Dog Longevity 

Created by Dr. Kelly M. Cassidy, 2007

 

 

 

 

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Conclusions

(Last modified 07/13/2007 )

Executive summary of conclusions, based on the compiled data.

 

Variability of longevity among breeds

Longevity varies widely among breeds.  Among breeds for which I found questionnaire data with a sample size of at least 20, the shortest-lived breed is the Dogue de Bordeaux (weighted  mean longevity 5.2 yrs, total N = 84 dogs).  Five breeds lived more than 14 yrs (Toy Poodle, Miniature Poodle, Miniature Dachshund, Border Terrier, and Tibetan Spaniel). The difference between shortest and longest-lived breeds is nearly three-fold. 

(See Breed Data page for details)

Purebred vs mixed-breed longevity

In all studies in which both purebred and mixed-breed dogs are included, mixed-breed dogs live, on average, at least a year longer than purebred dogs. A few small breeds have longevities greater than the average mixed-breed dog (all sizes), but I found no questionnaire study that sub-divided mixed-breed longevities into weight categories.  The vet school study divided mixed-breeds into size categories and found that smaller mixed-breed dogs live longer than larger mixed breeds, but the vet school data only roughly correlate with questionnaire data.

(See Breed Data page for details)

Longevity Trends

Temporal data on longevity are sparse and no study has attempted to separate the role of veterinary advances from breed genetics in affecting longevity.  From the handful of imperfect studies available, breed longevity appears to be stable or declining in recent years.  There is little evidence of improvement.

(See Longevity Trends page for details) 

Survey Comparisons

Dogs in UK surveys live about a year longer than the average member of the same breed in USA/Canada surveys.

Longevities obtained from Vet School data are about 60% of those obtained from questionnaire surveys.

(See Survey Comparisons page for details)

Weight and longevity

In general, small dogs live longer than large dogs, but there is great variability within size classes. The longest-lived giant breeds live nearly as long as the shortest-lived toy breeds. 

(See Weight and Longevity page for details)

Perception and reality

Reference sources overestimate breed longevity by an average of 0.9 to 1.6 years compared to longevities obtained from questionnaire surveys, but the discrepancy between estimated and survey longevity is not evenly distributed across breeds. The shorter a breed's survey longevity, the greater the magnitude of the overestimate. For the shortest lived breeds, overestimates were often 2-4 years, and sometimes as much as 5 or 6 years.  Conversely, for the longest-lived breeds, sources often underestimated survey longevity by an average of about 1 yr. 

(See Perception v Reality page for details)

 

 

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