How long does a dog live?

How long does a dog live?

Surely on more than one occasion you have heard the theory that one year of human life is equivalent to seven of a dog. However, this statement is nothing more than a myth. Dogs age at a very different rate than ours, so to calculate their life expectancy a wide variety of factors must be taken into account, the breed being one of the most important.

Factors that affect the life expectancy of a dog

Surely on some occasion you have heard that small dogs have a longer life expectancy than large dogs. However, breed is not the only factor that affects the longevity of our pets. In this section, we explain the different conditions that can determine the life expectancy of dogs.


Breed or size

As a general rule, larger mammalian species have a longer life expectancy than small species. For example, it is known to all that elephants or whales are much longer-lived species than mice.

However, this fact contradicts what happens within the races of the same species, since there is evidence that within the species, the largest individuals have a shorter life expectancy . This is especially evident in the canine species, in which it has been shown that for every 2 kg of weight, life expectancy decreases by around 1 month.

The life expectancy of a species depends on:

  • The moment in which its senescence begins.
  • Your rate of aging.
  • Your death rate.

In the specific case of dogs, it seems that the wide variability in life expectancy between breeds is fundamentally due to the rate of aging . Large dogs, due to their higher growth rate and the greater metabolic wear of their body, age at a notably faster rate than small dogs, hence they are less long-lived animals.

If at this point you are wondering how long a year is in dogs , you should know that there is no single answer. The rate of aging varies depending on the age and size of the breed , so we must take these factors into account when calculating the equivalence between human and canine years of life. Here’s how you can calculate this correlation:

  • To begin with, we must consider that the first year of dogs corresponds to about 15 human years in small/medium breeds and about 16 human years in large breeds.
  • At 2 years of life, dogs have an equivalent of about 24 human years.
  • From then on, we will add 5 human years for each dog year. That is, 3 dog years correspond to 29 human years, 4 dog years correspond to 34 human years, and 5 dog years correspond to 39 human years.
  • From the age of 5 we will add for each canine year 4 human years in small breeds, 6 human years in medium breeds and 8 human years in large breeds.


We must know that, although a better quality of life does not prevent the aging process, it does delay it. Therefore, improving the quality of all the environmental factors that are in our power will be essential to make aging a less acute and aggressive stage for our pets.

Below, we list the main precautions that help delay aging in dogs, and thus extend their life expectancy:

  • Food : a balanced diet according to the demands of each vital stage will be essential to maintain a good state of health of our pets.
  • Physical exercise : in the same way, daily physical exercise, according to the needs of each race and age, will help maintain good health, preventing obesity and all the diseases associated with it. How much exercise should a dog do a day? Discover the answer here.
  • Hygiene : understanding hygiene not only as the cleanliness of our pet (with brushing, baths, etc.) but also as the cleanliness of the environment in which it is found.
  • Vaccination and deworming schedule : complying with the vaccination and deworming schedule will prevent a wide variety of infectious and parasitic diseases, some of them serious and even fatal. 
  • Veterinary check-ups: periodic veterinary check-ups will allow any pathological process to be detected in its early stages and treatment to be instituted early, which will improve the prognosis and life expectancy of the animals.


As you can imagine, diseases are also among the factors that influence the life expectancy of dogs, as they affect their mortality rate. Some pathologies are related to:

  • Age : for example, developmental diseases in young dogs or neoplasms in older dogs.
  • Sex : like mammary tumors in bitches.
  • The breed : like herniated discs in dachshunds .

However, regardless of whether or not there is a predisposition in individuals, diseases will directly affect the longevity of dogs. For this reason, it is essential to provide them with good preventive medicine that allows them to avoid or delay, as far as possible, the appearance of any pathology.

How long does a small dog live?


Small breed dogs, such as the Chihuahua , the Poodle , the Pomeranian or the Yorkshire, live around 12-17 years . However, there are some especially long-lived individuals of small breeds that have come to exceed 20 years of life.


How many years does a medium dog live?

Medium-sized dogs, such as the beagle , the cocker spaniel , the bull terrier or the English bulldog , have a life expectancy of between 10-15 years . That is, they are somewhat less long-lived than small breed dogs.


How many years does a large dog live?

Large dogs such as German Shepherds , Boxers , Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers have a life expectancy of 8-12 years . In the case of giant breeds, such as the Mastiff, the Newfoundland or the Great Dane, the life expectancy is reduced to 6-11 years.

Some breeds of dogs and their life expectancy

Although we have already talked in general about the longevity of dogs depending on their breed, in this section we will detail more specifically the life expectancy of some of the best-known dog breeds:

  • Beagle: 12-15 years
  • Maltese Bichon : 12-15 years
  • Border Collie : 12-13 years
  • Boston Terrier : 12-15 years
  • Boxers: 9-12 years
  • Bull Terrier: 10-14 years
  • French Bulldog : 10-12 years
  • English Bulldog: 8-10 years
  • Poodle: 12-15 years
  • Chihuahua: 12-20 years
  • Chow-chow : 9-12 years
  • Cocker Spaniel: 12-15 years
  • Doberman Pinscher : 10-13 years
  • Greyhound : 10-14 years
  • Golden Retriever: 10-15 years
  • Great Dane : 6-8 years
  • Labrador Retriever: 10-13 years
  • Pyrenean Mastiff : 7-14 years
  • German Shepherd: 9-13 years
  • Pitbull or American bulldog : 8-15 years
  • Pomeranian: 12-16 years
  • Shih-tzu : 10-16 years
  • Dachshund: 14-17 years
  • West Highland White Terrier: 12-16 years
  • Yorkshire : 13-16 years

However, you must remember that these data are merely indicative . As we have explained throughout the article, there are many other factors beyond breed that can affect the life expectancy of dogs. Therefore, we recommend that you take these values only as an approximation.

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