Dog Training

5 facts about: How old do dogs get?

You want to know how old dogs get? The answer to these questions and a few exciting facts on this topic I have written for you in this guide. I would be surprised if you already know all the facts! So have fun reading.

Also, for this article I have taken Advice from veterinarian Emin Jasarevic obtained. Note: This article is written for the german country. So be curious.

Table of contents

Dog life expectancy

How old do dogs get?

Actually, it is impossible to give a blanket answer to this question. Because life expectancy depends on various factors, such as:

  • Breed, genetics, breed size
  • Living conditions
  • Nutrition
  • Care
  • Environment
  • Activity

When calculating the average life expectancy of dogs, the breed is taken as a starting point. The breed is divided into small, medium and large dog breeds.

  • Small breeds: up to 15 kg body weight
  • Medium breeds: 15 to 45 kg body weight
  • Large breeds: more than 45 kg body weight
Rule of thumb: The smaller the breed, the higher the life expectancy.

Normally, in the animal kingdom, larger animal species live longer. For example, elephants and whales are among the largest and longest-lived animals on earth.
Science has long pondered why it doesn't work the same way for our four-legged friends. 
According to a study by Dr. Cornelia Kraus (University of Göttingen), larger dog breeds have a shorter life expectancy because they age faster. 
Because the development phase of a puppy of the large breed progresses faster than the small breeds.
Thus, the accelerated growth rate may be responsible for cell growth progressing abnormally and the cancer rate may be higher in large breeds.
Grafik How old do dogs
Remember: The average service life is:
  • Small breeds: 10 to 15 years.
    Some can even live up to 18 years.
  • Medium breeds: 10 to 13 years.
    Some of the breeds can also live longer.
  • Large breeds: 8 to 12 years
  • Giant breeds: 8 to 10 years
These figures are, as already mentioned, the average age. Thus, dogs can also become significantly older or unfortunately die at a significantly younger age.

Average life expectancy of individual breeds

According to the American Kennel Club (governing body of purebred dog breeders USA), the Dogue de Bordeaux with an average of 5 to 8 years the shortest life expectancy

With an average of 15 to 19 years, the Coton de Tuléar (cotton dog) has the highest life expectancy.

Table in list form

Here you can find a table of the different breeds and their life expectancy in alphabetical order:

Do mixed breeds live longer?


In general, mixed breeds really live longer.

Breeders of purebred dogs take the size or special breed characteristics of the dogs as an approach when breeding. 

According to Dr. Kraus, it would be possible to increase life expectancy if life expectancy were considered instead of these breed characteristics.

So the researcher recommends, "If you want to live with your dog as long as possible, you have the best chance if you choose a mixed breed, and a rather small one."

"Dog Years" vs. "Human Years"

The old rule that 1 dog year equals 7 human years is long outdated.

Meanwhile, the size or weight of the dog is also included in the conversion. Please note that the following table are only estimated values:

Dog Human Years

How can I ensure a long & fulfilling life for my dog?


The Guinness Book of Records lists "Bluey" as the oldest dog. Bluey was an Australian hunting dog.

He lived in Australia / Rochester as a working dog among cattle and sheep. He was 29 years and 5 months old. He was purchased as a puppy in 1910 and euthanized on November 14, 1939.

Of course, the life expectancy of a dog depends not only on its breed or weight. 

The design of his life is also crucial. The healthier and more active he lives, the higher the life expectancy can be.

Just as with humans, are

  • Balanced diet
  • Much movement
  • Physical care and spiritual care
  • Regular preventive medical visits
also for our dear dogs the basics for a high life expectancy and a full life.

Most common causes of early death

Of course, it would be wonderful if our furry noses could reach the average life expectancy or not leave us at all.

Unfortunately, there are illnesses or circumstances when our loved ones can't cope and have to leave us unexpectedly. The most common causes are:

1. cancer

Cancer is a common cause of death in large dog breeds. Why the cancer rate is higher in larger dogs compared to smaller breeds has not yet been fully elucidated. 

However, scientists believe that it is due to the faster growth rate in puppies. Thus, the cells are more prone to develop abnormally, which increases the risk of cancer.

The symptoms of cancer are:

  • Node
  • Poorly healing or non-healing wounds
  • Weight loss
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Bloated belly
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Weakness
  • Swellings

2. injuries

The spectrum of injuries that can be fatal for dogs is diverse. It can be a car accident or the aftermath of a bite from a conspecific.

The incidence of these deaths is higher in puppies and small dog breeds. Working dogs are also more likely to be affected.

You can take easy steps to ensure your charge doesn't suffer from preventable injuries:

  • Never walk without a leash.
  • Always keep a caring eye on your best friend - even when you're at home.
  • Eliminate the sources of danger in your apartment. It should be dog-proof (decorative objects, balcony, stairs, electrical outlet, cables lying around, poisonous plants, etc.).

3. hereditary diseases

Hereditary diseases are not always detectable or predictable. Here it is very important that you purchase your dog from a breeder who is responsible with their breeding methods. 

So you can reduce the risk to the minimum. There are many breeders who also take life expectancy and health to heart in their breeding. They have their breeding dogs medically tested for hereditary diseases before they are used. 

4. infections

Since preventive vaccinations have been available, many dangerous infectious diseases are not as big a risk as they used to be. Nevertheless, every year numerous dogs become ill or even fatalities due to various infectious diseases.  

You can reduce this risk: Have your pet vaccinated regularly and take him to the vet for regular checkups.

5. overweight

As a good example of this is the USA. About 34% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese. That's a valid reason to be concerned. 

Because researchers have proven that the life expectancy of dogs with overweight or obesity is on average two years shorter compared to dogs with a normal body weight.

Excess weight puts a strain on your dog's musculoskeletal system - the consequences can be osteoarthritis and disc disease.

In addition, the risk of developing diabetes or pancreatitis is very high. Cardiovascular disorders and respiratory problems are also unwelcome guests.

That's why you should give your dog a balanced diet and make sure he gets plenty of exercise. Please do not forget that dogs are active creatures since their origin. 

They need this activity not only for their physical health, but also for their mental health and balance.


Of course, we all want our loved ones to be with us for life.

However, statistics are not enough for our dear friends to reach their average life expectancy.

The mere fact that the life expectancy is long is no guarantee that your faithful companion will also have a full life.

The goal is not only to live long. The goal should be to make the way step by step balanced and happy.

The point is not only the quantity, but rather the quality of time spent together and for each other. This rule of thumb applies to our dear pelt-noses as well as to life itself. 

Then the expectation of extensive togetherness is also every moment where it should be: 

Do not live in the future, but in the present - actively, fully together with us.

In this sense, our dear friends are truly skilled masters! From them we can really still learn a lot 😉

Examined by the veterinarian Emin Jasarevic
Examined by the veterinarian Emin Jasarevic

I am a veterinarian and writer on animal health topics. Animals are my passion and it is my personal concern to create medically accurate articles and videos to inform pet owners as much as possible.

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