Can Maltese Run Long Distances? (With Great Exercise Ideas)

Maltese are rather considered lapdogs. With their small body and sweet white coat, they do not look like great athletes. But these little beauties surprise you again and again. Can Maltese then even run long distances?

Maltese have a modest need for exercise, but they are not unsuitable for sporting activities. You can take your adult Maltese for a run, but you should not run more than a few miles. However, introduce him to running slowly. You should not run with puppies.

Maltese are not the dogs with the greatest athletic ambition. They still need their daily exercise, of course, but with their short legs, they are not designed for long runs.

What Distances Can A Maltese Run?

First of all, you should know that every dog is different and also has a different urge to move and different limits. It depends on their genetic makeup, how they were raised and how much exercise they are used to.

However, as long as your Maltese is still growing, you should completely avoid runs and too long walks. The Maltese’s bones are still growing until their first birthday.

Therefore, the minute rule for puppies is no more than 1 minute of exercise at a time per week of life. so a 30 week old Maltese should not get more than 30 minutes of exercise at a time.

Also, always pay attention to the condition of your Maltese when walking. Does he look tired or exhausted? If so, it may be time to stop the exercise and give him some relaxation.

Don’t try to push your dog into more exercise if he can’t take it anymore. Not only could this disrupt their trusting relationship, but it could also even cause injury to your Maltese.

One of the typical conditions in Maltese is patellar luxation. This means that the kneecap slips out of its guide. If you overload your Maltese, you can increase this and other injury risks.

To introduce your Maltese to running longer distances, you must proceed gently. Start with short distances of 1 mile and see how he responds.

Then slowly increase the running load to 2 miles so he can get used to it. Always make sure that he feels physically comfortable.

If that works well, you can increase the distance to 3 miles. And then possibly increase it again.

I would not let the Maltese run more than 5 miles though. Even if he doesn’t seem to mind, that is a long enough distance for this little dog.

Where Should I Run With My Maltese?

We have already mentioned above that many Maltese have problems with their knees. Therefore, if possible, you should avoid walking with your Maltese on asphalt paths.

It is best to run in the forest or on game trails that have loose, earthy soil. This cushions the steps and is easier on the joints.

By the way, not only your Maltese’s joints but also your own. Walking long distances on asphalt is simply not healthy.

While you can protect yourself by buying good running shoes. These cushion the impacts while running and protect their joints.

Unfortunately, such high-tech running shoes are not available for Maltese. It is, therefore, best for your dog and actually also for you if you use a springy, not-so-firm surface for your runs.

How Do I Know That I Am Overworking My Maltese?

There are some signs when a dog is exhausted. Always look for these signs during your runs. And stop the run if you detect these signs in your Maltese.

These signs indicate that your Maltese is exhausted:

  • Heavy Panting
  • Sluggishness
  • Unable to keep up with you
  • Frequent stopping
  • Dehydration
  • Sweating
  • Limping

But don’t wait to discover these signs. These are really just the final warning signs when your Maltese is exhausted.

Follow our tips above on how to teach your Maltese to walk longer distances with patience and plenty of time. However, you should not see the warning signs mentioned here while doing so.

If you do, you are going too fast. Or your Maltese is just not the type to run long distances.

Accept that, and don’t overtax your Maltese. Instead of running, try taking him for walks.

Take a half-hour or hour every day to walk your dog. This is not only good for your dog, but it is also good for your own health.

If you overwork your Maltese, you risk injury and even permanent damage. You certainly don’t want to do that to your little friend.

Therefore, always pay attention to the signs your dog gives you. And rather do a little too little than too much.

How Much Exercise Should My Maltese Get?

Even though Maltese are not marathon runners and will not become one, they still need their daily exercise. You should allow your Maltese at least half an hour of extended exercise per day.

But it should not only be about physical exercise. Maltese are extremely intelligent dogs that also want to be challenged mentally.

It is also in your interest to exercise your Maltese physically and mentally. He will then be more likely to be balanced and peaceful in the house and less inclined to develop undesirable behaviors.

Bored dogs express their displeasure by chewing up shoes, doing their business in the house, barking at everyone, chewing up furniture, or tearing down the wallpaper.

You will certainly have less fun with such behaviors than with play and exercise.

But there are other reasons why your Maltese should get enough exercise:

  • You keep your dog healthy and fit
  • He becomes more resistant to diseases
  • Joint exercise strengthens the bond between you and your dog
  • He learns social behaviors while playing with other dogs or other pets
  • He will be physically and mentally stimulated
  • It strengthens the training

As you can see, there are many good reasons to provide sufficient exercise for your Maltese. Half an hour or an hour a day is time well spent.

Alternatives To Running Long Distances For Your Maltese

Instead of walking long distances with your Maltese, you can instead play games with your dog. The advantage of this is that you can stimulate him even better mentally if you do it right.

These games could be e.g. fetch, foraging games, frisbee, tug-of-war, or similar. There are no limits to your imagination. Think about what your Maltese might enjoy and try it out.

With such games, you also have the advantage that you don’t have to go miles away from your house to do it. You can also play games in your backyard or garden.

When playing with your Maltese, however, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. You always decide when and what is played. This applies to both the beginning and the end of the game. Therefore, you should also pay attention to whether the dog starts to get bored. So end the game in time.
  2. Offer the Maltese attractive reward for the game. A treat, lots of praise or petting are ideal for this. This will keep your Maltese motivated.
  3. Recognize your Maltese’s preferences and learn his body language. This way you will also quickly recognize if he is bored or feeling overwhelmed. Choose activities that you both enjoy. But occasionally try something new.
  4. Play and exercise with your Maltese only when you both feel like it. Coercion does not help at all, especially fun.
  5. Increase the difficulty of your games slowly, so that success comes quickly and the motivation is maintained.
  6. Always supervise your Maltese while playing. Especially when playing with new toys.
  7. Do not ask your dog to play immediately after a meal or a walk. You should also not wake him up especially for this.

If you follow these basic rules, exercising and playing with your Maltese will be a complete success.

Final Thoughts

Maltese are not super athletes, but they are not hostile to exercise either. In fact, they need daily exercise to stay physically and mentally fit.

If you want to take your Maltese for a walk, start slowly, maybe with a mile. Then increase slowly and gently, but your Maltese should not walk more than 5 miles.

For puppies, the rule is that they should not walk or run much. One minute of exercise at a time per week of life is the maximum.

If running is not for your Maltese, you can take him for extended walks of 30 to 60 minutes or more.

It is also a good idea to play with your Maltese regularly to keep him physically and mentally stimulated. Maltese as intelligent dogs need such encouragement.

But again, do not overwork your Maltese. Just as you should not bore him. Then you would lose his attention.

So give your Maltese enough exercise. It will do him and you good.