Owning a dog is arguably one of the most pleasurable and greatest joys of life. As they say, “A Dog is Man’s Best Friend” and this is certainly the undeniable truth. Sometimes, we can’t imagine a life without our furry friend: the joy they bring us through their great companionship, loyalty, and unconditional love is countless.
Now even with the joy they bring us, we can help but wonder how long we will spend time with them. The plain truth is that we have no idea how long our dogs can live. Sometimes we have this fear that we might just wake up and find that dear friends are no more. Of course, this can be devastating. To prevent such sudden events, it’s important to know about the lifespan of our dogs.
The Average Lifespan of a Dog
The average lifespan of a dog is estimated to be between 10-13 years. These figures are based on two main factors; Breed and Size. Other factors such as genetic disease, diet, exercise, vaccination, inbreeding/crossbreeding, dog care, geographical location, and spaying/neutering may also apply.
Knowing your dog’s lifespan can help you prepare for the years ahead and also take good care of it especially during its senior years. Senior dogs require a lot of care mostly due to their deteriorating health- just like humans.
In this article, we are going to discuss the main factors affecting the lifespan of a dog as well as dog breeds that live the longest and the shortest. Hopefully, this information will help you make an informed decision when buying a puppy. In fact, many people in Singapore are now considering these factors when buying a puppy of their choice and certainly, most are choosing breeds that live longer.
Factors that Affect the Lifespan of a Dog
As stated earlier on, there are various factors that affect the lifespan of a dog. They include:
• Dog Size
Research indicates that small-sized, medium-sized, and toy-breed dogs generally live longer compared to larger dogs. Larger dogs such as Great Danes, Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, and Irish Wolfhounds usually have a very short lifespan of 6 to 8 years. However, there are a few that have lived up 10-12 years. Small breeds such as the Jack Russell Terrier, Chihuahua, and Shih Tzus can live up to 12-16 years. Therefore, if you’re looking for a dog with a longer lifespan, you should definitely consider a smaller breed.
• Dog Breed
It’s all in their genes. Certain dog breeds generally have a shorter lifespan than others. Dog breeds with shorter lifespan are more prone to certain illnesses compared to others. For example, Bulldogs are prone to diseases compared to breeds such as the Shih Tzus. Larger breeds also tend to develop age-related diseases such as arthritis much earlier compared to small breeds. All dog breeds are very much adorable but if you want a dog that lives longer, choose some specific breeds. A veterinary or a pet specialist can give you some recommendations.
• Spaying or Neutering
Many studies have found that spaying or neutering a puppy positively impacts on its lifespan. Compelling reports indicate neutered make dogs live 10% longer than un-neutered males. Spayed female dogs live 17% longer compared to un-spayed female dogs. By neutering male dogs, their risk of developing prostatic enlargement and testicular cancer is greatly reduced. Also, spaying female dogs reduces their risk of Pyometra, a serious and life-threatening infection of the uterus. Spaying/neutering dogs also prevents them from exhibiting undesirable behaviours such as fighting, roaming as well as urine marking.
• Inbreeding vs Crossbreeding
Research indicates that inbreeding can greatly reduce the lifespan of dogs. Crossbreeding on the other hand has been found to increase their lifespan. One major reason is that inbred dogs tend to carry genes for illnesses that are common in those specific breeds. Because they’ve been cross-bred, crossbred breeds tend to have a reduced risk of diseases and therefore live much longer compared to their counterparts.
Vaccination in dogs is important as it protects them against diseases. Diseases such as rabies can wipe out an entire dog population in one area. So, vaccination is also a determining factor regarding the lifespan of a dog. A dog that has not been vaccinated is more prone to diseases and may therefore have a shorter lifespan compared to a vaccinated dog. It’s important to ensure that your dog gets proper vaccination to give you more years of great companionship.
Just like in humans, diet plays a crucial role in health, which as a result affects the lifespan. Dogs that are fed poorly may live fewer years compared to those fed a healthy diet.
The weight of a dog may affect its lifespan. Overweight dogs have been found to have a shorter lifespan compared to standard weight dogs. Being overweight can also increase the dog’s risk of arthritis. Regular exercise coupled with a healthy diet is therefore very important.
Many studies have found that proper exercise strengthens a dog’s body and improves its overall function and health. Regular exercise for dogs is crucial for good health, just like it is with humans.
• Dog Care
In addition to good nutrition and exercise, proper care is important. If you want your dog to live longer, give it the recommended care. This includes regular baths, teeth brushing, vaccination, de-worming, spraying to remove ticks, mites, and fleas. Bathe your dog at least once a week. Consult your veterinary on de-worming- worm infestation in dogs can actually wreck havoc on their health.
Dog Breeds with a Long Lifespan
Dogs with longer life expectancies include:
• Havanese (14-16 years)
• Australian Shepherd (12-18 years)
• Beagle (12-15 years)
• Shih Tzu (12-16 years)
• Shetland Sheepdog (12-13 years)
• Pembroke Welsh Corgi (12-15 years)
• Siberian Huske (12-15 years)
• Labrador Retriever (11 years)
• German Shepherd (11 years)
• Golden Retriever (11 years)
Dogs with shorter life expectancies include:
• French Mastiff (5-8 years)
• Great Dane (6-8 years)
• Bernese Mountain Dog (6-8 years)
• Irish Wolfhound (6-10 years)
• Neapolitan Mastiff (7-9 years)
• Leonberger (8-9 years)
• Newfoundland (8-10 years)
• Saint Bernard (8-10 years)
• Scottish Deerhound (8-10 years)
• Bloodhound (9-11 years)
The sooner you know about the lifespan of your dog and everything else that affects it, the better. At least, you’ll be able to give your furry friend great care to extend his life expectancy. Hopefully, this information will guide you on selecting your most preferred breed, taking its lifespan into consideration.