How Long Does a Dog Live? A Comprehensive Breakdown by Breed
There are a number of factors that will affect how long your dog lives. By taking good care of your furry friend and paying attention to their health, you can help them enjoy a longer, happier life.
So, what is the life expectancy of different dog breeds?
Until very recently, dog longevity was not something that had been studied in much detail considering the role that a pet dog has in the western world.
In April 2022, researchers at the Royal Veterinary College published a study tracking more than 35,000 dogs in the UK who died between 2016 and 2020 in order to find the average lifespan of each breed of dog.
To date, it is by far the largest study done to answer the question of how long various breeds of dog can live.
How long is the average dog's life?
The study found that the average lifespan of all dogs in the UK is just over 11 years old. However, this number will differ based on many factors like the size, sex, and breed of dog.
How long are dog years then?
Well if the average life expectancy for a human in the UK is 81 years, that makes dog years about 7.3 human years, which is consistent with the figure most dog lovers and pet owners have come to use over the years.
Do male or female dogs live longer?
For 'entire' dogs, that is, those who have not been neutered, male and female dogs tend to have the same lifespan.
1 human year is 7.3 dog years
What affect does neutering have on the life expectancy of a dog?
Interestingly enough, neutered dogs tended to live longer than entire dogs, with female neutered dogs living longer than males.
The Jack Russell had the longest life expectancy
Do smaller dogs live longer?
Of the 18 American Kennel Club breeds reported in the study, there was a mix of small breed dogs and larger breeds near the top, with the Jack Russell Terrier having an average life expectancy of 12.72 years making it the oldest dog, followed by Yorkshire Terriers at 12.54 years.
Small dogs with short snouts, like the American Bulldog, Pug, and English Bulldog live on average a little more than 7 years, with the French Bulldog being the dog breed with the lowest lifespan at a young age of 4.53 years.
Medium-sized gundogs like the Cocker Spaniel, Springer Spaniel, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel lived about 10 years on average.
Are Mixed Breed Dogs represented?
We can see that on average, the lifespan of mixed breed dogs was 11.82 years.
What about the large breed dogs?
The large breeds, like a Husky, Labrador, German Shepherd, or Golden Retrievers reached an average age of 9-11 years.
The Border Collie is the only one of the larger dogs to live past 12 years on average.
Unfortunately, study did not provide much data for the giant breeds, like a Great Dane or a Bernese Mountain Dog, but their average lifespans are generally considered to be less than other breeds.
The average lifespan for all dogs was 11 years
How long different dogs live on average:
Jack Russell Terrier: 12.72
Yorkshire Terrier: 12.54
Border Collie: 12.10
Springer Spaniel: 11.92
Labrador Retriever: 11.77
Staffordshire Bull Terrier: 11.33
Cocker Spaniel: 11.31
Shih Tzu: 11.05
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: 10.45
German Shepherd Dog: 10.16
American Bulldog: 7.79
English Bulldog: 7.39
French Bulldog: 4.53
The giant breeds were not specifically called out
Labradors lived 11.77 years on average
German Shepherds lived 10.16 years
Mixed breed dogs lived 11.82 years on average
I don't see my breed of dog listed above
The study also classified dogs together by their American Kennel Club recognised breed groups: Gundog, Hound, Pastoral, Terrier, Toy, Utility or Working. We can use this data to get a better sense of the lifespan of other dogs who fall in these groups but are not specifically listed.
Determining your dog's breed group
The Kennel Club in the UK has a complete listing of each specific breed they recognise and which group they fit within.
Breakdown of dog's longevity by breed group
Terriers: 12.03 years
Gundog: 11.67 years
Non-KC recognised dogs: 11.66 years
Pastoral: 11.20 years
Hound: 10.71 years
Toy: 10.67 years
Utility: 10.06 years
Working: 9.14 years
Don't see your breed? Use the KC group!
The question remains: can old dogs learn new tricks?
Don't fret! The lifespan within breeds of dogs varies quite a bit too
If you're looking at these data about how long dogs live and worrying your dog is getting a little up there in age, just remember that these are on the average.
While average lifespan of a Shih Tzu was 11 years for instance, they lived as long as 17 years in the study. The Jack Russell Terrier group had an example of a 19 year old even.
There are several factors that determine how long a dog will live.
Proper nutrition, exercise, and regular vet check-ups
These are the cornerstones for avoiding health issues that can cause an early death.
World record for old age in a dog: an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey
If most dogs live about 11 years, we wondered about how old dogs have gotten in the past.
Apparently, the oldest dog was an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey who lived to be 29 years and five months old.