Which Dogs Live Longest? Points To Ponder
There are many reasons why it’s good to find out which dogs live longest before choosing not least of which is your own life expectancy. Here are the most obvious reasons:
Who is going to look after your best friend if you die before they do?
This may not be a concern to you if you have already considered and planned for this by arranging for your next of kin to adopt your dog. Be that as it may I do know that some of my more elderly dog loving friends deliberately choose a dog that is either known to be short-lived or adopt an elderly dog from a shelter on the assumption that this will probably mean they will outlive it.
Of course there are no guarantees since neither dog nor humans know when it will be their time to pass away.
Your Ability To Handle Grief
There is probably no greater emotional pain than losing your best doggy friend – indeed many dog owners find the pain of losing their canine companion more traumatic than losing a human companion.
So you could say it would be preferable to choose a dog breed that is renowned for its longevity on the assumption that you will have several canine companions during your lifetime and therefore fewer doggy demises to contend with and grieve over.
As dogs reach the end of their lives then they become more susceptible to injury and disease. Clearly with long lived breeds their end of life issues are likely to occur less frequently than their shorter living brethren. Again this is based on the assumption that a typical dog owner will have several canine companions during their life. End of life care for a dog can be expensive and as I discovered with Findlay, my Spinone, can run into thousands.
Other Factors Determining Which Dogs Live Longest
Above all else how you look after your dog, regardless of breed is probably the main determinant of their life span. So providing a good diet, enough exercise and last but not least emotional support in the form of lots of love and affection go a long way to prolonging their life.
Which Dogs Live Longest? The Top 25 Breeds
Afghan Hound – Average Life Expectancy 12 Years
He was an Afghan Hound name Kabul. Since him I have had other Afghan Hounds … Perhaps I am looking for his ghost. He is the only one that I sometimes think about. Often, if he comes in to my mind when I am working, it alters what I do. The nose on the face I am drawing gets longer and sharper. The hair of the woman I am sketching gets longer and fluffy, resting against her cheeks like his ears rested against his head.
— Pablo Picasso —
It’s hardly surprising that Picasso was besotted with his beautiful, beguiling Afghan. Anyone who has ever shared their life with one of these beauties will be able to understand how easy it is to fall in love with such a graceful hound.
There are many surprising aspects about an Afghan and perhaps the most surprising of all is this one – it seems to have made the transition in the general public’s eyes from superfast hunting hound to one of the most affectionate and loyal companion dogs you could ever have the pleasure of meeting. Add to those qualities a big dollop of buffoonery and this breed will capture your heart forever!
Australian Shepherd – Average Life Expectancy 12 Years
The Australian Shepherd is a hardy herding dog with an unusual pedigree since it was originally bred in Australia, then its development continued in California. This dog is highly intelligent, high energy with a strong prey drive. He’s perfectly capable of outwitting someone who has never owned a dog before so not the perfect first dog.
However if you are looking for an intelligent, marathon runner of a dog who excels as a working dog or has the potential to do amazingly well in agility or sheep dog trials then look no further.
Beagle – Average Life Expectancy 12 Years
The Beagle was bred as a hunting dog so excels in that role. This pack hunting dog is also content in its role as a wonderfully affectionate companion dog. And lets face it with those big brown eyes, easy going nature and sense of fun for most of us it will be a cse of love at first sight!
Bearded Collie – Average Life Expectancy 13 Years
The Bearded Collie originated in Scotland where its passion for driving sheep was put to good use by the sheep farmers there. More often than not though its used nowadays as a companion dog by those that love its friendly nature, big shaggy coat and larger than life personality with a streak of independence thrown in to keep you on your toes!
Bichon Frise – Average Life Expectancy 12 Years
This small dog breed will capture your heart in the blink of an eye with its fluffy coat and questioning expression. The Bichon Frise just loves to bounce around and play with other canines and people. This lapdog also loves kids and just loves to be cuddled. In fact the Bichon Frise loves the company of others so much they cannot be left alone otherwise you may incur the wrath of your neighbours because of their continuous barking.
Border Collie – Average Life Expectancy 13 Years
A border collie named Orson inspired me to buy a 110-acre farm with four barns and a sheep. That led to a series of books about Bedlam Farm and about dogs, rural life, lambing and herding sheep. – Jon Katz
This tirelessly energetic sheep dog, the Border Collie will play fetch with you until the cows come home. The Border Collie demands that you are at the peak of physical fitness if you are to keep up with him or else you are a Shepherd using his renowned prowess for herding sheep. The secret with a Border Collie is to tire him out during the day so that you can have him as your lapdog when you both relax in the evening by the fireside.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi – Average Life Expectancy 13 Years
Not to be confused with the entirely different breed called the Pembroke Welsh Corgi which is the favourite royal breed, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi was bred for moving cattle.
Nowadays, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is more likely to be a companion dog that is known for its warm and friendly disposition. Its flexible approach to life means since it is equally at home frolicing in the country or as a lapdog.
Dachshund – Average Life Expectancy = 13 Years
This quote from the American humorist Robert Benchley will strike a cord with any child and dog parent who has kept a close eye on their children to prevent them from tugging at the family pet!
The Dachshund, more commonly known as the Sausage Dog because of it’s disproportionately long body has been the star of many movies including Wiener-Dog starring Danny De Vito.
Bold as brass and twice as cheeky, it’s not surprising the Daschund raises smiles wherever it goes – a joy to behold and a pleasure for any pet parent lucky enough to share their life with one, two or even three or more!
English Cocker Spaniel – Average Life Expectancy 13 Years
Every time I told my cocker spaniel, Taffy, my very first dog, that we were going for a walk, she would launch into a celebratory dance that ended with her racing around the room, always clockwise, and faster and faster, as if her joy could not be possibly contained. Even as a young boy I knew that hardly any creature could express joy so vividly as a dog.
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
The English Cocker Spaniel has an irresistible zest for life that fills you with joy just by watching their antics. If you share your life with one of these crazy dogs with madcap levels of energy then you will know it is impossible to feel down with them around – the perfect drug free remedy for lifting your spirits when you’re feeling down!
English Setter – Average Life Expectancy 12 Years
If you like being surrounded by beauty then the English Setter is the perfect dog for you – it’s just drop dead gorgeous. Dig a little deeper though and you’ll realise this dog’s beauty is not just skin deep. Equally as gorgeous is the English Setter’s personality.
Originally bred as a gun dog and dating back to the 14th century it’s present day incarnation is as a sensitive, warm and friendly dog that loves children, adults and other dogs. Add into this mix the fact that they are very protective of their family and you have the perfect active family dog.
English Springer Spaniel – Average Life Expectancy 13 Years
You cannot but admire the English Springer Spaniel’s brilliant mind if sometimes a little crazy. They were of course originally bred to accompany their owners on shoots and are still used for tht purpose today. More than that though and because of their sweet disposition and high levels of energy they make the ideal companion for active, outdoorsy individuals and families. In addition the breed is often used to search for drugs, explosives and guns.
Golden Retriever – Average Life Expectancy 12 Years
Golden retrievers are not bred to be guard dogs, and considering the size of their hearts and their irrepressible joy in life, they are less likely to bite than to bark, less likely to bark than to lick a hand in greeting. In spite of their size, they think they are lap dogs, and in spite of being dogs, they think they are also human, and nearly every human they meet is judged to have the potential to be a boon companion who might, at many moment, cry, “Let’s go!” and lead them on a great adventure.
This quote from Dean Koontz in some way tells you all you need to know about the Golden Retriever.
Here are few other snippets that you may find interesting:
The Golden Retriever was originally bred in Scotland as a gun dog during the mid-19th century. It possesses awesome beauty and an exuberant, warm and joyful personality that’s always eager to please.
Because of their intelligence and eagerness to please they make excellent assistance dogs and are often used a dogs for the blind. You will also see them in the news when they are used for search and rescue missions.
And last but not least they make excellent family pets, renowned for their easy going nature and love of children.
Irish Setter – Average Life Expectancy 12 Years
There is a gate across the entrance, which Liam moves aside for me, and there is a scrabbling noise as a red blur comes zooming across the room. Liam reaches down and picks up the dervish, who licks him frantically. “Hello, girl. Nice to see you too. This is Anneke, she’s a friend of mine. Anneke, this is Kerry. Like the country.” I can finally see that she is an Irish setter, maybe four or five months old, and I reach out to pet her, and Liam drops her unceremoniously in my arms. She is soft and warm, and immediately snuggles cozily against me.
“Yeah, I have to say, she has stolen my heart.”
“That’s just because she’s Irish.”
“That might be it. Always did have a thing for redheads.” This makes me blush, and I focus on cuddling the puppy to cover my discomfit.
― Stacey Ballis, Recipe for Disaster
Stunningly beautiful and graceful with bucket loads of buffoonery. That sums up the Irish Setter because they just love to be involved in canine capers! These dogs just love to clown around and will play fetch with you from dawn till dusk if you can muster the energy.
Like many others they were originally bred as hunting dogs and can easily run around all day long so are not for the faint hearted. They demand that you give them lots of exercise otherwise they can easily turn that energy into destroying your prized possessions!
They are outgoing and friendly with other people and dogs although as dogs originally bred to hunt you do need to supervise introductions to your smaller pets such as rabbits and cats.
Jack Russell/Parson Russell Terriers – Average Life Expectancy 14 Years
I live with an 18-month-old Jack Russell named Chicken. He moved in about 15 months ago, and it was very hard at first because I work a lot and he doesn’t. – Author: Liev Schreiber
Busy Bee, is what springs to mind when thinking of the Jack Russell since that is exactly the kind of behavior you see every time you see this cute powerhouse. They also constantly sniff this way and that which you would expect of a dog that was originally bred for foxhunts. Foxhunting has been largely banned so the JRT’s traditional role is now redundant.
However the JRT carries out his new role as a cute, lively and friendly companion dog admirably and I’m sure his creator, the Rev. Russell would be proud of this adorable repurposed dog.
Labrador Retriever – Average Life Expectancy 12 Years
That’s the thing about being a Labrador retriever – you were born for fun. Seldom was your loopy, freewheeling mind cluttered by contemplation, and never at all by somber worry; every day was a romp. What else could there possibly be to life? Eating was a thrill. Pissing was a treat. Shitting was a joy. And licking your own balls? Bliss. And everywhere you went were gullible humans who patted and hugged and fussed over you.
The adorable Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dogs in the world. Why? Well they are choc full of all the traits that dog lovers want in a canine companion – warm and friendly with a real zest for life that you cannot ignore as they urge you to throw that ball or stick time and time again! And they get on well with everyone and other dogs so are often the first choice for those seeking an affectionate family dog.
Lhasa Apso – Average Life Expectancy 14 Years
Can you forgive the Lhasa Apso’s stubbornness or even embrace this trait? After all they are very affectionate and extremely loving to their owners.
They are definitely not lapdogs though they might choose to rest on your lap sometimes. And because they are very sensitive, especially to noise they are not the perfect dog for a families with young (noisy and boisterous) children.
The Lhasa Apso is a one man or woman dog and generally “attach” themselves to one family member. For this reason they are best suited to someone living on their own who spends most of their time at home because they hate being left alone.
Maltese – Average Life Expectancy 12 Years
The playful Maltese is a small breed that is so lovable you just want to hug them. With an excellent temperament they make a great pet for any family or singleton provided they are not left for long periods by themselves.
Miniature Dachshund – Average Life Expectancy 14 Years
Miniature Dachshunds are highly intelligent dogs that have cat-like curiosity and never seem to get tired. You cannot afford to let them get bored or like other high energy dogs they can become destructive. Despite their short legs they need lots of exercise.
They have a tendency to bark at strangers and it can be extremely difficult to get them to stop. On the plus side this makes them good guard dogs that are very loyal to their owners but can take time to get to warm up to others.
Miniature Poodle – Average Life Expectancy 14 Years
Miniature Schnauzer – Average Life Expectancy 12 Years
The Schnauzer listens to jazz. I listen to jazz because he likes it, and I have even gone to jazz concerts with him, but truthfully I would rather listen to retarded children pounding on pan lids with wooden spoons.
Miniature Schnauzers are very bright and make good watch dogs since they will bark at the first sight or sound of anything unusual. For this reason they are wary of strangers or may appear to be aloof with them. They can be obstinate so obedience training needs to be started early in their life to avoid future problems.
Miniatures Schnauzers are best suited to outdoor active types since they need a fair amount of exercise. They can be left alone provided they have had enough exercise beforehand and don’t seem to pine if they are left on their own for brief periods.
Shetland Sheepdog – Average Life Expectancy 13 Years
The Shetland Sheepdog, affectionately referred to as the Sheltie, is as its name suggests a sheepdog, one that’s highly regarded by Shepherds all over the world. And as its name suggests it was originally bred as a sheepdog to withstand the harsh conditions in Scotland’s Shetland Islands.
The Sheltie is a breed that has such outstanding intelligence that it deserves many a Shepherd could be tempted to refer to it as the Albert Einstein of the dog world, such is its genius as a herder.
And it also excels as a companion dog that is loving, playful, sensitive and affectionate, known for its habit of shadowing members of its human family because it just loves being near them.
This trait also means that the Sheltie cannot be left alone for lengthy periods.
Shih Tzu – Average Life Expectancy 13 Years
A friend of mine has a jet black Shih Tzu, Toy Poodle cross puppy and all I can say it was love at first sight for me when I was introduced to Maisie Buttons!
This breed is definitely drop dead gorgeous and I defy anyone who has a heart not to fall head over heels in love with a Shih Tzu. Apart from having such a gorgeous face that’s so inquisitive and expressive they are full of mischief. So if you like your dogs to be feisty in a mischievous way then the Shih Tzu is definitely the dog for you, a dog whose antics will have you laughing each and everyday.
Toy Poodle – Average Life Expectancy 13 Years
The Toy Poodle is definitely one of the most intelligent dogs on the planet and I should know since Charlie, my neighbour’s Toy Poodle treats me as his equal.
That said they just love all human company and every dog a Toy Poodle comes across it sees as a great opportunity to make a new friend to clown around with. This means for people living alone they are a great asset because they can socialize you by playing with the dogs of other people living alone. Often relationships ensue (I have witnessed this in my local park) probably making Toy Poodles responsible for more people falling in love than all the dating sites in the world put together!
Toy Poodles can live just as happily in an apartment as in a big house with extensive outdoor space. The real key to making them happy is to give them lots of love, daily exercise (including playing games for mental stimulation) and allowing them to play with other dogs. Oh and you must never ever leave a Toy Poodle alone.
West Highland Terrier – Average Life Expectancy 13 Years
If you’re looking for a dog breed that will form a strong bond with you for the rest of its life then you need look no further than the West Highland Terrier. The Westie (as the West Highland Terrier is affectionately called) has the heart of a Lion which only becomes apparent when he faces up to much larger dogs and trespassers. In fact he doesn’t seem to realise that he is such a small dog so when it comes to the fight or flight decision he will always choose to fight!!!!
This is a good quality though and means he is prepared to guard you with his life as well being a warm and affectionate companion albeit one that can be a little stubborn. To make sure the Westie’s stubbornness doesn’t get out of hand training and socializing must be undertaken from an early age.
Have you noticed how the Westie walks? The way they walk is a delight to see – so confident and sure footed. The next time you see a Westie take a look at the way they walk and I promise you’ll be grinning like a Cheshire cat!
Whippet – Average Life Expectancy 13 Years
A friend of mine has a Whippet, a delightful dog called Holly. Holly epitomises all the qualities that make this breed so adorable.
Holly is elegant, graceful and loves to be stroked especially round her head. She reminds me of that Yorkshire expression see “all, hear all and say nowt” because she seems to take everything in and doesn’t utter a sound. I also sense in her a kind of doggy wisdom especially when she meets other much more boisterous dogs because she has a canine calmness you would be hard pressed to find in any other breed.
So Whippets are sensitive, serene and quietly confident companions until they see a squirrel then be prepared for a sudden explosive burst of energy as they charge after it in hot pursuit! For this reason it is wise to keep your Whippet on a lead whilst out for an hours walk or you may spend many more hours searching for them! This too means that the recall command needs to be emphasised during initial training and repeated thereafter to avoid any kind of “wild goose chase” involving squirrels, rabbits or suchlike.
Provided you give a Whippet enough exercise to discharge their reserves of energy they will be quite content to become a couch potato in the evening. This is why some owners have generously donated their couch to their beloved Whippet. It has to be said though that others have had no choice because their exhausted pet has claimed it as their own rather than use their own doggy bed!
Whippets should not be left on their own because they form very strong bonds with family members and are likely to become destructive if left alone.
The Whippet is the perfect playmate for anyone living on their own or for a family which always has one of the family members remaining at home.
Which Dog Breeds Live Longest? What Do You Think?
Is considering which dogs live longest before you shop for or adopt a dog on your to-do list? Or perhaps you think there are more important criteria for making this life changing decision?
There is no doubt that providing the best possible care for a dog helps to prolong its active life and some of the hardiest (and cutest) dogs you’ll find are the mixed breeds.
Please feel free to share your views and experiences of sharing your life with a dog and especially what you have found in terms of which dogs live longest and what you have done to prolong their active life.