How Long Do Maltese Dogs Live?
[Everything you must know]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

The Maltese breed of dogs has always been a symbol of standard and luxury throughout history. Even though they are small-sized, they are no less fun than big dogs. They are one of the brightest, gentlest, and sweetest dogs you could ever find. Also, they are one of the most peaceful dogs in the world, so you don’t have to worry when kids spend time with them. 

Don’t underestimate their tiny body; once ready to play, you’ll be facing some hard time getting a hold of them. Like other dogs, the Maltese dogs also love to play fun games, and they are very good at finding hidden toys as they are very clever.

In this article, you’ll know how long Maltese dogs live and some things that could affect their life span. Maltese make great sidekicks for people who love to spend fun times with their pets. They perfectly fit as a family pet and also live relatively longer compared to dogs of other breeds.

The Lifespan of a Maltese dog

Generally, dogs of this breed have a greater life expectancy or life span when compared to dogs of other breeds, especially the big ones. Small dogs, also known as Toy Breeds, tend to live longer as their exercise and nutritional requirements are minimal compared to big dogs. 

The life of Maltese dogs can be affected due to different causes, the main one being several medical conditions this breed is naturally prone to. But most of these conditions are not fatal.

The life span of the dogs of this breed is somewhere between 12 – 15 years. However, some Malteses have exceeded said average limit, but it depends on how they are loved and cared for to live a long life.

Factors Affecting Their Lifespan 

As dog owners, we wish that our dogs could live much longer than expected. Even though Maltese dogs live long, some things could affect their lifespan. So if you’re planning to get a Maltese dog, it is better to know what factors will affect their lifespan and how you can control some of them so that your pet can live a long and healthy life.


If you already have a small dog as your pet, you’d know how easy they are to care for compared to a big dog. Maltese dogs were bred to live a comfortable life indoors. Remember this; as long as they are adequately fed, groomed with some exercise, you have already taken several steps to increase their longevity. 

The key part here is that you should provide them a space where they feel safe and comfortable, irrespective of their size.

Medical Supervision

Every dog owner should take their dogs to the vet’s office to conduct checkups regularly and provide them treatments or medicines if needed. Like any dog, Maltese also needs said checkups and treatments.

If they are not well or show any symptoms, take them to the vet as soon as possible to avoid getting worse. Even if they are small, neglecting these health problems might become a catalyst that affects their lives. Having check ups done will help in finding symptoms of any severe disease.

Nutritional Requirements

A properly balanced diet is another essential factor that affects the lives of all dogs. If you don’t watch what and how much you feed your Maltese, potential problems that could arise are obesity and being underweight. Suppose your Maltese suffers from obesity; they’ll be immediately prone to heart diseases, leading to breathing issues and eventually causing death. 

Keep in mind that a lack of a balanced diet will damage your dog’s health. And when it comes to feeding your dog, some say that the correct quantity of dog food is all they need. But in reality, the quality, freshness, and cleanliness of their food also play a crucial role.


Generally, the toy breed dogs, or Maltese to be precise, do not require intense exercise when compared with dogs of a larger breed. But this doesn’t mean they don’t need to exercise at all. 

Many experts say that Maltese dogs need at least half an hour of exercise (An ideal option if you are not a fan of exercising). Keep them active with fun and light activities and avoid indulging them in exhausting exercises. Overexerting your dog will put them at risk of injuries.

Common Health Issues In Maltese Dogs

Maltese dogs are prone to some typical illnesses and other issues due to their Genetic Predisposition, meaning; diseases caused by their genetic composition. They are susceptible to viral and bacterial infections, which can be avoided or minimized with prior vaccinations.

The leading cause of death in Maltese breeds is Mitral Valve Disease, a type of cardiovascular disease, which they are prone to. If your dog is diagnosed with it, ensure to get them treated, and delaying treatment will cause more damage to their heart.

Some other health problems are not fatal, but those could surely decrease the quality of their life. For example, Maltese dogs could inherit or develop Glaucoma, which causes pain in their eyes and eventually leads to blindness if treatment is neglected.

As a new Maltese owner or as someone looking to adopt one, you should know all the positives and negatives of having a dog of this breed. 

Common Causes Of Death in Maltese

Now that we have gathered some basic but valuable information about this breed, you’ll be able to make some plans on taking better care of them and dealing with health issues that may arise in the future.

Just because they are prone to such prevalent issues does not necessarily mean that your dog will succumb to it. To avoid this risk, make sure to have the checkups done in time to identify and cure the issues.

Now, we’ll discuss some common diseases that cause death in Maltese dogs.

Congenital Issues

There are some inborn health issues that Maltese dogs suffer from, one being Liver Shunt. Similar to Mitral valve disease, this one also raises some concerns among dog owners. This disease occurs when the blood vessels that get around the liver fail to function. This will cause unfiltered wastes and toxins to enter the body freely.

Some symptoms of this disease are excessive urination and thirst, vomiting, seizures, etc.

Cardiovascular Diseases

As mentioned before, heart-related issues are the primary catalyst of death among dogs, especially the Maltese. These issues significantly impact the heart and blood vessels and lead to deterioration in their normal functioning. 

Major signs of Cardiovascular diseases are coughing, extreme exhaustion, and irregularities in breathing patterns.


Based on statistics, the majority of Maltese dogs die due to trauma caused by various reasons. Some instances, like your dog being bitten by other bigger dogs, falling from very high places, getting hit by a car, etc., can cause death induced by trauma.

All these unfortunate events can be avoided if you can provide a safe and secure environment for them. Do not leave your dog unsupervised and leave them in the hands of people you trust or someone who’s experienced in handling dogs.

How To Increase Their Lifespan?

As Maltese dogs are naturally calm and affectionate dogs, many Maltese dog owners would want to know how they can help their dogs live a longer and happier life. If you are planning to own one, the first step is to give your dog a safe place, quality food, and timely medical care. This step has been emphasized a couple of times in this article as it is an essential requirement.

Here are some tips that you can consider to increase their lives:

Eliminate Stressful Situations

Being exposed to stressful situations will undoubtedly affect the quality of your dog’s life. Maltese dogs are vulnerable to these kinds of situations, which will pave the way for your dog to develop anxiety-related issues.

Some instances that cause stress are deafening sounds, the death of the owner or a loved one, aggressive kids, being left alone, etc. Prevention is the best cure in every situation.

Some symptoms of stress are shivering, shedding, and continuous barking. With enough attention and support, you can calm them down quickly. If you have found the reason behind the stress, then act on it asap.


Dogs love being surrounded by people who shower them with care and attention. So they might be hyperactive and also act carelessly. Supervision is required in all stages of its life, and it doesn’t end when your dog becomes an adult.

You should understand that dogs have very little sense of things that could be harmful. As a responsible owner, you should keep an eye on them and remove potentially dangerous things like sharp objects and toxic substances.

If you’re busy and cannot supervise them all the time, ask someone whom you trust to watch them until you’re free from your work. 

Ample Sleep And Rest

Irrespective of the hours your Maltese dog spends actively, they also need a good amount of sleep and rest so that their systems function correctly. On average, Maltese dogs should get 10 – 12 hours of sleep. This time could be more when they are puppies.

Dogs do not have a particular sleep schedule like us humans. They just sleep when they like to. Even though it sounds boring, their naps during the day are the real deal. So do not disturb them when they’re asleep


The crucial factor that’d help your Maltese live long is love and empathy, along with what you can do for them as a responsible dog owner. Taking care of a dog is quite similar to taking care of a small child. Even Though it sounds demanding, all the effort you put into taking care of them will prove worth it in the end.

All the information you read in this article applies to every dog, not only the Maltese breed. Before you’re ready to adopt a dog, try to do some basic research on the breed you’re interested in owning.

Remember that your dog will love you unconditionally, irrespective of what you do or what sort of a person you are. From the moment your puppy sees you, you’ll be present throughout their life, and you should be there when they close their eyes forever. Making the time meaningful while your canine buddy is still with you is what really matters.