Owning a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences in life, and picking the right one is important. There are countless things to consider when finding a breed – such as size, temperament, intelligence and space available. It’s also a good idea to take your lifestyle and the dog breed’s activity requirements into consideration. All of these things are important, but one important factor often gets overlooked: how long will the dog live?
Dogs are pretty resilient. If you adopt a young dog, your pet will likely be a part of your life for many years. Still, the sad fact is that a dog will generally not live as long as we do. With that said, you might be interested in knowing that different breeds have different life expectancies.
What makes a particular breed live longer?
According to webMD, dogs that generally live longer are small dogs, and the smaller they are when fully grown, the longer they tend to live. The converse holds true as well; the bigger the breed, the shorter the lifespan. Giant breeds are the shortest lived. It appears that weight is the key factor and not height, however. Bigger, heavier dog breeds tend to die at about the eight year mark. Smaller dogs can live in excess of fifteen years.
Bear in mind that particular breeds sometimes have breed-specific health issues. For example, Cocker Spaniels often have eye and ear infections, while Labrador Retrievers are known for having a high cancer incidence. In fact, my Lab did have a cancerous lump when she was young but they removed it with plenty of healthy margin and it never came back.
There are countless other instances of breed-specific health problems but still, the number one thing to look out for is weight. Larger dogs, ones weighing over a hundred pounds, will be considered quite elderly at about seven or eight years.
Female dogs typically tend to live longer than male dogs, but the difference is negligible. Mixed breeds are usually longer living than pure bred dogs, so be sure to keep that in mind when choosing what kind of dog to get.
By far, owners and the care they provide their pets are the biggest factors in how long an animal might live. A large breed dog that is responsibly cared for will likely outlive a tiny dog that isn’t given the proper care.
Which specific breeds live the longest?
This question is impossible to answer definitively, because so many factors are involved and no two sources seem to fully agree. That said, there are some breeds that are commonly mentioned when these types of lists are pulled together. All of the dogs listed below generally have a long life expectancy with a typical health profile and the proper care:
● Toy Poodle
● Lhasa Apso
● Shorthaired Pointer
● Mini Schnauzer
● Boston Terrier
This list is not comprehensive, but it gives a solid snapshot of the dogs that are generally the oldest when they die. Popular breeds such as Labs, German Shepherds, Retrievers, Boxers, Bulldogs, Rottweilers and Dobermans are generally expected to live from 10 to 15 years. Extremely large breeds are closer to the eight year mark but can certainly live longer if well cared for.
These are generally accepted truths, but don’t despair if you share your life with a large-breed pup; I had a black Lab that lived to the ripe old age of 17. Of course, diet and lifestyle can play a part in a dog’s lifespan. I won’t go so far to say my Lab was spoiled (oh, okay – she was spoiled), but I did feed her a wholesome, high quality dog food like CANIDAE, and she got plenty of exercise and love.
When you decide to add a dog to your family, consider all of the things mentioned here. Age is a factor, but all dogs need love and responsible care. If you are ready and willing to look after your dog and care for him into old age, he will live a full and happy life by your side.
Top photo by Don Hankins
Middle photo by kitty.green.66
Bottom photo by redjar
Read more articles by Langley Cornwell