fluffy dog
Brittany Hambleton
Brittany Hambleton
September 21, 2020 ·  5 min read

10 Dog Breeds That Live a Long Time

Dogs are wonderful additions to our lives. They can comfort us, make us laugh, and make us feel unconditionally loved. For most people, their dog is not just a pet- their dog is one of the family.

Dogs bring boundless amounts of joy to our lives, but sadly, it is often only for a short time. Because of their short life spans, dog owners know that one day they will have to say goodbye to their best friend.

Thankfully, there are some dog breeds that live a long time. If you’re thinking about getting a dog, you may want to consider its expected life span. This way, you’ll know how many years you’ll get to spend with your furry friend.

Why Do Some Dog Breeds Live Longer?

In most species, larger mammals live longer than smaller ones. According to London’s Science Museum, this is because larger animals tend to be less active and have fewer predators. 

“Many small animals spend most of their time and energy scurrying around after food and away from predators. They’re always ‘on the go,'” the museum states on its website. “Large animals have fewer predators and, often, less-mobile prey.” [1]

Larger Not Always Better

Larger size equalling a longer life is not a hard and fast rule. The longest-living creature that we know about is a mussel that can live to be over four hundred years old. 

“There are plenty of exceptions to the ‘bigger animals live longer rule,’ so it’s clearly not as simple as that,” the museum says [1].

The reason some mammals live longer than others is still unclear to scientists. What is perhaps more puzzling to them, is that while larger species appear to live longer, the opposite is true within species.

For example, a horse has a longer lifespan than a mouse. A larger horse, however, such as a clydesdale, has a shorter lifespan than a smaller one. The same is true for dogs, and perhaps even for humans.

Humans have bred dogs over thousands of years to be extremely diverse in size.  A larger breed, such as a Great Dane, typically lives for about seven years. A nine-pound toy poodle on the other hand, can live up to fourteen years.

Researchers in Germany analyzed more than 56 thousand dogs from 74 different breeds to make sense of the size versus age conundrum. They found that large breeds age faster than smaller ones. 

More specifically, every 4.4 pounds of weight gain is equal to approximately a one-month shorter lifespan.

“Their lives seem to unwind in fast motion,” said Cornelia Kraus, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Göttingen in Germany [2].

As to why that is, the researchers still don’t know. Larger breeds do tend to suffer from cancer more often, which could be because they simply grow more than a small dog. Since cancer is a result of abnormal cell growth, this makes sense.

The researchers are planning on looking more specifically at large dog breeds to pinpoint their leading causes of death.

10 Dog Breeds that Live a Long Time

There are hundreds of breeds of dog out there, each with their own personalities, traits, and lifespans. Treehugger.com put together a list of the dogs with the longest lifespans. If you want a dog that you won’t have to say goodbye to too quickly, perhaps one of these breeds are the perfect choice for you:

1. Chihuahua

These extra-small pups were bred for the warm weather of Mexico, so they do best as an indoor pet. Of course, they still need to go outside, so if you live in a cooler climate be sure to get your dog a few sweaters.

Average lifespan: 15-17 years.

2. Toy Poodle

These are the miniature version of a giant poodle. A great feature of these dogs is that they hardly shed at all. If you’re worried about dog hair or allergies, they may be a perfect fit for you. That being said, they do require regular grooming.

Average lifespan: 14-18 years.

3. Pomeranian

With its small size, it may surprise you to know that the pomeranian is actually a descendant of the sled dogs from Iceland. They have a very fluffy double coat that does require a lot of grooming.

Average lifespan: 14-16 years.

4. Australian Cattle Dog

These are high-energy working dogs. They enjoy anything that involves agility, and are happiest when they’re working. They were originally bred with Dalmations, which is why they have a speckled coat.

Average lifespan: 12-16 years.

5. Dachshund

The name Dachshund is actually German for “badger-hunter”. They were bred more than three hundred years ago to hunt- you guessed it- badgers.

Average lifespan: 12-16 years.

6. Jack Russell Terrier

This dog’s official name is the Parson Russell Terrier. These energetic animals were bred in England nearly two hundred years ago to hunt foxes. This means they need a lot of exercise, so they are not great apartment dwellers.

Average lifespan: 13-15 years.

7. Maltese

The Greeks loved these super tiny dogs so much that they put up tombs in their honor. Their silky white fur does require a lot of grooming, but these lovable lap dogs are worth the trouble.

Average lifespan: 13-15 years.

8. Yorkshire Terrier

These small dogs don’t require a tonne of exercise, but their long hair does need extensive grooming. Originally from London, their initial purpose was to catch rats in clothing mills. They gradually climbed up the ranks, however, until they were the prized pets of the aristocracy.

Average lifespan: 12-15 years.

9. Shih tzu

Like the Yorkshire Terrier, Shih tzus do not need much in the way of exercise, but they do require lots of grooming. These little pups have been around for centuries, and there is evidence of their existence as far back as 624 A.D.

Average lifespan: 12-14 years.

10. Lhasa Apso

These silky-haired dogs originated in Tibet. Their main purpose was to act as watchdogs for Buddhist Temples. They can be quite wary of strangers, but are very devoted to their families.

Average lifespan: 11-14 years [3].

Read: Dogs Must be Walked Twice a Day, According to a New German Law

Choose the Dog That’s Right For You

Ultimately, when choosing a dog as a pet, you have to choose one that fits with your lifestyle. Larger breeds, like Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, and Bull Mastiffs are wonderful animals and make excellent pets. 

Regardless of how long your dog lives, it will fill your life with love and affection for the entire time it is with you. As long as you provide a loving home for your pet, and do what you can to keep it healthy and happy, you will be able to enjoy the years that you have with it.

Keep Reading: Holland breaks record as first country ever to have zero stray dogs