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Average Dog Lifespan - How Long Will My Dog Live

Updated on August 13, 2010
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney has over 10 years of experience in dog training, rescuing, and healthcare.

Determine How Long Dogs Live

Because we love our pets so much, we never want to lose them, but unfortunately, dogs do not have the same lifespan as humans. Now, there are many factors that will determine if your dog will outlive you or not, but in general, your dog just won't live as long as you.

It can be hard to pinpoint the average lifespan that your dog will have, but you can look at it in terms of the factors that determine how long your dog will live.

  • What breed of dog is it?
  • What size dog is it? How much does it weigh?
  • What gender dog is it?
  • How is the overall quality of life and care?

Unfortunately, you'll never be able to do enough research to find the dog that will live the longest, as each dog, no matter what breed or size the dog, is different. Some dogs live longer than others.

Aging is hard to determine, so the best that you can do is consider the factors, as breeds and even individual dogs will age at different rates.

Factors that Affect a Dog's Lifespan

  • Size

On average, smaller dogs live longer than larger dogs. About 40% of small breeds live past 10 years, where only 13% of large dogs live past 10.

In general, you want to look at the weight, not the height of the dog. A study of over 700 dogs and 77 breeds, proved that dogs that weigh less than 30 pounds will live the longest. Your average medium to large size dog, weighing about 50 pounds will average a lifespan of about 10 to 12 years. The giant breeds, such as Great Danes, Mastiffs, etc. will tend to average about 6 to 8 years.

In general, you can expect smaller dog breeds to live longer than your large and extra large dogs.

  • Gender

On average, female dogs tend to live longer than males. Generally, there isn't that big of a difference, but the numbers do show females live longer.

  • Breed

Breed of the dog tends to affect the lifespan, as well, especially in regards to purebred dogs versus mix breed dogs. This one is pretty simple, but many breeders will probably want to contest it.

Mix breed dogs live longer.

Pure breed dogs tend to have a long list of health problems that will shorten their lifespan. Different breeds have different common illnesses, diseases, and cancers, but in general purebred dogs tend to be more inbred, which can cause health issues bred through generations. In many cases, when breeders breed for specific traits, they tend to enhance them to a detrimental quality (Bulldogs and Pekingese are prone to having respiratory problems caused by constant selective breeding for the more squished face).

In general, mix breed dogs do not suffer inbreeding, and tend to be healthier and have longer lifespans.

Terry Bain
Terry Bain

You can carefully choose a reputable dog breeder and thoroughly comb through their dog's pedigrees, but even still, you have more health concerns with purebred dogs than you will have with mix breeds.

Plus, always consider the breed, even the breeds within the mix. Breeds do have common health issues, such as cancer which kills about 42% of dogs; hip dysplasia in larger dogs which can cause lameness; respiratory concerns in flat-faced dogs causing overheating and death; heart conditions; recurrent ear and eye conditions; kidney conditions; and various bone and muscle conditions.

If you have your heart set on a pure bred dog, do your research. Know the health risks, and find a breeder who doesn't have common breed problems in their line.

  • Overall Health and Conditions

Size, gender, and breed are all big factors that play into part in the lifespan of the dog, but do also consider your hand in the dog's life. Consider the food that you feed your dog; are you feeding a poor quality food or a high quality food? Do you offer table scraps? Are you regularly exercising your dog? Does your dog get regular trips to the vet? Do you groom your dog (yes, grooming is important)?

Healthier dogs, live longer lives.

Lifespan by Dog Breed

Each dog breed has its own average lifespan, and although each individual dog will be different, based on health, genetics, and overall quality of life, below is a list of the average lifespan for 2008's most popular dogs.

  • Beagle- 12 to 14 years
  • Boston Terrier- 15 years
  • Boxer- 11 to 14 years
  • Bulldog- 10 to 12 years
  • Chihuahua- 15 years or more
  • Dachshund- 12 to 14 years
  • Doberman Pinscher- 10 to 12 years
  • German Shepherd- 10 to 14 years
  • German Shorthaired Pointer- 12 to 15 years
  • Golden Retriever- 10 to 12 years
  • Labrador Retriever- 10 to 14 years
  • Maltese- 15 years or more
  • Miniature Schnauzer- 15 years or more
  • Pomeranian- 13 to 15 years
  • Poodle- 10 to 15 years
  • Pug- 12 to 15 years
  • Rottweiler- 10 to 12 years
  • Shih Tzu- 11 to 15 years
  • Shetland Sheepdog- 12 to 14 years
  • Yorkshire Terrier- 12 to 15 years

Calculating a Dog's Age

We've always heard that 1 dog year is equivalent to 7 human years, but that's not 100 percent true. Like people dogs age at different rates, some may be more than 7 human years, whereas others may be less. If you really think about it, 1 dog year and a dog is nearly fully grown, whereas children are still growing at 7 and have a long way until they're near adults. So, 1 dog year, in some breeds, may be more equivalent to 15 to 18 years of a human. Some dogs are fully grown and in their adult bodies, at 9 months, which definitely isn't equivalent to a 7 year old child.

In general, dogs vary in how they age, especially in regards to human years. There are many factors that determine a dog's lifespan and human year equivalency, but you can get an average estimate from the chart below. The chart is based on the dog's weight.

Calculate Your Dog's Age to Human Years

Chart developed by Dr. Fred L. Metzger, DVM, State College, Pennsylvania. Courtesy of Pfizer Animal Health
Chart developed by Dr. Fred L. Metzger, DVM, State College, Pennsylvania. Courtesy of Pfizer Animal Health

How to Estimate a Dog's Age - How Old is My Dog?

Sometimes when you adopt a dog or you find a stray, it can be hard to 100 percent determine how old the dog may be. Without knowing the birthday and the previous owner, it can be hard to determine anything to be exact, but you can still make an estimate as to the dog's age using the condition of the dog's teeth.

You'll find each dog is different, and the previous dental care will make a big difference on how the teeth appear, but you can make a general estimate based on the wear and tartar build-up.

General guidelines:

  • By 8 weeks- Pup will have baby teeth.
  • By 7 months- Pup will have all permanent teeth; white and clean.
  • 1-2 years- Teeth will be duller; the back teeth may have some yellowing.
  • 3-5 years- Tartar build-up across all teeth; some teeth will show wear.
  • 5-10 years- Teeth show more wear and signs of dental disease.
  • 10-15 years- Teeth will be worn with heavy tartar build-up; possibility of some missing teeth.


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    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      Very useful, thanks for sharing!

    • boosters profile image

      Sandeep Rai 

      7 years ago from India

      I feel my dog is in last stage of life.. he is 14 years old and he is the best of best dog ever seen in my life. This is my first and last dog after than i never adopt any dog because i can't see his pain and suffer from many problems... :(

    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 

      7 years ago from Philippines

      I would like to agree on the mixed breed to have a longer life span.. my friend's dog is a Local Philippine Dog a mixed breed with unknown origin, he is already 20 years olds, of course not as attractive as the younger dogs but he is still full of life.. moving, eating and can still eliminate in a designated place..

    • afriqnet profile image

      Joe Njenga 

      7 years ago from Nairobi Kenya

      A very comprehensive and well written Hub on dogs lifespan. I have bookmarked it for future reference thanks

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great information Whitney. We have a 10 year old female Shih Tzu and she is as active today as she was 5 years ago. I'm sure she'll slow down eventually but we are hoping that she has many, many more years to go. Great Hub.

    • EclecticFusion profile image


      7 years ago from Tennessee

      Awesome hub! I had a German Shepard that lived to the age of 19 and he did not want to go! He fought it with everything he had!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Fantastic hub. I have only had mixed breed dogs and one lived 13 years and the other 12 years. We are thinking about getting a puppy soon and this information will be helpful to have. Thanks for sharing. Take care, Kelley

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      7 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great info! My dog is a mixed breed under 20 lbs, so I'm hoping he'll have a long life. We'll see. Thanks for sharing this information! Many votes and sharing!

    • T4an profile image


      8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      This is a great hub. I feel like one of the lucky ones because my german shephard mix is 11 years old and weighs 115 lbs. I cherish every day he is still here with us.

    • Cardozo7 profile image


      8 years ago from Portugal

      Great Hub!

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 

      8 years ago from Virginia

      Great Hub, recently had to put one of our dogs down, worst experience ever

    • rjsadowski profile image


      8 years ago

      Great article - full of interesting information. You have confirmed what I always susspected, that mixed breeds live longer than pure bred dogs. My first dog, Teddy. a mixed breed terrier, lived 18 years and never saw a vet. Since then, we have only had pure breeds and none have lived past 15 years and we have spent Thousands of dollars on vet fees.

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Whitney, I disagree with one thing you said "If you have your heart set on a pure bred dog, do your research. Know the health risks, and find a breeder who doesn't have common breed problems in their line." - I adopted my Chihuahua from a pound when he was 4 mths, and I love him unconditionally, so I do not really know his background, unfortunately.

    • xXSweetiXx profile image


      8 years ago from The Pacific Northwest

      With 13 years in Veterinary Medicine, this hub is accurate and informative!

    • daisybunny profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      This was a very interesting hub! Thanks! I have a 1 yr old female poodle. :)

    • casshd profile image


      8 years ago from Hemel Hempstead, UK

      Great hub, thanks. Our dog Tippy was 14 when she went to the great kennel in the sky recently. A border collie cross, she was always healthy and I feel a bit cheated that she didn't make it to 15 or 16. But we must be grateful for the years we have with our lovely doggie companions. We had 13.5 years with Tippy and lots of wonderful memories.

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      I wish my dogs could live forever! By the way, do you recommend Natural Balance dog food for Chihuahuas? Is there any other food you may recommend? I am asking based on your comment "Consider the food that you feed your dog; are you feeding a poor quality food or a high quality food?" Thanks Whitney!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i LOVE ALL your hubs and you relly have a hart for animals

    • Misty39 profile image


      9 years ago from Massachusetts USA

      My dogs I hope will live as long as I do,or who knows just may out live me.I searched all over every where for real pet food,all other pets foods are poison to my pets,I finally found a holistic food store I read the ingredients thoroughly to find it to be mostly vits.and real meat & some veggies,one of these products is Paul Newmans granddaughter,it's some what costly than market brands etc.but my animals are well worth it.

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 

      9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for useful information. I saw the list of dogs but you did not mention pitbulls.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I have a 14 year old husky mix. you can see he is getting old but he is active like a puppy, He don't look like he is slowing down at all.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks, bookmarked. I've 2 older 'pups' both female, great dogs and I want to make sure I'm aware and alert. I'd like to make it as easy and comfortable for them in their older age. And according to your chart we don't have much time together left so HUGE HUGE Thanks, I'm going to hug and baby the heck out of them! Vitamins and steak snacks! Woof!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks i have a 14 year old golden retriever that my family aadopt from a shelter 4 days after his birthday

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great Informative hub. I have newfoundland dogs and their life expectancy is 8 - 10 years but I know of some people that have had their newfs for 15 years a few of these have lived in a kennel all their lives and others in a home.

    • Unchained Grace profile image

      Unchained Grace 

      9 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Whitney, I've been looking for this information for a long time. My wife and I have an older small female Beagle and he is every bit our family. I thank yu so much for providing this. I'm going to bookmark it, rate it UP and AWESOME and send it to my FB Page for all others who have dogs.

    • profile image

      Jasmine JellyBaby 

      9 years ago

      If I read this before my dog Bingo died, then he probably would have lived longer. He was golden retriever and he lived to see his 15th birthday. He was older than me by 5 years but I loved him and I always remember playing with him and then he went to sleep and never woke up. Great hub

    • janicealcantara profile image


      9 years ago

      Very interesting facts. I have a five month old Pekingese and she loves gnawing just about anything she sees. Now I'm pretty sure that its her growing baby teeth that causing that. Thought she was possessed by the Tazmanian Devil or something.

      Thanks for the helpful guide! Rated up and useful.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice guide, i will pass this info onto my sister when i get a chance. She has a few dogs.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      9 years ago from Deep South, USA

      This is a very helpful article. I'm glad to see "15 years or more" beside the miniature Schnauzer breed in your list, since that's the breed of my own best friend! She's nearly six years old now, and taking good care of her is one of my top priorities.

    • KristenGrace profile image


      9 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Some of my friends have puppies or full grown dogs, and it was nice to be able to see this information. You put a lot into this hub!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi, I've got a cross-breed that lived until he was 17 years old, and recently a Labrador Retriever that died at 18 years. I'm quite sure that the food and exercise we provide for them during their lifetime influences a lot of their lifespan and quality of life. I never gave kibble to any of them, I'm giving kibble to my Pit Bull now, but not sure if it's going to "work" so well as "normal leftovers".

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Georgia

      There are plenty of good vitamins out there. If you're asking for a recommendation, I'd suggest the K9 Dietary Supplements

    • Juliette Morgan profile image

      Juliette Morgan 

      9 years ago

      Great info - yes it is a worrying thing - I have a westie, he's small which looks like good news on the long life stakes and he's not overweight. I've been reading about pet vitamins, would be interested to know your opinion?

    • Eiddwen profile image


      9 years ago from Wales

      Brilliant hub Whitney05. I enjoy reading your hubs and they are really informative. I'm pretty new to HP so I'm still feeling my way around. Thanks again!

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Georgia

      Glad it helped.

    • dashingclaire profile image


      9 years ago from United States

      Very informative hub. Answered many of my questions. Thanks

    • ryanobie profile image


      9 years ago from Washington, DC

      Very informative article! I've always had labs and shepherds and they tend to make it to 12 or 13. Wish it was longer!

      Seems unfair about the size. Afterall, horses are huge and so are elephants. One would think that dogs could have been given a break . . .

    • Shawn Scarborough profile image

      Shawn Scarborough 

      9 years ago from The Lone Star State

      This is a great hub. I have a 4 year old Rottweiler and have often wondered what type of lifespan he might have. This was very helpful. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Autoaficianado profile image


      9 years ago from California

      What a helpful article! I'm babysitting my brother-in-law's Beagle, and was curious about its age... By your general guidelines for estimating age by examining the dog's teeth, I found that Boss is between 3-5 years old!

    • DaniS74 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great article. I have a few friends who prefer the smaller breeds because of the extended life expectancy as opposed to the bigger breeds. I'm partial to the bigger breeds myself, and my top choice is always the German Shepard. I had one for ten years, and no one could have asked for a better friend and family member. Maybe one day, I can get another, but for now, she is still too much in my life.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Right on the numbers for dobermans as well. Our last female was 12 1/2 and came down with liver disease around 12. Great info on dogs that fart as Dobie is a fluffer but very healthy!!!

    • Autoaficianado profile image


      9 years ago from California

      Great article!.. it made me want to google Pekingese, so I did.. and I must say, what an interesting breed!

    • 4mystickitty profile image


      9 years ago

      This is such a wonderful and comprehensive list of age for dogs. I wonder if there's any similar one for cats. Our cat is over 20 years old coming up 21 soon.

    • mquee profile image


      9 years ago from Columbia, SC

      This is just the hub I have been looking for. My boxer is getting up in age, but is still healthy. I was looking to find the approximate lifespan of boxers. This has been very helpful. Thank you.

    • dealrocker profile image


      9 years ago from California

      What a great info! Good job! Very well written article. Liked your other hubs too. Joining your fanclub and would like to invite you to join mine. :)

    • C. Stewart profile image

      C. Stewart 

      9 years ago

      Great info. I have an 11-year old toy poodle and he's still full of spunk.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Dapples 

      9 years ago from Just Arizona Now

      Very good information all in one place for easy reading. Thanks.

    • David 470 profile image

      David 470 

      9 years ago from Pennsylvania, United States

      Interesting hub. A lot of dogs that live to 13 is really good in my opinion. Most dogs that are 10 are quite old.

    • dawnM profile image

      Dawn Michael 

      9 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

      great information, I have two small dogs and one of them is a pug, I was happy to see that they live pritty long lives. My other is a mixed breed but small. You didi agreat job putting this hub together, loved it!!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Wonderful hub - informative and helpful. We had a Pekinese named Rusty that died at the ageof fourteen, it was very hard to lose hime. He died at the average age for a Peke. I think your chart and information is a necessity for dog owners. Thanks.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Dogs don't agree with me. Somehow they always look at me and bare their teeth. Even a stuffed one.

    • chardee42 profile image


      9 years ago from Orlando, FL

      We lost our Golden Retriever this past weekend. She would have been 11 at Thanksgiving. According to your chart above, she died at the average age for her breed. Knowing this, however does not make it any easier.

      Thanks for the insightful article.

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Georgia

      It's great to adopt from a shelter, and as mentioned mix breeds tend to live longer. A 14 year old diabetic dog is great. Means you did a good job caring for him.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      We are getting ready to get another dog. We usually get dogs from a shelter as we feel it is the thing to do. We had to put our last dog down, a Husky German Shepherd mix at about 14 years according to my wife's estimate,which is good long life considering the dog was diabetic.Our previous was a German Shepherd Border Collie mix which also had to be put down at 12 to 15 years old as best I recall.

      So all this information is relevent right now.

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Georgia

      twhite94, both are good breeds, but yes, both have many health problems. I have a Bull Mastiff, which is shorter than an English and stouter; she goes through a 20 pound bag of food every 2 weeks, give or take. Hip problems can be avoided by finding a good breeder who has all their adults and pups checked; not a regular vet visit but a thorough exam. Plus, if you take the right precautions early while the pup is growing, you can potentially avoid some issues. It's iffy, and you have to do what you want. Just make sure that you do your research first.

      moonvine, the 7/1 ratio was what I had always heard, but several years ago I rad otherwise. When doing this research, I found more info that makes more since. Not all dogs are the same, so it makes since that the 7/1 rule isn't 100% accurate.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      That is sad. Bigger dogs are like large humans because they both tend to live for shorter periods of time. I really want either an English Mastiff or Saint Bernard, but I know they are both prone to hip problems and eat a ton. What is your recommendation on these breeds?

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Maria Giunta 

      9 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Great information, I had an idea but this hub has cleared up some confusion. It is sad when pets die, really do wish they could live longer, they are such good company.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      9 years ago from Northern, California

      Thank you for providing this information. So often I have wondered just what to expect and how to contend with the facts. You have given a full scale report of almost everything life-span for dogs. This may help parents explain things to the little people who have fuzzy friends. Great job here. Up and awesome.

    • katiem2 profile image

      Katie McMurray 

      9 years ago from Westerville

      Thanks for the helpful tips, my two daughters have a 10 year old pug and a 8 year old chow and we were just wondering about the average life span of a dog.


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