How Long Do Dogs Live?

By helloBARK!
Updated on 23 June 2023

Are you wondering about the typical lifespan of a dog?

Well, there are many different factors can affect how long a dog lives.

You’re probably familiar with the adage that big breeds have shorter lives than smaller dogs.

In this article, we’re going to tackle the question of lifespan amongst dogs.

We’ll hear from five different experts who will explain how long dogs live.

It varies wildly

Josh Snead, CEO Of Rainwalk Pet Insurance

How long dogs live can vary wildly based on breed and size, along with the dog’s overall health throughout its life and any genetic health concerns. The biggest factor, however, tends to be size—giant breed dogs may only live up to around 8 – 10 years (with some outliers living much longer), while small breed dogs may live past 15. Healthy, medium breed dogs tend to live around 12 – 15 years on average.

Chihuahuas noted for their exceptional longevity

Dr Sabrina Kong, DVM At We Love Doodles

The average lifespan of a dog can vary greatly depending on factors such as breed, size, genetics, and overall health. In general, dogs live for about 10 to 13 years. Smaller breeds often have longer lifespans, reaching up to 15 years or more, while larger breeds typically have shorter lifespans, averaging around 8 to 10 years. Mixed breed dogs tend to outlive their purebred counterparts, as they are less susceptible to breed-specific health problems.

Throughout my career, I have observed that providing proper care is crucial for a dog’s well-being and longevity. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and routine veterinary check-ups contribute to your canine companion’s healthier and longer life. In addition, preventative measures such as vaccinations and dental care play an important role in extending a dog’s lifespan.

Chihuahuas are often noted for their exceptional longevity among the various dog breeds. These small, spirited dogs can live well into their late teens or even early twenties, with some reaching 20 or older. Chihuahuas owe their lengthy lifespans to their small size, as smaller dogs generally experience slower aging processes and fewer age-related health issues than larger breeds. Despite their size, Chihuahuas are known for their tenacious personalities and make wonderful companions. To ensure a long and healthy life for a Chihuahua, it is crucial to provide proper nutrition, regular exercise, dental care, and consistent veterinary check-ups.

It’s also important to remember that while Chihuahuas may be more resilient than other breeds, they are not immune to health problems and require just as much care and attention as any other dog.

Spaniel scratches neck (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Spaniel scratches neck (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Biggest factor is genetics

Dr Bethany Hsia, Veterinarian And Co-founder Of CodaPet

The average lifespan of a dog is between 10 to 13 years but can vary depending on breed, size and overall health. For example, larger dogs tend to have shorter life spans than smaller dogs. One of the biggest factors is genetics. For example, Golden Retrievers are prone to cancer, which can reduce their life expectancy. Other factors that can affect a dog’s lifespan include diet, exercise and access to quality veterinary care. For example, routine check-ups and preventative care measures like vaccines can extend a dog’s lifespan.

Giant breeds have shorter lifespans

Ellen Russell, DVM And Founder Of The Malamute Mom

The average life expectancy of a dog is generally between 10 and 13 years. The specific lifespan of any given dog will depend on the breed, size, genetics, and overall health. Smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds, with some Toy breeds living up to 16 or 17 years. It is possible for some small breeds, such as the Chihuahua and Shih Tzu, can often live up to 18 or more years. Giant breeds, like Great Danes or Mastiffs, unfortunately, have shorter lifespans averaging about 8 to 10 years. Ultimately, however, every dog is different, and their lifespan may vary from these averages. To ensure your pet has a long and happy life, it is important to provide them with the best possible care – this means regular visits to the vet, a balanced diet, plenty of exercise, and lots of love!

Chihuahua licks paw (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Chihuahua licks paw (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Dogs Living Longer Than Ever

Dr Linda Simon, Veterinary Consult For

There are certain factors which affect a dog’s lifespan including their age, breed and lifestyle. As a rule of thumb, larger dogs do not live as long as smaller breeds. So, while the average Great Dane may only make it to age 8, a Chihuahua or Yorkie can frequently live to 14 or 15.

The dog is a very varied species, with many diverse breeds that have different average lifespans. Thanks to modern medicine, vaccinations and veterinary interventions, dogs are living longer than ever.

After being diagnosed with medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes, lots of dogs go on to live for many more years when well managed. We can help prolong our dog’s life by ensuring they’re fed a healthy diet consisting of a balanced dog food, keeping them lean and in good shape and providing plenty of exercise.

Dogs also need regular vet checks, so any medical issues can be detected and treated early on. As dogs get older, their regular check ups should become bi-annually rather than just annually.. It’s important that owners don’t obsess to much over their pet reaching a certain age or living as long as possible. We need to ensure our dogs always have a good quality of life.

Sadly, I see many elderly dogs who are not coping well in their old age and are suffering with chronic pain, poor mobility, advanced dementia and other medical issues that are no longer being successfully manage. For these dogs, putting them to sleep can be the kindest thing.

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