A sad fact about pets is that, as much as we love them, we tend to outlive them by at least a few decades. When it comes to dogs, in particular, we rarely get to keep them in our lives for more than just one. But while dogs on average only live 10-13 years, some breeds usually stick around for much longer.
Canine senior citizens
What determines a dog’s life span? There are the usual factors; illness, genetics, lifestyle, and so on. But some breeds have a better start-off point, thanks to beneficial genes being passed down through generations. In general, small dogs live longer than their bigger counterparts. Big dogs, especially the giant ones, often develop health issues related to the heart and the joints, simply due to their size ― needless to say, smaller breeds don’t have quite this issue. Though, that certainly doesn’t mean they’re immune to health problems.
Smaller pups have the advantage
At the top of the list of longest-living breeds is the Chihuahua. They’re also the smallest of all dog breeds, and many live past 15 years old ― some live as long as 20 years. This is a generally healthy breed, but they’re prone to heart- and eye problems. Though, their tiny size doesn’t mean that they don’t need proper exercise, mental and physical, and it’s always important to keep this in mind if you want a healthy dog. Another dog on the list is the ever-popular Dachshund. They easily live past 15 years old, and the Guinness World Record for oldest living dog was actually a Dachshund named Chanel, who died in 2011 at age 21. While Dachshunds are generally healthy, they can develop back problems in old age, which can be exacerbated by obesity.
The Toy Poodle is another small dog that belongs on the list of longest-living breeds. This highly intelligent pup can reach 18 years of age, and requires lots of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy. They’re also prone to eye disorders and orthopedic problems. Like the Dachshund, the Jack Russell Terrier can live past 15 years old ― a Jack Russell even held the Guinness World Record for oldest living dog, once Chanel passed away. In 2014, Willie the Jack Russell died at 20 years old.
The Shih Tzu was bred to be a lapdog, but they’re pretty adaptable, besides being incredibly friendly. They commonly live past 15 years old, and aside from regular coat-maintenance, they’re not too demanding in terms of exercise or time-consuming activities. While they’re generally healthy, the Shih Tzu is still prone to orthopedic issues and eye problems, as they grow older.
A few more of the longest-living breeds
The Maltese is an almost supernaturally soothing dog, and they’re also among the longest-living breeds. They often live to be 15 years or older, and they’re incredibly healthy, overall. They’re not too demanding, in terms of exercise, but their social and friendly nature can lead to separation anxiety, without proper behavioral training. Female Malteses also often live longer than males. The Yorkshire Terrier may look like a dainty little lapdog, but despite their size and delicate bone structure, this is still a terrier. The Yorkie is one of the longest-living breeds, easily living past 15 years old, and can be vocal and protective of their home. That said, they’re incredibly loving and affectionate with their family.
The Pomeranian can be bossy, but is still super friendly. They’re one of the longest-living breeds, and even past age 16 or older, they remain happy, feisty, and loyal to their family. Their protective instincts can make them excellent watchdogs. The Shiba Inu is also one of the longest-living breeds, with a lifespan of 16 years or more. They can be strong-willed and aloof, but they’re quiet, clean, and loyal. While they’re generally pretty healthy, they’re prone to allergies. The oldest Lhasa Apso on record reached the ripe old age of 29, before passing away in 1939. They’re friendly and loving dogs, but their suspicion of strangers make them great watchdogs, as well.
Most dogs on this list are definitely on the smaller side, but a bigger pup that belongs among the longest-living breeds is the Australian Cattle Dog. This dog is extremely intelligent, a hard worker, and usually lives past 16 years old. Another is the Beagle, who often lives past 15 years of age.
What to consider
If you’re considering getting a dog, you should of course pick the one that feels right for you. Whether you’re looking for a specific breed, a mutt, or nothing in particular at all, they all have unique personalities and talents. But if it’s important to you that your dog sticks around for a while, it may be worth considering the dogs on this list. Giant dogs rarely live past 8 years old, and even more average-sized ones rarely live past 10. So if this is a priority of yours, with this list of the longest-living breeds, you’ll have a good idea of where to start looking for your new family member.