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Anyone who has had the joy of loving a furry friend has likely felt a pang of hope wishing dogs would live longer. Learning about dog longevity can help pet owners help their dogs live long, happy lives. When you have a dog, the decisions you make – from selecting dog food to scheduling vet visits – can make a big difference in their life expectancy.

How Long Do Small Breeds Live?

In general, small breed dogs live longer than larger breeds. Experts aren’t exactly sure why, but many believe that small dogs age slower than large dogs. On average, small dogs can live several years longer than larger dogs.1

Typical Life Expectancy Of Specific Small Breeds

Since 1884, the American Kennel Club (AKC) has collected and registered information on dog breeds. According to the AKC’s breed registry, here is the average life expectancy of several popular small breed dogs.

  • Bichon Frise (12-18 years)
  • Chihuahua (15-17 years)
  • Chinese Crested (15-17 years)
  • Dachshund (12-16 years)
  • English Toy Spaniel (13-15 years)
  • French Bulldog (10-12 years)
  • Fox Terrier (13-15 years)
  • Lhasa Apso (12-15 years)
  • Maltese (12-15 years)
  • Pomeranian (14-16 years)
  • Rat Terrier (13-15 years)
  • Russell Terrier (12-14 years)
  • Toy Poodle (10-18 years)
  • Lakeland Terrier (12-14 years)
  • Manchester Terrier (12-14 years)
  • Yorkshire Terriers (12-15 years)2,3

Health Issues To Look Out For

Every dog’s health is unique, of course. Factors like breeding, lifestyle, and diet can all affect canine longevity. But some breeds are more susceptible to certain ailments due to genetics or biology.

For example, small, short-nosed dogs, like French Bulldogs, may be susceptible to breathing problems. Other small breeds, like Dachshunds, could be susceptible to weight issues, which can cause health problems.4,5

The best resource for caring for your own dog is to talk to your vet. Ask them about common issues that arise with your dog’s breed, and start doing all you can now to keep them healthy and happy. You’ll find more resources on protecting your dog’s longevity below.

How Long Do Medium Breeds Live?

According to the AKC, here is the life expectancy of several medium-sized dog breeds:

Typical Life Expectancy Of Specific Medium Breeds

  • American Staffordshire Terrier (12-16 years)
  • Australian Cattle Dog (12-16 years)
  • Australian Shepherd (12-15 years)
  • Basset Hound (12-13 years)
  • Bulldog (8-10 years)
  • Boxer (10-12 years)
  • Chinese Shar-Pei (12-14 years)
  • Cocker Spaniel (13-15 years)
  • Collie (12-14 years)
  • Chow Chow (11-13 years)
  • Curly-Coated Retriever (11-13 years)
  • Dalmatian (11-13 years)
  • Poodle (12-15 years)
  • Whippet (12-15 years)
  • Puli (10-15 years)
  • Samoyed (12-14 years)
  • Welsh Springer Spaniel (13-15 years)6

Health Issues To Look Out For

Medium-sized dogs with short snouts, like Boxers, may experience breathing and dental issues. Some specific medium (or medium-large) breeds, like Doberman Pinschers, may be vulnerable to heart issues.7 Speak with your vet about how to best keep your dog healthy.

How Long Do Large Breeds Live?

As a rule, large breed dogs tend to have shorter lifespans than smaller breeds. Experts explain that this may be because large breeds age faster than smaller breeds. This leads their bodily functions to wear down more quickly than smaller dogs.8

Typical Life Expectancy Of Specific Large Breeds

Here is a general life expectancy guideline for some popular large breed dogs. Remember, there are many factors that come into play when it comes to life expectancy. These are just general ranges.

  • Anatolian Shepherd (11-13 years)
  • Akita (11-15 years)
  • Bernese Mountain Dog (7-10 years)
  • Dogue de Bordeaux (9-11 years)
  • Flat-Coated Retriever (10-12 years)
  • German Shepherd Dog (7-10 years)
  • Giant Schnauzer (10-12 years)
  • Golden Retrievers (10-12 years)
  • Great Dane (8-10 years)
  • Greyhound (10-13 years)
  • Irish Setter (12-14 years)
  • Irish Wolfhound (8-10 years)
  • Labrador Retriever (10-12 years)
  • Newfoundland (10-12 years)
  • Pointer (12-17 years)
  • Rottweiler (10-12 years)
  • St. Bernard (10-12 years)
  • Scottish Deerhound (10-12 years)
  • Weimaraner (10-13 years)9

Health Issues To Look Out For

Larger dogs may be more susceptible to hip and back issues, due to their larger size.10 Speak with your vet about specific health issues to watch for your dog.

What About Mixed Breed Dogs?

For mixed breed dogs, their weight can be a clue to their life expectancy. A report by Banfield Pet Hospital found these average life expectancies:

  • Small dogs (under 20 pounds): an average of 11 years
  • Medium-to-large dogs (under 90 pounds): an average of 11 years
  • Large-to-giant dogs (over 90 pounds): an average of 8 years11

Keep in mind that these are averages, and they will not necessarily line up with your own mixed breed dog’s life expectancy. For specific insight into how long your dog might live, talk to your vet.

What Dog Breed Has The Longest Longevity?

The length of a dog’s life depends on several factors, and breed is just one of them. But, if you’re curious about which dog breeds have long life expectancies, here are some fun facts.

  • Chihuahuas are one of the longest living breeds. Some can live as long as 20 years.
  • Australian Cattle Dogs tend to be healthy, in general. Cattle Dogs, and other working dogs, like Border Collies, tend to live long lives. Their average life expectancy is 13 years.
  • Small lap dogs, like Shih Tzus and Malteses, can live up to about 14-16 years.
  • Standard Schnauzers may have a long lifespan given their relatively large size.12-14

What Can You Do To Help Your Dog Live Longer?

As your dog’s human, there is a lot you can do to help your buddy live a long, full life.

Feed Your Dog A High Quality Diet

A key to helping your dog live a long, healthy, happy life is providing them with high quality, nutritious food. Seek out a food that contains high quality protein, gut-healthy vegetables, and a variety of superfoods. Foods that are air-dried or cooked at low temperatures may preserve maximum levels of nutrition from their ingredients.

Feeding your pup a high quality food may help:

  • Give dogs the energy (calories) their body needs to thrive
  • Provide vitamins and minerals to support skin and coat health
  • Support a healthy immune system
  • Nurture a healthy digestive system
  • Support an elevated mood and overall well-being15

Help Your Dog Maintain A Healthy Weight

Carrying extra weight can be hard on a dog’s body and potentially cause a host of health problems. It’s always a good idea to help your dog maintain the right weight for their body type, size, and breed. To keep your dog on their target weight, make sure they get plenty of exercise and feed them a high quality diet that is free of fillers and empty calories.16

If you’re unsure how much your dog should weigh and how much they should eat, consult your vet.

Encourage Physical And Mental Exercise

Most dogs need to be active – both physically and mentally – to feel their best. Depending on your dog’s age, size, breed, and temperament, your dog should get 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise every day.17 Exercise for a dog could be a walk around the block, sure, but they can also get their exercise swimming, hiking, playing frisbee, and doing agility training.

You’ll also want to keep your dog mentally engaged to support a long lifespan. Dogs are incredibly intelligent creatures, and most of them love to work. To stimulate your dog’s brain, try obedience classes, “mind games,” like hide-and-seek, obstacle courses, and puzzle games.

Practice Preventative Health Measures

Being proactive about your dog’s health means you’ll want to help them stay healthy before anything happens to make them sick. Here are some ideas:

  • Brush your dog’s teeth regularly to help protect them from tooth decay and periodontal issues.
  • Clean your dog’s ears to keep them to help protect them from infections.
  • Clip their nails to support joint health.
  • Brush their coat to spread natural oils and ward off parasites.
  • Keep them up to date on all of their vaccinations.
  • Pet them regularly to check for any new bumps or lumps – and call your vet if you notice anything out of the ordinary.18-21

Keep Them Safe From Accidents

Sadly, a dog’s life expectancy can be cut short if they experience an accident or traumatic event. Here are some ideas for keeping your dog safe.

  • Train your dog to know the come, leave it, wait, and no commands. This could save their life.
  • Keep your dog on a leash when you’re outside of your home, especially if you’re near traffic.
  • Keep windows closed if you leave your dog home alone.
  • Make sure electrical cords are safely tucked away in your home.
  • Secure common household toxins, like over-the-counter meds, foods that are toxic to dogs, insecticide, and garden products, like fertilizer.22

Take Your Dog In For Regular Vet Visits

Your veterinarian should serve as a partner in supporting your dog’s health. Going to the vet regularly will ensure your dog gets all of the vaccinations they need to stay healthy and disease-free. Your vet will also regularly check on your dog’s heart, organs, eyes, ears, skin, and coat health.

Give Them Plenty Of Love

Over the years, scientific research has uncovered a beautiful truth about dogs: they love us back. Dogs are social creatures with a unique capacity to love a different species (us humans). Dogs experience emotions, and they can experience pleasure. As any dog person will tell you: the dog-human bond is about as real as it gets.23

Do happy dogs live longer? While this is hard to prove, many experts believe that quality of life is tied to dog longevity.24

To help give your dog the best life you can, don’t forget to show them how much you love them. Take your dog out for a game of fetch, even when you’re tired. Look them in the eyes and give them a good head scratch, even when you’re busy. And hey, maybe try giving in and scooting over to make room for them on the couch. We all wish our dogs would live longer, and it’s a great idea to shower them with love while we can.