The Ten Longest-Lived Dog Breeds (with adorable pictures!)
Any dog lover who has owned a dog for any significant number of years knows the pain of the inevitable fact that their lifespan is simply much shorter than our own. Even under the best of circumstances, the average dog lifespan (across all breeds and general demographics) is 10-13 years, and the average human life expectancy in the US is currently 78, and 82 in Canada. This math isn’t a happy thought. However, some dogs do live considerably longer than 13 years.
The world record for the longest-living dog ever was Bluey, an Australian Cattle Dog who lived to be nearly 29 ½ years old! Many dogs have lived to 20 or more, and some breeds are especially known for their exceptional longevity.
Below is a list I’ve compiled of some breeds of dog that live the longest, on average. I have based this list on both average life expectancy and general health, since some breeds are considered long-lived, but are prone to genetic defects that can have a negative impact on that life expectancy.
So, here they are in a somewhat streamlined order- ten long-lived and healthy dogs to consider for the longest time together with your best friend.
1. Beagle: 15+ years
The beagle is one of the most iconic dog breeds around, including the famous yet fictional Snoopy (who is 51 years old, being born August 10, 1968- a whopping 357 years old in traditional “dog years!”). They are popular pets, fitting well in a variety of settings and households, though they can be stubborn and vocal. Beagles from good bloodlines are generally healthy dogs, but some may be prone to epilepsy and eye issues. Beagles are also prone to obesity as they age, so regular exercise and a healthy diet should be consistent throughout their lives.
The longest-lived real beagle lived 27 years, which is still very impressive!
2. Chihuahua: 16+ years
One of the most loved (and infamous) dog breeds is also one of the longest-lived. Love them or hate them, chihuahuas live a long time – 16 years or more is common, and it is not unusual to hear of a chihuahua living 20 years.
Chihuahuas come in a few sizes and shapes, but all are small (breed standard puts them at about 6 lbs). They can be long- or short-haired.
Chihuahuas are very resilient for their small size, and their generally good health lets them live such a long time, but some are prone to heart valve issues and airway issues, so be aware of your dog’s background and condition.
3. Poodle (all sizes): 12-18 years
Poodles are possibly the most iconic and recognizable breed out there, or perhaps matched with the likes of the dalmatian or dachshund. Known for their fuzzy, curly, fluffy fur that is often cut into fancy, distinctive styles, the poodle comes in three size classes (toy, miniature and standard) and all three are popular pets.
All three types of poodles live a long lifespan for their size class (keeping in mind that, generally speaking, smaller dogs live longer than larger ones). They are, to some, also considered the second most intelligent breed after the generally tied border collie and Australian herding breeds.
Poodles are average for health among popular breeds, owing to a multitude of bloodlines of various genetic quality. They are generally healthy but can be prone to hip dysplasia, epilepsy and certain other conditions. Poodle crosses, however, are extremely healthy and intelligent, often making excellent service dogs.
Another great health benefit of the poodle in all its varieties is that it is hypoallergenic, making a great companion for people who are allergic to many other animals.
4. Shih Tzu: 15+ years
This dog’s name means “lion” and with good reason. While tiny, this Chinese breed has a “mane” which can be highlighted with certain grooming cuts.
The shih tzu is a popular breed for its small size, playful and affectionate demeanor, and long lifespan. While this breed, like many other purebreds, can be associated with certain issues, overall they tend to be healthy and can easily live 15 years or more.
It is important to keep an eye on your shih tzu’s dental health. They have tiny jaws that sometimes result in an under bite or other alignment issues that can cause dental problems. Overall, a well-bred shih tzu should be a healthy and long-lived dog.
5. Australian Shepherd: 15 years
Another breed that made the list despite not being a toy-sized breed is the energetic and intelligent Australian Shepherd. These dogs are versatile and considered tied with the border collie as the smartest dog breed. For a large dog, they also live a long time, frequently living well into their teens.
Aussies are generally healthy dogs, though they are prone to eye issues if not kept in healthy bloodlines. Any herding/shepherd dog should also be presumed to have the MDR-1 mutation, which occurs in up to 75% of these breeds. This mutation generally doesn’t impact overall health and longevity, but it is important to avoid certain medications, from antibiotics to worm treatments, because dogs with this gene are hyper-sensitive to their ingredients. There are plenty of affordable, accessible alternatives, however, so as long as you are aware of the need to be cautious, there is no need to worry for your best friend’s wellbeing.
6. Maltese: 14+ years
The maltese is another small, long-lived breed. Females are considered especially healthy, but in general this breed is a popular choice for its cute appearance, sweet disposition and good general health.
Like many small dogs, it is important to keep an eye on a maltese’s dental health.
Maltese are also often crossed with other breeds, such as poodles. “Maltipoos” are especially popular and healthy dogs. They make great family dogs and are intelligent, playful and sometimes hilariously stubborn.
For optimal health, it is advisable to shy away from super-boutique Maltese, such as “tiny teacup maltese” and other advertisements that give the impression the dogs are smaller than they should be. It compounds the likelihood of dental problems, and inbreeding.
7. Miniature Schnauzer: 15 years
Another breed that comes in different size variations, all of which have a long lifespan for their size class, is the German-bred schnauzer. Today I’ll talk primarily about the miniature schnauzer, since this version has the longest life expectancy, being the smallest.
These dogs are wire-haired and hypoallergenic, which makes them a great choice for people with allergies. Quoted from one source as having “a personality twice as big as he is,”* this breed is known for intelligence, affection and playfulness.
With a lifespan of 15 years or more, the miniature schnauzer is a healthy and robust breed. The standard and even giant schnauzer both have a lifespan of 13-15 years, quite high for larger classes, so any version of this dog has excellent longevity.
They can, however, be prone to bladder stones, so a healthy diet is recommended.
8. Pomeranian: 16+ years
Pomeranians are adorable, fluffy little dogs. They are descended from the larger Spitz breed, both of German origin. Known as intelligent, playful, extroverted dogs, Pomeranians also have a loving and low-aggression personality, making them great family dogs when children are taught to treat them with respect (as with all animals). They can be vocal, and should be trained to quiet down on command.
Pomeranians are active dogs that will do well with plenty of physical and mental stimulation, so be prepared for a long and active life with your new best friend if you decide to go with this breed. They have generally excellent health, with consideration to the possible issues any small dog might have with their knees or “partially collapsed” trachea (a condition many small dogs have where the trachea is underdeveloped or slightly misshapen, leading to bouts of a hacking cough that sounds much scarier than it is. It generally does not require invasive intervention).
9. Shiba Inu: 15+ years
The Shiba Inu is another not-so-tiny breed on this list of mostly-tiny breeds. This Japanese small-to-medium dog is an excellent hunter and companion.
This dog is popular for its cute appearance and quirky personality. They are not overly vocal, but many will bark to alert you to someone at the door, or other common triggers.
Shiba Inus can be stubborn and should make a great companion over their 14-16-year lifespan to a confident, strong owner who is as passionate about training and interaction as they are about their overall companionship with their super-smart, quirky dog.
10. Mutts: 10-15+ years
Across the board, when you compare a mixed-breed (“mutt”) dog to a purebred of any of the breeds that make it up, you will generally find that the mixed dog will live longer and be healthier.
That is because mixed breed dogs are less likely to be inbred, or to inherit active copies of genes for the health issues that may plague their purebred predecessors.
Mutts tend to inherit the best qualities from their breed mixes, and fewer of the less-desirable traits, as the breeds have generally been selectively bred to strengthen the good while minimizing the bad over the course of generations. This is not an exact science, but many people prefer mixed breed dogs for their excellent health and temperaments.
So there’s my list of the longest-lived breeds to consider. Do you have a different favorite long-lived breed of dog? Have you had a dog that lived an extremely long time? Share in comments, and be sure to subscribe to receive updates from this blog.
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(*- from dogtime.com)