Maltese With Curly Hair: Is it Normal + Why it Happens

Maltese dogs are known for their adorable looks and charming personalities, and their luxurious white coats are a big part of their appeal.

However, many people may wonder can Maltese have curly hair, and if so, what causes it and how to care for it. In this article, we’ll look closely at Maltese with curly hair and answer some common questions about this unique trait.

What kind of hair is a Maltese supposed to have?

maltese with curly hair

A Maltese should have wavy or straight hair. Curls are not part of the breed standard. They should have white hair.

Any suggestion of kinkiness, curliness, or woolly texture is objectionable. Color, pure white…

per AKC Maltese breed standard

What Causes Curly Hair in Maltese Dogs?

Maltese dogs are known for their long, flowing coats that require regular grooming to keep them looking their best. However, some Maltese may develop curly hair, which can surprise their owners. So what causes curly hair in Maltese dogs?


There are a few different factors that can contribute to curly hair in Maltese dogs. One possible cause is genetics. Like people, dogs inherit certain traits from their parents, and some Maltese may carry genes that cause their hair to be curly or wavy.

Fur Texture

Another factor that can contribute to curly hair in Maltese dogs is the texture of their fur. Maltese coats comprise two layers: a soft undercoat and a long, silky topcoat. If the topcoat is thicker or coarser than usual, it may be more prone to curling or waving.


Finally, environmental factors can also play a role in developing curly hair in Maltese dogs.

Humidity, for example, can cause hair to become frizzy or curly, so dogs who live in areas with high humidity may be more likely to have curly hair.

Long-haired Maltese dogs are more likely to get curls in their hair when it’s humid.

Not Purebred

It’s possible that the dog in question is not a purebred Maltese. If you are looking for a Maltese puppy and they have curly hair, make sure you get the pedigree for both of their parents.

Excessive Grooming

Maltese are already known for their white, silky, straight fur coats.

However, excessive grooming or using the wrong shampoo can cause their hair to become curly.

This change in texture and appearance is often a source of distress to Maltese owners who have become accustomed to their pet’s distinctive look.

To prevent this issue, it is important to groom your Maltese as sparingly as possible. When bathing your Maltese, choose a dog-specific shampoo designed specifically for their coat type. Don’t use human shampoo on a Maltese’s silky hair.

To ensure that you are using the correct product, consult your veterinarian before purchasing. With proper maintenance and TLC, your Maltese’s fur should remain straight and silky for many years.

Can Maltese Dogs Have Naturally Curly Hair?

can maltese have curly hair

Yes, Maltese dogs can have naturally curly hair. While most Maltese have straight or slightly wavy hair, some may develop more pronounced curls or waves. This is not considered a desirable trait for this dog breed (per the AKC).

This is especially common in dogs with certain genetic traits or a coarser topcoat.

If you have a Maltese with curly hair, you may notice that their fur is more prone to tangling and matting than a dog with straight hair. This is because curly hair is more likely to twist and knot together, making it harder to comb and brush out.

How To Care for a Maltese With Curly Hair

If you have Maltese with curly hair, you may need to take extra steps to keep their coat looking its best. Here are a few tips for caring for a Maltese with curly hair:

Brush Regularly

Regular brushing is essential for all Maltese dogs but vital for those with curly hair. Use a slicker brush to gently detangle any knots or mats, and follow up with a metal comb to smooth out the fur.

Use a Good Shampoo and Conditioner

Choose a high-quality one for dogs with curly hair. These products can help moisturize the fur and prevent tangling and matting.

Consider a Professional Groomer

If your Maltese has particularly curly hair or is prone to matting, you may want to take them to a professional groomer for regular haircuts. A groomer can trim the fur to prevent tangling and matting and can also recommend products and techniques for keeping the fur in good condition.

Monitor Humidity Levels

As mentioned earlier, humidity can cause curly hair to become frizzy or more tightly curled. If you live in an area with high humidity, try to keep your Maltese in a cool, air-conditioned environment and avoid letting them spend too much time outdoors on humid days.


Maltese dogs can indeed have curly hair, and this unique trait can make them stand out from other Maltese dogs. While it may require extra effort to care for a Maltese with curly hair, you can help your furry friend look and feel their best with the proper grooming techniques and products.