Anyone who has ever adopted a dog has done so knowing that ultimately, their beloved pet will likely not outlive them. It’s a harsh reality that every dog owner must accept. Knowing this, many try to learn about different dog breeds hoping to adopt a companion that will live as long as possible.
What Are The Longest Living Dog Breeds?
There is never any guarantee when it comes to how long a dog will live but there does seem to be a connection between certain breeds and longer life spans. The following are the dog breeds that have been reported to have the longest life spans.
The Toy Poodle is an intelligent, energetic, and adorable companion. Standing no more than 10 inches tall at the shoulders, this small dog is a great family companion and watchdog.
The Toy Poodle was bred for size in America, perfect for small homes that couldn’t accommodate the size of a Standard Poodle, which is the national dog of France. Because of their rather flamboyant hair cut, many people don’t realize that the Poodle was originally bred to be a retriever!
The Toy Poodle is known for living a relatively long life, often between 14-18 years, with some living longer than 20 years!
First bred more than a thousand years ago, the Lhasa Apso was bred in Tibet to be a watchdog at Buddhist monasteries in the Himalayan Mountains. This long-haired breed is small, standing no more than 12 inches at the shoulders
The Lhasa Apso is known to have an average lifespan of about 16 years.
Bichons are thought to have their breed origin on Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. These intelligent, happy, and sweet little dogs soon became a favorite among European royalty in the 13th century and today the breed is popular all over the world.
Bichons typically live rather long lives for canines, averaging between 14-16 years.
Pomeranians have personality! These little balls of fluff are known for being bold and for having very strong opinions. Despite their small size, these perky pups make excellent watchdogs, rapidly alerting their family to anything suspicious. Highly intelligent, the Pomeranian is a great dog to have by your side.
The average lifespan of a Pomeranian is 14-16 years.
This breed has been around for more than 2,000 years, with origins coming from the areas that are now called Greece and Turkey. This fancy breed has been owned by many royals, including Catherine the Great, Frederick the Great, and Queen Victoria.
Italian Greyhounds typically live to be around 15-years-old.
Jack Russell Terrier
This hardy little dog was bred to be fast enough to keep up with hounds during a hunt and fierce enough to dive into burrows after prey. That fierceness has certainly lasted and this terrier is known for their strong personalities.
Owners report that Jack Russells often live to be between 14 and 16-years-old.
Papillons are arguably one of the cutest dog breeds on the planet! This tiny companion was bred as lapdogs for noblewomen. The Papillon is a great family dog, living for an average of 15 years.
Australian Cattle Dog
The Australian Cattle Dog is strong, alert, and hardworking. Bred to herd livestock, this dog breed tends to be very healthy and often live to be at least 14-years-old if not older. Many dogs are able to work for almost their entire life!
In fact, the oldest dog ever recorded was an Australian Cattle Dog! Bluey was born in 1910 in Australia and worked on his owner’s farm, herding sheep for more than 20 years. He died in 1939 and the Guinness Book Of World Records has his final age at an incredible 29 years and 5 months!
You may have noticed that the majority of the dog breeds on this list are very small in size. There is definitely a relationship between a dog’s size and the length of their life.
Why Do Small Dogs Live Longer Than Bigger Dogs?
In nature, some of the largest animals on the planet also have some of the longest lives, include elephants and whales. But the reverse seems to be true when it comes to dogs. In fact, the larger the dog, the shorter their lifespan.
Researchers have done numerous studies to determine why larger dogs tend to have shorter lives. Although there are no clear answers as to why this is, there are several popular hypotheses.
1. Bigger dogs experience accelerated growth and as a result, also age faster.
2. The accelerated growth rate in larger dogs increases the risk of the growth of abnormal cells that cause cancer and other diseases.
Research into this topic is ongoing with many dog owners hoping to find answers that could result in the lengthening of their companion’s lives.
The Dog Aging Project
Dog owners who are interested in contributing to ongoing research might want to consider projects like the Dog Aging Project!
This project will be ongoing for at least a decade and will review data shared by participating dog owners. The goal is to determine biological and environmental factors that can impact how long a dog lives and to learn more about how they age.
Joining the project is free and dogs of all breeds and ages are welcome!
Steps To Make Sure Your Dog Has A Long And Healthy Life
There are certain steps that every dog owners can take to ensure that their pet has a happy life and one that is as long as possible.
Visit The Veterinarian Regularly
Yearly check-ups are important for several reasons:
1. Preventative Care: Flea and tick preventative, heartworm preventative, and vaccines are all important because they can prevent the transmission of diseases that can put your dog’s life at risk.
2. Early Diagnosis: Dogs can be very stoic creatures who don’t show signs that they are ill until their disease has progressed. A veterinarian may notice the subtle signs that your dog is ill or yearly health screens could have results that could catch a disease before it has the chance to do significant damage.
Provide Your Dog With A Healthy Diet
Just like humans, it’s important for dogs to eat a healthy diet in moderation. Obesity can cause other serious medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Be sure to be strict about the amount of food you give your dog and limit high calorie treats.
Regular exercise is a great way to keep your dog healthy! Walking, running, swimming, chasing a ball, and playing frisbee are just a few examples of how you can keep your dog active. You may even want to consider joining in on individual or team sports with your pup!
The best part is that when a dog is regularly exercised, this also frequently results in better behavior!
Spay And Neuter Your Dog
In addition to reducing the population of homeless pets, spaying and neutering your dog can help to save a life. These routine procedures eliminate the possibility of a dog suffering from a pyometra or certain types of cancers later in life.
Give Them Lots Of Love!
Petting and loving your dog can help to reduce stress levels for both you and your canine companion. Less stress = a longer life!