How Long Do Dogs Live? Average Lifespan for the Most Popular Breeds

Becoming a pet owner is one of the greatest joys in life. However, there are downsides to being a dog owner. We can cope with the messes and passing aggravations; the undeniable fact that brings owners to tears is humans live longer than dogs. 

Considering the inevitable loss of a beloved pet most often compels owners to ask the question, “How long will my dog live?” There is no specific way to answer that question in relation to an individual, there are averages available for well known dog breeds, including the German Shepherd, Dachshund and Golden Retriever. 

How Long Do Mixed Breed Dogs Live? 

For mixed breed dogs, owners can use the dog’s weight to aid in the determination of the life expectancy. In general, small dogs live longer lives than their larger counterparts. Recent analysis of veterinary records show that dogs under 20 pounds had an average life of 11 years while those over 90 pounds only lived to about 8 years. Medium and large dogs fell in the middle for life expectancy. 

The definition of “average” means that many individuals will have will live shorter lives while others are expected to live much longer than the norm. According to a better way to evaluate a dog’s lifespan is to convert “dog years” to “human years.” This way, we can understand when a dog is an adult, senior citizen, or the equivalent of a human centenarian. 

Factors That Contribute to Life Span 

  • Some dog breeds simply live longer than others due to breed health, body structure and genetics 
  • Nutrition is a major factor in a dog’s life. High-quality dog food will lengthen the lifespan. 
  • Just like humans, gender plays a role with a dog’s longevity. Female dogs are estimated to live a year or two longer than males. 
  • Smaller dog breeds live about 1.5 times longer than large dog breeds. This could be due to the fact that a bigger dog’s body must work harder to maintain daily functions. 
  • A healthy lifestyle and exercise also help one’s dog stay in fit physical shape. A mentally and physically fit dog will live much longer than one who is not. 

Average Lifespan of Top 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds

  • Labrador Retriever (12.5 years)
  • German Shepherd (11 years)
  • Golden Retriever (12 years)
  • Bulldog (7 years)
  • Shih Tzu (13 years)
  • Pug (13.5 years)
  • Cocker Spaniel (12 years)
  • Dachshund (15.5 years)
  • Rottweiler (10 years) 
  • Yorkshire Terrier (14 years)

Medical attention when required attributes to a longer life. One should never wait to take a dog to the vet if there is a suspicion of illness and get him or her vaccinated against harmful diseases. Maintaining proper oral hygiene can also aid in a pet’s longevity. Proper oral health can lower the risk of heart problems. 

Information about a dog’s expected longevity won’t blunt the loss of him or her, but it can aid owners in planning how to best care for their companions during the time that is spent together.