Dog Longevity 

Created by Dr. Kelly M. Cassidy, 2007

 

 

 

 

Home Study Citations Breed Data Longevity Trends Survey Comparisons Weight and Lifespan Perception v Reality Surveys - MHO Conclusions Contact

Study Citations

Last updated 02/01/2008
[For update history, click here]

This page is a list of citations only:

Multi-breed Study Citations

Single-breed Study Citations

For a table of longevity data from these studies, see the Breed Data page.

 

Study Types

Health and longevity studies can be multi-breed studies, in which data for a large number of breeds are collected at the same time with the same methods, or single-breed studies, in which data are collected for one breed, or sometimes two or three related breeds.  

Multi-breed studies are generally better for comparing longevity among breeds if sample sizes are large enough.  Unfortunately, the sample sizes for individual breeds are often small, except for the most common breeds.  

Single-breed studies usually have much larger sample sizes for a breed than multi-breed studies, especially if the breed is rare.  Inter-breed comparisons of longevities obtained from single-breed studies must be made with caution, however, because the methods, quality of analyses, and report-writing skills of the people that conduct single breed studies are highly variable.  A few single-breed studies have been done by university researchers, and these studies generally (but not universally) have more rigorous analyses and are better written.  Most single-breed studies are conducted by dedicated club members who are unpaid or minimally paid.  Sometimes, these efforts produce reports that rival those of the university researchers; others are very poorly analyzed and written.  

 

Multi-Breed Study Citations

Referred to as: Vet School Data 1980-1990

Reference: Patronek, G. J., D. J. Waters, and L. T. Glickman, 1997. Comparative longevity of pet dogs and humans: Implications for gerontology research. The Journals of Gerontology, 1997, 52A, 3: Health Module p. B171-B178.

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=
pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=9158552&query_
hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum
  {Abstract only via Entrez PubMed. Last accessed March 14, 2007)

Description: Data in this study came from the Veterinary Medical Database of dogs seen at 20 American and 2 Canadian veterinary schools.  Included dogs >1 yr in age that died or were euthanized at vet hospitals between 1980 and 1990, excluding dogs that died of trauma or poisoning.  Included records for 38,006 dogs, of which 9,041 (23.8%) were mixed breed dogs and 28,965 (76.2%) were purebred dogs.

My comments: Median longevities of dogs in this study are usually 50% to 75% of median longevities obtained from questionnaire surveys (See Survey Comparisons page).  Possible reasons for this large discrepancy include: 1) dogs that are very old are probably more likely to be euthanized by a local vet or to die at home than to be brought to a vet school for treatment, and 2) vet schools tend to receive the most unusual cases, so the population is not likely to be representative of the wider dog population.  Despite these problems, the vet school data are somewhat useful for ranking longevity among breeds and comparing mixed and purebred dog longevity. 

Referred to as: British Owner Survey 1999

Reference:  Michell, A. R., 1999. Longevity of British breeds of dog and its relationships with sex, size, cardiovascular variables and disease. Veterinary Record 145:625-629.

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=
Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=10619607&query_hl=
3&itool=pubmed_docsum
(Abstract only via Entrez Pubmed.. PDF of entire article available through a research library account. Last accessed March 14, 2007)

Description: Based on responses to a questionnaire sent to dog owners whose names were obtained from the database of a large pet insurance company and also distributed at the Crufts Dog Show.  Included 2,497 (84%) purebred dogs and 475 (16%)  mixed-breed dogs.  Median age at death for all dogs in the survey was 12 years. The median age at death for mixed-breed dogs was 13.2 years.

My comments:  Dogs in this study have higher median longevities than other studies, possibly because dog owners that buy pet insurance are more likely than the general dog owning population to give their dogs optimum care. While the total number of dogs in the survey was high, the sample sizes per breed were often very low.  There were data for 67 "breeds," with Lurchers (sighthound mixes) considered a breed and some related breeds or varieties treated as a single breed, such as Corgis.  Of the 67 breeds, only six had a sample size of greater than 100 dogs..  For 41 (61%) breeds, median longevities were based on sample sizes of less than 20 dogs.

Referred to as: (UK) Kennel Club Survey 2004

Reference: KC/BSAVA. 2004. KC/BSAVA Purebred dog health survey. (United Kingdom) Kennel Club and British Small Animal Veterinary Association.  There are apparently no print publications of survey analyses, but the results are online.

Link:  http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/549
Study summary: http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/549
Individual breed results: http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/570

Description: Based on a survey sent to the largest breed club in the UK for each breed.  The survey was distributed to club members.  Mixed breed dogs were not surveyed.  Analyses were based on 15,881 deceased dogs, representing 165 breeds.  Morbidity and age distribution were analyzed for 36,006 live dogs.  Results are reported only for those breeds for which the survey response was at least 15%, so only data for 139 of the 165 breeds are available.   Median age at death for all dogs in the survey was 11.25 years.

My comments: This is, by far, one of the best studies available for making breed comparisons.  Data for 139 breeds are included and sample numbers for most breeds are reasonably high. Sample size (deceased dogs):
   0 to 9 dogs                        22 breeds
  10 to 19 dogs                     15 breeds
  20 to 49 dogs                     32 breeds
  50 to 99 dogs                      24 breeds
  100 to 199 dogs                  28 breeds
   200 or more dogs               18 breeds

This is the most accessible multi-breed study, because results are on-line.  Most of the other multi-breed studies require access to a research library or to a library that allows access to on-line journals.

On the downside, the survey was sent primarily to members of UK breed clubs, so is not likely to represent typical dog owners.  No mixed breeds were included in the survey, so purebred and mixed-breed longevities cannot be compared.

A 15% response rate, instead of a minimum sample size, was required for analysis.  This requirement, while reasonable, led to some strange results. Mortality analyses are presented for some rare breeds with a sample size of less than 5 (including one breed with no deceased dogs in the sample) while some very common breeds (e.g. German Shepherd Dogs) have no analyses posted, presumably because the response rate was less than 15%.

Referred to as: Denmark Kennel Club Survey 2003

Reference: Proschowsky, H. F., H. Rugbjerg, and A. K. Ersbell. 2003. Mortality of purebred and mixed-breed dogs in Denmark. Preventive Veterinary Medicine 58:63-74.

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=
AbstractPlus&list_uids=12628771&query_hl=5&itool=pubmed_docsum
  (Abstract only via Entrez PubMed. Entire article available online if you access to a research library with a subscription.)

Description: Based on a questionnaire study among members of the Danish Kennel Club in 1997.  2,982 dogs, including 2,650 purebred dogs and 278 mixed breed dogs.  Results presented for only 20 breeds, all with sample sizes of more than 30 per breed.  Other breeds were grouped into categories, e.g., "Other Pointing Dogs" or "Sighthounds."  Median age at death for all dogs and all purebred dogs in the survey was 10.0 years. Median age of mixed-breed dogs was 11.0 years.

My comments: The number of specific breeds (instead of breed groups) was low, but they included mixed-breeds in their survey and had a few breeds for which little or no other data were available (Chow Chow and Small Munsterlander).

 

Single-Breed Study Citations

The mixed-breed study is listed first, followed by the purebred studies in alphabetical order by breed

       

Mixed-breed

Mixed-breed

Source: Data collected as part of John Armstrong's Canine Diversity Project . http://www.canine-genetics.com/health.htm#life  Graph of Mixed-breed data at: http://www.canine-genetics.com/xblife.html

Link:  See Source.  (Last accessed April 15, 2007)

Description and Comments: One of John Armstrong's on-line surveys done in the late 1990s.  He had longevity data on 328 Mixed-breed dogs.  The country of residence of the dogs is unknown.  Since most of the requests were to USA and Canadian email lists, most of the responses were probably from those countries. Longevities were not calculated for separate size groups.

Purebred

Airedale Terrier

Source: Airedale Terrier Health Survey 2000-2001. Airedale Terrier Club of America in collaboration with L. Glickman from the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine.

Link: http://www.vet.purdue.edu/epi/Airedale%20final%20report_revised.pdf (Last accessed March 27, 2007)

Description: One of the Purdue University breed studies.  Detailed, long, and with more rigorous statistical analyses than most other single-breed studies.  Questionnaires were mailed to Airedale Terrier Club of America members and other Airedale Terrier owners and were posted on the Club web site.  Included dogs alive as of January 1, 1995.  Survey ended June 1, 2001.  About 90% of surveyed participants lived in the USA, 8.5% in Canada.  Methods section says up to five dogs per owner were allowed, but questionnaire itself says up to ten dogs.  Usable results received from 331 owners for 519 dogs. Mortality information based on 208 dogs that had died by the end of the survey, of which 165 had cause of death determined by a veterinarian.

Akita

Source: Akita Club of America National Health Survey 2000-2001.  Prepared by Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine, L. Glickman, N. Glickman, and M Raghaven, in consultation with the Akita Club of America Health and Genetics Committee.

Link: http://www.vet.purdue.edu/epi/akita_final_2.pdf (Last accessed March 17, 2007)

Description: One of the Purdue University breed studies.  Detailed, long, and with more rigorous statistical analyses than most other single-breed studies.  Methods section does not specify how they found Akita owners, however, Linda Wroth (Health and Genetics Chair of the Club at the time of the survey) explained "The survey first went out in hard copy to ACA members, but the availability of the survey was posted on the major Akita computer lists so non-ACA members and pet owners were included.  Because of a strong support of rescue, we had a number of rescue people submitting info on rescued Akitas. We publicized the survey in local Akita club newsletters or Web pages and finally posted it online on ACA's Web site for anyone to use. I feel we got a fairly good cross-section of Akitas" (personal communication, Linda Wroth, via email, Oct 3, 2007).  97% of surveyed dogs were born in USA or Canada.  The survey included dogs alive or born after January 1, 1995.  The deadline for responses was June 1, 2000. Multiple dog owners were asked to submit data for up to 5 dogs, and to select the five based on earliest born.    Usable responses were submitted by 277 owners for 603 dogs, of which 438 were alive on January 1, 1995 and 165 were born after that time.  Mortality calculations based on 164 dogs that had died, including 103 whose cause of death had been determined by a veterinarian. 

American Cocker Spaniel

Source: Cocker Spaniel Comprehensive Breed Health Survey, First Summary Report, December 8, 2003. The American Spaniel Club Foundation and the American Spaniel Club. Prepared by C. Thomas.

Link: http://www.asc-cockerspaniel.org/health/surveyreports.asp (Last accessed February 2007.)

Description and Comments: This is a preliminary report based on the first six weeks of data collection for an ongoing health survey.  (See the link above to contribute to the survey).  The survey is based on dogs that were alive or born after January 1, 2001. This preliminary data set consisted of 20 deceased and 186 live dogs.  All but four dogs resided in the USA or Canada.

Australian Shepherd

Source: Data collected as part of John Armstrong's Canine Diversity Project  http://www.canine-genetics.com/health.htm#life. Graph of Australian Shepherd data available at: http://www.canine-genetics.com/aussielife.html 

Link:  See Source.  (Last accessed February 2007)

Description and Comments: One of John Armstrong's on-line surveys done in the late 1990s.  Longevity data split into two time periods: dogs born pre-1980 and dogs born 1980 to 1998. John put total sample size (619 dogs) on the web site but did not indicate how many were in each time period.  CA Sharp, who helped Armstrong with the Aussie data, is currently trying to track down that information. In the meantime, I estimated 300 dogs per time period. The post-1980 data were corrected to adjust for dogs still living.

Australian Terrier

Source: Australian Terrier Club of America.  2002 ATCA Health Survey Results.  [Note: There is not a direct link to the ATCA 1997 Health Survey, but the results are discussed extensively in the 2002 Survey Report]

Link: http://australianterrier.org/survey_02.htm (Last accessed Feb 2007)

Description:  Surveys were mailed to Australian Terrier Club of America members and club newsletter subscribers. Surveys were also available to non-club members. Surveys were received from 176 owners for 619 dogs. 91% of dogs resided in the USA or Canada, 5.2% in the UK.  The rest were scattered over several countries.  Mortality based on 145 dogs.  

2002 survey report includes a comparison with the 1997 survey, which had 86 respondents with 65 deceased dogs. The number of live dogs in the 1997 survey was not clear.

The time periods covered by the two surveys are not stated in the 2002 report.

Bearded Collie 1992 and 1996 Surveys

Source (1992): Bearded Collie Club of America Health Survey (1992). Beardie Bulletin, Part 1. May 1994, 24/1, pp 7-11 and Part 2 February 1995, 24/4, p. 8-14. Reports written by Linda Aronson

Source (1996):  Presented as part of the BCCA Health Committe Annual Report for 1997-1998. (But report suggests survey was not sponsored by BCCA. Not clear exactly who to cite.). Although called a 1996 health survey, the data apparently come from surveys submitted from 1997 and 1998. 

Link (to both surveys): http://www.beaconforhealth.org/HealthSurveys.htm (Last accessed July 22, 2007)  Link includes both surveys, both in two parts.

Description: There is little information in either survey about methods used to collect data, except that respondents all appear to have been members of BCCA and the vast majority were from the USA.  The 1992 report contains no information on mortality. The writer of the report also injects many personal opinions on each result section which detracts somewhat from the report.  Nonetheless, the high sample size (804 dogs) and reasonably detailed tables of health issues make it a valuable morbidity survey.

The 1996 report also has a large sample size: 1397 dogs, including 269 deceased dogs (257 with age at death reported).  It included both mortality and morbidity data.  The report lacks much detail about methods. There is a hint that autoimmune incidence in the survey may be higher than in the general population, but it's not clear from the sparse methods description why the author thinks that may be the case.  It is called a 1996 survey, evidently because data collection began in 1996, but all the data tables indicate the data are actually from 1997 and 1998.  Age at death is reported as average of 10.3, but table of percent of death in each age groups also allows calculation of median age of death (usually preferred over the average), which is 12 years, including accidental deaths. Without accidental deaths, the median appears to be slightly over 12 years.   

Belgian Tervuren Source: 2003 American Belgian Tervuren Club Health Survey. American Belgian Tervuren Club and Richard Evans (Iowa State University).

Link: On three web pages that aren't linked to one another. The only indication they are a group of pages is in the Club Site Map. Summary: http://www.abtc.org/health_ed/survey_2003.htm  Background (Owner, living environment, dog statistics, and temperament): http://www.abtc.org/health_ed/Health_background.htm  Health Conditions: http://www.abtc.org/health_ed/Health_issues.htm (All sites last accessed August 4, 2007)

Description: Survey distributed to ABT Club members, and responses accepted from April to October 2003 for dogs alive as of January 1, 2000. Collected information on 633 Tervs (526 living, 105 deceased, 2 unknown) from 278 owners. 274 respondents lived in USA, 4 in Canada, and 1 unknown.  Used average longevity.

1998 Survey: The ABTC club also did a 1998 health survey, but the report is sparse and their is no mortality information.

Source (1998): MacManus, Don. 1998 Tervuren Health Survey. Originally published in Tervuren News Tales Dec/Jan 1999.

Link: http://www.abtc.org/Retired/healthSurvey.htm (Last accessed August 4, 2007)

Description: No information on methodology provided in the web link except that there were 2,157 Tervs included.  With such a large sample size, it is disappointing that there are no mortality data or methods, but there is a list of the number of dogs with health and temperament issues.  The health and temperament data are similar to the results of the 2003 survey.   

Bernese Mountain Dog

Source: 2000 BMDCA Health Survey, Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America

Link: http://www.bmdca.org/health/Miscellaneous/Health_Report.php (Last accessed August 2007)

Description: Collected information on health status of 1,325 dogs alive in 1996-1997 and mortality information on 261 dead dogs as of 1999.  Results reported as average (not median) age at death in months: 84.43 months including 10 accidental deaths; 84.44 months excluding accidental death.  Country of residence not reported; presumably, most dogs lived in the USA or Canada.

Bichon Frise Source: Bichon Frise Club of America, Health Web Site, Health Survey Reports

Link: http://www.bichonhealth.org/SurveyInstruct.asp (Last accessed August 18, 2007)

Description: This is a nice collection of Bichon health surveys from many sources.  The least biased and most complete survey is the Breeder Survey. It included 36 respondents and 1000 Bichons, which is an average of 28 dogs/breeder. An average of about 7 dogs (68% female and 32% male) were currently living with each breeder.  These breeders were clearly not representative of the typical pet owner, but the web site also has two compilations of questions by Bichon owners via email or the Club web site.  Most of the questions were health questions.  There is a survey of veterinarians asking for their impressions of what health problems occur more or less often than other breeds.  And, last, there is a survey of health problems of rescued Bichons.  

These surveys are remarkably consistent with respect to the leading health issues among Bichon.  The vet survey seems most different but probably because they were asking for vet impressions rather than information on individual dogs.  Among living Bichons, skin/allergy/atopy issues rank highest, with dental disease, patellar luxation/anterior cruciate ligament tears, and urinary stones are also major issues.  

Mortality: Only the breeder survey includes mortality data.  Unfortunately, it is somewhat obscure and even a bit disguised.  Longevity data are not given in the summary.  In Part 6 Cause of Death, there is a section labeled "Average life span" which is evidently a list of what breeders thought the average Bichon life span was.  The majority of breeders (10 of 19 who answered) reported 15 yrs.  The lowest average given was 12 years by a single breeder and one breeder estimated 18 years. The report goes on to list cause of deaths, the number of dogs dying from that cause, and the age of the dog at death, if provided.  I put all the responses with an age of death into an Excel file and calculated a median age of 12 years from the data provided.  In fact, I suspect the actual median was lower because the cause of death for which respondents most often failed to report age was "Unknown" and the 4 of 25 dogs with a reported age in that category all died younger than 12.   The total number of dogs with a reported cause of death was 174. The number of dogs with age at death given was 112.

Years lost: Since I had the ages at death for each cause of death in the breeder survey, I could calculate the cause of death responsible for the greatest number of "years lost."  I subtracted the median age at death for each cause of death from 12 years (the median of all causes) and multiplied by the number of dogs dying from that cause.  By far, the cause of death responsible for the greatest number of years lost is Hematological and split almost equally between AIHA (autoimmune hemolytic anemia) and ITP (immune-mediated thrombocytopenia). These hematological causes of death affect 11-17% of Bichons with an median age at death of 5 years.  Other, more common causes of death, kill at much older ages.  

Bouvier des Flandres

Source: Bouvier Health Foundation. 2004 Bouvier Health Survey. Released 2005. Presented by Margaret Slater.

Link: http://www.bouvierhealthfoundation.org/health_survey.htm (Last accessed Feb 2007)

Description:  Health and longevity survey of 2410 live and 1040 deceased dogs.  Longevity reported as median in the tables and mean in the summary.  Accidents and euthanasia included in longevity calculations.  No information about country of residence of dogs, but surveys were mailed to members of the American Bouvier Club, so most dogs were probably in the USA or Canada.  Deceased dogs had died since 1988.  

Boxer Source: Eichelberg, H. 1990. Todesursachen beim Boxer. Boxer Blatter 12/90, pp. 888-891. (In German)

Link: No link to the original article. This is a link to my English translation of the article.

Description: One of the few studies to compare mortality of a breed in two time periods, in this case German boxers in 1983 and 1989.  This is an earlier study than most of the other studies cited. Sample sizes are large, especially for a country as small as Germany. The 1983 study included 1271 deceased boxers and the 1989 study included 549 deceased boxers. On the down side, the methodology is poorly described. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Source: American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, Inc., Health Survey 2004-2005.

Link: http://www.ackcsc.org/health/ckcshealthsurveyfinalreport.pdf (Last accessed Feb 2007)

Description: One of the Purdue University breed studies.  Included information on 478 live and 88 deceased dogs. 88% of the dogs lived most of the their life in the USA and Canada.  Owners were asked to complete survey information for up to 5 dogs alive as of Jan 1, 2001. Survey ended Feb 1, 2005.  

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Source: American Chesapeake Club Health Committee. 2004. American Chesapeake Club Health Survey. Susan Hyde, 2004 chair.

Link: http://www.amchessieclub.org/survey/index.html (Last accessed Feb 2007)

Description: Survey sent out in 2003 and covered dogs owned within the 10 years before that date.  Total of 3,564 dogs. I could not find the total number of respondents in the report, but other information in the report allows an estimate.  It is stated that "Responding households represent a total of 1,666 dogs in current residence - an average of 2.6 animals per household."  Dividing the number of living dogs by the number of dogs per household gives 641 respondents.  It is also stated that "Considering the 10-year range of this survey, this expands to include a total of 3,564 animals, or an average of 5.5 per responding household." Dividing 3,564 by 5.5 gives 648.  The discrepancy (641 vs 648 respondents) might have due to rounding or typos.  

The survey report itself does not indicate the number of dogs still living vs the number deceased at the time of the survey, but one of the people involved in the survey (Lisa Van Loo) reported in response to my inquiry that the mortality data were based on 377 owners and 731 dogs.  Besides mortality data for all 731 dogs over the 10 year time period, owners were also asked the age at death of their most recent dog. The actual number of "most recent dogs" is not explicitly stated.  If each of the 377 owners reported the death of a "most recent dog," then 377 of the 731 deceased dogs would be "most recent."  

The total number of dogs (3,564) minus the number of current dogs in residence (1,666) is 1,898, which is far more than the number of dogs reportedly used for mortality calculations, but I do not know what accounts for the discrepancy.  

NOTE TO ANYONE INVOLVED IN THE SURVEY: If you know the real numbers of respondents, deceased dogs, and "most recent dogs," please email me at lostriver@completebbs.com 

This survey reports the incidence of health problems in Chessies, but does not report causes of death. 

Clumber Spaniel

Source: Data collected as part of John Armstrong's Canine Diversity Project . http://www.canine-genetics.com/health.htm#life  Graph of Clumber Spaniel data at: http://www.canine-genetics.com/csmortality.html 

Link:  See Source.  (Last accessed February 2007)

Description and Comments: One of John Armstrong's on-line surveys done in the late 1990s.  He had longevity data on 301 Clumber Spaniels. The time period over which the dogs died is unknown.

Dalmatian

Source: Dalmatian Club of America. 2001 Health Survey. Results available 2002.

Link: http://www.thedca.org/survey.html (Last accessed Feb 2007)

Description: Dalmatian owners worldwide were asked to download a survey form and return the form hardcopy for each Dalmatian.  Surveys were filled out and mailed between April 1, 2001 and March 31, 2002. Not clear from the methods write-up whether there were restrictions on when the dogs had to be alive.  Total of 809 dogs from 255 owners.  93% of respondents lived in the USA(87%) or Canada (4%)  

This survey asked some interesting questions and got interesting results.  For example, Dalmatians that had been bred lived 1.5 yrs longer than dogs never bred.  Performance Dalmatians lived longer than breed, show, or companion/pet Dalmatians.  Dalmatians kept in crates in the house did not live as long as Dalmatians left free in the house or kept in a fenced yard or kennel.  Unfortunately, none of these intriguing results, were subjected to statistical tests to determine whether these differences were significant.  However, the results are interesting enough that other survey designers and analysts should considering including some of these questions.

Dogue de Bordeaux

Source: Dogue de Bordeax Society. DDBS Causes of Death in the Dogue de Bordeaux Survey Results. Last updated August 1, 2002.

Link: http://www.ddbs.org/longevityresults.html (Last accessed March 4, 2007)

Description: An online survey.  Data are continuing to be collected.  Has results from surveys completed as of December 1, 2001 and August 1, 2002, but numbers are too low and time periods too close together to draw any conclusions about longevity trends.  I used only the combined data, with a total of 79 dogs.  This survey had only a few questions about longevity and cause of death, with no information about country of residence.  This is the shortest-lived breed (median 5.3 yr) for which I have found a survey with a reasonable sample size.  Top three causes of death are cancer, heart disease, and bloat.

English Cocker Spaniel

1998 Survey:

Source: Slater, M. R. 1998. English Cocker Spaniel Health Survey, final report. December 16, 1998. English Cocker Spaniel Club of America.

Link: http://www.ecsca.org/98healthsur.html (Last accessed March 4, 2007)

Description: Surveys were mailed to all ECSCA members. Response rate 55%.  Survey information from 373 owners with 2,476 adult English Cocker Spaniels, and 1,888 puppies.  Mortality data based on 257 deceased dogs.  Life span is apparently the average, rather than the median. Included accidents and euthanasia for behavior problems in mortality figures. The time period covered by the survey is not clear.

2002 Survey:

Source: Slater, M. R. 2004. The 2002 English Cocker Spaniel Health Survey Report. English Cocker Spaniel Club of America.

Link: http://www.ecsca.org/healthsurvey02.html (Last accessed March 4, 2007)

Description: Surveys mailed to all ECSCA members between December 31, 2001 and January 10, 2002, requesting responses by February 14, 2002.  Several reminders were sent to members who did not return surveys. There was a 65% response rate.  Total of 487 owners, 287 of which were breeders. Included a total of 3,537 dogs. Mortality based on 450 deceased dogs. No info on country of residence but since this was the ECSC of America, majority were likely in USA or Canada. The time period covered by the survey is not clear.

2007 Survey:

Source: English Cocker Spaniel Club of America. The 2007 English Cocker Spaniel Health Survey Report. English Cocker Spaniel Club of America.

Link: http://www.ecsca.org/healthsurvey07.html (Last accessed July 8, 2007)

Description: The 1998 and 2002 surveys were well-done, so it was a surprise to see how poorly designed this subsequent survey was. This was the club's first on-line survey. It apparently did not involve the assistance of university researcher like the prior two surveys did.  The survey design was extremely poor and results are impossible to compare to the prior surveys.  Each respondent was allowed one survey per household. Instead of asking about single dogs, questions were phrased to ask about problems owners had encountered, apparently with any dog.  Longevity was addressed by the question: "What is the average life span of your dogs?" possibly the worst method of trying to assess true longevity.   

Because of its very serious design flaws, I consider this 2007 survey to be virtually worthless.

Flat-coated Retriever Source: Slater, M. R., and J. Tomochek. 1997. A general health survey of Flat-coated Retrievers. Sharon Myers Breed Health Committee of the Flat-coated Retriever Society of America.

Link:  There is no internet link to the survey or, as of December 2007, an easy way to obtain a hard copy of the survey. I was able to obtain a copy via a helpful flat-coat breeder. I can only suggest contacting the FCR Society Health Committee to find someone who will send a copy.

Description: Surveys were sent in late 1996 to owners of Flat-coated Retrievers whose addresses were supplied by the FCR Society of America.  Of 966 recipients of the survey, 816 returned the survey, for a response rate of 85%.  Of these, 19 respondents had no FCR or co-owned dogs for which the other owner completed the survey. There were 771 usable USA respondents and 27 non-USA respondents. The total number of USA dogs was 1991 (1457 living and 534 deceased). The total number of non-USA dogs was 132 (100 living and 32 deceased).  Non-USA respondents were from Canada, England, Denmark, and Australia.  Respondents were asked to provide information on all dogs that had been alive for at least some period since January 1, 1980. The survey and survey report were succinct, but included some statistical analyses of differences between male and female health issues. Life spans are reported as medians.  Median life spans of male and female dogs were the same (8.0 yrs). The median life spans of USA and non-USA dogs were also the same (8.0 yrs), but the non-USA sample was very small.  

Field Spaniel

Source: Field Spaniel Society of America. 2003. Field Spaniel Health Survey.

Link: http://clubs.akc.org/fssa/about.html#d (Last accessed March 9, 2007)

Description: Survey conducted from November 2002 through March 2003. Says most respondents were from the USA "with some from Canada, the UK, Australia, Sweden, and other counties not identified", but no percentages given.  Information from 184 owners.  Total of 437 dogs, 71 deceased and 366 living.  Reported age at death as the average, not median.  Reported both average age of death of all dogs (8.2 yrs) and excluding dogs that died of birth defects or accidents (8.6 yrs).

German Shepherd Dog

Source: American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation, Inc. 2004. Health Survey.

Link: http://www.agsdcf.org/home.html (Last accessed March 9, 2007)

Description: Information about health problems and longevity of 566 dogs, collected via an on-line survey.  Does not indicate time period covered by the survey or the country of residence.  Survey results had one of the more unusual presentations. Results reported as a list of ailments and the number of dogs reported to have the condition, with no further analysis.  Longevity reported as the number of dogs reported to live 1-2 years, 2-3 years, etc., with no analysis.  I calculated median from their data, but their last category is "Longevity 12+ years." From the data provided, I estimated the median at about 10 yrs.  Causes of death were not provided.

Golden Retriever

Source: Golden Retriever Club of America National Health Survey, 1998-1999. Prepared by Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine, L. Glickman, N. Glickman, and R. Thorpe. Golden Retriever Foundation and Golden Retriever Club of America.

Link: http://www.grca.org/healthsurvey.pdf (Last accessed March 10, 2007)

Description: One of the Purdue University breed studies.  Detailed, long, and with more rigorous statistical analyses than most other single-breed studies.  Results based on a questionnaire mailed to all GRCA members and posted on their web site in 1998.  Included only dogs alive in the period between 1993 and 1998.  Multiple dog owners were asked to submit data for up to 5 dogs.  746 owners responded with information on 1444 dogs. Mortality information based on 556 dogs, included 430 whose cause of death was veterinarian determined.  

Great Dane

American Survey

Source (American Survey): Great Dane Club of America. 2004. Great Dane National Health Survey.

Link: http://www.gdca.org/health/healthsurvey.htm (Last accessed March 15, 2007)

Description: This is one of the research university surveys, so its design is unusually good and valid statistical analyses were included.  It was led by Margaret Slater, a researcher at Texas A&M University.  Surveys mailed to Great Dane Club of America members, affiliate club members and a random sample of 2000 owners of AKC registered Danes. Included Danes alive and dead within a 5-year period, approximately 1997 to 2001, inclusive.  No breakdown of country of residence, but since surveys where mailed to USA breed clubs and owners registered with the AKC, vast majority would be expected to reside in USA or Canada.  Total responses included 519 households, 1565 total dogs, 1073 living, 452 dead, and 39 unknown. Longevity presented as median and averages.   

 

European Survey

Source (European Survey): Swiss Great Dane Club. 2007.  Project Great Dane Health '07. Published by the European Great Dane Club.

Link: http://www.great-danes.info/Health.htm (In English. Last accessed March 11, 2007).

NOTE: On the English language version (presumably a translation from the original report), the word "diseased" appears to have been used correctly in some places but also used when the word "deceased" would have been correct.    

Description: A survey of European Danes.  Respondents were from Switzerland, Germany, France, Netherlands, and Spain.  The translator appears to have mixed up the words deceased and diseased and used "diseased" for both.  It makes the charts confusing to interpret, but a reader can usually figure out from context whether "deceased" should have been used.  Results are broken down by color of dog.  A total of 512 dogs in the study, 188 deceased and 324 live.  Appears to have used average rather than median for longevity, but that might be a translation error.

Great Pyrenees

Source: Great Pyrenees Club of America. 1999. Great Pyrenees Club of America Health Committee Report, March 1999.

Link: http://www.gpcahealth.org/1999%20GPCA%20Health%20Survey.pdf (Last accessed March 15, 2007)

Description:  In 1997, a survey form was put on the web. The survey results presented in this 1999 report include reports from 914 owners with 1701 dogs.  Majority of responses from USA. Gives a map of state responses, but not clear whether those numbers are for dogs or owners.  Longevity calculations based on 454 dogs.  Age at death is reported as both median and average, but excludes accidental deaths (10.5% of dogs), dogs euthanized for temperament reasons (9.1% of dogs), and dogs euthanized before 6 weeks of age (probably 2%).  If accidents and temperament euthanasia are included, the median longevity would probably be about 9 yrs instead of 10 yrs (based on my calculations which were based on the weighted averages of the median ages of death from each cause, which is NOT an accurate method of calculation).

Earlier Survey Note: The 1999 survey report refers to an earlier survey from 1988 to 1991, but I was unable to access that survey.  However, the longevity results from the earlier survey are not comparable to the 1999 survey because a large group of dogs in the earlier survey were recruited from the older population.  The early survey, started in 1998 with dogs older than 8 years and then was expanded in 1991 to include dogs of all ages.  The 1988 and 1991 data were then combined.  Any longevity calculations would be skewed towards older dogs.  

Later Survey Note: On the Club website, there is also a 2002-2004 health survey.  It included 416 total dogs, 371 living, 39 deceased.  (371+39 = 410, not 416; presumably living/dead status of the other 6 was unknown.)  The deceased included both recently dead dogs and dogs that had died "from years ago".  Causes of death are reported but, strangely, longevity is not.  

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Source: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America Health Committee.  October 2002. Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America Breed Health Survey 2002 & 2001.

Link: http://www.gsmdca.org/health/index.php (Last accessed March 17, 2007)

Description:  Based on a two-page questionnaire available online and through the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America newsletter.  Included only dogs living at some time during the years 2000 and 2001 in the United States.  Responses were for 846 dogs, 775 living, 71 deceased.  Longevity reported as median.  Although this was not one of the surveys done by a university research group, it is unusually well-designed and well-analyzed survey.  Statistical analyses were conducted when comparing groups.

Irish Setter

Source: Irish Setter Club of America 2003 National Health Survey. A collaborative effort of the Irish Setter Club of America and The Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, Section of Clinical Epidemiology, L. Glickman, N. Glickman, and M. Raghavan.

Link: http://irishsetterclub.org/PDF/Health%20Survey%20Results.pdf (Last accessed March 17, 2007)

Description: One of the Purdue University breed studies.   Respondents asked to include only dogs alive as of January 1, 1996. Survey end date was December 31, 2003. Distributed to Irish Setter owners via the Irish Setter Club of America and its website.  Usable responses received from 291 owners for 565 dogs (323 alive, 242 dead). 93.5% of respondents lived in the USA or Canada.  The Purdue group also conducted a similar survey in 1997, which had 217 owners for 436 dogs (227 living, 209 dead).  I was unable to find a link to the 1997 survey.  The 2003 survey included an extensive comparison with the 1997 survey, but I could not figure out the time span of the 1997 survey.  (The Methods section of the 2003 survey was sparse and missing many details that had to be gleaned from the tables.) Presumably, the 1997 survey covered approximately 1990 to 1995 or 1996.

Italian Greyhound

Source: Slater, M. ~1994 (Surveys sent in 1993; no publication date given).  Report of a survey on health problems in Italian Greyhounds. Health and Welfare Committee of the Italian Greyhound Club of America and Health Committee of the Italian Greyhound Club of Greater Houston.

Source: http://www.italiangreyhound.org/health/slater.html (Last accessed March 31, 2007)

Description: For a survey done by a University researcher (M. Slater, DVM, Texas A&M University), this is a surprisingly sparse report, with some important details lacking, however, it's not clear whether the report on the web was produced by Slater or was a summary of Slater's report   Included dogs alive as of August 1, 1993 and dogs that had died within the 5 yrs prior.  Responses were received for 2274 dogs.  There were 1806 puppies, but it's clear whether they were part of 2274 dogs or in addition to.  Mortality information based on 157 dogs that had died in the 5 years prior (1988 to 1993).  Responses received from 41 USA states.  Doesn't mention any responses from other countries.  Reported average (rather than median) lifespan  The leading causes of death were accidents and old age, both claiming 41 each (26%) of the 157 dogs.  Because of the extraordinarily high accident rate, it would have been informative to calculate mortality with and without accidental deaths.  There is no mean age of death reported for the various causes of death, nor any standard deviation (or quartile range) for the age at death.

Kerry Blue Terrier

Source: Schellenberg, S. J., and M. L. Romsic. 1999. United States health and genetics survey-1999. United States Kerry Blue Terrier Club.

Link: http://www.uskbtc.com/article.php/112 (Last accessed March 31, 2007)

Description: The survey was mailed in fall, 1999 to USA and Canadian Kerry Blue Terrier Club members. It was also posted on the USKBTC website.  98% of respondents were from North America.  Owners were asked about  KBTs they had owned since 1960.  230 owners responded, but the total number of adult dogs in the study is not provided.  93 respondents provided information about 558 litters with 2825 live puppies.  Mortality information for the entire period from 1960 to 1999 is based on usable responses for 353 dogs: 160 dogs born 1950 to 1982 and 193 dogs born 1983 to 1999.  Mortality of dogs born in the two time periods was compared, but no adjustment was made for skewing of the most recent group due to still-living dogs.  

Leonberger

Source: Leonberger Club of America. 2002. Summary of the 2000 Health Survey Findings. Leo Watch, Vol 2, Spring 2002. 

Link: http://www.leowatch.org/PDFfiles/FinalPrintLeoWatch2002.pdf (Last accessed July 4, 2007)

Description: 2000 health survey is second in a series of 5-yr health surveys, beginning in 1995.  Haven't yet (as of July 4, 2007) acquired 1995 results, which are not on-line.  2005 survey data collection is closed, but no results posted yet (as of July 4, 2007).  2000 health survey included reports of 805 dogs from 694 owners, representing 40% of total registered dogs at that time.  (A very impressive percentage of the population.)  Doesn't give country of residence of dogs. Included 89 deceased dogs, but 11 of those excluded from longevity stats because they died in accidents (6), were lost, or were euthanised for temperament (3). Report is brief, but reasonably complete. Includes causes of mortality, bar charts of age at death, and summarized health data of living dogs.

UK Single-breed Leonberger health survey without lifespan data:

Source: 1998 Health Survey. 1998. Lesley Gray via Leolink (now UKLA) and the Leonberger Club of Great Britian.   2004 Health Survey. 2004. Leolink, the UKLA newsletter. 

Link: 1998 Survey: www.uklaleos.com/Health_Welfare?Health/health.html Last accessed October, 2007.

Link: 2004 Survey: www.uklaleos.com/Health_Welfare/Health/2004_Overview/2004_overview.html  Last accessed October, 2007

Description:  These surveys had small sample sizes with only a brief summary of the results. The 1998 survey included 91 dogs, of which only 5 were deceased. No ages at death were reported. The 2004 survey included 79 dogs, of which 17 were deceased. Again, no ages at death were reported. Although I could not use the surveys in my mortality tables, I include the reference here because the health information is useful.

Manchester Terrier

Source: Johnson, A. M. 2002. Manchester Health and Genetics Survey, commissioned by the American Manchester Terrier Club and the Canadian Manchester Terrier Club.  Published by Pedagogus, Inc.

Link: http://www.geocities.com/myamtc/health1.html (Last accessed April 4, 2007)

Description: Survey mailed to all members of the American and Canadian Manchester Terrier Clubs and made available on both club's websites in the summer of 2002. Two reminders were sent to club members.  Owners were asked for information on their 6 most recent terriers. Results were split into two time periods: 1960 to 1989 and 1990 to present (2002).  Responses were received from 86 owners.  Mortality information was received for 17 dogs that died between 1960 and 1989 and 93 dogs (excluding puppies that died at or shortly after birth)  that died 1999 to 2002.  The low N for the earlier time period was probably due to the instructions to select the six most recent dogs.  The purpose was to avoid bias in selecting dogs, but it created a sample size too low for reliable comparisons.  Of the 17 dogs in the earlier time period, 8 died of accidents (5 dogs) or preventable infections (one each from parvo,  distemper, and heartworm).  The sample size for health data, which included living dogs, was much larger: 338 dogs in the period 1960-1989 and 1029 dogs from 1990 to 2002.  

Mastiff

Source: Mastiff Club of America, "preliminary" statistics posted on Club website as of April 2007.

Link: http://mastiff.org/exhibit-hall/health/mhstats.mv (Last accessed April 9, 2007)

Description: Data for these "preliminary statistics" were evidently obtained via an online survey.  Although the brief initial paragraph suggests the survey is on-going and there is on online survey form, the youngest dog in the preliminary data was born in 2000.  The online statistics do not appear to have been updated in many years. Data based on 570 dogs, of which 558 resided  in the USA or Canada.   Mortality data based on 94 dogs.  Median/Average not explicitly reported. I calculated median (6.5 yrs) and average (6.6 yrs) from the on-line table of the number of dogs that died at each age.

Miniature Bull Terrier

Source:  Health Survey Report 2002-2004. Miniature Bull Terrier Club of America.

Link: http://www.minibull.org/survey.htm (Last accessed April 10, 2007)

Description: Based on heath survey from 2002-2004. Received reports from 184 living and 53 (or 54?) deceased dogs. Average (rather than median) age at death reported, but also reported youngest age at death (0.25 yr), oldest (14.5), number of dogs dying between 0 and 2.5 yrs (15, = 28%), between 3 and 8.5 yrs (18, =  33%) and 9 to 14.5 yrs (21 = 39%).  The sum of 15, 18, and 21 is 54 (not 53) deceased dogs, but it is unclear which number is incorrect.  No indication of where the dogs resided, but an earlier 1998 health survey received responses exclusively from the USA.  The earlier 1998 survey was fairly sparse and did not include mortality data, but did include owners estimates of Mini Bull lifespans, which provided an interesting contrast to the actual lifespan.

Norwich Terrier

Source: Norwich Health Survey. 2003. Report to the Norwich Terrier Club of America. Conducted by M. Slater, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University.

Link:  http://www.norwichandnorfolkterrier.org/norwichsurvey.html  (Last accessed April 10, 2007)

Description:  Survey mailed to current and former Norwich Terrier Club members in February 2003. Two reminders sent. 251 owners (response rate of 64%) returned surveys for 1075 dogs (807 living and 268 deceased).  No breakdown of the geographic locations of respondents.  Included statistical analysis of the influence of sex on health problems. The response rate for this survey was unusually high, which the report writers thought was due to the "self-explanatory and simple to complete survey format and the interest level of the participants."

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Source:  2002 Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Health Survey. Toller Health Committee.

Link: http://www.toller.ca/tollerhealth/SurveySummary.html (Last accessed April 10, 2007)

Description:  Covered dogs alive at some time between 1992 and 2002.  Survey mailed to members of Toller clubs in several countries and made available online.  The survey was also translated into Finnish and Swedish.  Received responses from 650 owners covering 1180 Tollers.  Mortality calculations based on 141 dogs that died during this period.  Although more than 50% of responses were from the USA or Canada, they were more evenly distributed across multiple countries than most other surveys because of the efforts to reach owners outside North America.  Distribution of responses was: USA 31%, Canada 26%, Finland 14%, Sweden 10%, Australia 6%, Denmark 4%, UK 3%, 6 countries below 1%, and Unreported 5%.   

Otterhound

Source: Otterhound Health Surveys, 2003 Survey and 1996 Survey. Otterhound Club of America

Link: http://clubs.akc.org/ohca/OH-surveys.html (Last accessed April 12, 2007)

Description: Extremely brief reports of 1996 and 2003 health surveys. No geographic distribution given but apparently most dogs were from the USA and Canada.  1996 survey included 103 dogs (97 living and 6 dead) which the report said was over 25% of the Otterhounds in the USA and Canada at the time. 2003 survey included 119 dogs (78 living and 41 dead), which the report said was over 20% of the Otterhounds in the USA and Canada at the time. No longevity calculated from the 1996 survey because of the low sample size.  Longevity calcs included median age at death (10.8), mean (9.5), and some distribution information: 0-7 yrs, 6 dogs; 7-9.9 yrs: 9 dogs, 26 lived more than 10 yrs, 14 lived more than 12 yrs, and 9 lived to between 13 and 14.75.

Note: On the Otterhound Club health page   http://clubs.akc.org/ohca/OH-health.html  there is a link to a bar chart of life spans of 210 Otterhounds: http://clubs.akc.org/ohca/life-span.jpg This bar chart is not from the 2003 health survey (which had only 41 deceased dogs), but there is nothing to indicate where the data are from.  The median I calculated  from the bar chart data (10 yrs) is similar to the median of the 41 dogs in the 2003 health survey, as is the distribution of mortality.  It would be nice to know the source of the bar chart data and the time period it covers, since the sample size is much larger than in the 2003 health survey. 

Papillon Source: Papillon Club of America Health and Genetics, Summary of Findings 2002.

Link: http://www.papillonclub.org/PapillonHealth/enter.html (Last accessed April 15, 2007). This link provided links to both the 2000 and 2002 surveys in either html or Word format.  The 2000 health survey does not have longevity information.

Description: This survey had one of the most poorly written reports of the breed club surveys I read.  There is no introduction or methods section or any hint (except the 2002 in the title) of the years covered by the survey. 

It is not clear how many owners and dogs were involved.  Almost all of the results of the survey are reported as percentages with no other sample size information. The only sample size given for any of the data is "N = 698" in a table titled "Years of Involvement."  of respondents with Papillons.  It suggests the 698 is the number of owners.  If so, it would be among the largest sample sizes of any single breed survey I've found.  The mean number of living Papillons per owner is given as 3.57; the mean number of deceased Papillons per owner is 1.23.  If the number of owners was 698, the number of living Papillons in the survey was 2,492 and the number of deceased Papillons was 859.  If 698 was the number of Papillons (instead of owners) in the survey, then (based on the mean number of living plus dead Papillons/owner), the number of respondents would have been 145.  The number of living Papillons would have been about 519 and the number of dead about 179.  Either way, it appears to have had a large number of respondents and the report deserves a good rewrite. 

Longevity reported as both median (13.0) and mean (11.45).  I used the median in the breed data table.

Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

Source: Kovaleff, L. 2001. Report on the state of health of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen.  Based on the 2000 Health Survey unterdaken by the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Club of America.

Link: http://www.pbgv.org/PBGVCA/Committee/healthSurvey.html (Last accessed April 12, 2007)

Description: Surveys mailed to all Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen (PBGV) Club of America members and other known PBGV owners and posted on the Club website.  Included all PBGV who lived with the respondent on January 1, 2000 and any that had  lived with the respondent at the time of death since January 1, 1995.  Received responses from 250 owners for 640 dogs.  An average lifespan and standard deviation (12.7 yrs 3.88 yrs) were reported but the author never explicitly reports the number of deceased dogs.  However, it was stated that there were an average of 2.38 live dogs living with each of the 250 respondents of January 1, 2000, which, according to my calculations, comes out to 595 live dogs.  Since there were 640 total dogs, the number of deceased dogs, I concluded, was about 45.  The PBGV Club website also includes a comparison of the 2000 health survey with a 1994 health survey, but there was apparently no longevity calculated in the 1994 survey.

Polish Lowland Sheepdog

Source: American Polish Lowland Sheepdog Club on-line, continuously changing survey. 

Link: http://www.aponc.com/polish_lowland_sheepdog_longevity_survey.htm (Click on link "To view statistics here." Last accessed April 12, 2007)

Description:  This is an ongoing on-line survey with a link to the current statistics.  The statistics change as respondents add new dogs.  At the time I last accessed (April 12, 2007) there were 52 dogs entered, 33 live and 19 deceased.  The survey shows the number of dogs dying in each age range.  No median or mean is calculated on the web site, but there is sufficient data for the user to calculate it.  About 67% of surveyed dogs resided in the USA, 19% in Switzerland, 12% in France, and 2% in Poland.

Rottweiler

Source: Slater, M. ~2001. Rottweiler Health Foundation Survey Results. American Rottweiler Club.

Link:  http://www.rottweilerhealth.org/RHF_surveyresults.html (Last accessed April 14, 2007)

Description: Questionnaire distributed twice (March 2000 and July 2000) to 1200 subscribers of the quarterly newsletter of the American Rottweiler Club. The questionnaire was also sent to 41 local Rottweiler clubs in the USA and Canada for distribution.  A Rottweiler club in Italy also distributed the survey. Owners were asked about health information for dogs owned since 1994. Responses were received from 225 owners for 1035 dogs, 717 living and 318 deceased.  The vast majority of responses were from the USA and Canada, but 10 Italian owners responded with information about 27 dogs (25 living, 2 deceased).  It is not clear whether the Italian results were included in the main report, since the end of the report includes a separate discussion of the Italian responses.  This survey report was written by a University researcher (M. Slater, Texas A&M University), It included statistical analyses of association between sex and common health problems.  

Scottish Deerhound

Source: Scottish Deerhound Club of America. Probably ~ 2000.  Health Problems of Scottish Deerhounds.

Link: http://www.deerhound.org/health_study.shtml (Last accessed April 14, 2007)

Description: Survey conducted "during the 1990s."  Neither the specific dates of the survey nor limits (if any) on the time period during which dogs lived were given in the report. The survey was done by the SDCA's Health and Genetics committee, but the report supplies no information on how the survey was distributed or where the dogs lived. Presumably, most lived in the USA or Canada. Data were obtained from 80 owners with "over 450" dogs. 

The number of living vs deceased dogs is not specified in the report. Possibly, the survey included only deceased dogs.  In other breed surveys where both living and deceased dogs were included, deceased dogs usually accounted for a third to a fifth of the total.  So, the mortality calculations were probably based on at least 80 dogs and possibly all 450+ dogs.  I was unable to determine the number of deceased dogs with email requests. 

Despite the laxity in sample size reporting, the presentation of the mortality data is fairly good  The report writers provided a table of Scottish Deerhound life expectancy at 2-year intervals and the average age at death for each major health problem.  The leading causes of death within 3-yr intervals was also tabulated.  Data for males and females was provided separately. There was no statistical analysis to determine whether male/female health differences were significant.

Scottish Terrier

Source: Orsborn, J. 2005 STCA Health Survey Data Report. Scottish Terrier Club of America. 

Link: http://www.stca.biz/2005HealthSurveyData.htm (Last accessed April 14, 2007)

Description:  Surveys were sent to Scottish Terrier club members.  Local clubs were also provided with 50 survey copies to distribute to non-club members with STs, ST puppy buyers, and grooming clients with STs. For the Health and Disease survey (there was also a Reproductive survey for breeding info), 450 owners supplied information on  1,407 dogs, including 269 deceased dogs, of which 266 were used in longevity calculations. It is not clear why 3 dogs were excluded from longevity calculations, but probably there was insufficient data for those three or there is a typo in the report.  The survey date was July 1, 2005 and it appears (it is not clear in the report) that respondents were instructed to include only dogs that had been living in the 2 year period prior to the survey date.  The Scottie Club had also done a 1995 health survey covering the period 1993-1994.  The 2005 report provided a good comparison of the two surveys and was a better source of information about the 1995 survey than the 1995 report, which is sparse.  

The 2005 report is fairly well-presented, but both the 1995 and 2005  surveys had problems with poor phrasing of some questions.  For the longevity question in the 1995 survey, owners were asked for the average lifespan of Scotties that they had owned, rather than the lifespans of individual Scotties.  While some respondents probably calculated the average longevities of previous dogs, others likely estimated without calculating and some owners apparently included living Scotties in the average.  Furthermore, the analyst was left calculating averages of averages, without knowing how many individuals were included in each respondent's estimated average.  In the 2005 survey, the question was asked the same way, but information was also collected specifically for the 266 dogs that had died during the survey period.  The average of the respondents' estimated longevities in 1995 was 11.2; in 2005 it was 11.1.  The actual average longevity of the 266 (or 269?) deceased dogs was 10.7 (the number I used in my table).

Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier

Source: Slater, M. R. 2000. General Health Survey on Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers. Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier Club of America.

Link: http://www.scwtca.org/HlthSrvIntro00.html (Last accessed April 14, 2007)

Description: Questionnaires sent in late 1999 with reminders in February 2000. Sent to current and former club members, a breed magazine subscription list, and a list of Canadian Wheaten owners. Covered dogs since 1994.  Received information from 521 owners for 1246 dogs (997 living, 249 deceased).  No information on country of residence, but since surveys were sent only to USA and Canadian owners, presumably most or all respondents lived in one of those two countries. 

This is one of the reports written by a M. Slater (a researcher at Texas A&M University).  It is reasonably well-written, but the web-site report has some problems with misaligned columns in many of the tables. Includes statistical analyses for association between sex and common health issues.

Standard Poodle

Source: Data collected as part of John Armstrong's Canine Diversity Project . http://www.canine-genetics.com/health.htm#life  Graph of Standard Poodle data at:

Link:  See Source.  (Last accessed April 16, 2007)

Description and Comments: One of John Armstrong's on-line surveys done in the late 1990s.   He had longevity data on 988 Standard Poodles, 361 born prior to 1982 and 627 born 1982 and 1999.  The post-1982 data were corrected to adjust for dogs still living.

Wire-haired Pointing Griffon

Source: American Wire-haired Pointing Griffon Association and the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. National Health Survey 2002-2003.

Link: http://www.vet.purdue.edu/epi/wpg.pdf (Last accessed April 15, 2007)

Description: One of the Purdue University breed surveys. Covered dogs alive or born between January 1, 1995 and January 1, 1999.Usable responses received from 129 owners for 182 dogs, 166 still living and 16 dead by the study end. 89% of responses were from USA, 11% from Canada, and 1% from France. Longevities presented as median and means and for males and females. Includes statistical analyses for associations between health issues and various factors. Because the sample size for deceased dogs was so small, few meaningful conclusions can be drawn from longevity comparisons between subgroups.

 

John Armstrong's on-line surveys from the late 1990s. John Armstrong was a biologist and geneticist at the University of Ottawa, specializing in the development of axolotls (a type of salamander).  He became interested in the health issues of purebred dogs because of health problems with his poodles and started the Canine Diversity project.  As part of the project, he collected longevity data on Standard Poodles, Australian Shepherds, Clumber Spaniels, and Mixed-Breed dogs.  He died suddenly while he had manuscripts in peer review regarding longevity trends in these breeds.  He had posted graphs and partial information about his data on-line. Those pages are still being maintained (see links above the the three breeds and the mixed breed) but no new data are being added. 

The Purdue Studies. Several breed clubs contracted with the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, Section of Clinical Epidemiology for their breed health survey.  Dr. Larry Glickman was lead author on the studies.  Breeds surveyed to date (that I found reports for) are Airedale Terrier, Akita, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, and Wire-haired Pointing Griffon.  Reports from these studies are usually over 200 pages long.  They are generally more comprehensive and better written than the breed club studies done by people unfamiliar with research.  Still, they had a few flaws.  The methodology sections are "boiler-plate" but sometimes were not proofed well-enough to accurately describe differences in methods between breeds.  While some potential environmental influences on health were subjected to statistical analyses, other effects on longevity (e.g., sex or source of puppy) were compared without statistics.  Longevities were variously reported as averages and medians.  

Update History for this page

Oct 14, 2007 - Minor spelling, grammar fixes, plus addition of information about methodology of the Akita survey.

Dec. 26, 2007 - Add citation for 1997 Flat-coated Retriever survey.

Dec. 27, 2007 - Add citation for two UK Leonberger health surveys from 1998 and 2004. Both had small sample sizes with no information on age at death, so they did not supply any additional mortality data.  Also did some minor proofing.

Feb. 1, 2008 - Add citation and linked translation for German Boxer health survey.

 

 

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