The Life Expectancy of 165 Breeds of Dogs

How long will your dog live? It all depends on the dog's breed.

Posted Sep 24, 2015

TheGiantVermin photo - Creative Commons licence
Source: TheGiantVermin photo - Creative Commons licence

When I was young I was an avid reader, and scoured the shelves of our small local library to find books about dogs—not just factual, non-fiction books, but novels as well. When it came to novels, I soon learned that if there was a book in the adult section of the library, and it had a picture of a dog on the cover, then you could bet that the book would end with the dog dying. I was living in an era where the average life expectancy of a dog might be around eight years of age, and reading those books stamped into my head the idea that my pets would only be with me for a short time. Fortunately we now have much improved veterinary procedures, and more people are taking care about the nutritional and health status of their dogs so that canine life expectancy has greatly improved. Still we all wonder about how long our dogs are going to live.

A while back I wrote an article presenting some of the newest data about the life expectancy of dogs, and showing that you can make a reasonable prediction as to how much longer your dog can live based upon his present age and his body size (click here to read more about that). Following my publication of that article I have received a steady stream of queries from dog owners who wanted to know whether there was data giving the life expectancy of dogs on a breed by breed basis. I had my doubts, mainly because to get a reliable estimate of the longevity of more than 150 breeds of dogs one would need thousands of cases. Fortunately Vicki J. Adams, a Canadian veterinary epidemiologist who currently resides in Norfolk in the UK headed a team of researchers who gathered this needed data. Their report was published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice*.

The data was collected by contacting the largest breed-specific clubs in the UK, and ultimately the researchers obtained information based on 15,881 deaths, over a period of 10 years. The overall analysis showed that the median age at death was 11 years and three months, and lifespan did vary significantly by breed. The most common causes of death were cancer (27%), "old age" (18%) and cardiac conditions (11%). It also supported previous research which shows that smaller breeds tend to have a longer lifespan compared with larger breeds.

For your information I have recast the data from this study into a list which provides the median lifespan in years, for each of the 165 dog breeds for which the data sample seemed large enough to provide a stable measure. There is one notable ommission of a popular breed. The researchers report "The responses for the German shepherd dog were excluded from further analyses as 1425 questionnaires were sent out to the British Association for German shepherd dogs, but only 18 questionnaires were returned and the breed club did not report how many questionnaires were sent out."

Breed                              Median Life Expectancy in Years

Affenpinscher.......................................... 11 .42

Afghan hound.......................................... 11 .92

Airedale terrier........................................ 10 .75

Akita........................................................ 9 .92

Alaskan Malamute.................................. 10 .71

American cocker spaniel......................... 10 .33

Anatolian/Karabash................................. 10 .75

Australian cattle dog............................... 11 .67

Australian shepherd................................ 9

Australian silky terrier............................ 14 .25

Australian terrier..................................... 12 .08

Basenji..................................................... 13.54

Basset Fauve de Bretagne....................... 10 .42

Basset Griffon Vendeen.......................... 12 .04

Basset hound........................................... 11 .29

Beagle...................................................... 12 .67

Bearded collie......................................... 13 .5

Bedlington terrier.................................... 13 .38

Belgian shepherd..................................... 12 .5

Bernese mountain dog............................. 8

Bichon frise............................................. 12 .92

Bloodhound............................................. 6 .79

Border collie............................................ 12 .25

Border terrier........................................... 14

Borzoi...................................................... 9 .08

Boston terrier.......................................... 10 .92

Bouvier Des Flandres.............................. 11 .33

Boxer....................................................... 10 .25

Briard....................................................... 11 .17

Brittany.................................................... 12 .88

Bull terrier............................................... 10

Bulldog.................................................... 6 .29

Bullmastiff.............................................. 7 .46

Cairn terrier............................................. 14

Canaan dog.............................................. 14 .63

Cavalier King Charles spaniel................ 11 .38

Cesky terrier............................................ 8 .42

Chesapeake Bay retriever....................... 10 .75

Chihuahua................................................ 12 .42

Chinese crested....................................... 10 .08

Chow Chow............................................. 9 .38

Clumber spaniel...................................... 10 .33

Cocker spaniel......................................... 11 .17

Collie....................................................... 12 .67

Curly coated retriever............................. 10 .75

Dachshund............................................... 12 .67

Dalmatian................................................ 12 .5

Dandie Dinmont terrier........................... 12 .17

Deerhound............................................... 8 .67

Dobermann.............................................. 10 .5

Dogue de Bordeaux................................. 3 .83

English setter........................................... 11 .58

English springer spaniel.......................... 12

English toy terrier................................... 12

Field spaniel............................................ 11 .63

Finnish Lapphund.................................... 7 .33

Finnish spitz............................................ 11 .13

Flat-coated retriever................................ 9 .83

Fox terrier................................................ 13 .13

French bulldog........................................ 9

German longhaired pointer..................... 10 .5

German pinscher..................................... 11 .38

German short haired pointer................... 12

German spitz........................................... 11 .33

German wirehaired pointer..................... 10

Giant schnauzer....................................... 10

Glen of Imaal terrier............................... 10 .42

Golden retriever...................................... 12 .25

Gordon setter........................................... 11 .08

Great Dane............................................... 6 .5

Greenland dog......................................... 8 .46

Greyhound............................................... 9 .08

Griffon Bruxellois................................... 12

Hamiltonstovare...................................... 10 .13

Havanese................................................. 10 .25

Hovawart................................................. 12 .92

Hungarian Puli........................................ 12 .42

Hungarian vizsla..................................... 12 .92

Hungarian wirehaired vizsla................... 9 .83

Irish red & white setter........................... 11 .42

Irish setter................................................ 12

Irish terrier.............................................. 14 .83

Irish water spaniel................................... 9 .33

Irish wolfhound....................................... 7 .04

Italian greyhound.................................... 13 .5

Italian Spinone........................................ 9

Japanese Chin.......................................... 9 .25

Japanese spitz.......................................... 12 .29

Keeshond................................................. 12 .21

Kerry Blue terrier.................................... 11 .5

King Charles spaniel............................... 10 .04

Komondor................................................ 9 .13

Kooikerhondje......................................... 3 .92

Labrador retriever................................... 12 .25

Lakeland terrier....................................... 15 .46

Lancashire heeler.................................... 11 .75

Large Munsterlander............................... 11 .33

Leonberger.............................................. 7 .08

Lhasa apso............................................... 14 .33

Lowchen.................................................. 10

Maltese.................................................... 12 .25

Manchester terrier................................... 12 .83

Maremma sheepdog................................ 10

Mastiff..................................................... 6 .83

Miniature bull terrier.............................. 6 .08

Miniature pinscher.................................. 13

Miniature poodle..................................... 13 .92

Miniature schnauzer................................ 12 .08

Neopolitan mastiff.................................. 2 .33

Newfoundland......................................... 9 .67

Norfolk terrier......................................... 11

Norwegian buhund.................................. 12 .67

Norwegian elkhound............................... 13 .17

Norwich terrier........................................ 13 .38

Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever.......... 8

Old English sheepdog............................. 10 .75

Otterhound............................................... 10 .21

Papillon/butter fly dog............................ 13 .08

Parson Russell terrier.............................. 13

Pekingese................................................. 11 .42

Pharoah hound......................................... 11 .83

Pointer..................................................... 12 .42

Polish lowland sheepdog......................... 9 .58

Pomeranian.............................................. 9 .67

Por tuguese water dog............................. 11 .42

Pug........................................................... 11

Pyrenean mountain dog........................... 9 .58

Pyrenean sheepdog.................................. 5 .79

Rhodesian ridgeback............................... 11

Rottweiler................................................ 8 .92

Saluki/gazellehound................................ 12

Samoyed.................................................. 12 .5

Schipperke............................................... 13

Schnauzer (standard)................................ 11 .96

Scottishterrier.......................................... 10 .25

Sealyhamterrier....................................... 12 .25

Sharpei..................................................... 6 .29

Shetland sheepdog................................... 12 .5

Shiba Inu (Japanese)................................ 7

Shih-tzu................................................... 13.17

Siberian husky.........................................12 .58

Skye terrier.............................................. 11

Soft coated wheaten terrier..................... 12 .5

St Bernard................................................ 7

Staffordshire bull terrier......................... 12 .75

Standard poodle....................................... 12

Sussex spaniel......................................... 11 .13

Swedish vallhund.................................... 14 .42

Tibetan mastiff........................................ 11 .92

Tibetan spaniel........................................ 14 .42

Tibetan terrier......................................... 12 .17

Toy poodle............................................... 14 .63

Weimaraner............................................. 11 .13

Welsh corgi Cardigan............................. 16 .5

Welsh corgi Pembroke............................ 12 .21

Welsh springer spaniel............................ 12 .58

Welsh terrier........................................... 12 .67

West Highland white terrier................... 13

Whippet................................................... 12 .79

Yorkshire terrier...................................... 12 .67

Stanley Coren is the author of many books including: The Wisdom of Dogs; Do Dogs Dream? Born to Bark; The Modern Dog; Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? The Pawprints of History; How Dogs Think; How To Speak Dog; Why We Love the Dogs We Do; What Do Dogs Know? The Intelligence of Dogs; Why Does My Dog Act That Way? Understanding Dogs for Dummies; Sleep Thieves; The Left-hander Syndrome

Copyright SC Psychological Enterprises Ltd. May not be reprinted or reposted without permission

Data from: VJ Adams, KM Evans, J Sampson and JLN Wood (2010). Methods and mortality results of a health survey of purebred dogs in the UK. Journal of Small Animal Practice 51, 512–524