Life Expectancy of Dogs: How Long Will My Dog Live?

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Puppies drinking waterLarger animals tend to live longer than smaller ones… most of the time. Think about it. A human lives longer than a cat, which lives longer than a rat, which lives longer than a fly. But why isn’t this true when it comes to animals within their species? A person who weighs 150 pounds will most likely live longer than a person who weighs 300 pounds. This is because of increased health risks for the person who weighs 300 pounds. When it comes to the life expectancy of dogs though, how can you compare a Great Dane to a Chihuahua?  Their anatomic builds are completely different and their lifespans reflect this. But, beyond size, is there an average age of a dog based on breed or other factors? Yes. Let us explore this subject further.

What Determines a Dog’s Lifespan?

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Want to know how you can help your pup live a longer, happier life? Below are some factors that help determine a canine’s lifespan.

Dog Care

As the owner, you can affect the care you provide for your dog. A dog with a proper, nutritious diet and exercise can live longer than one without. In addition, taking your furry friend to annual wellness exams at the veterinarian and getting its booster shots can result in a healthy dog with a longer lifespan.

Dog Size

Research shows that larger dogs live for a shorter period of time when compared to smaller ones. For example, an Irish Wolfhound (average 115 lbs) has an average lifespan of 7 years, while a Jack Russell Terrier (average 15 lbs) can live up to 13-16 years.

Inbreeding vs Cross Breeding

Inbreeding can reduce the lifespan of canines. Cross breed dogs have a longer lifespan in comparison. Inbred dogs have a risk of carrying genes for illnesses that are common to that specific breed. Further, “mutts” who have at least two breeds and commonly more, tend to have the least health problems and live longer than their purebred counterparts.


Spaying and neutering a puppy at a young age can positively affect a dog’s lifespan. Studies suggest that these surgeries can help reduce the risk of some types of cancer in dogs. Especially cancers affecting the ovaries, breast and testicles. Recent studies show that these benefits may or may not completely accurate but there is no question that your life will be easier without a litter of puppies in your life and this will also be less stress on your pup, which could mean a longer life.

Dog Breed Life Expectancy Chart

Below is a dog life expectancy chart sorted by the most popular registered breeds from the past decade1. The top 25 are included from the AKC list from 2013.

2013 Popularity Rank

Dog Breed

Average Lifespan


Labrador Retriever

11 Years


German Shepherd

11 Years


Golden Retriever

11 Years



12-15 Years



8-12 Years


Yorkshire Terrier

13 Years (possibly up to 20 years)



9-10 Years



12 Years



9 Years



13-15 Years


French Bulldog

8-10 Years


Doberman Pinscher

10-13 Years


German Shorthaired Pointer

12-14 Years


Siberian Huskie

12-15 Years


Shih Tzu

12-16 Years


Great Dane

6-8 Years


Miniature Schnauzer

12-14 Years


Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

9-14 Years



14 Years


Australian Shepherd

12-18 Years


Shetland Sheepdog

12-13 Years



17 Years


Boston Terrier

11-15 Years


Pembroke Welsh Corgi

12-15 Years



14-16 Years

Life Expectancy of Dogs Infographic


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10 Dogs With Short Life Expectancies

You’ll notice that most dogs in this chart are larger breeds. As mentioned above, larger dogs tend to have shorter lifespans than smaller ones. Some believe this is because large breeds age quicker. For example, a Great Dane can gain 100 pounds from its day of birth to its first birthday, whereas a Shih Tzu can weight up to 15 pounds in its entire lifespan. Below is a table of ten dogs with short lifespans.

Dog Breed

Average Lifespan

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


8-9 Years


8-10 Years

Saint Bernard

8-10 Years

Scottish Deerhound

8-10 Years


9-11 Years

What Is the Longest Living Dog Breed?

Chihuahuas are normally referred to as the breed with the longest lifespan. They average 15-20 years and are one of the smallest dog breeds. The oldest Chihuahua on record2, Megabyte, died at the age of 20 years and 265 days.

The Australian Cattle Dog is known for having one of the longest life expectancies. There are records of Australian Cattle Dogs living past 20 years old. In fact, the longest living dog recorded is an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey who lived 29 years and 5 months3.

How old is your dog and what breed is it?

Sources:  [1][2], [3] 

Growing up, Kimberly used to get the sniffles when she was around dogs. Thankfully, she grew out of her allergy and is now able to play and snuggle with dogs as much as she wants! She and her husband adopted Sally, a four-year-old hound mix, in early 2017, and she has brought so much joy into their lives. Life as pet parents has been very rewarding.

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I have a 10 year old mix-breed. His name is Moose. He is a combo of Labrador and Boarder Collie. He weighs approximately 115 pounds. He is very active and still plays like hes just a pup!
We had a Australian cattle dog. She lived for 18 years. What a great dog and our family had a blast with her, but not a first time dog owners dog.
franklin alexander
i did have a litter dog it was chihuahua he just pastway 21 day ago and he was 16yr and 9mon.old but he wood eat the same thin i did i wood like too say more about hem but it hurt me too know he going away foe good i do miss hem he was my bestfriend and all way will..ty
I have a 13 year old sheltie and we think something is wrong with him. He has gone deaf but now we will take him on walks and he just plops over on his side for awhile then gets up like nothing is wrong. any idea
Marianne Hicok
I have two mixed breed dogs that are half rat terrier and half Shetie. The girls weighs 16 pounds and the boy weighs 20. They are 12 years old and in overall good health. The boy does have the nail disorder Lupoid Onchondostrohy, and takes medicine for this chronic condition that causes deterioration of his nails but does effect anything else. The reason for my question about life expectancy for these two is that I would like to rescue another dog, likely a senior dog. I understand there is no crystal ball and I pray my babies live another 8 years or so! But if I thought they might only have another couple years I think I would think long and harder about bringing another dog into our family. Not sure if this makes sense to anyone.
I volunteered for a small dog rescue group for a while. Ended up adopting one of my fosters…Nico. Rescue. Had a hard life. Skin and bones when he was rescued. No teeth. Lower jaw gone as the result of decay and neglect, etc. No one wanted him. True age at adoption unknown. (15 or 16?) He was mine for only 3 years. Died a natural old age death. I miss him VERY much. But I will be forever greatful that he was with ME for those last few years. And would do it again in a heartbeat. He was finally loved, and spoiled, and happy. He deserved to know true love and a pac family that accepted him as is, even if it was just for a little while. (He especially got along with my Pit. They were buddies). Worth EVERY short minute. Sure….think long and hard….about giving a senior dog a chance to know love before it’s to late. It’s all about compassion for a species of animal who have given SO MUCH to the human race. Take a risk and give back.
Patricia Bock
My Miniature-Pincher is 20 years old this past May 1st 2018. She weighs approximately 20 lbs and is 13 “ y’all. She still patrols our yard and can run short distances, climb the stairs, and jump on the couch on a good day. She is now deaf, has severe cataracts, and has lost some teeth but she always wants to go on walks. Our vet. said she is the healthiest 20 year old he has ever seen.
Her name is Beebee and with us since she was 8 weeks old. Never boarded, she had in home sitters, a large fenced yard, hiked in the mountains and lived in the house.
Kennetha Higdon
I have a 10 yr 5 month German Shepard names Bo. We just about lost him last yer to Spotted Rocky Mountain Fever. Thank goodness our Vet. brought him out of it. We was so close to losing him. He is close to his life expectancy. I walk him everyday any where from 2 to 4 miles, Im really hoping this will keep our baby around longer than expected. He is mine and my husbands baby. He is spoiled by both of us. He is some over weight though 140 pds.Starting to get slower on steps. I love him so much, he is a indoor/outdoor dog. So much I can say about him. This is my first post. I could write a letter about him. Ill stop here and post again soon. Thanks for letting me share.
I would like to mention on the subject of hybrid health in dogs it depends on the parent breeds I have a German shepherd husky mix both parent breeds are known to get lupus and he has it, if the parent breeds are prone to different problems they have half the chance at twice the problems and if they have the same problems they are just as likely as a purebred, after all they’re not really hybrid they’re the same species. My boy is 14 and I’ve had him since he was 5 he’s always had some inflammation around his spine which causes some rear end weakness and potty problems but other than the lupus he has no health issues
Just put down our yorkie, Ti Amo (we called her Tia). She was 14 yrs and 3 mos. She developed a mass in her lung and had a congestive heart condition both came on suddenly (2-3 week span). The vet said she may have been able to hang on for may-be a couple of weeks but we didn’t want her to suffer. We also have a little male yorkie Jo Jo 13 yrs 10 mos old. Tia weighed slightly less than 5 lbs Jo slightly more than 5 lbs. We are crushed by the loss of Tia even though we knew she was getting up in age and hope that Jo is with us for at least 2 more yrs (AT LEAST).
Dogs break your heart when they die. They can be so special. Your pet had good owners and I wish you all well.
I just lost my precious pug at age 13.5. He diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis five months to dealth and would live longer if i didnt take him to specialist that put him on new medication.
He was coping with diease very well but no cure
My romeo died of aspiration pneumonia. And it was hardest thing to put him done to end his suffer. Romeo was happy and strong pug and not sure where this diease came from. We miss him dearly
I have a Lowchen ( little lion dog) she is 16 in July. She is on the usual pain killers for her legs but generally speaking she is doing well. She isn’t the most common if breeds and I wondered what was her general life span.
She is very spoilt though I keep her on a low fat diet to keep the weight off her legs. Lol
Carl Williamson
Very informative. My seven-month-old pup is a mixed breed; the dam is a border collie but I am not sure which breed the sire is. She is a pretty small dog and lightening fast. I will do my part to ensure she lives a long life.
i just lost my dog a week ago he was a 10yrs 3months pitbull he was a joy to be around he gave me some much joy and love really mis him a lot kane i really love you wish i can turn the clock back.
We have two pug mixes (the oldest is now 17 years, 3 months and the younger is 15 years, 3 months). Both have really started to go downhill over the last year and we don’t believe there’s much time left for either of them. It’s been hard on all of us and we can’t seem to agree on letting nature take it’s course or being pro active.
oh my god this is hilarious. your article starts by saying larger breeds live longer, when 80% of that first list has the smaller breeds living longer. and then your second set of stats just drive this fact home by showing nothing but large breeds as having SHORT life expectancies. oh man…
I just lost my pug, Molly, who was just about a month shy of 15 years old this last Friday. I am broken and don’t know how I can go on. She was all I had.
c Anderson
You will see your beloved dog again.
Thanks! I guess I would go crazy if I didn’t believe that as well!
Marie Smith
PLEASE adopt ASAP the rescues and animal shelters are loaded with beautiful pets waiting for there NEW forever family and home! My sister (dog lover) recommended this for me after the loss of my beloved pup of 16+ years! It was great advice! I now have three pups which I adopted 2 years apart! They have been a wonderful addition to our home!
i lost my dog a week ago 10yrs 3months pitbull he was a joy to be around very playful really mis him a lot wish i can change the hands of tine love you kane.
I am so sorry for your loss. I can totally relate. I lost my pug, Elvis, on 1/22/18 to a sudden respiratory infection. He just turned 8 this past November. I’m having a really difficult time with it because I was certain we’d have another 3-5 years with him. I swear at times I can hear him snore and him loudly cleaning his paws. There are times, out of the blue, that I just burst into tears. It’s rough. He was my baby.
So sorry about your Elvis! When they are taken so young there is no rhyme or reason for it. I lost my first pug, Bailey at only two years old, of Pug Dog Encephalitis. I was inconsolable. I was able to get Molly only a couple of days later. I was going out of my mind. Getting Molly so soon helped me through that grief. Those almost 15 years went by so fast. It’s been two weeks and I’m still crying everyday. I too, can still sense Molly’s presence at different times of the day. It’s hard to describe, but for split seconds at a time throughout the day I’ll think she’s still here and think of putting fresh water down, or reaching for a treat. I don’t know what I’m gong to do now. I just have to focus on the good times we shared over the years. I hope you’ll be able to do the same. Forums like this seem to help, It’s good to know you are not alone.
#save the pugs
I have two American Cocker Spaniels from the same litter. They are 12 and still act like puppies sometimes.
shannon magill
I have a beagle cross with a springer named beauty she’s 9 years old and I love her to bits she’s absolutely amazing
I also have a beagle cross with a springer she is also 9 years old
I also have a beagle, “Shiloh”. She’s just about 14 and has lived with SARD (Sudden Acute Retina Deficiency) for the last 5 years. She’s been completely blind for the last 5 years.
My Dozer is half boston and half smooth fox terrior. Ive had him since he was 12 weeks old. He is just over 10yrs old now. I’ve noticed how gray his face has become when compared to pictures ive take in the past. He’s a lil’ old man now. I know he wont live forever, but i cant imagine my life without him. Anyone know how long a mix breed like him typically lives? Any tips to keep him healthy and happy and to extend those years? He is neutered and eats a healthy corn free diet. We visit the vet regularly. Any other tips to extend his years are much appreciated. Thanks! ~Patty
Fred & Christine
Our Jack Russell, Patches, just passed away last month at 16 yrs 10 mths. His play and hunting mate, Buttons, lived for 15 yrs. We spared no vet expense as they were our babies. Our family feels broken…
We had a sheltie border/ collie cross that died when she was 20. We also had a chesapeake bay retriever/ golden lab cross that died when she was 11 (after giving her insuline shots for a year and a half). Growing up we had mixed breed dogs that lived to be 17-19 years old. i think mixed breed is the way to go.
Darlene Lubienski
I have a basset hound named “Mandy” who is about to turn 14 years old next month. She had bloat over the summer and almost died. My vet said she had a 50/50 chance of living through the surgery. She is now thriving and looks great. The surgeon said she never did bloat surgery on a dog that old. Mandy runs around the yard with my new puppy “Winnie” who is a black lab and is 9 months old. I love my dogs to death and treat them like my children.
Adrean Parks
Love your dog till the end and when u go. They will be there to help you find your way. With love to show they missed you more than you know. And never left your side.
Adrean Parks
Awww Im so sorry for everyone who has lost their best friend’s. I have a pugapoo her name is Christal she is 11 as of now and my best friend i love her so much. I am a deaf woman. And she has been my friend since she turned 6 weeks old I cry just thinking of the day I will have to say goodbye. She is so close to me I don’t believe any human has been closer. I feel when she goes my whole life should go with her I don’t know about how other people feel about this topic but I know one look and me and her understand each other. Losing her will be so very hard on me I would rather just faded away from the world like I never existed then feel the pain of losing her. Life isn’t fair and I pray one day when I have to go that she be there for me waiting to be by my side forever.
“Studies suggest that these surgeries can help reduce the risk of some types of cancer in dogs. Especially cancers affecting the ovaries, breast and testicles. Recent studies show that these benefits may or may not completely accurate […]”

Studies show it can help but other studies show that it may not help? What is the conclusion after all?

You can find all kinds of papers showing all kinds of result, but you’ll find a tendency towards a goal.