Created by Dr. Kelly M. Cassidy, 2007
Breed Weight and Lifespan
Last edited 02/01/2008
Click here for Edit History
How long do most breeds live?
Longevity varies greatly among breeds.
[Longevity for each breed is the weighted average (weighted by sample size) of the longevities from all available questionnaire surveys, and using only breeds for which the total sample size was greater than 20. See Breed Data page for details.]
More than 50% of breeds have longevities between 10 and 13 years, and nearly 50% between 11 and 13 years. There is a second, minor peak in breed longevities between 6 and 7 years. This group of short-lived breeds lives only about half as long as the majority of breeds.
Do small dogs live longer than large dogs?
Yes and no. In the breed longevity chart below, breeds are grouped into weight categories.
Most of the longest-lived breeds are small. Most of the short-lived breeds are large.
However, not all small breeds are long-lived. Many small breeds have median longevities between 9 and 11 years.
By the same token, while most large breeds have median longevities of less than 8 years, many breeds in the 80+ pound groups have median longevities between 9 and 12 years.
Note also that a few of the shortest-lived breeds (Miniature Bull Terrier, Bulldog, and Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever) are medium-sized dogs.
Appendix: Longevities and weight classes of breeds used to create the charts
This table shows how I distributed breeds into weight categories. (The data in the table are split into more weight groups than the weight and longevity chart.) Breed names are abbreviated to keep the table a reasonable size.
Note that these data are the questionnaire averages, weighted by sample size. For some breeds, longevity was considerably different between countries. Manchester Terriers are one of the most striking examples. They had a survey longevity of 12.8 yr in the UK (based on a survey with a small sample size of 32), but only 8.3 yr in the USA/Canada survey (based on a survey with a larger sample size of 110), giving a weighted average longevity of 9.3 yr (closer to the USA/Canada longevity because of the weighting by sample size).
Aug 3, 2007. Major edit. Rewrote text, reformatted charts, added a chart, corrected some errors
Aug 5, 2007. Added Belgian Tervuren from USA single breed study. Kept UK KC Belgian Shepherds (all 4 varieties combined) as a "separate" breed.
Oct 27, 2007. Minor. Some rewording. Fixing of typos and grammatical errors.
Feb 1, 2008. Moved Boxer from 10-11 year class to 8-9 year class because of the addition of the German Boxer longevity studies.