. Calif.area and I'll give you her name. Anyway, it sounds like they're using a clipper on her body and scissoring her legs. You should tell them you want the body scissored as well, then tell them how long. Scissor cut can be more expensive, because they take longer to do. A puppy cut usually means to the skin, so avoid that word at your groomers. And the longest cut you can get from a clipper is usually 3/4" long! Otherwise, you must use shears. Hope it works out:-)

Who would think grooming a full-bred dog would be so difficult! After all I always think, they KNOW what a maltese should look like. That said, I never get quite the pup I picture back from the groomer's either. I did try the PetSmart groomer on two occasions and Lucy came home looking quite adorable, just what I wanted. However, whatever they used to spray her following grooming resulted in mats EVERYWHERE within a day or two.

The groomer I now use told me that if she uses clippers on Lucy (cheaper) we get the "crewcut" and for longer hair we need to use scissors. But she wants me to tell her how long this hair should be and 1/2 an inch and an inch doesn't compute into how Lucy's hair comes out in my mind. She grooms several other people's Malteses and they look like REAL maltese. Lucy still never makes it out quite like that, but we are getting closes. I think you need to figure about 3 haircuts to get going in a good direction. I suppose this isn't much different than changing stylists for your own hair, but then no one has a picture of how I am supposed to look. I know it can be frustrating, but find someone who will listen to you and keep explaining your vision until you get it nailed. Good luck. We're still trying this method!
-cathy brown

I know what you are saying. I got so fed up with Groomers I've learned how to do it myself. I must be doing a good job because people ask me where I take the girls and want their name to take their dogs there. I always say, sorry, I'm not licensed to do other dogs. I have to keep KoKo short because she is curly and hates to be worked on when she matts, and she always matts if I try and let her get long. However, her face and top knot are long and she has a perfect Maltese face. Shayna, on the other hand, has a beautiful silky coat and is an angel on the grooming table. I keep them both trimmed on a daily basis. If I see somethings that needs attention I take care of it. In the morning they both look neater and more managed than I am. Almost ready to show. HA! HA! Once they start playing they look like pets again It is not hard to learn if your dog likes working with you, just try a little at a time.. You will be surprised how it will extend the time between visit to a groomer. And you'll have more money to spend on their toys.

The cut I got this last ime really works well for me. It sort of looks like a cocker spaniel with a long tail. The body is scissored short tapering into the sides which are long. The legs were left with hair about 2-3" long. The neck is short, and hair tapers into the chest which is long. The face is trimmed sort of round, with ears left long. I find I do not have to brush my dog as often as I had to when he had long hair all over. Good Luck.

Patti, I would love to see a picture of the way you do your maltese. I do my male maltese all the time myself. He is very "non-standard". Scruffy weighs over 10 llbs and his ears look like a helicopter. But I keep him in a cut that is almost like a miniature schnauzer and he is adorable. My little female (10 mos old named Gabby) is another story. Her breeding is excellent but she tear stains terribly while her coat is what a breeder dies for. However, for everyday life, I'm going nuts. She has to be TOTALLY groomed DAILY or she is totally matted. I've taken her to a professional groomer just once and they literally SHAVED her forhead just above the stop!! It's still growing out. I'm trying to learn how to do top knots but not having much luck. Can't decide whether to just give up on leaving her coat long. HELP!!!!

Poor little Touquet had a visit to the groomer about 10 days ago. When he went in, he had a silky coat approximately 5 inches long (no mats). I thought it might be a good idea to have it cut a little shorter for the summer, since he loves to play in the parks and roll around. When I picked him up, his body had been shaved to less than one inch!!! He looked like a poodle, and the poor little dog was humiliated (really -- you should have seen his expression!). Usually this same groomer does a wonderful job -- scissor trim all the way. I am now trying to learn how to do it myself.

After several traumatic visits to various groomers, I stumbled across the products "Relief" dog shampoo and conditioner at my vet's. My Maltese was impossible for me to groom myself, but the groomers always shaved her down so short she looked ridiculous, no matter what I requested. Now I bathe Lily myself, and brush and blow-dry her hair at the same time. Five minutes a day with a metal comb and pin brush and we have said good-bye to mats. She actually enjoys being brushed now. It is hard for me to believe that one product made this difference, but it was torture for both of us before. Now I trim her myself, just the feet and tummy, and the rest is very long, almost to the floor. I bathe her about every 10-14 days. I also trim her moustache short, so it doesn't collect food juices, although I know this is a show no-no. I dont't care, I just love her to pieces! Good luck.
-Pam McKinney

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