How Long Do Dogs Live? Forget The 7-Year Rule!

Why the 7-year rule of thumb for humans doesn’t apply

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By Alex

How long so dogs live?

In this article, we will explore how long dogs live and understand how to calculate the average lifespan of our four-legged friends.

Life expectancies vary from one individual to another. The longevity of a dog depends primarily on its breed and size. Additionally, it is influenced by the animal’s health status and lifestyle: and, just like for us humans, the actual life expectancy varies depending on many factors.. Therefore, if one decides to adopt a dog, it is essential to take good care of them to ensure they have a long, happy, and healthy life.

How Long Do Dogs Live?

On average, dogs live between 10 and 13 years. However, as we’ll see shortly, this is not a fixed figure. Several factors, both genetic and related to the dog’s lifestyle, influence a dog’s life expectancy.

Factors Influencing Dog’s Lifespan

The factors affecting a dog’s lifespan include:

  • Breed
  • Size (small, medium, or large)
  • Gender
  • Health status
  • Lifestyle

Statistically, smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger ones. Additionally, females generally have longer lifespans than males.

Regardless of breed or size, a healthy dog tends to live longer than one with health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, or other conditions.

Moreover, an active dog with a balanced diet is likely to live longer than one with poor nutrition and insufficient exercise.

Calculating Dog’s Lifespan

According to a widely circulated rumor, every human year is equivalent to seven dog years. However, this is not entirely accurate. At one year of age, a dog is more akin to a 14-year-old human. The equivalence with human age changes depending on the dog’s breed and size over the years.

For example, a small dog weighing less than 10 kg at 14 years old is similar in age to a 72-year-old human. However, a larger dog weighing between 10 and 20 kg at the same age would be more like a 78-year-old human.

The larger the dog, the greater the difference in proportion.

Lifespan of Different Dog Sizes

  • Toy Dogs: Small-sized dogs like the Poodle have a relatively long lifespan, often living up to 15-18 years. They generally age slowly.
  • Medium-sized Dogs: Medium-sized dogs typically live around 13-14 years.
  • Large Dogs: Large breeds have the shortest lifespan, averaging around 8-9 years. However, this can vary significantly depending on the breed and the dog’s health conditions.

Lifespan of Mixed-Breed Dogs

Mixed-breed dogs are usually more resilient and therefore tend to live longer than purebred dogs. Their average lifespan is around 12-13 years, with smaller mixed breeds weighing less than 10 kg potentially reaching 15 years or more.

Lifespan of Purebred Dogs

Purebred dogs generally have a shorter lifespan compared to mixed breeds.

This is mainly due to breed selection, which results in less genetic diversity and a higher likelihood of developing defects or diseases. The average lifespan of purebred dogs varies depending on the breed.

How long so dogs live?
Actually the 7-year rule doesn’t hold much practical significance.

Longest-Living Dog Breeds

Recent research published by Nature identified the longest-living dog breeds based on a study of over 600,000 British dogs of over 150 breeds.

According to this study, the Lancashire Heeler and the Tibetan Spaniel have an average lifespan of 15.4 and 15.2 years, respectively. Other long-lived breeds include the Bolognese (14.9 years), Shiba Inu (14.6 years), Papillon (14.5 years), and Havanese (14.5 years).

Health Conditions and Lifespan

Dogs affected by certain diseases or chronic conditions tend to have shorter lifespans, similar to humans. Conditions such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, senile dementia, heart disease, and epilepsy can significantly impact a dog’s lifespan.

  • Hip dysplasia, if adequately managed, may not affect a dog’s lifespan. However, severe cases can cause chronic pain and mobility issues.
  • Arthritis can reduce a dog’s lifespan, with severe cases shortening it to as little as five years.
  • Senile dementia drastically reduces a dog’s lifespan, and in advanced stages, euthanasia may be recommended by a veterinarian.
  • Heart conditions can vary in severity, with dogs surviving anywhere from a few months to two years, depending on the type of disease.
  • Epilepsy, if properly treated, may not greatly affect a dog’s average lifespan. However, complications can lead to a significant reduction in life expectancy.

Tips for Maintaining Dog’s Health

To ensure our four-legged friends enjoy a long life, providing them with an excellent quality of life is essential. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Provide a balanced and nutritious diet tailored to the dog’s physical characteristics, daily activity level, and any medical conditions.
  • Ensure daily exercise to prevent obesity and keep the dog active.
  • Maintain proper coat care and dental hygiene.
  • Schedule regular veterinary check-ups.

More on this Topic

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