Our furry friends are part of the family, and we want them with us for as long as possible. But the way some dogs have been bred shortens their life expectancy.
Recently, Dog Trust, a dog welfare charity in the United Kingdom, analyzed data on more than 500,000 dogs of more than 150 breeds and crossbreeds. This data was taken from 18 different U.K.-based sources, including breed registries, veterinarians and pet insurance companies.
With that information, researchers were able to determine which dog breeds tend to die sooner and later than typical.
Their findings, which were published in the journal Scientific Reports, include that dogs with flat faces, such as bulldogs, have a 40% increased risk of living shorter lives than dogs with typical face shapes.
Let’s see which breeds have the longest lifespans and which have the shortest, and take note of the second trait that influences their longevity.
Median estimated lifespan for this breed: 15.4 years
Lancashire heelers are friendly and playful, with a bit of a protective side — in other words, more likely to bark at a package handler. But their trainability can combat their vocal tendencies.
When they’re content, they smile with their lips drawn back just like us.
Median estimated lifespan for this breed: 15.2 years
Tibetan spaniels were bred long ago to work in the monasteries of Tibet.
This breed doesn’t need too much help in the way of grooming. Its fluffy fur must be brushed consistently but doesn’t require much trimming except for around the bottom of its paws.
Tibetan spaniels’ energy is balanced: They’re happy to both lounge around at home and to take a run with their owners.
Median estimated lifespan for this breed: 14.6 years
Shibu Inus are an old breed, with archaeological findings placing their origins in Japan back to 7000 B.C. Today they’re the most popular breed in Japan, but they almost went extinct in World War II because of bombing raids and a canine viral infection.
They are alert and affectionate companions.
Median estimated lifespan for this breed: 14.5 years
Papillons are vocal, athletic and affectionate dogs. Their French name translates to “butterfly dog” and was given to them because of the shape of their ears. Papillon fans say the breed has a “sensible glamour” due to their flowing but easily-groomed coat. Royal figures like Marie Antoinette were known fans of papillons.
Other long-lived breeds
Other breeds with long life spans include:
- Lakeland terriers: 14.2 years median estimated lifespan
- Schipperkes: 14.2 years
- Border terriers: 14.2 years
- Italian greyhounds: 14 years
- Miniature dachshunds: 14 years
Dog breeds with the shortest lifespans
Shorter lifespans are seen not only in dogs with flatter snouts but also in bigger dogs. Unfortunately, large-build breeds have a 20% increased risk of shorter lifespans, researchers found.
Following are the breeds that tend to have the shortest lives, according the study.
Caucasian shepherd dog
Median estimated lifespan for this breed: 5.4 years
Caucasian shepherd dogs have been around for centuries, initially bred to protect property from trespassers and to protect livestock from predators. They are still watchdogs by nature today. They’re kind but not overly playful or open to strangers.
Median estimated lifespan for this breed: 7.7 years
Presa Canarios are calm; however, this Spanish breed of large dog isn’t particularly affectionate with its human family members, children, strangers or other dogs. Nor are they very playful. Still, they are obedient and relaxed with the owner they’re dedicated to.
Median estimated lifespan for this breed: 8.1 years
Cane corsos are very protective companions. While they aren’t immediately open with others, cane corsos are loyal to and affectionate with their owners.
This breed is exceptionally old. They were used as warrior dogs in ancient Greece, and their name translates to “bodyguard dog” in Latin. Throughout the years they were then trained as farm dogs and used for hunting and guarding property.
Median estimated lifespan for this breed: 9 years
Mastiffs require early training, as they tend to be quite stubborn. While they’re generally eager to please their families, they’re unlikely to listen to commands when frightened or their feelings are hurt by an owner’s harsh words.
Mastiffs stay in the puppy phase longer than other breeds and are prone to joint injury when they’re young. Long walks and tough physical training should be avoided until they’re 18 to 24 months old.
Other short-lived breeds
Other breeds with shorter lifespans include:
- Saint Bernard: 9.3 years median estimated lifespan
- Bloodhound: 9.3 years
- Affenpinscher: 9.3 years
- Neapolitan mastiff: 9.3 years
- Bulldog: 9.8 years
- French bulldog: 9.8 years