How Long Do Maltese Live? (Plus the Oldest Known Maltese)

If you are thinking about buying a Maltese, one of the most important questions is how long it will live. Dogs generally live relatively long, but there are differences between different breeds of dogs. So how long do Maltese live?

Maltese usually live between 12 and 15 years. On average they live 13.5 years. However, there are also cases where Maltese live up to 20 years, but these are absolute exceptions. With proper care, you can ensure that your Maltese lives as long as possible.

So Maltese live longer than many other dog breeds. This is something to consider before getting a Maltese.

In this article, we will go into more detail about how long Maltese live and whether there are differences between female and male Maltese. We also look at how old the oldest known Maltese became.

In addition, we explain the most common causes of death in Maltese. And we provide advice on how to make sure your Maltese lives as long as possible.

How Long Do Maltese Live?

Maltese are known to live longer than some other dog breeds. This is nice for you as a Maltese owner because it means that you will enjoy your little friend longer.

Maltese usually live 12 to 15 years, with an average of 13.5 years. Dogs in general, however, only live 10 to 12 years on average. So, on average, Maltese live 2 to 3 years longer than dogs in general.

The reason for the longer life span of Maltese is that they are small dogs. Small dog breeds generally have a longer life span than large dogs.

Why this is so, however, has not yet been conclusively researched. There are some theories, but no generally accepted explanation yet.

Of course, this does not mean that every Maltese will live that long. There are also accidents or cases of diseases in Maltese that can lead to premature death. The numbers refer to the lifespan when a Maltese dies of natural causes.

However, it is also the case that Maltese are generally very healthy dogs. Thus, premature fatal disease, while not impossible, is less likely than in other dog breeds.

Do Female Maltese Live Longer Than Males?

Female Maltese have an average life expectancy that is about 1 year longer than male Maltese.

So it is actually the case that female Maltese live longer on average than male Maltese. This is no different for Maltese than for humans.

And this is also true for other dog breeds. In most dog breeds, females live between 0.5 and 2 years longer than males.

But again, these are just averages. It always depends on the individual Maltese. And lifestyle also has a big influence on life expectancy.

So you can do something yourself to ensure that your Maltese lives a long time.

Can Maltese Live Longer Than 15 Years?

There are cases where Maltese also live longer than 15 years. The 12 to 15 years is an average value, so it is not surprising that there are also cases that are above the average.

We hear again and again of Maltese who also live to be 16, 17, or 18 years old. Of course, the higher the age, the rarer the cases become.

But if you have a healthy, active, and well cared for Maltese, it is quite possible that he will be with you even longer than 15 years.

What Is the Longest a Maltese Has Lived?

The oldest known Maltese turned 20 years old. This is a really impressive age for a dog in general and also for Maltese in particular.

Of course, it is possible that there have been even older Maltese in history. After all, this dog breed has been known for more than 2,000 years.

However, this is not very likely. Just like people, the life expectancy of dogs has increased in the last decades and centuries.

This is mainly due to better medical care, better nutrition, and more knowledge about healthy behavior. 200 years ago, it was probably unlikely to take a Maltese to the vet.

When Is a Maltese Considered a Senior?

Just like us humans, Maltese – and other dogs – age. At some point, they have reached an age where they can be called senior.

There is no set age limit at which a Maltese should be treated as a senior. In most cases, a Maltese can be considered a senior from the age of 8 or 9, but no later than 10 years.

Senior is then not only an honorary title, the dog’s life also changes as a senior. The eyesight and the hearing become worse, the Maltese does not move as much and as long as before and sleeps longer.

Also, his appetite, his tolerance for temperature changes, and his curiosity and tolerance for new things can decrease. Knowing these points will help you adjust and more easily understand your Maltese’s change in behavior.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Death in Maltese?

Even the healthiest Maltese does not live forever. Eventually, the point comes when you have to say goodbye to your Maltese.

The causes of death in Maltese can be as varied as in any other living creature. However, there are some causes of death that are more common in Maltese. We would like to discuss these here.

The data comes from a 2011 University of Georgia study that recorded the causes of death of nearly 75,000 dogs and evaluated them separately by dog breed. Details of this study can be found in this news release from the university.

In the study, the causes of death of both puppies and adult dogs were evaluated. The causes of death of puppies differ from those of adult dogs.

Most Common Causes of Death in Maltese Puppies

First, let’s look at the most common causes of death in Maltese puppies, that is, Maltese dogs less than 1 year of age:

  • Trauma: Traumas are injuries caused by external factors such as being dropped, stepped on, hit by cars and others.
  • Infections: These include viral diseases that can affect young puppies. This usually happens when the immunity imparted by the dam wears off, but vaccinations have not yet been completed. Common fatal diseases include parvovirosis, distemper and leptospirosis. However, bacterial infections and parasite infestations also occur.
  • Congenital diseases: These include diseases that are present at birth. Liver shunts are a major problem in Maltese and some other small dogs.

Most Common Causes of Death in Adult Maltese

In adult dogs, the most common causes of death are different from those in puppies. However, congenital diseases also occur as causes of death in adult dogs.

The most common causes of death in adult Maltese are:

  • Cardiovascular disease: This is most common cause of death in Maltese with 21.1% of deaths studied. Of all the heart diseases, mitral valve disease is the biggest problem in Maltese. This cause of death is very common in Maltese compared to other dog breeds.
  • Congenital diseases: This is the second most common cause of death in Maltese at 9.7%. This includes all genetic and inherited diseases in Maltese. The most common of these fatal inherited diseases are colitis, hydrocephalus, and liver shunts.
  • Cancer: This is the third leading cause of death in Maltese at 9.2%. However, in older dogs 10 years and older, the likelihood of developing cancer decreases significantly. Maltese are less likely to get cancer than other dog breeds, however, even though cancer is the third most common cause of death.

How Can I Make My Maltese Live Longer?

As a Maltese owner, you yourself have an influence on how long your Maltese lives. With a few, but important precautions and measures, you can ensure that your Maltese can live a longer and healthier life.

Advances in veterinary medicine and preventative medicine have led to an increase in the life expectancy of our dogs. You can take advantage of this by keeping up with the latest research when managing your Maltese.

Specifically, the following points will help keep your Maltese healthy and help him live longer:

  • Healthy diet: Feed your Maltese high-quality, healthy food. It is best to choose natural, holistic food without artificial, chemical additives. these can cause cancer, so you should avoid them. This also applies to treats and snacks.
  • Healthy weight: Maltese can tend to be picky eaters. Therefore, it is important to make sure your Maltese is eating enough food and water. However, it is equally important to make sure that your Maltese does not become overweight, as this can have a negative effect on the cardiovascular system.
  • Physical and mental exercise: Maltese needs plenty of physical and mental exercise. It is important that you provide him with both. Daily walks should be as much a part of this as games and tasks that challenge him mentally.
  • Regular grooming: Maltese has a very high maintenance coat. You should brush and groom him daily and also give him regular baths. Coat care is especially important with Maltese.
  • Annual check-up: You should take your Maltese to the veterinarian for an annual check-up. Your veterinarian will examine him and determine if everything is in order. this is especially important because it allows for early detection and treatment of health problems that might otherwise lead to bigger problems later. For older Maltese, two checks per year are recommended.
  • Regular vaccinations: Your Maltese will need several vaccinations even as a puppy. And even later, these vaccinations need to be renewed regularly. Stick to the vaccination schedule your veterinarian suggests.
  • Preventive dental care: Maltese are known to develop certain dental problems. Check their teeth regularly during grooming and have your veterinarian look at them as well.
  • Prevention of parasites: Parasites are a common problem in all dogs. You should take preventative measures against heartworms, fleas and ticks in particular. Your veterinarian will advise you on this.
  • Preventing accidents: Especially with young Maltese, the risk of accidents is always present. Whether it is being dropped or being hit by a car. Remember that your Maltese is still very sensitive, especially as a puppy. Try to eliminate possible accident hazards from the start.
  • Affectionate handling and affection: Maltese are very affectionate dogs. They need contact with their owner and family. Give him the love and affection that your Maltese needs. He will thank you with love and affection.

Conclusion: How Long do Maltese Live?

As small dogs, Maltese belong to dog breeds that live relatively long. Most Maltese live between 12 and 15 years.

However, there are also cases where Maltese live longer than 15 years. Even Maltese up to 20 years old are known.

Female Maltese have a slightly higher life expectancy than males. However, this only accounts for about one year on average.

You can ensure yourself that your Maltese lives longer and healthier. Just follow the advice we have given above.

Your Maltese will not only live longer but also be happier and more content. And that is what every Maltese owner wants.

Data protection
I, Daniel Popovic (Place of residence: Germany), process personal data to operate this website only to the extent technically necessary. All details in my privacy policy.
Data protection
I, Daniel Popovic (Place of residence: Germany), process personal data to operate this website only to the extent technically necessary. All details in my privacy policy.