Maltese Lifespan: How Long Do Maltese Live?

Maltese running through fall leaves Dulinskas

Written by Volia Schubiger

Updated: June 27, 2023

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Is there any way not to look like the glamorous and adorable Maltese dog? Their dark round eyes and beautiful white coat have made them an instant favorite for many dog owners. But did you know that Maltese dogs are purebreds with a long ancestry

They have been around for centuries, for more than 2,800 years to be exact, and they are regarded as one of the oldest canine breeds. They were even mentioned in the writings of many famous thinkers, including Strabo and Aristotle. Their deluxe white coat has made them a popular dog show breed as well. 

Are you interested in finding out more about this fabulous dog? Like how long do Maltese live and how can you extend their life as a pet owner? We’ve got all of that covered here! 

How Long Do Maltese Live?

Maltese Dog running on green grass and plants background

Maltese are clever and energetic dogs that love being around people.

Maltese live an average of 12-15 years. On average, most Maltese will live to be around 13 years of age. While this is the average age for Maltese dogs, some live considerably longer. It is not uncommon for Maltese to live to be 15, 16, or even 17 years old. Females live somewhat longer than males (1 year longer, on average). Like many other breeds of dogs, it’s difficult to find an official record on the oldest Maltese dog, yet there are many reports online of Maltese living past 18 years of age. As a smaller dog breed, this isn’t unexpected.

Due to their smaller size, Maltese have a longer life expectancy than other larger dog breeds. This implies that Maltese make excellent companions for folks who enjoy spending as much time as possible with their pets. 

Now that we know just how long Maltese live, let’s find out all about their life cycle.

The Average Maltese Life Cycle 

Now that you know a bit about the Maltese lifespan, let’s go into their life cycle. The average Maltese life cycle consists of puppy, adolescent, adult, and senior stages.


Like all other puppies, Maltese puppies are born deaf, blind, and unable to manage their body temperature. Maltese puppies begin to see and hear at 2-3 weeks of age and are able to stand and move around a bit. They can now learn about their environment since their senses have developed. The first eight weeks of a puppy’s life should be spent with its mother and siblings before starting life with their new owner as they still rely on their mother for sustenance and warmth. 


Between the ages of 1 and 8 months, the Maltese will enter the teenage stage of its life cycle. This is the period of a dog’s life when hormones begin to take effect. You’ll also begin to see more of their personality begin to shine through. The Maltese is a sweet, friendly breed that is clever, attentive, and trustworthy. You’ll begin to see these traits shine more. 


Most Maltese puppies will finish growing around six to eight months of age. However, ​​some Maltese reach their adult size between the ages of 12 and 15 months. Maltese are energetic and they will enjoy having time to play and going out on walks. This is the age where your Maltese will have reached their full size and are also generally easier to manage.


As with other breeds, there is no specific age that a Maltese dog officially becomes a senior. However, most are recognized to be such by the 8 to 9-year mark. And, by the age of ten, a Maltese is unquestionably a senior dog. There will be several changes when a Maltese ages and enters his or her senior years. They may have less energy, decreased vision, and a general slowing down. It’s important to begin bringing your Maltese in for geriatric wellness checks during this time. 

What Impacts The Maltese Lifespan

Portrait of a cute white long-haired Maltese girl on a red background. The puppy is 4 month old on the picture.

Maltese dogs are supposed to have originated in Malta, a tiny island nation south of Sicily, Italy.

Maltese have a variety of health difficulties ranging from moderate to severe. Regrettably, some of these disorders are the result of their genetic predisposition. Maltese dogs are particularly vulnerable to bacterial and viral illnesses such as parvo, which may be avoided through prior immunization. Some of the leading causes of death for Maltese dogs include cardiovascular disease, congenital disease, and cancer. 

Out of all of these, the #1 leading cause of mortality in Maltese dogs is cardiovascular disease. Mitral valve disease is the most serious cardiac problem for this breed. Congenital Illness is the second most common cause of death in Maltese dogs. This includes any illnesses or problems that are passed down via the Maltese dog breed (Colitis, hydrocephalus, liver shunts). 

Overall, compared to many other dog breeds, the Maltese is actually quite a healthy dog. 

How To Extend The Life Of Your Pet Maltese 

Owning a dog is a fantastic experience, and we all want them to have a long, healthy, and fulfilling life. As mentioned above, there are a lot of different health issues that a Maltese can suffer from. We can, however, influence a number of aspects that can dramatically extend the lifespan of our pet Maltese.

Here are some of the ways that you can ensure your Maltese lives a long and healthy life: 

  • Diet: A well-balanced diet is vital for keeping your Maltese active and healthy. A Maltese that is obese or underweight may live a shorter life than its potentially lengthy life. Feeding your dog high-quality dog food according to his or her needs can promote healthy aging.
  • Exercise: Although Maltese and other toy dog breeds may not require as much exercise as bigger dogs, this does not imply they do not require it. Because Maltese dogs are known to be fun and energetic, it is recommended that you keep your dog active with mild and amusing physical exercises. According to dog experts, a Maltese dog only requires 30 minutes of activity every day, which may make it a perfect dog for you if you don’t enjoy exercising. Think of physical activities that aren’t too taxing for a Maltese.
  • Consistent vet check-ups: Going to the veterinarian for an annual check-up and medications or treatments as needed is important to keep your Maltese healthy. This will allow you to get ahead of any sicknesses or ailments before they worsen as well. 

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About the Author

Volia Schubiger is a freelance copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College. When she's not writing she loves traveling, perusing used book stores, and hanging out with her other half.

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