Skip to main content

What Is the Life Span of a Dog?

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Perhaps the one disturbing feature of dog ownership is that the dog's life span is relatively short. A dog aged seventeen is considered the equivalent of a human centenarian. While statistics on the longevity of dogs are lacking (the one insurance company that issues life insurance policies on purebred, registered dogs has not been operating long enough to have accurate actuarial information), it is known that some types of dogs generally live longer than others.

Studies in England have shown that, as in man, mortality among dogs favors the female. And the dog's life span is almost in inverse proportion to his size. In simpler words, the smaller the dog, the longer his anticipated life. Many of the toy dogs are exceptionally long-lived. It has been found that the larger breeds are more subject to cancer and skin tumors than the smaller breeds. This is a leading cause of death among the larger dogs, but is a strikingly minor cause of death among Pekingese and other small breeds.

Generally, the small and medium-sized breeds seem to have the best prospects for longer life. In studies it was found that fox terriers, cocker spaniels, dachshunds, Pekingese and Pomeranians, spitzes and Boston terriers were most often the longest lived breeds and that crosses among these breeds also tend to live longer. A number of dogs were found who were eighteen, nineteen and twenty-one years old, and the oldest verified was twenty-six years old.

On the other hand, a study in England among Irish wolfhounds showed that the mean age at death of these large dogs was slightly under five years for males; a little over six and half years for females; and that few were found older than ten years.

Scroll to Continue

Related Articles