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What’s the Average Lifespan of a Dog?

Dog ownership can be one of the greatest joys of life. It’s a real treat to have a furry companion next to you who will reciprocate with the same level of love and compassion – something which will bring a lot of smiles to not just you but others around you as well.

But it’s only natural that you sometimes wonder: How long will my dog live?

Thinking about this inevitable loss can often drive pet owners into depression and anxiety. While there is no definite answer to the above question as many variables come into play, there are definitely well-established lifespan averages for each breed.

The average lifespan of dogs – What to expect according to breed

Mixed breed and small breed dogs

It’s generally easier to determine the average lifespan of mixed breed dogs as their weight can be used to determine this. Small mixed breed dogs, for example, tend to live longer. A recent report on veterinary records showed that dogs weighing less than 20 lbs. live, on average, for 11 years while those weighing more than 90 lbs. typically live for about 8 years. Medium and large-sized dogs fell somewhere in the middle, living at around 11 years, on average.

However, many small dog breeds can live up to 15 years, even 18 years. Chihuahuas, for example, can live anywhere between 15 to 17 years, while Pomeranians can live 14-16 years.

Medium breed dogs

Medium dog breeds are said to live, on average between 10-13 years, with certain breeds living longer. As with small dogs, the exact age range is hard to determine but there are certainly lifespan guidelines which have been established.

Poodles, for example, can live up to 15 years, while an Australian Shepherd may live between 12 and 15 years.

Large dogs and giant dog breeds

Large breeds live, on average, between 8-12 years. This includes large breeds like Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Labrador Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers and St. Bernards – to name a few.

Most giant dog breeds tend to live, on average, around 8-10 years while large dog breeds can live up to 12 years; St. Bernards and Rottweilers each, can live up to 12 years while a Flat-coated Retriever may live between 10 and 12 years.

Factors that determine a dog’s lifespan

The above examples can certainly be used as guidelines to gauge your dog’s lifespan but it should be kept in mind that the below factors can also influence how long your dog lives:

Level of care

Naturally, when your pet is cared for and loved, they’re going to live a longer and happier life. Therefore, in addition to giving it lots of love and attention, you should provide it with a nutritious and balanced diet, along with adequate exercise each day.

Taking them for an annual wellness exam wouldn’t hurt either.


Spraying and neutering a dog at a young age can have a positive impact on their lifespan – many studies have recommended surgical sterilisation before your pup is 5 months old for small breed dogs and before they are 12-15 months old for large breed house dogs.

Inbred or cross-bred?

Inbreeding has been known to reduce dogs’ lifespans. Cross-bred dogs generally live longer. Plus, inbred dogs carry the risk of having genes or illnesses which are commonly found in that specific breed. Therefore, cross-bred dogs tend to have the least health problems and, as a result, live longer.

You can breathe a sigh of relief now and enjoy your time with your beloved pet!

Perfect-Pets Books has a complete collection of the most popular dog and cat breeds available as Essential Guides that cover a variety of ‘essential things to know’ including: first aid basics, microchips, vaccinations, insurance, and appropriate breed care. In addition to breed books, useful Essential Guides for issues such as dog training, rescue dogs and first aid for dogs are great favourites full of valuable information.

Visit: www.perfect-pets.org for further information.

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