A pet dog is one of the most faithful and loving companions that you’ll ever live with. Unfortunately, a dog’s lifespan is a mere fraction of ours.
Getting a dog means that you can expect unwavering affection and loyalty for years to come. Still, it’s helpful to know what to expect, in terms of how long you’ll have this sweet face in your life, and also make sure you’ll be able to care for your canine companion for its entire life.
So, what dog breeds have the shortest and longest lifespans?
This article will cover the expected lifespans of several breeds, as well as ways which you can help your dog live the longest and happiest life that it deserves.
Why Some Dog Breeds Live Shorter Lives
Generally speaking, the smaller the dog, the longer it’s likely to live. If you wonder why, it is generally because of the greater weight of a dog causing more health issues.
Also, generally speaking, some purebred and cross-bred dogs have higher risks of carrying breed-specific illnesses and health conditions (due in part to inbreeding).
Lack of spaying or neutering at a young age can also affect a dog’s lifespan. The strain of a litter of puppies on female dogs, as well as potential cancers, can be averted through sterilization.
Which Dog Breed Lives the Longest?
We consulted several sources to research what dog has the longest lifespan, and in general, these five breeds live the longest:
- Chihuahua: 14 to 18 years
- Yorkshire terrier: 14 to 16 years.
- Toy poodle: 14 to 16 years
- Maltese: 12 to 15 years.
- Shih tzu: 11 to 14 years
Note that most of these breeds weigh under 20 pounds.
Here are 5 mid-sized breeds of dogs with long life spans:
- Beagle: 12 to 14 years (weighs 18 to 30 pounds)
- Shetland sheepdog: 12 to 14 years (weighs 20 to 25 pounds)
- Siberian husky: 11 to 14 years (weighs 35 to 60 pounds)
- Australian shepherd: 12-13 years (weighs 35 to 70 pounds)
- Labrador retriever: 10-12 years (weighs 55 to 70 pounds)
What Dog Breeds Have the Shortest Life Expectancies?
The dog breeds with the shortest life expectancies tend to be larger than the longer-living breeds we mentioned previously. Here are 5 large dog breeds that tend to have the shortest life expectancies:
- Irish wolfhound: 6 to 8 years (weighs 105 to 120 pounds)
- Mastiff: 6 to 10 years (weight ranges 160 to 230 pounds if male and 120 to 170 pounds if female)
- Great Dane: 7 to 10 years (weight range 140 to 175 pounds if male and 110 to 140 pounds if female)
- Bernese mountain dog: 7 to 10 years (weighs 75 to 120 pounds)
- Greater Swiss mountain dog: 8 to 11 years (weight ranges 115 to 140 pounds if male and 85 to 110 pounds if female)
How Long Do Dogs Live?
In general, you can expect most medium to small dogs to live around 11 years. Dogs over 90 pounds will have a far shorter lifespan of about 8 years.
Regardless of size, mixed breed dogs on average live longer than purebred dogs. While the difference in age isn’t particularly large, it is possible that inbreeding can make certain genetic illnesses more likely to occur.
How Can You Help Your Dog Live the Longest Life Possible?
Much like with people, dogs live their longest when they maintain a healthy weight and diet. Keeping your dog healthy means researching healthy habits for their specific breed. That is, how much energy and exercise your breed needs every day, as well as the type and amount of food to maintain a healthy stomach and liver. Many modern dog foods have additives and preservatives, so it can be beneficial to look into fresh, more natural dog food.
For more information on the needs of specific dog breeds, check out our dog breed catalog!
Liver issues in particular are a common cause of death in dogs. You may notice a loss of appetite or sudden weight loss in your dog followed by vomiting, diarrhea and an unstable walk. If you notice these symptoms, it’s important to make changes to their diet and look into supplements to help their liver recover.
Liver disease can be prevented or mitigated if caught early, so always keep an eye on unusual dog behaviors. Always consult your veterinarian if you notice a sudden and unexplained change in your dog’s appetite.