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Pet Health

Discovering the Longest Living Dog Breeds

Explore the longest-living dog breeds and their care essentials. Learn how proper nutrition, exercise, vet check-ups, and mental stimulation can enhance your pet's longevity and happiness.

Dr. Karen Whala

July 03, 2024

Importance of Choosing Long-Living Dog Breeds

The bond shared between humans and their pets is deeply emotional, transcending mere companionship to encompass unconditional love, emotional support, and profound friendship. In recent years, there has been a marked increase in pet ownership, reflecting the growing recognition of the significant role pets play in our lives. They are not only guardians of our homes but also keepers of our hearts. Understanding the substantial place pets hold within a family reveals the importance of considering their lifespan when we choose to welcome them into our lives. Knowledge about the longest-living dog breeds is vital for prospective pet parents who aspire to enjoy a long, enriching journey with their four-legged friends. From the joys of their youth to the tranquility of their twilight years, a pet accompanies us through life's many phases. And when the time comes to part ways, the experience is deeply emotional. By choosing a breed known for its longevity, families can embark on a rewarding relationship with their dog, full of memories to cherish for years to come.

Why Longevity Matters in Dog Breeds

Considering the lifespan of potential dog breeds is an essential component of responsible pet ownership. Knowledge of a breed’s average longevity can profoundly affect the journey you undertake with your pet, preparing you for the years you can expect to dedicate to their companionship, care, and happiness. Moreover, awareness of longevity is crucial for planning ahead in terms of health management and crucial end-of-life decisions, ensuring you can provide the highest quality of life throughout your pet's journey.

Comprehending the nuances of canine lifespan presents potential pet owners with a clearer picture, enabling sensitive and informed choices that align with their life circumstances and expectations. Our mission extends to sharing pivotal information about dog longevity to aid your decision-making process, thereby enhancing the health and happiness of your canine companion during their time with you.

Factors Affecting Dog Lifespan

Several factors play a key role in determining the lifespan of dogs, including breed, size, genetic predispositions, and lifestyle choices. Smaller breeds tend to have longer lifespans than their larger counterparts. Diet and exercise are crucial lifestyle factors that greatly influence a dog's health and longevity. A balanced, nutritious diet aids in preventing obesity and associated health problems, while regular exercise helps maintain cardiovascular health and flexibility.

Moreover, consistent veterinary care is pivotal in prolonging a dog's life. Regular check-ups allow for early detection and treatment of diseases, and ensure that vaccinations and parasite preventatives are up to date. These veterinary visits also provide an opportunity for pet owners to discuss and adjust their dog's diet and exercise routines based on their evolving health needs.

Understanding and addressing these factors can contribute to a fulfilling and extended life for your canine companion.

Overview of the Blog Content

In this blog post, we will explore some of the longest-living dog breeds, delve into understanding dog lifespan, and discuss how to care for long-living breeds. We will also highlight how CodaPet can assist in your journey as a pet owner, particularly when it comes to end-of-life care. Our goal is to provide you with valuable information and resources to help you make the best decisions for your pet, ensuring they live a long, healthy, and fulfilling life. We invite you to engage with the content, learn more about your pet's potential lifespan, and discover how CodaPet can support you and your furry friend.

Understanding Dog Lifespan

General Lifespan of Dogs

While there's no universal lifespan for dogs, certain trends can be observed. Smaller breeds often have longer lifespans than their larger counterparts, with many small breeds reaching their late teens or even entering their early 20s on rare occasions. Conversely, extra-large breeds might live about 7-10 years. Factors such as breed, size, genetics, and overall health significantly influence a dog's lifespan. A remarkable example of longevity in dogs is the Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey, who was believed to have lived to be an astounding 29 years and 160 days old!

Understanding the general lifespan of dogs is an essential aspect of responsible pet ownership. It provides owners with realistic expectations about their pet's life expectancy and prepares them for the various life stages. Awareness of lifespan is crucial for anticipating healthcare needs as dogs age, including gearing up for end-of-life care, which is an indelible part of the bond we share with our canine companions.

Factors Influencing Dog Lifespan

A dog's lifespan can be influenced by various factors, including breed, size, genetics, and lifestyle. Certain breeds, for instance, come with a predisposition to specific health conditions that can affect their longevity. For example, large breeds such as Great Danes tend to live shorter lives compared to smaller breeds like Chihuahuas.

Genetics also play a part, with inherited conditions potentially shortening a dog's lifespan. Lifestyle choices—including diet, exercise, and healthcare—are significant determinants of how long a dog may live. A balanced diet helps prevent health conditions like obesity, and regular exercise keeps them fit and strong, both of which can potentially extend a dog's life. Furthermore, ensuring your pet has regular vet check-ups is crucial, as early detection and preventive care can lead to better health outcomes and a longer life. CodaPet supports pet families by offering resources and guidance to make informed healthcare decisions that nurture their pet's well-being for as long as possible.

Common Health Issues in Dogs

Different dog breeds can be predisposed to certain health issues, which can impact their lifespan. For example, Chihuahuas, while generally healthy, can develop conditions like heart disease and patellar luxation. Similarly, Shih Tzus, despite their high life expectancy, can face health issues related to their brachycephalic facial structure, such as breathing difficulties and overheating. Early detection and treatment of these common health issues can greatly improve a dog's quality of life and potentially extend their lifespan. Regular veterinary care and early detection are critical in managing your pet's health and ensuring they live a long and happy life.

The Importance of Genetics

Genetics are a fundamental factor in shaping the lifespan of our beloved canine companions. Just as in humans, a dog's genetic makeup harbors the secrets to its potential health outcomes, including its vulnerability or resilience to certain hereditary conditions that may impact longevity. Select breeds, due to their genetic coding, are known to be predisposed to particular ailments; for instance, large breeds might be inclined to experience hip dysplasia and neurodegenerative diseases while smaller breeds could face heart-related issues and dental disease.

It's not all a blueprint that we're powerless to change, though. Responsible breeding is critical in nurturing a foundation of health and potential longevity in dogs. Such mindful breeding practices encompass health screenings and genetic testing before mating occurs, drastically reducing the likelihood of passing on severe heritable diseases. By opting for reputable breeders who dedicate themselves to the health and wellbeing of their litters, future pet parents can make informed decisions that may extend their dog's lifespan and enhance the quality of their life.

At CodaPet, we recognize the complexities woven into your dog's DNA and the challenging decisions you face when selecting a pet. We encourage you to delve deep into the genetic history of your preferred breed and to align yourselves with responsible breeders. Your consideration will not only contribute to your future pet's health but also advocate for the betterment of the breed as a whole.

Top Longest Living Dog Breeds


A Chihuahua resting on a blanket.

Chihuahuas, hailing from the vibrant culture of Mexico, are notably recognized for holding the title of the smallest dog breed on the globe. At their diminutive size, they are nimble and manageable for most pet parents, undoubtedly contributing to their impressive lifespan, typically ranging between 14-16 years, as detailed in studies on the average lifespan of a Chihuahua. These pocket-sized companions boast a persona that is alert, vivacious, and often spirited, with a profound affinity for their human counterparts. Caution may be their default with unfamiliar faces, indicating a discerning nature wrapped in a compact package.

Despite their robust outward appearance, Chihuahuas are predisposed to certain health ailments that warrant attention. Conditions such as heart disease and patellar luxation are among the common health challenges they may face. Proactive and regular veterinary check-ups serve as a preventive measure, playing a crucial role in early detection and management of any underlying health concerns. Such vigilant care is instrumental in securing a prolonged and flourishing lifespan for these lovable Chihuahuas.


A Dachshund standing on a wooden deck and looking up.

Dachshunds, commonly known as 'wiener dogs' due to their long bodies, are another breed known for their long lifespan, averaging between 12-16 years. Despite their short legs, Dachshunds are muscular, energetic dogs that were originally bred for hunting badgers. However, their unique body shape can make them prone to back injuries and conditions like intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) as they age. Regular vet check-ups and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of these issues, contributing to a long, happy life for your Dachshund.

Toy Poodle

A Toy Poodle is standing on the floor and is looking up.

Toy Poodles, the smallest of the three Poodle sizes, are known for their long lifespan, often reaching 10-18 years. Despite their small size, Toy Poodles have a big personality and an even bigger brain. Their intelligence allows them to learn basic training and complicated tricks relatively easily, keeping their minds active and engaged. Mental stimulation, along with regular vet care and a healthy diet, contributes to their long lifespan. However, like many small breeds, Toy Poodles can experience common health issues such as eye problems and dental disease, underscoring the importance of regular vet check-ups.


A Maltese standing on green grass and sticking its tongue out.

Maltese dogs, akin to their Bichon Frise cousins, are small, white canines celebrated for their longevity, with a typical lifespan spanning 12-15 years. These elegant pups don a long, silky coat that demands consistent grooming—a daily ritual to prevent tangles and matting. Its maintenance is not merely for aesthetics; it is essential for their overall well-being. Proper grooming not only enhances their splendor but supports skin health and serves as an early detection method for potential health concerns. Though the Maltese breed is associated with robust health, they are still at risk for certain conditions including luxating patellas, liver shunts, and heart anomalies. With attentive and regular care from a trusted veterinarian, these issues can be effectively managed, reinforcing the Maltese's position as one of the most cherished and enduring canine companions.

Caring for Long-Living Dog Breeds

Proper Nutrition

Proper nutrition is fundamental to the health and longevity of long-living dog breeds. A balanced, species-appropriate diet provides the necessary nutrients your dog needs to thrive. It supports overall health, energy levels, and can help prevent obesity and related health issues. Portion control is also crucial in maintaining a healthy weight, as obesity can lead to a range of health problems and potentially shorten a dog's life. We can provide guidance and resources to help you make the best dietary choices for your dog.

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is a key component in caring for long-living dog breeds. It plays a dual role, enhancing both their physical condition and mental agility. Physically, engaging in routine activity helps to maintain muscle strength, support cardiovascular health, and is instrumental in managing weight. Mentally, exercise provides essential stimulation, often alleviating symptoms of anxiety and preventing boredom-induced destructive behaviors. Committing to regular physical activities, like brisk walks, games of fetch, or agility training, can significantly contribute to your dog's overall well-being, keeping them vibrant and joyful throughout their extended lifespan. Beyond the immediate benefits, exercise also supports long-term health, potentially reducing the risk of chronic illnesses associated with aging.

Routine Vet Check-ups

Routine vet check-ups are a crucial aspect of ensuring the health and well-being of long-living dog breeds. These check-ups are vital in detecting potential health issues at an early stage when they are often more manageable and the treatment can be less invasive. Additionally, preventive care received during these visits, which includes vaccinations, parasite control, and dental cleanings, plays a significant role in safeguarding against illness and extending a dog's lifespan. There are many reasons to take your healthy pet to the vet, emphasizing the importance of regular visits. These check-ups also provide an opportunity for pet owners to discuss nutritional needs, exercise habits, and any behavioral changes with their veterinarian, allowing for a comprehensive approach to their pet's health.

Mental Stimulation

Mental stimulation is a vital part of caring for long-living dog breeds. Just as humans benefit from intellectual challenges, so do dogs. Engaging a dog's mind with activities that push them to think, solve problems, and learn new skills can significantly contribute to their overall wellbeing.

Not only does mental stimulation help keep dogs alert and focused, but it also wards off the ennui that can lead to destructive behaviors. When dogs are bored, they may turn to chewing, digging, or other unwanted behaviors as an outlet. Intellectual challenges provide a positive way to harness their energy and curiosity.

For long-living breeds, the importance of mental exercise becomes even more pronounced. These dogs spend more years in the companionship of their owners, and maintaining mental acuity is essential for their quality of life throughout their lifespan.

Engaging activities could include puzzle toys, which require dogs to solve a problem to receive a treat, or training exercises that teach new commands or tricks. Interactive games that involve hiding toys or treats around the house can also provide mental stimulation, as can play sessions that encourage problem-solving and learning.

By incorporating a variety of mentally stimulating activities into your dog's routine, you provide them with opportunities for mental growth and emotional satisfaction. This, in turn, supports their health and solidifies the bond they share with you, their loving owner.

Recap of the Longest Living Dog Breeds

In this blog post, we've explored some of the longest-living dog breeds, including Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Toy Poodles, and Maltese. These breeds are known for their impressive lifespans, often living well into their teens and even early twenties. For prospective pet owners, understanding a breed's typical lifespan is an important factor to consider when choosing a pet. It sets expectations about the amount of time they will have with their beloved pet and can inform decisions about pet care and end-of-life preparations.

Final Thoughts on Caring for Long-Living Breeds

Caring for long-living breeds involves a comprehensive approach that includes proper nutrition, regular exercise, routine vet check-ups, and mental stimulation. These elements, combined with a deep understanding of the breed's specific needs and potential health issues, can significantly contribute to a dog's longevity. Regular vet check-ups can help detect potential health issues early, while a balanced diet and regular exercise can prevent obesity and other health issues. Mental stimulation, on the other hand, can keep your dog mentally sharp and reduce boredom.

Dr. Karen Whala

Fresno, CA


Dr. Karen Whala has always had a soft spot for the older pets she’s treated in practice and saw a need for these beloved pets to pass peacefully at home rather than in a clinic setting. To that end, she started Peaceful Passing in 2018 to help families assist their terminally ill, injured, or suffering pets as they transitioned from life in the Fresno and Clovis areas.  Read More

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