I also am thinking of getting a Maltese I first saw a Maltese from girlfriends neighbor and explained that I would love a dog but I have a servere allergrie. She then told me that they are great dogs to have for people who have allergies and I have found that out to be true. Now to answer your question she had her dog cut in what she said was a PUPPY CUT the hair on the dog was short and it looked really good. I also like the hair shorter so when I do get the dog I will be getting that cut. Let me know what happens.
There is nothing wrong with keeping them clipped if you are not planning on showing them. We keep ours cut short most of the year, but allow them to grow out some in the winter for warmth.