Posted on Feb 02, 2024, 12 p.m.
Every now and then we post an article just for fun, some of those have been about pets. Following our last post about dogs several months back we received numerous emails asking if we could post an article covering how long dogs live. This post is in response to that request. Enjoy.
A huge study of dog longevity reveals which breeds live the longest. According to a study of over 580,000 UK dogs published in Scientific Reports, smaller dogs like Shia Inus and Miniature Dachshunds are among the longest-lived dog breeds, while medium-sized and brachycephalic dogs like English Bulldogs and Shih Tzus tend to die younger.
Brachycephalic means short head or flat-faced, these dog breeds have shorter snouts. While there are quite a number of brachycephalic dog breeds around the globe the ten most common tend to be: Pugs, Shih Tzu, Boxers, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Chow Chow, Bullmastiffs, and Rottweilers.
Not all flat-faced breeds have the same degree of flatness, and their cranial index varies significantly, this can even vary within the same breed sometimes. Brachycephalic breeds need to be monitored because they can have difficulty breathing, especially when sleeping and being active. Constant snorting noises can indicate extreme brachycephaly, in this case, you should monitor your dog closely and bring it in for regular checkups.
Breathing issues are not the only health problems within brachycephalic breeds as selective breeding for hundreds of years has led to the accumulation of several genetic disorders among popular breeds such as BOAS (brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome), recurrent ear infections, dental issues, eye problems, skin problems, chewing issues, GERD and other digestive issues, sleep disorders, and problems of the spine and tail. The degree of these issues varies from breed to breed as well as dog to dog.
Small dogs like Maltese, Pekingese, Bichon Frise, Corgi, Pomeranian, Chihuahua, Papillon, Lhasa Apso, Havanese, and Terriers can face a higher risk of certain health concerns that can give them a shorter lifespan which varies from breed to breed as well as dog to dog. In addition to being more fragile and prone to injury, small dogs may experience tracheal collapse, patellar luxation, mitral valve disease, dental disease, obesity, joint issues, birthing issues, hypoglycemia, pancreatitis, temperature sensitivities, legg calve perthes disease, and intervertebral disk disease.
Giant dogs such as St Bernards, Great Danes, Mastiffs, Irish Wolfhounds, Pyrenean Mountain Dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Newfoundlands, and Dogue de Bordeaux are at higher risk for certain health concerns that give them shorter lifespans. A study found that these gentle giants have an average lifespan of 8 years. You can help promote a healthy lifestyle by feeding these doggies a diet developed for their specific needs and regular checkups to screen for arthritis, hip/elbow dysplasia, bloat, torsion, wobbler syndrome (Spondylolisthesis), dilated cardiomyopathy, joint issues, cruciate ligament tears, heart problems, hypothyroidism, panosteitis, osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, entropion, ectropion, and cherry eye.
“Despite the UK being a nation of dog lovers, we don’t have a great handle on our dog population in general, and more specifically, their expected lifespans,” says Kirsten McMillan at Dogs Trust, a welfare charity in the UK.
For this study data was collected from various sources such as veterinarian offices, pet insurance companies, and animal welfare charities, to accumulate data from 584,734 dogs belonging to 155 breeds, of which 284,734 had deceased. The comprehensive analysis of dog longevity revealed that dogs had an average lifespan of 12.5 years, with female dogs having a slightly longer life expectancy of 12.7 years compared to 12.4 years for male dogs.
Based on size and face shape, small long-nosed dogs of both genders were found to have the longest life expectancy of 13.3 years on average, Medium-sized flat-faced dogs had the worst outcomes with males living 9.1 years on average and females living 9.6 years on average.
“Many flat-faced breeds, small or large, don’t do well, for example, French Bulldogs, St Bernards and Presa Canarios,” says McMillan.
Flat-faced dogs are known to have the possibility of developing a range of health problems, thus having some of the shortest longevities was not exactly surprising. What was surprising was that purebred dogs were found to have a greater life expectancy of 12.7 years on average than crossbreed dogs of 12 years on average.
“There has long been a belief that crossbred dogs are longer-lived than purebred dogs due to the concept of hybrid vigour,” says Audrey Ruple at Virginia Tech, who wasn’t involved in the study. This refers to the idea that hybrid animals or plants might be healthier because they have more variation in their genes – but this needs to be investigated further, says Ruple.
“Hopefully this study sparks more research into exactly why some breeds are dying young, and ultimately improves the lives of our dogs,” says McMillan.
Overall, English Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Dachshund, Cocker Spaniels, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and Pugs are among the most popular dogs that tend to consistently have the most health problems, according to Phil Good, DMV.
A healthy lifestyle is not limited to humans, you can help to maintain your dogs' overall health and well-being by taking canine anti-aging steps to keep them as healthy as possible for as long as possible:
- Schedule routine visits with a veterinarian to monitor your dog's health.
- Follow any instructions that your veterinarian has provided regarding therapy, treatments, nutrition, physical activity, limitations, or medications.
- Feed your dog a high-quality, age-appropriate diet that is tailored to your dog's needs.
- Maintaining a healthy weight is critical for your dog’s health, especially for those more prone to health conditions.
- Daily exercise is essential for maintaining your dog’s health, keeping in mind any health conditions and weather.
- Provide interactive toys to keep your dog's mind active to help reduce boredom, stress, and anxiety to promote overall well-being.
- Stay informed on your dog’s health, and make changes to the environment to accommodate them such as a ramp for high places for small dogs or those with mobility issues or an orthopedic bed.
- Your companion provides you with unconditional love, return this kindness by providing comfort, love, and emotional support to your dog when they need it too.
Lancashire Heeler 15.4
Tibetan Spaniel 15.2
Shiba Inu 14.6
Border Terrier 14.2
Coton de Tulear 14.2
Lakeland Terrier 14.2
Large Munsterlander 14.1
Australian Cattle Dog 14.0
Cairn Terrier 14.0
German Spitz Mittel 14.0
Italian Greyhound 14.0
Lhasa Apso 14.0
Miniature Dachshund 14.0
Norwich Terrier 14.0
Swedish Vallhund 14.0
Welsh Springer Spaniel 14.0
Bearded Collie 13.9
Belgian Tervuren 13.8
Bracco Italiano 13.8
Finnish Lapphund 13.8
Parson Russell Terrier 13.8
Tibetan Terrier 13.8
Welsh Terrier 13.8
Australian Shepherd 13.7
Bedlington Terrier 13.7
Miniature Pinscher 13.7
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen 13.7
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier 13.7
Spanish Water Dog 13.7
English Springer Spaniel 13.5
Irish Terrier 13.5
Norfolk Terrier 13.5
Sussex Spaniel 13.5
Labrador Retriever 13.1
Border Collie 13.1
St Bernard 9.3
Cane Corso 8.1
Presa Canario 7.7
Caucasian Shepherd Dog 5.4
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Content may be edited for style and length.
References/Sources/Materials provided by:
T.W. at WHN