Average Dog Life Span by Breed

The average dog life span is not only determined by breed, but several other factors can contribute to your dog's life expectancy. 12.8 years is the average life span of the average American or European dog. This number is a dramatic leap from the expected life in the past. In a large part, this is due to better medical care and diet we have now for our own dogs. Typically, the more stress a dog has in his life, the shorter his expectancy becomes.

Factors That Contribute to Life Span

  • Some breeds simply live longer than other breeds due to breed health, body structure and genetics.
  • Smaller breed dogs live about 1.5 times longer than bigger breed dogs. This may be due to the fact that a bigger dog's body must work harder to maintain daily functions (i.e. the heart of a Great Dane must pump harder than that of a Chihuahua's).
  • Just like humans, gender plays a role with canine life span. Female dogs are expected to live a year or two more than males.
  • Spaying or neutering your dog also contributes to a longer life span. An unaltered dog has greater risk of cancer and diseases associated with the sex organs.
  • Nutrition is a major factor in your dog's life. High-quality dog food will lengthen his life.
  • A healthy life style and exercise also helps your dog stay in fit physical shape. A mentally and physically fit dog will live much longer than one who is not.

Medical attention when needed also attributes to longer life. Never wait to take a dog to the vet if you suspect he is ill, and get him vaccinated against dangerous diseases. Also, it is a good idea to keep his teeth clean. Rotten teeth can cause heart problems.

Average Life Span of Top 25 Breeds

The following is a list of the most popular dogs in 2008, according to the AKC and their average life expectancy.

  1. Labrador Retriever (12.5 years)
  2. Yorkshire Terrier (14 years)
  3. German Shepherd Dog (11 years)
  4. Golden Retriever (12 years)
  5. Beagle (13 years)
  6. Boxer (10.5 years)
  7. Dachshund (15.5 years)
  8. Bulldog (7 years)
  9. Poodle (12 years Standard) (15 years Miniature)
  10. Shih Tzu (13 years)
  11. Miniature Schnauzer (14 years)
  12. Chihuahua (13.5)
  13. Pomeranian (15 years)
  14. Rottweiler (10 years)
  15. Pug (13.5 years)
  16. German Shorthaired Pointer (13 years)
  17. Boston Terrier (13 years)
  18. Doberman Pinscher (10 years)
  19. Shetland Sheepdog (13.5 years)
  20. Maltese (14 years)
  21. Cocker Spaniel (12 years)
  22. Great Dane (8.5 years)
  23. Siberian Husky (12 years)
  24. Pembroke Welsh Corgi (13 years)
  25. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (10 years)