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Maltese Lifespan: How Long Do These Adorable Dogs Live? (2024)

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how long do maltese liveDogs are an integral part of many families and can bring a special kind of love to our lives. The Maltese breed is no exception with their beautiful white coats, dark round eyes, and impressive longevity.

To ensure your beloved pup has the longest life possible, it’s important to know what factors will affect his or her lifespan as well as how best to care for them throughout their lifetime. In this article, we’ll discuss everything from proper handling techniques for puppies all the way through common causes of death in adults so that you can give your furry family member every chance at a long happy life.

Key Takeaways

  • Average lifespan of Maltese is 12-15 years, with females living longer.
  • Proper care, including regular vet visits, can extend lifespan.
  • Health issues like luxating patellas can threaten longevity.
  • Safety measures, such as using harnesses and seatbelts, protect from injury and trauma.

Maltese Lifespan

Maltese Lifespan
Discover why Maltese are beloved companions and can be part of your life for up to 15 years with proper care! These tiny pups pack tons of personality into their petite frames.

However, their tiny size does come with some health issues to be aware of. Luxating patellas are common in the breed, so have their knees checked regularly. Mitral valve disease is also prevalent, so annual vet visits to monitor for heart murmurs are essential.

By keeping up with preventative care and exercise, your loyal little friend can exceed the average canine lifespan. Though small, the Maltese is a sturdy breed when well cared for. Daily walks and playtime will keep your pup active and strengthen their joints.

Feed them quality food and give them plenty of love, and your Maltese can be by your side sharing cuddles for over a decade.

They make devoted companions for those willing to put in the proper care for their long-term health and happiness.

Factors Affecting Maltese Lifespan

Factors Affecting Maltese Lifespan
As pet owners, it is important to understand the potential threats that can affect our beloved Maltese. Trauma and injuries, infections and diseases, congenital conditions, as well as cancer are some of the factors that may influence your pup’s lifespan.

By being aware of these risks and taking proactive measures to protect your dog from them – such as providing proper exercise for joint health or annual check-ups with a vet – you can ensure that you have many happy years with your furry companion by your side.

Trauma and Injuries

Be mindful of trauma and injuries, for they can be the end of your pup’s playtime before you know it; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Maltese puppies are prone to luxating patellas and knee injuries, so take care when exercising them.

Exercise intolerance, joint pain, or sudden lameness may indicate patellar luxation. Provide quality food and regular vet check-ups – plus lots of love – for a long, happy life with your furry friend.

Infections and Diseases

You’ll want to keep them current on vaccines and avoid contact with unknown dogs to help prevent devastating infections that could knock years off their lives. Be aware of congenital diseases like liver shunts in Maltese puppies, patent ductus arteriosus, or neurological signs.

Congenital Conditions

You’re wise to have your Maltese screened early for deadly congenital diseases – sadly, a shocking 9.7% of these darling pups die from inherited conditions. With their toy breed status, congenital abnormalities threaten the mental and physical well-being of our devoted friends.

Early detection allows us to positively manage their health through training and care.


As the third most common killer, cancer ends 9.2% of all Maltese lives by age 10, but its frequency falls after that milestone. To reduce risk, feed a high-quality diet, keep your pup at a healthy weight to protect their tiny stature and joints, and have regular blood tests for early detection.

How to Increase Maltese Lifespan

How to Increase Maltese Lifespan
Giving your Maltese the best care possible will go a long way in keeping them healthy and ensuring a long life. You can take simple safety measures like using harnesses and seatbelts, teach children proper handling techniques, provide annual vet exams, feed them quality foods, and stick to daily walks and playtime.

Safety Measures

Take proactive measures to protect your pup from potential threats and ensure many happy years with your furry companion by investing in safety measures such as canine car seats and teaching children proper handling techniques.

Safety Measure: Canine Car Seats
Benefit: Prevents injuries in vehicles
Tips: Use secured restraints and avoid distractions

Safety Measure: Proper Handling
Benefit: Avoids trauma from mishandling
Tips: Supervise interactions, support full weight

Safety Measure: Heart Medications
Benefit: Manages congenital issues
Tips: Give prescribed meds consistently

Safety Measure: Blood Sugar Monitoring
Benefit: Catches low levels early
Tips: Feed regular, nutritious meals

Safety Measure: Limit Exercise
Benefit: Prevents issues in compromised dogs
Tips: Short, gentle walks and playtime

Health concerns like congenital liver issues and severe signs of heart failure can crop up, so yearly vet checkups to monitor for problems are key for detecting issues early.

With some care and planning, you can have a long, joyous life together with your beloved fur baby.

Proper Handling Techniques

Gently guide your pup’s paws to help them get used to being handled safely. Responsible breeders should provide training advice so you can ensure the safe handling of young Maltese puppies. Support their whole body as you move them. Keep an eye on Maltese personality traits.

Use calm, gentle words when teaching new commands. Reward positive behavior and discourage negative responses.

Veterinary Care

Provide your Maltese with regular veterinary care to help them live a long, healthy life.

Age Recommended Veterinary Care
Puppy Exams every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks old to protect from infections
Adult Annual exams to check for heart issues and cancer risks
Senior Semiannual exams to maintain healthy joints and detect problems early

Regular vet visits will help your beloved Maltese live a longer, happier life.

Nutrition and Exercise

Feed your Maltese a balanced diet of high-quality ingredients and make sure they get plenty of safe daily activity to keep their energy levels up. With the right care, you can help them avoid dental disease common in their small size and extend their life expectancy.

Common Causes of Death in Maltese Puppies

Common Causes of Death in Maltese Puppies
Sadly, injuries, infections, and congenital diseases are the most common causes of death for Maltese puppies. As a toy breed, they are vulnerable to trauma and injuries due to their small size, which is the number one cause.

Your energy should be focused on protecting your puppy from household dangers that could lead to traumatic incidents. Additionally, parvovirus and other viral infections pose major hazards, so it is important to keep your puppy’s vaccination schedule up to date.

Some congenital diseases, such as liver shunts, can be screened for, so it is advisable to discuss testing with your vet. Despite the risks, the Maltese is generally a sturdy breed when provided with proper medical care, affection, and training.

By taking reasonable precautions, your fearless little furball can avoid many health issues and be your companion for years to come.

Common Causes of Death in Adult Maltese

Common Causes of Death in Adult Maltese
Therefore, as your Maltese ages, the most common cause of death is cardiovascular disease at 21.

The top issues to watch for include:

  1. Mitral valve disease, which can lead to heart failure if left untreated. Regular vet checkups to listen for heart murmurs are crucial.
  2. Congenital issues like liver shunts emerging later in life. Stay alert for symptoms like seizures or behavioral changes.
  3. Cancer, especially after age 10 when the risk decreases. Lymphoma, mammary tumors, and skin tumors are most prevalent.

Losing your loyal companion is painful, but focusing on prevention and early detection allows you to maximize your time together. Schedule twice-yearly senior vet exams to monitor for heart disease, screen for cancer, and maintain good oral health.

Your commitment to proactive care helps ensure your adult Maltese lives their longest, healthiest life by your side.

How to Care for a Maltese

How to Care for a Maltese
Caring for a Maltese is an incredibly rewarding experience, and with the right knowledge, you can give your pup everything it needs to live its longest, healthiest life. Understanding common health issues like heart disease and cancer, providing a nutritious diet, teaching appropriate behavior through training, and regular grooming are key components of responsible pet ownership.

By taking proactive steps in each of these areas, you will ensure that your Maltese enjoys many happy years by your side.

Health Issues

It’s important to be aware of the health issues that affect Maltese, such as a 21.1% chance of cardiovascular disease – often the number one cause for adult dogs. Monitor your pup for any neurological signs or changes in behavior and energy.

Schedule regular maintenance with your trusted vet, as issues like cranial cruciate ligament tears can arise. Know your individual dog’s needs to support their moderate energy and keep them by your side.


Feeding your Maltese the right diet can help ensure they stay healthy and active for as long as possible. Provide small, frequent meals to meet their moderate energy needs, and choose specific food types that are high in protein (like chicken) with added vitamins and minerals.

Some nutritional tips include feeding them twice daily instead of once, providing a mix of wet and dry foods, avoiding table scraps, and giving treats only occasionally. Adhere to an appropriate feeding guide according to age group or breed size for best results.

Behavior and Training

Behaving and training your Maltese correctly can help them enjoy a long, happy life – so put in the extra effort to ensure they get off on the right paw! Known for their playful personalities, Maltese can be loyal yet willful companions.

Stay patient, be consistent, and make training fun through games and praise to nurture devoted companions.


Grooming your Maltese is essential for keeping their coat healthy and silky, as well as trimming their nails to help keep them active and agile. Brushing daily prevents tangles and keeps their coat lush and white. Trim nails often, as overgrown nails impair mobility.

Check their skin often for irritation. Show patience during grooming to make it pleasant.

Maltese Personality and Temperament

Maltese Personality and Temperament
The Maltese is known for its charming, devoted personality and can be a great companion if you give them the love they deserve – after all, ‘a dog is a man’s best friend’.

These irresistible toy dog breeds originating from the Mediterranean island of Malta are moderate energy dogs with an affectionate temperament. Though small in stature, they have huge hearts and thrive on being close to their people.

Maltese are incredibly expressive and will let you know when they want attention. With proper socialization and training, their lively, playful side shines through.

Providing daily walks and playtime can help channel their enthusiasm in positive ways. Overall, the Maltese personality is enthusiastic, gentle, and deeply devoted – qualities that make them wonderful pets.

Maltese Behavior

Maltese Behavior
You’ll love the Maltese’s enthusiastic and devoted behavior – they always want to be near their people! Despite their small size, Maltese have lively, joyful personalities.

When properly exercised and socialized, their playful, energetic nature emerges during games and walks. However, Maltese can become distressed when left alone too long due to separation anxiety.

Some health issues like exercise intolerance, stunted growth, or neurologic signs may require surgery and limit vigorous exercise. But with proper care and attention, the Maltese’s doting, sensitive behavior rewards owners with steadfast companionship.

With their people nearby, Maltese live each moment to the fullest.

Maltese Training

Maltese Training
Training your Maltese can help them live a happy and fulfilling life, with you by their side every step of the way.

From potty training your puppy with patience and positive reinforcement, to teaching simple commands like sit and stay using chewy training treats, the early months are crucial for shaping good behavior.

Start young, as early as 8-12 weeks of age, so they can bond with you during this impressionable time.

For adult Maltese, training is still beneficial, helping strengthen your relationship as you both learn new tricks together.

Regular brushing and grooming keeps their beautiful floor-length white coats clean while providing relaxing bonding time.

And don’t forget leash training for safe, supervised walks and socialization.

With consistent training done with care, your Maltese will thrive for many years as your loving, loyal companion.

Tips for Maltese Owners

Tips for Maltese Owners
As a Maltese owner, you can help your pup live to its full potential by taking simple preventive steps – on average, these dogs have an impressive lifespan of 12-15 years.

  • Keep your Maltese at a healthy weight with the right diet and exercise for their energy level, as obesity can lead to health issues.
  • Regularly brush their teeth and provide annual dental cleanings to prevent periodontal disease.
  • Daily check and clean their eyes to avoid infection and irritation.
  • Use a harness instead of a collar for walks to avoid trachea damage from pulling.

With attentive, proactive care, your beloved Maltese can remain an energetic, bright-eyed companion for many years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of environment do Maltese do best in?

Maltese thrive in loving, secure environments. They are devoted and charming companions who enjoy being around their owners. Proper handling techniques should be taught to children, and the family should be aware of potential risks, such as getting stepped on or injured while playing.

A safe outdoor space with a leash attached is ideal for walks or playtime activities.

How often should I groom my Maltese?

You should groom your Maltese often, my dear. While their silky coats seem easy, they require daily brushing to prevent painful mats. Ignore this need, and your pup’s once-fluffy fur becomes a matted mess. With frequent grooming, however, their glamorous locks stay pampered.

So brush thoroughly but gently, keeping your beloved friend comfortable and looking their best.

How much exercise should I give my Maltese?

Exercise is essential for your Maltese’s health and happiness. Take them on two daily walks or play sessions, as recommended by vets. Avoid holding them while multitasking; teach children proper handling techniques instead.

What type of diet should I feed my Maltese?

Feed your Maltese a diet of premium, wholesome foods that are high in protein and low in fat. Choose all-natural ingredients to ensure they get the nutrients they need for their long life ahead, while avoiding toxins and chemicals.

Are Maltese good with children?

Yes, Maltese are great with children! They’re gentle and loving companions who love cuddles. They enjoy playing games like fetch or tug-of-war, making them a fun addition to any family.


When it comes to Maltese dogs, you can’t help but be charmed by their loyalty and adaptability. But how long do these adorable dogs live? On average, a Maltese can live between 12 and 15 years, though females tend to live a bit longer than males.

To increase their lifespan, owners should take appropriate safety measures, teach their family proper handling techniques, and stay up to date with their pup’s veterinary care, nutrition, and exercise.

Common causes of death for puppies include trauma, infections, and congenital diseases, while older Maltese are most likely to die from cardiovascular disease, mitral valve disease, and cancer.

Taking care of a Maltese requires understanding their personality, behavior, and training needs, and providing appropriate grooming.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.