- Scientists in England have studied how a dog’s breed, size, breed and facial shape affect its lifespan.
- Scientists have found that flat-faced dogs, large dogs and male dogs tend to live shorter lives.
- The breeds that live the longest, over 14.5 years, are Lancashire heelers, Tibetan spaniels and Shiba Inus.
Everyone wishes their dog could live forever, but as any pet lover knows, these adorable pooches only spend a portion of our lives with us.
Whether you’re getting a new dog or looking to make the most of your time with your furry friend, it’s worth knowing the typical lifespans of different breeds.
Now scientists can answer your questions better than ever before.
A huge new study from a dog welfare organization Dog’s Trust UK estimated the life spans of 155 different dog breeds and found that breeds such as Tibetan spaniels and Shiba Inus typically live the longest, while breeds including mastiffs and St. Bernards have the shortest lifespans.
The study was published Thursday in a research journal Scientific Reportsanalyzed data from more than half a million dogs in the UK to investigate how breed, body size, sex and facial shape affect their lifespan.
The longest and shortest lived dogs
The study found that the average lifespan of all dogs was 12.5 years. However, some breeds tend to live a few years longer.
Among purebreds, the five breeds with the lowest risk of early death were Lancashire heelers, Tibetan spaniels, Shiba Inus, papillons and Lakeland terriers.
The longest-lived breeds
Others tend to be shorter lived. Among purebreds, the five breeds with the highest risk of early death were Caucasian Shepherds, Presa Canarios, Cane Corsos, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards.
Shortest living breeds
It is no coincidence that these breeds do not live long. According to the study, all five were large dogs and had a 20% higher risk of premature death than small dogs.
In addition to body size, gender and face shape have also been found to affect longevity during the study.
For example, male dogs live an average of 0.3 years less than females, which supports it the female survival advantage hypothesis This suggests that females outlive males in many different mammal species (including humans).
What’s more, flat-faced dogs like French bulldogs and pugs have a 40% higher risk of early death than medium-long-faced dogs like Labradors or golden retrievers, lead author Kirsten McMillan told Business Insider.
These flat-faced breeds usually suffer from respiratory problems and heart diseases Blue crossthis probably explains their shorter lifespans.
In the chart below, you can see a list of the shortest-lived dog breeds – many are large, like Newfoundlands and Burmese mountain dogs, and a few have flat faces, including boxers and bulldogs.
So far, we’ve mostly talked about purebreds, but scientists have also looked at hybrids. They found that the average lifespan of purebreds was 0.70 years longer than that of crossbreds.
McMillan says the difference can be explained by the emergence of “designer” hybrids like Labradoodles. These breeds originated from artificial breeding experiments, but were considered hybrids for this study.
As a result, this may explain why the proposed data has a shorter lifespan, McMillan said.
A different kind of education
While previous studies have independently analyzed factors including breed, facial shape, breed and body size, this is the first study to examine how they all relate to artificial breeding and ultimately how it affects a dog’s lifespan, McMillan told BI.
“Even though we’ve created these breeds, no one has investigated the potential relationship between evolutionary history and lifespan,” McMillan said.
Domestication of dogs began about 16,000 years ago. However, the wide variety of breeds we see today appeared much more recently, some within the last 200 years.
In fact, the Lancashire Heeler — the longest-lived breed, according to research — was recognized as the American Kennel Club’s newest dog breed in January. Why do you breed so many dogs?
Artificial breeding has shortened the lifespan of dogs
People began artificially breeding dogs to achieve desired characteristics or abilities.
Dachshunds were specifically bred to hunt badgers, for example. Their short legs and narrow, long bodies keep them on the ground to track scents and squeeze them into tight nests.
For centuries, humans have shaped the evolutionary history of dogs and in turn shaped their lifespan.
Artificial breeding practices such as inbreeding, trait selection and population isolation can reduce genetic diversity and cause major health problems, McMillan said.
About 700 hereditary diseases have been documented in domestic dogs, including hip dysplasia, endocrine disorders, and blood disorders.
McMillan said: “Ethical and welfare issues related to breeding have become one of the most important issues within dog welfare. And not just for the UK, but worldwide.”
This research can help you become a better pet owner
McMillan hopes this research will help future pet owners make informed choices about which breeds they adopt into their lives, and provide current dog owners with important information about their dog’s aging process.
Longevity not only affects the amount of time you spend caring for your pet, but it also affects your dog’s risk of developing major health problems later in life that can be costly both financially and emotionally.
“These dogs are members of our family,” McMillan said. “We want to make sure we give them long, happy and healthy lives.”