Which Breed of Dog Lives the Longest?
In general, the larger your dog, the less time it will live. So, when you’re thinking of getting a dog that has a long lifespan, consider the smaller breeds or mixes.
The average lifespan of a purebred dog is between 10 to 15 years, depending mostly on the size of the breed or mixed breed. While the Golden and Labrador Retriever live only from 10 to 12 years, Chihuahuas can live up to 15 years or more. It’s not unusual to see a 17-year old miniature poodle. Any dog in the giant breeds — dogs weighing more than 100 pounds — is considered geriatric at 6 to 7 years.
Dogs weighing less than 30 pounds live the longest. What matters is the weight and not the height. Some large dogs are short, like the English Bulldog, but they can still weigh 60 or 70 pounds. Therefore, they would not be considered small-breed dogs.
Other considerations are whether the dog is a mixed or pure breed. Many purebred dogs come with a whole set of genetic health issues, which can cut into their lifespan. Some of these health issues are specific just to one breed, while others can be a problem in many breeds. Mutts have not been inbred, so they will, in general, live longer, or at least be healthier than purebred dogs.
When considering a purebred dog, it’s a good idea to find out what kinds of illnesses run in the breed. Many larger-breed dogs, such as Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Dobermans, tend to suffer from hip dysplasia, which can make a dog so lame that it has to be put down. Flat-faced dogs, such as Pugs and Shih Tzus, are prone to breathing issues, which can cause overheating and even death. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to a heart condition called mitral valve disease, and Cocker Spaniels are susceptible to recurrent ear and eye infections. Other common medical problems that show up in a dog’s age include kidney and heart disease, as well as various structural issues, including bone and muscle ailments.
Cancer is the most common cause of death in older dogs, and nearly 42 percent of dogs die of some form of cancer. Some breeds, such as Boxers, Golden Retrievers, and Rottweilers, have unusually high rates of cancer. As many as a third of all Bernese Mountain Dogs die of cancer.
Another consideration is the gender of the dog. In general, the female lives slightly longer than the male. Neutered females live the longest of dogs. Neutering reduces or eliminates the risk of some causes of early death.
If you’re looking for dog breeds with long life spans, try to find a small-breed dog that you like. Do some research on the breed’s health issues, and then find a good, dependable breeder or shelter that does not have dogs with problems inherent in their bloodline.
Dog owners can also contribute to the increase in their dog’s lifespan by providing good nutrition, proper exercise, and not letting their dogs become obese. In addition, it’s important to maintain regular veterinary visits. These factors will all help your dog live a healthier, longer life.