If pet longevity is one of the factors that you want to consider before adopting a dog, this article can be a helpful guide in choosing a breed that will best fit into the loving home you are offering. Whether you are choosing a new pet for a young child or looking for a ‘canine kid’ to spend a long and happy life with you, it’s beneficial to be aware of the dog breeds that live longest.
What you’ve heard about small breed dogs living longer than medium and larger breeds is true. Within the canine species, the larger the size, the heavier the longevity cost. Scientists believe that larger breeds die younger because they age more quickly and they age more quickly because they grow faster.
So what are the dog breeds that live longest?
The Average Life Expectancy of a Chihuahua dog is 17 years. They may be a tiny breed but they are a hardy one, and are not prone to any serious hereditary illnesses.
There are long haired Chihuahuas and short haired Chihuahuas and although both require very little grooming, they do shed somewhat. Some people think that Chihuahuas are ‘low dander’ dogs and thus are a hypoallergenic breed. This is not the case. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Chihuahua is not on their list of canine breeds recommended for people with allergies.
Yappy, Nippy, and High-Strung VS. Quirky, Loyal, and Loving. Having worked in small animal veterinary clinics for over 30 years, I have met thousands of chihuahuas with a range of different temperaments.
Keep in mind that most everything on the planet is bigger than a Chihuahua so they can be very wary of strangers and become nervous in social situations. Usually they will take their own sweet time in getting to know other people outside the family.
But most chihuahua owners describe their dogs as loving, loyal, and protective, as well as having an eccentric streak that keeps the family laughing and entertained.
Jack Russell Terrier, Cockerpoo, and Toy Poodle
What all three of these canine breeds have in common is that their Average Life Expectancy is 16 years. If you’re looking to adopt a longtime cuddly canine companion, you may want to consider one of these three.
Let’s look at the characteristics of each individually.
Jack Russell Terrier: The Jack Russell terrier is a high energy breed with a zest for life that’s hard to match. He loves human companionship and is happiest if you give him a job to do. He is a baying terrier so he will be an excellent vocal watchdog, and if you give him a backyard to hang out in, he will keep that yard free of vermin.
Jack Russells are popular family pets but there are some things to consider before adopting one. A strong hunting instinct is inbred in these dogs and he may see the family cat, rabbit, or hamster as prey. The breed is also very bold by nature and may not tolerate small children well. They have been known to be aggressive toward other dogs.
Jack Russells are not a hypoallergenic breed and they do shed. Even with a good daily brushing, you’ll still likely be vacuuming up JR hair.
Cockerpoo: Cockerpoos are a hybrid, a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle. They are not on the AKC list of hypoallergenic dogs but they do produce very low amounts of pet dander.
This breed was actually developed just for companionship and they make wonderful pets! They are extraordinarily friendly and great with other pets and children. They can be a bit clownish and the term ‘lap dog’ is not lost on the Cockerpoo; In your lap is where she wants to be.
Watchdog, yes. Guard dog, no. Her bark is worse than her bite. She will alert the whole house to a ringing doorbell but is likely to run and hide if she doesn’t recognize the visitor.
Depending on which parent breed your dog favors, grooming can be as simple as a weekly brushing. If her fur is longer and prone to matting, a trip to the grooming parlor a couple times a year may be necessary. But your Cockerpoo is so good-natured that you could probably easily learn to groom her yourself.
Toy Poodle: Toy Poodles are on the American Kennel Club’s list of hypoallergenic dogs. This means that the breed has a non-shedding hair coat that produces less dander, making it an ideal pet for allergy sufferers.
Most Poodles do have a fairly long expected lifespan but as the tiniest of the bunch, Toy Poodles have the longest. But tiny and cute as they are, Toy Poodles are not meant to be little stuffed-animal-like pets to be admired and coddled.
They are one of the smartest and trainable of all canine breeds; so intelligent in fact, that they often need mental stimulation from you to be happiest. They are also very lively little animals and need regular daily exercise. Don’t let his tiny size fool you. Packed into those 7 lbs. of canine cuteness is your energetic, very smart and funny new BFF.
Lhasa Apso & Shih Tzu
Besides having an Average Life Expectancy of 15 years, these two canine breeds also have quite a few other things in common. This is because the ShihTzu is a direct descendant of the Lhasa Apso. Indeed, the two breeds look so much alike that many people have trouble telling them apart.
Lhasa Apso: Lhasa Apsos are the larger of the two breeds, adult females weighing 11 to 15 lbs.(5 to 7 kg.), adult males weighing 13 to 18 lbs. (6 to 8 kg.) They are not considered hypoallergenic dogs, but they shed very little.
The Lhasa Apso was first bred as both a guard dog and a companion dog by Buddhist monks some 2000 years ago. Consequently, today’s Lhasa Apso is suspicious of strangers and new situations, though very loving, affectionate, and protective of family members.
Shih Tzu: Shih Tzus were bred exclusively for companionship and that is the major difference between the two breeds’ personalities. Whereas Lhasas are aloof and cautious of people outside the family, Shih Tzus are friendly and trusting toward everyone, even complete strangers.
Their docile personality makes the Shih Tzu a wonderful family dog. This breed will get along with other household pets and makes a loving companion for children.
The average weight of an adult Shih Tzu, female or male, is 9 to 16 lbs. (4 to 7 kg.) They are also minimal shedders with low dander.
*Both Lhasa Apsos and Shih Tzus have average intelligence and medium energy levels. Although regular exercise is important for the optimum health of any canine breed, they don’t require huge amounts of it. Neither breed has hunting or fighting instincts.
The Average Life Expectancy of the Maltese is also 15 years, although females of this breed tend to live a year longer than their male counterparts (for unknown reasons).
Known for its stunning long and silky white locks, this breed sheds very little and is considered hypoallergenic, making it a good choice for people with allergies. But Malteses usually need a good daily brushing to avoid matting. Many Maltese pet parents choose to keep their dog’s hair trimmed short for convenience.
The Maltese is a companion dog, social and playful, and shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time. They are considered good family pets but don’t tolerate very young, rambunctious children well. Some Maltese breeders refuse to sell a puppy to a family with very small children because the pups are so tiny and fragile. But they are an ideal pet for a family with older children.
They are gentle yet fearless, and friendly toward most everyone; But despite their tiny and innocent appearance, the Maltese can be quite bold and feisty. They are very alert and make good watchdogs. You’ll definitely know when someone is at the door.
What your Maltese wants most is your love and companionship; to snuggle and cuddle and bask in your undivided attention.
Beagle, Boston, & Aussie
Beagles, Boston Terriers, and Australian Shepherds have an Average Life Expectancy of 14 years. That’s great news for dog lovers who want a longtime pet pal a bit bigger than a lapdog. Each has their own unique qualities that make them compatible with different types of pet parents.
Beagle: Beagles make delightful pets but they may require some training to fit into the “well-behaved” category. They are quite friendly and sweet but also extremely curious. Being a hound breed, they have a finely tuned sense of smell and unless properly trained, a beagle will single-mindedly follow an exciting scent all the way to its destination.
They are a short haired breed but they do shed somewhat, mostly in the spring. But grooming is usually limited to the occasional bath since they are very clean dogs.
Beagles are exuberantly vocal and make wonderful watchdogs, but they need lots of outdoor time and exercise to keep them happy and calm. Since they were bred to work together in packs, they get along very well with other canines and make excellent companions and exercise playmates for other dogs.
Boston Terrier: Boston Terriers are highly intelligent dogs and easily trained but they can occasionally exhibit a stubborn streak. Most of the time however, this charming breed is friendly, playful and craves human attention. The need for grooming is practically nonexistent for this very short-haired breed and they are minimal shedders.
The Boston Terrier is a dependable watchdog and for the most part, gets along well with other family pets; although he may put on a dominant show at times for your benefit.
This breed was deliberately developed to have a short face, large eyes, and a domed head. Consequently, they may be prone to breathing and eye problems. Most Bostons snort and snuffle when awake, and snore while sleeping. Some people find this endearing, others definitely do not.
Australian Shepherd: Aussies are the largest dog on this list of dog breeds that live longest and are a personal favorite breed of mine. On average, male Australian Shepherds weigh 50 to 65 lbs. (23 to 29 kg.), females, 40 to 55 lbs. (18 to 25 kg.).
Australian Shepherds are one of the most intelligent of all dog breeds. At the veterinary hospital where I worked for many years, we had a dog boarding facility for special clients. An Australian Shepherd named “Danny” was a frequent visitor with us and he would entertain the staff by ‘walking himself.’
If you put a collar and leash on Danny, he would pick up the end of the leash in his mouth and prance around the grounds with head held high, ‘walking himself’ while the staff and clients laughed and clapped. We often joked about hiring Danny to walk the other dogs. He was quite a special dog and his owners adored him.
It’s important to note that Aussies need lots of mental stimulation and a great deal of physical exercise to keep from being bored. Boredom in this breed can lead to excessive barking and destructive behavior. In short, if you’re looking for a dog to be a couch potato buddy, don’t even consider this breed. They should never be strictly house dogs.
Australian Shepherds have beautifully distinctive coats. They do shed year round but most heavily in the spring when losing their winter coat.
Choose Your Canine Kid Carefully
If you are considering adopting a dog (or keeping one that has found you), and longevity is an important factor in your decision, that means that you are hoping to spend a very long time with this pet. That involves commitment on your part. Commitment for the dog is a no-brainer since it’s built into his very nature.
That’s why in this list of dog breeds that live longest, I have included key traits of each breed. Hopefully, this makes it easier to determine if a particular dog would make a good fit for you, or for you and your family.
Partnering the right dog with the right pet parents makes for a long beautiful friendship!
Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my post on dog breeds that live longest. If you have any question, comments, observations, or experiences to share, please leave them in the comment section below!