Understanding the Life Spans Of Dogs

Irish Wolfhound

Having the companionship of a great dog is among the greatest joys in life. They certainly don't live as long as they should. The average lifespan of a dog in the developed world is 12 to 14 years. This is only a general statistic. Some breeds of dogs live longer than this average, and some breeds have lifespans that are considerably shorter than this overall average. As a general rule, the smaller the dog, the longer it will live. The larger breeds of dogs tend to live below average lifespans.

Dogs With Shorter Lifespans

According to many sources, the Irish Wolfhound is the breed with the shortest average lifespan. These dogs average about seven years. The Irish Wolfhound is the tallest dog breed and often weighs more than 150 pounds. Two problems tend to shorten the life of this breed. Because their bones grow so quickly, they are often plagued by bone cancer as they age. They are also highly susceptible to a variety of cardiovascular disorders.

Some other dog breeds with shorter than average lifespans are the mastiff and bull mastiff. Some mastiffs weigh more than 200 pounds. They live to seven or eight years of age and often succumb to heart problems.

Another breed of dog that is not that huge but does have a shorter than average lifespan is the boxer. These popular dogs have a shortened lifespan due to the fact that they have a higher than average incidence of cancer. They are especially plagued with mammary cancer. These dogs tend to live to about age ten.

There are dogs in one group that generally have below average lifespans, and some of these are smaller dogs. They don't follow the rule of a smaller dog equals a longer life. Brachycephalic dogs are dogs with pushed in noses like the English bulldog and the French bulldog. These type of dogs have a difficult time breathing, and this puts great stress on the heart. Brachycephalic dogs average anywhere from eight to ten years of age.

Dogs With Longer Lifespans

The oldest dog on record is an Australian cattle dog who lived to be over 29 years old. While most Australian cattle dogs won't live anywhere close to this long, these dogs do have long lifespans. The average lifespan of these dogs is around 15 years old.

Another long-lived breed that is not well-known is the schipperke. These are small, black dogs with no tails. They weigh about 20 pounds, and many of them live into their late teens.

Three very popular breeds of dog also have longer than average lifespans. Poodles, Yorkshire terriers and Chihuahuas all tend to live out their days into their middle teens. Even though toy breeds are beset with a number of congenital maladies, they just seem to hang in there and keep on going year after year bringing joy to their owners.

Most of the other popular breeds of dogs including Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, beagles, Pomeranians and German shepherds live an average lifespan. However long dogs live, they bring gladness every day of their lives.

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Eric Blair is an animal enthusiast and avid pet blogger. Eric writes for NuVet Reviews, a site that examines NuVet products and grades their ability to help your pet live a healthier life.