Archived Message

Maltese life span?

by Gwen Murray

I own a kennel in Alberta,Canada. One of my clients have approached me with a question that I could not answer ,so, with having access to the internet I thought this would be a good place to have her question answered. She would like to know "How long is the average life span of a maltese ?" With all the dog information books I have , I still have not been able to find the exact answer for her. So if you people could help me out with this I would greatly appreciate it. Thank-you


At first glance this question appears to be a simple one. After thinking about it, it is not that simple at all. In fact, I am not aware of any study or research that has been done on this question that would give you an accurate answer. The experts say that the toy breeds do have a longer life span than the larger breeds. As far as a study specific to the Maltese breed, I have never seen or read reliable statistics on this. You could get many replies like "my Maltese lived to be 16 or 18, etc. but as far as an average goes, I honestly don't know. I could guestimate like everyone else. If you take into account things like accidents and deaths at birth I think we would all be quite surprised at what this average life span would be. My guess is that it would be much younger than most would think. Good question though. What would interest me more would be to know what is the major cause of death in the Maltese breed. Old age, a certain illness, disease, accidents or ? Does anyone know this?

Well, if we get enough replies on this one maybe we could put together our own survey - As for my own experience, my Maltese passed at 9 years of heart failure. I was told this was very unusual but does happen. However, I had a Yorkshire Terrier that lived to the ripe old age of 17 years...

My guess would be 12-14 years.

My groomer does a Maltese that is 12 years old and is healthy and plays like a puppy. I have seen them try to catch her when she is in a romping mood and she can really put on a show.
-Marsha A.

My precious Coco (female Maltese) died April 29, 1997. She was almost 12 years old. The cause of her death was heart failure. Up until about 4 days before her death, she was as playful and energetic as she was when she was a puppy. She was the most lovable and intelligent pet I have ever seen. My mourning has not yet ended. I have contacted a breeder who has a 10 week female Maltese puppy. I hope to bring her home July 20. In my opinion, there is no companion that compares to a Maltese!

While waiting with my 14-year old Maltese, Kibbles, in the waiting room at my state university's veterinarian school of medicine outpatient clinic, I was browsing a publication (cannot remember the name) with a lengthy article on the Maltese. It said the Maltese was one of the longest-lived of breeds; it is not uncommon for them to live to 18 years of age. Kibbles still loves to show off and can act and play like a puppy! I also have two other females, Silky, 2 and 1/2 years, and her 7-month old baby, Tara. Also a beautiful female red Doberman, Sienna--it's pretty exciting around our house.

My Wiggles was three months shy of the age of 15 when she died. My sister is a Vet and the life span of all small dogs (barring disease or accidental death) is much greater than that of the larger breeds. In her experience 12 years to 16 years is the average lifespan of a Maltese.


To Lisa, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I lost my first Maltese at the same age. I still cry when I think about her. But if she hadn't been loved so much I never would have the 4 Maltese that I have now. My love seems to grow with each new little addition. I hope in time you will learn to love a new little one. There is nothing like that love. Take time to grieve. If you need to talk, we are here for you.

Lisa, I lost my silky terrier at 14, so I know all about being unable to stop crying. Although much of the first week or so after Higs died is still pretty much lost to me, some of the things I did were to tell everyone I knew stories about how wonderful he was; called all my friends who had known Higgens and told them about it and cried with them (he was a love and each of my friends had their own "I loved Higs" stories to share with me); made a little "memorial corner" with some candles, photos, etc. where I "talked" to him, wished him well on his journey home and promised to see him again there. I also took a few days off work and told everyone why. These things were my way of not only healing but owning how important he was to me. They really did help, maybe because they are really some of the same things you do when you are grieving for a death of a friend or family member. Not everyone has the depth of heart to feel this when a pet dies, and though it sounds strange, you are lucky that you have the capacity for the special bond and love that grows in your heart for your furry companion. A woman I worked with told me that she believes that God sends only special people the fur children he cherishes because we have to love them greatly in a shorter amount of time than we have with our human loved ones and then be strong enough to let them go. One more suggestion. Though I know you will find your way through the grief, if you find yourself really in pain, contact your Humane Society or ask your vet if there is a grief group for pet owners in your area. Our humane society runs one and they are quite helpful. Also read Jay's Rainbow Bridge on his home page. It is a healing experinece. These days, I make up stories about how Higs has a condo with a view of the park and lots of squirrels to chase while he waits for me, and I smile; but truly, the sun didn't come out again in my heart until I found Lucy. I will think good thoughts for you. With time, the pain will be less but the love will always remain a part of your heart.
-cathy brown

Hi Lisa,I know exactly how you fel with the death of your dog, mine just died on the 13th, and i feel as though my child has died, i also can't stop crying, and feel very cheated. He was only 9. He died of leukemia. Try to smile and know that he will always be with you.

Oh you guys, I'm crying now and can't stop! Lisa, I am so sorry for your loss. I recently lost a pup, only 6 days old. I don't think I could have loved her anymore if she had lived 6 years. Marsha sent me a beautiful poem when my Little Stitch died, you can find it under "Heaven's Newest Angel" dated 7/12. in the discussion topics. I can't tell you how much having Marsha to talk to through all of this has helped. I'd like to return the favor and help you if you like. E-mail me as often as you like.It really helps to talk to someone, especially someone who's recently been through it. God Bless You and just remember it's not good-bye forever. You'll see your baby again and whenyou do, you'll never have to say good-bye again. I always joke when I get to the Rainbow Bridge there will be a stampede! I've had so many pets in my lifetime and am looking forward to many more!

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