We all know that different dog breeds can have very different lifespans. Here are the best figures we have from three recent English studies. Please read this first to help you understand the figures.
Problems with breed lifespan data
- The figures quoted are median lifespans. Juvenile deaths are included which lower the median. For example, a six-year-old dog having already survived that long will therefore expect a higher median lifespan than these figures suggest for all dogs from puppyhood. The ages should still be valid as a comparison between breeds.
- Studies use self-reported data and often get response rates of only one in four. This will tend to create reporting bias where people are more likely to send back data for atypical results such as early deaths. The data below doesn’t include breeds with very low numbers or response rates.
- These studies use old data. All three studies use data for dogs who died before the study date and therefore didn’t have access to many recent advances in veterinary care. This may mean modern lifespans are generally older but it may also explain the idea (myth?) that large dogs die sooner. Look at this recent data from our clinic on 800 living patients. If you can see any difference between large and small dog lifespans you’re doing better than me. Read why I think old dogs now live longer than they used to.
Lifespans Of Dog Breeds
Dog breed longevity in the table below comes from three UK studies, which are the most recent and probably most similar to Australian dogs. Also, visit our page on the genetic diseases of different dog breeds.
- very low numbers, Corgis merged
References & Comments
Adams, V. J., Evans, K. M., Sampson, J., & Wood, J. L. N. (2010). Methods and mortality results of a health survey of purebred dogs in the UK. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 51(10), 512-524. This study used data from questionnaires sent to members of breed clubs in the UK. Breeds were only included when the response rate was at least 15%. Cross breeds were not included.
Michell, A. R. “Longevity of British breeds of dog and its relationships with sex, size, cardiovascular variables and disease.” The Veterinary Record 145.22 (1999): 625-629. Data came from questionnaires sent to owners of UK dogs insured with a large pet insurance company.
O’Neill, D. G., Church, D. B., McGreevy, P. D., Thomson, P. C., & Brodbelt, D. C. (2013). Longevity and mortality of owned dogs in England. The Veterinary Journal, 198(3), 638-643. This study accessed UK veterinary clinic databases.
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By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These blogs are from a series regularly posted on Facebook and Twitter. Like or follow our page or subscribe via email to read the latest.