How long is the average lifespan of a dog? Well, it’s a commonly held belief that one of our human years is the equivalent of seven dog years, so quick math might tell you that your pup will be with you for around 10 to 12 years.
But the truth is a bit more complicated than that. Because it’s so important to know how long your dog’s life will likely be, we’ve compiled all the info you need about the average life expectancy of some of the most popular dog breeds.
How Long Do Dogs Live For?
There is no catch-all answer for this question, as the average life expectancy of any dog depends on its breed.
As a rule of thumb, small breeds will live longer than large breeds. For example, the cairn terrier lives for about 14 years on average, while the Great Dane lives an average of seven years.
That disparity may be shocking, but it’s important to remember that average life expectancies can sometimes be misleading, as they can be disproportionately affected by a relatively small number of particularly short or particularly long lives.
In other words, you should only use these numbers to give you a basic idea of how long your pup may be with you. Both smaller dogs and larger dogs can have shorter than expected lives or live well past what the data suggests. Some dogs also buck these trends altogether, such as the American Staffordshire Terrier, which is a medium to a large-sized dog that lives around 12 to 16 years on average.
How Do I Find Out About Lifespan by Dog Breed?
Well, this article is a great place to start, but there are a few other ways that are uniquely helpful in determining how long you can expect your furry best friend to be with you. While the statistical data is obviously important to consider, professional advice and anecdotal evidence can help shine a different light on the subject and give you a broader perspective.
Talk to a Professional
Vets and dog experts can usually give you great info on life expectancy that you won’t discover during personal research. They can also provide you with advice on how to help dogs of all breeds live longer lives.
Join Pet Social Media Channels
If you own a purebred dog, there are probably more social media channels dedicated to the breed than you can count. These can be great resources for doing your own research and potentially excellent sources of advice from highly experienced owners of that particular breed.
Engage in Conversation
It can be incredibly useful to connect with other dog lovers—whether you do it online or at the dog park. These people can fill you in on everything they know about your dog’s breed, from common health issues and nutrition or feeding tips to suggestions on how to help your pup live a long and healthy life.
Dog’s Life Expectancy Based on Breed
Here are the life expectancies of some of the most popular dog breeds and certain health issues that those breeds are known to experience. Remember that no matter what their life expectancy may be, a dog’s lifespan will be longer if you take them for regular vet checkups, get them their vaccinations, and feed them properly.
The Chihuahua is among the longest living dog breeds, with a life expectancy ranging from 12 to 20 years. The most common cause of death for this breed is a cardiovascular disease brought on by old age.
Common health issues that chihuahuas experience are luxating patellas (knee issues), hip dysplasia, and eye problems such as dry eye and entropion.
Great Danes are among the largest of all dog breeds, and therefore they have a far shorter average life expectancy than most other dogs. They can be expected to live about 7-10 years.
One of the main reasons this beautiful breed lives such a short life is that they are susceptible to many health issues, including heart disease, joint problems, skin issues, and bone cancer.
Australian Cattle Dog
This breed often enjoys a wonderfully long life. In fact, the oldest dog on record was actually an Australian cattle dog! Their average life expectancy is 13 to 15 years.
Common health issues with Australian cattle dogs are deafness, eye issues, hip and elbow dysplasia, and allergies.
German shepherds are relatively large dogs, so they don’t enjoy the longest lifespans. However, they also don’t have the shortest lifespans either. They often live for about 9-13 years. Not bad for such a big breed!
However, German shepherds are susceptible to several diseases, including degenerative disc disease, Addison’s disease, spleen cancer, and bone cancer.
Beagles often live around 12 to 15 years. This healthy lifespan is due in part to the fact that they’re a relatively small breed, but it’s also thanks to how healthy the breed is as a whole.
While they are susceptible to glaucoma and epilepsy, Beagles are not likely to deal with many life-threatening health problems.
The bulldog is not a very large breed, but with an average life expectancy of 8 to 10 years, they don’t often live as long as other similarly sized dogs. That is primarily due to several health issues that the breed frequently encounters.
Bulldogs experience several different health issues, including heart issues, respiratory issues, hip dysplasia, and more.
If you’re a dachshund owner, you’ll be happy to know that they are some of the longest living dogs around. They often live anywhere from 12 to 16 years.
It might be easy to guess that dachshunds experience back issues more frequently than many other breeds based on their body type. They’re also susceptible to obesity, heart issues, and some forms of cancer.
The Labrador retriever has a reasonably long lifespan for a bigger breed. They live around 10 to 12 years.
Common health issues that your Labrador may experience are hip dysplasia, elbow and shoulder dysplasia, obesity, and cancer.
Golden retrievers are another larger breed that enjoys fairly long lives. Their average life expectancy is between 10 and 13 years.
Common health issues that your golden retriever may experience are heart and lung conditions, skin conditions, hip dysplasia, and cancer.
The mastiff has the potential to live quite a short life, or possibly a fairly long one. Their average life expectancy is 6 to 12 years. That broad range of years is due to the potential for life-threatening health issues.
Mastiffs are known to experience a variety of heart issues, including pulmonic stenosis, cardiomyopathy, and subaortic stenosis. Be sure to bring your pup in for regular checkups, and you may be able to catch these issues before they progress.
Poodles live around 13 to 15 years on average, with toy breeds tending to live longest and standards tending to live the shortest.
Although poodles are among the healthiest dog breeds, they are still susceptible to thyroid issues, Addison’s disease, hip dysplasia, and some forms of cancer.
Shih Tzus can often live long and healthy lives. Their average life expectancy is 10 to 16 years, and their most common cause of death is age-related heart failure.
The most common health issues in Shih Tzus are luxating patella, retinal dysplasia, dental disease, and respiratory problems.
The Yorkshire terrier is fortunate enough to enjoy a longer life than most other breeds. Their average life expectancy is 13 to 16 years.
The health issues that Yorkies may experience are problems common in most dogs of their size, such as periodontal disease, luxating patella, retinal dysplasia, and collapsed trachea.
Bernese Mountain Dog
Unfortunately, the beautiful Bernese mountain dog has one of the shortest life expectancies. This breed is not only one of the largest. It’s also susceptible to several health issues, which is why its average lifespan is only 6 to 8 years.
Bernese mountain dogs have elevated cancer rates, hip dysplasia, arthritis, and other problems that can limit their mobility.
Border Collies are one of the longest living medium-sized dogs, with an average life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. However, it’s not totally uncommon for one to live up to 17 or 18 years if they are well cared for.
One reason for the longer lifespan of the border collie is that they are not particularly susceptible to life-threatening ailments. However, they can experience eye issues, hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism.
On average, the Boxer lives about 10 to 12 years, a pretty good number for a large-sized breed. They are, however, prone to a few different health issues.
Cancer is the leading cause of death in boxers, and they are also susceptible to heart conditions, including “Boxer cardiomyopathy,” which is named after the breed.
The Irish wolfhound is a giant breed, meaning they don’t enjoy a very long lifespan. You can expect one to live around 6 to 10 years.
These dogs are actually among the breeds most susceptible to health issues. They are known to experience heart issues, hip and elbow dysplasia, and bone cancer.
Mixed Breed Dogs
You may be surprised to learn that mutts actually have longer average life expectancies than purebred dogs. While purebreds live about ten years on average, mixed breeds live for around 14 years. They tend to adopt the excellent health traits from each breed they are composed of and lose the poor ones.
Mixed breeds are susceptible to elbow and hip dysplasia and ruptured cruciate ligament.
Jack Russell Terrier
The tiny but lively Jack Russell terrier most often lives anywhere from 13 to 16 years. That is because they are a small breed and are not particularly susceptible to many life-threatening illnesses.
Common health issues in Jack Russells include deafness, patellar luxation, and a few different eye issues.
Rottweilers are a relatively large breed, and because of that, they often only live about 8 to 10 years.
One of the main reasons Rottweilers have a low life expectancy is that they have high rates of a few different forms of cancer. That includes the spleen, bone, and liver cancer, as well as lymphoma.
The Maltese breed often lives relatively long, with an average life expectancy of about 12 to15 years. Like some other smaller breeds, one of the most common causes of death for the Maltese is age-related heart failure.
Health issues that are particularly prevalent in the Maltese breed are generally viral or bacterial in nature. For example, things like parvo or distemper are more common in this breed than in some others.
There are three different sizes of Schnauzer, and they all tend to live rather long lives—whether they’re miniature (12 to 14 years), standard (13 to 16), or giant (10 to 12), you can expect to have them as long as or longer than most breeds their size.
Schnauzers are susceptible to cataracts, as well as bacterial and viral infections.
There are various spaniels, but regardless of which one you have, you can generally expect them to be with you for at least a decade or longer. Boykin spaniels even live anywhere from 14 to 16 years!
Spaniels are susceptible to eye issues, elbow dysplasia, and gastric torsion.
Do Small Dogs Outlive Large Dogs and Why?
It’s an unfortunate truth that larger breeds have shorter lifespans than smaller ones. That is particularly true of giant breeds, which often live less than a decade. While many different factors are believed to cause shorter lives in larger breeds, the reason can really be boiled down to three simple words: They age faster.
That’s right, the “dog years” theory is not universally applicable, and therefore not really true. That’s why the idea of a “long life” for a dog is based on breed, and perhaps more importantly the size of their breed.
The reasons for the faster aging that larger breeds experience are not totally clear. Some theories consider bone structure, muscle mass, and metabolism, but we know for sure that the bigger a breed is, the faster they are likely to age.
Fun Fact: What Is the Longest Living Dog in History?
Now, this is a record we probably all hope our dogs can break.
The Guinness World Record for the oldest living dog is held by Bluey, an Australian cattle dog who lived from 1910 to 1939, an astounding 29 years. Bluey worked for almost two decades herding sheep and cattle on his owner’s farm in Victoria, Australia, which goes to suggest that indoor dogs don’t necessarily live longer than outdoor dogs!
However, in 2016, another dog from Victoria, Australia, apparently stole Bluey’s crown. Maggie the Australian kelpie lived to the age of 30, or so her owner claims. Still, the proper paperwork could not be located, so Bluey’s record stands as the official world record for the longest living dog in history.
Interactive tool: Average lifespan and most common illness by dog breed
Click on the name of the dogs below, or click on the dog’s image to reveal the common illness and life span of each dog breed!