How Fast Can Malteses Run?

How Fast Can Malteses Run?

How fast a dog can run usually depends on the breed, age, and health of the dog, among other things.

However, it’s quite difficult to determine just how fast any particular dog can run, except the dog participates in a race or is tested. Most recorded figures of how fast any breed can run are based on the individual performance of one member or more of that breed. 

How fast can Malteses run? Malteses can reach speeds of 18 – 20mph for short distances at a time.  When it comes to Maltese, they are not known to be a sports breed, though it’s common to find a Maltese that loves to run. However, Maltese puppies and young adults would usually burst into a dead sprint out of nowhere or run in circles within your yard or at the park.

A quick Google search will give you funny answers to how fast Maltese can run, with the most hilarious of them all claiming Maltese can run as fast as a cheetah. That’s obviously not true and deserving of ridicule, here’s why.

Why Maltese Dogs Aren’t Runners?

When you consider the runners of the canine world, Maltese breed is not likely to be on that list. They are quite inept to be called runners for the following reasons.

Physical Build 

The fastest runners in the canine world have a lot of similarities, similarities that are missing in much smaller breeds like Maltese. These fast dog breeds usually have lightning pace whether or not they are used for racing, although most are descendants of dogs that were selectively bred for running. 

Here are some of the physical attributes that make some breeds of dogs lightning fast:

Long muscular legs

The legs are perhaps the most important part of the body for running. Unlike some of the fastest breeds, Maltese dogs neither have long legs for covering vast distances nor strong muscles to propel them over longer spaces. They are tiny lapdogs that have short legs more suited to running around the apartment or small yards and also running into trouble. 

The exception to this norm is the Jack Russell Terrier, which is the fastest small breed dog in the world. In place of long muscular legs and a slender build, the Jack Russell Terrier has short, sturdy legs capable of propelling it at high speeds and making it one of the fastest dog breeds.

What it lacks is long, slender build, it more than makes up for in boundless energy and muscular legs.

Long-nosed faces 

Most fast dogs have long-nosed faces that cut through the air as they zoom past, enabling them to run even faster as it allows the air to glide over and about their heads, thereby providing little resistance to motion.

This is the same principle used by sport car manufacturers to produce fast cars with narrow fronts. The Jack Russell Terrier is still another exception to this.

Maltese dogs lack this particular feature and also have long hair that further increases resistance to motion. Maltese dogs have short noses, and like other short-nosed dogs are susceptible to overheating.

This means that they cannot also function as endurance runners as they may end up overheated, most especially in the summer or in warmer climates. 

Poor Stamina 

Some Maltese owners are interested in finding out if their Malteses can keep up if they take him along for a run. Well, maybe he can, but I wouldn’t do that if I were you.

Malteses may have more energy than their size, but you have to bear in mind that their size is minimal in the first place, and they are not known to be endurance runners. 

Factors That Determine How Fast a Maltese Can Run

Despite not being among the fastest dog breeds in the world, it’s possible to find that your Maltese loves to run and is seemingly very fast. Also, you may find that your friend’s Maltese runs a little faster than yours.

Well, here are some factors that can cause differences in intraspecies racing speeds:


The age of your Maltese plays a significant role in just how fast he can run. It’s only reasonable to expect a young adult Maltese to perform better in a sporting event like racing than an older and less enthusiastic Maltese.

Similarly, regardless of how excited and eager a Maltese puppy can be, he cannot outrun a fully grown Maltese.


Within every breed, selected families perform better at sporting events than others. Even within the Greyhound breed, which is the fastest dog breed in the world, individual families and lineages are more dependable performers and are jealously bred for racing purposes. If you get a Maltese that is a descendant of a family of runners, he might just be super-fast.

Health Status

Before you conduct any activity with your dog, it is important to inform your vet and take his advice. Your vet is in the best position to tell you how much exercise your dog needs and what types.

There are illnesses and other health issues your Maltese may have that can render him unfit to run. 

Joint problem: A Maltese dog with joint problems like arthritis is not expected to be involved in rigorous exercises like running as that could worsen the problem. This problem is common to senior Maltese that has most likely lived past the most active periods of their lives. These older Maltese should have a less demanding exercise routine and steer clear of racing.  

Heart problem: Heart issues can be quite tricky; before they develop, they may be prevented by regular exercises, but after they have become a problem, a rigorous exercise session can trigger heart failure. Maltese dogs with heart problems should be handled with great care. You should consult your vet before engaging such a dog in any exercise regime.

Other injuries (accidents): A Maltese dog that was involved in a severe accident of some sort may never be able to run as fast as other Maltese dogs. Accidents can either damage a Maltese ability to run physically or mentally (trauma) or even both, thereby limiting his ability to reach top speed.

Why Your Maltese Should Run More 

Maltese dogs like all other dogs, love to run now and then. Running is one of the most natural canine behaviors and denying your Maltese that pleasure would not only be unfair but could also lead to unforeseen consequences.

These consequences are evident in puppies and young adult dogs that don’t get as much exercise – they develop bad behaviors. 

It’s easy to spot a dog that doesn’t get his fill of exercise. Such puppies find negative ways to release pent up energy like attacking shoes, ruining furniture, continuous barking, chasing shadows, or in extreme cases, they develop aggressive behaviors like growling and biting. 

On the other hand, dogs that run and play a lot are mostly well behaved. They usually run off the excess energy and are visibly happier while they’re at it, most times remaining just enough energy to eat and sleep or cuddle. 

What Are the Fastest Dogs on the Planet

Just in case you are in search of fast dogs, here’s a list of some of the fastest dogs on earth, divided into sprint runners, long-distance runners and best all-around runners

Sprint Runners

These dogs are usually bred and used for short-distance sprint events. They are lightning quick but typically can’t maintain top speed for long periods.

Here’s a list of the top ten fastest dogs and their highest recorded speeds:

  1. Greyhound – 45 miles per hour
  2. Saluki – 42 miles per hour
  3. Afghan Hound – 40 miles per hour
  4. Vizsla – 40 miles per hour
  5. Jack Russell Terrier – 38 miles per hour
  6. Dalmatian – 37 miles per hour
  7. Borzoi – 36 miles per hour
  8. Whippet – 34 miles per hour
  9. Dobermann – 32 miles per hour
  10. German shepherd – 30 miles per hour

Long-Distance Runners

Long-distance runners, otherwise known as endurance runners, are best suited for maintaining top speeds over long distances.

They don’t reach high speeds like the sprint runners, but given enough time, they will outrun them. They are usually fun to workout with and will keep you company during your long morning runs

Some dog breeds are both sprinters and long-distance runners as you will observe from the list below:

  1. Rhodesian Ridgeback
  2. Border Collie
  3. Weimaraner
  4. Australian Shepherd
  5. German shepherd
  6. Australian Sheep Dog
  7. Vizsla
  8. Alaskan malamute
  9. Dalmatian
  10. Jack Russell Terrier

Best All-Around Runners

This is a list of dogs that can excel at sprint and endurance racing. They include:

  1. Vizsla
  2. Dalmatian
  3. Weimaraner
  4. Jack Russell Terrier
  5. Standard poodle
  6. German Shepherd
  7. German shorthaired pointer
  8. Labrador retriever
  9. Border Collie
  10. Boxer dogs

Final Thoughts

So here you go! You can try any of the above if you’re looking for a runner. Maltese dogs are not built for speed or stamina; they were bred for beauty and companionship.

Demanding that a Maltese dog gives an excellent race performance is synonymous with demanding that a supermodel participates in the Olympics, and they’re both bound to produce similar results. 

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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