There are many factors that help determine the lifespan of dogs. And you have absolutely no control over most of them. Certainly, you can influence health, diet, exercise and environment. But what about the theory that small dogs live longer, that certain breeds live longer, that mixed breeds live longer, and even that the shape of a dog’s face is a predictor of its longevity? Guess what? They’re all true.
Dogs Who Look Like Wolves Live Longer.
Yes, dogs who resemble wolves live longer than dogs who don’t. The shape of a dog’s face is actually an indicator of its probable lifespan. On average, flat faced dogs don’t live as long as dogs with long, sharp, wolf-like muzzles. This surprising discovery was made in a study in the UK done in 1999. Unfortunately, the study didn’t provide a hypothesis about why this is the case. The bulldog with its smooshed face has a lifespan of only a little over 6 years. But long nosed poodles dachshunds and terriers may live over 15 years. There are obviously exceptions to this theory, but the study shows that a resemblance to wolves is a strong indicator.
Mongrels Live Longer Than Pedigreed Dogs, in General.
You might think a purebred with its carefully selected parents and professional breeder care would have superior longevity to a mongrel whose parentage and heritage are completely unknown, but the opposite is the case. In general, the mutt will be with you longer than the malamute. Selective breeding has doomed certain breeds to various health problems, but when the gene pool has more to choose from, recessive genes for negative characteristics and weaknesses are buried.
Smaller Dogs Live Longer Than Larger Ones.
Dainty little dogs, as fragile as they sometimes look, are actually the hardier of the species. Big dogs, and giant breeds like mountain dogs and bull mastiffs have about half the lifespan of a small dog. One theory is that the little dog has far less strain on its heart and joints than a massive dog does. According to Dog.com, ” For small breed dogs under 20 pounds, old age happens around twelve years of age, 20-50 pound dogs, around 10 years of age, 50-90 pound dogs, around eight to nine years of age and 90 plus pounds, around seven to eight years of age.”
Certain Dog Breeds Live Longer Than Others.
Fifteen to seventeen years is the normal lifespan for even the most long-lived breeds. Although we sometimes hear of poodles, cocker spaniels, foxhounds and terriers actually living 20 years or more, they are the exception. As is the Australian cattle dog named Bluey who lived to be 29, mentioned in Canine Health. “Large and medium breeds have a life expectancy of eleven to fourteen years. For the giant breeds, such as Great Danes and St. Bernards, less than ten years is the norm, thirteen or fourteen years is exceptional,” Dog.com says in “Aging Dog Care.”
How Can You Help Your Dog Live Longer?
Lots of TLC, regular care from a good veterinarian, healthy food, opportunity for exercise, happy environment, shelter–all those things help your dog stay around a long time. And if your dog is a small, wolf-faced mongrel, that’s even better, longevity-wise.
Canine Health: Dog Lifespans, Find Your Breed on Chart
Weight and Breed Longevity Charts