How Long Do Dogs Live?

How Long Do Dogs Live?

Author WDF Staff

10.01.2021.


Getting a dog is one of the best things you could do in your life. Your dog will be responsible for unconditional love, laughs, and many different joys in your life. All dog owners have a glooming question in the back of their minds "How long do dogs live?"

All journeys end the same, and life is is a journey. The same is for humans as it is for dogs. We would love nothing more than for science to allow our dogs to live forever. But until that happens, we will have to accept that our dogs will have to leave us at some point.

The best thing we can do is enjoy their company as much as we can, while we can, and prepare for the moment their time comes. Just reading and thinking about the length of our dog's lives makes us sad and gloomy, but nevertheless, we will tell you what you need to know about a dog's life expectancy.

old puppy laying

How long do purebred dogs live?

The great thing about purebred dogs is that we know their average life expectancy and other common traits dogs within a breed share. We can be pretty sure about their character, color, size, and needs. Vets and scientists studied pureblooded dogs and can tell you exactly which health issues specific breeds are prone to.

The same goes for their life expectancy. Based on research and a lot of data collected from dog breeders and owners, we now know how long our pureblooded dogs will most likely live.

There are over 400 internationally recognized dog breeds, and there are many things that influence their life expectancy. It is nearly impossible to say how long all dogs live because a Chihuahua's life expectancy is different than that of a Mastiff. Based on collected data of all pureblooded dog breeds registered in the American Kennel Club, a dog's average life expectancy is 12.07 years.

We will try to group dogs into smaller groups so you can place your dog and make an educated guess about how long your dog will live. We will divide them into three groups; small, medium, and large dogs.

  • Small dogs have the longest life expectancy, and based on the same data, small dog breeds live on average 13.23 years.
  • Medium-sized dog breeds, based on the same collected data, live on average 12.35 years.
  • Large dogs have the shortest life expectancy, and they live on average of 10.28 years.

old labrador

This is only based on large samples of data and is not necessarily valid for individual dogs. For example, Bernese Mountain Dogs usually have a short lifespan, but some breeders are breeding bloodlines that live 2-3 years longer on average.

Things that can influence how long a dog can live

The length of life can be influenced by different things. That is true for dogs and for humans. If you decide to live a particular lifestyle, eat unhealthily, drink lots of alcohol, and don't do any physical activity, your life expectancy will become shorter.

The same goes for your dog. If your dog has a balanced, healthy diet, does plenty of physical activity, and isn't under a lot of stress or anxiety, they will live longer. Assuming there are no health issues that will significantly shorten their life. Here are some of the things that can determine how long a dog can live:

  • Diet: Scientists know that diet affects health, and health determines how long somebody, or in this case, a dog, can live. A well-balanced, healthy diet will significantly prolong life.
  • Physical exercise: Whatever physical activity your dog does, you can be sure that it positively affects their life expectancy. Physical exercise lowers the risk of obesity, cardiovascular problems, and blood pressure problems. All of these things can have a negative influence in case of insufficient physical activity.
  • Spaying/Neutering: According to a British Veterinary Association study, neutered female dogs lived longer than their healthy, unneutered counterparts. However, neutered males had the shortest lifespans. Neutering is an effective way to eliminate premature death causes like testicular cancer in male dogs or pyometra (uterine infection) in females.

Do mixed breeds live longer?

There is a widespread opinion that mixed dogs have longer lifespans than pure-blooded dogs. That might not entirely be true, but it is not that easy. Sure, if you mix the breed with the longest life expectancy with the breed that has the shortest, the mixed dog will probably live longer than the pureblooded with a shorter lifespan.

old pup

But that also means mixed dogs will live shorter than pureblooded dogs with the longest life expectancy. It is interesting to know that the oldest living dog ever recorded and verified was Bluey, and he was a pureblooded Australian Cattle Dog.

In short

Dogs have a relatively short lifespan compared to humans, and we should enjoy our time with them while we can. A dog's life expectancy is mostly determined by their breed and genes but can also be influenced by a healthy lifestyle and diet.

There is no scientific evidence that crossbreeds live longer than pureblooded dogs; in fact, evidence shows that controlled breeding positively influences a dog's health and longevity. 

World Dog Finder team

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