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I wish I could help but I don't have my poodle yet. Maltese vary a lot based on coat type and cut. Bailey was never bad about matting, but since he's been a Schnauzer cut, it's not even an issue. I brush him out before his bath (every 2 weeks) and that's it. I would think a Poodle in a short clip wouldn't be that much work either. If you want longer hair it will mean more brushing. Since you are a Maltese owner, I'm sure you know white will probably require more bathing and show dirt more, lol.

I want a Spoo and I like longer hair, so I know I'm going to spend a lot more time brushing, which I don't mind at all. The main reason I clipped Bailey down was for his comfort and I dyed his hair and didn't have the patience to wait for it too grow/fade out. He never liked wearing a top knot anyway, but he sure looked cute in it.

Have you posted any pics of your Malts? I have a few in my gallery; take a look!
 

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They are all so cute! I just love them, but decided to go with another big dog (I have a Rottweiler too). I think if you can handle 5 Maltese, you should be able to groom a Standard Poodle! I was hoping to get my pup in Feb, but I may end up waiting until Sept.
 
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