Thursday , April 4 2024
Why Don't Dogs Live As Long As Humans

Why Don’t Dogs Live As Long As Humans? The Lifespan Gap

Why don’t dogs live as long as humans? As a pet owner, it can be a heartbreaking experience to come to terms with the fact that your beloved dog may not live as long as you do. 

Your bond with your pets is undeniably strong, and the thought of her leaving you can be overwhelming. 

Many pet parents may question why dogs have a shorter lifespan than humans. It may seem unfair, but there are scientific reasons behind this phenomenon. 

We’ll be looking at why humans outlive dogs, what can be done to increase the life span of our dogs, and much more. 

Why Don’t Dogs Live As Long As Humans?

Dogs have shorter lifespans than humans because they have higher metabolic rates, which is indicated by their fast heart rate. 

Smaller animals, like dogs, tend to run out of energy sooner and therefore have shorter lifespans. As humans are bigger, it is expected that we will live longer. 

However, there are exceptions to this rule- parrots. Despite being small and having a fast heart rate, parrots can live well into their eighties and beyond.

Different Dog Breeds And Their Average Life Span

Different dog breeds vary greatly in terms of their average life span. And this is invaluable information for prospective dog owners, as it can help them choose a breed that suits their lifestyle and expectations. 

It can also help you anticipate and plan for your furry companions’ care and healthcare needs. While some dog breeds may live for a relatively short period, others have the potential to live well into their teens or even early twenties.

1. Labrador Retriever

  • Origin: Canada
  • Purpose: Retrieving game for hunters, service work, and companionship.
  • Lifespan: 10-14 years

2. German Shepherd

  • Origin: Germany
  • Purpose: Herding, police and military work, search and rescue, and service dogs.
  • Lifespan: 9-13 years

3. Golden Retriever

  • Origin: United Kingdom
  • Purpose: Retrieving game for hunters, assistance dogs, therapy dogs, and family pets.
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years

4. Bulldog

  • Origin: England
  • Purpose: Originally bred for bull-baiting, they are now known as gentle and loyal companions.
  • Lifespan: 8-12 years

5. French Bulldog

  • Origin: France
  • Purpose: Companion dogs are known for their affectionate nature and adaptability to city living.
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years

6. Poodle

  • Origin: Germany (Standard), France (Miniature and Toy)
  • Purpose: Versatile breed used for various tasks, including hunting, retrieving, and performing in circuses.
  • Lifespan: 10-18 years

7. Beagle

  • Origin: United Kingdom
  • Purpose: Originally bred for hunting hares, now popular as friendly family pets and scent detection dogs.
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years

8. Yorkshire Terrier

  • Origin: United Kingdom
  • Purpose: Originally bred for catching rats in textile mills, they are now valued as companions.
  • Lifespan: 11-15 years

9. Boxer

  • Origin: Germany
  • Purpose: Guarding, police work, and companionship; known for their playful and energetic nature.
  • Lifespan: 9-12 years

10. Siberian Husky

  • Origin: Russia (Siberia)
  • Purpose: Sled dogs are known for their endurance and ability to withstand cold climates.
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years

11. Dachshund

  • Origin: Germany
  • Purpose: Originally bred for hunting small game, they are now loved as family pets.
  • Lifespan: 12-16 years

12. Chihuahua

  • Origin: Mexico
  • Purpose: Companion dogs are known for their small size and lively personalities.
  • Lifespan: 12-20 years

13. Rottweiler

  • Origin: Germany
  • Purpose: Originally bred as herding and guard dogs, they are now used in various roles, including police work.
  • Lifespan: 8-10 years

14. Shih Tzu

  • Origin: China
  • Purpose: Companion dogs with long and flowing coats.
  • Lifespan: 10-16 years

15. Pug

  • Origin: China
  • Purpose: Companion dogs are known for their distinctive wrinkled faces.
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years

16. Border Collie

  • Origin: United Kingdom (Scotland/England border)
  • Purpose: Herding dogs are known for their intelligence, agility, and strong work ethic.
  • Lifespan: 10-17 years

What Determines The Life Span Of A Dog?

There are many factors that come into play to determine how long a dog will live. Some of them include;

1. Breeding and genetics

Different breeds have different life expectancies due to their genetic makeup. Some breeds are predisposed to certain health conditions that can shorten their lifespan, while others may have better overall health and longevity. 

Responsible breeders aim to produce healthy puppies by carefully selecting breeding pairs and conducting genetic testing to minimize the risk of hereditary diseases.

2. Size 

Generally, smaller dog breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds. This is because larger dogs tend to age at an accelerated rate and are more prone to health issues such as joint problems and heart disease. For instance, a Chihuahua may live 15- 17 years, while Great Danes only last for 8 – 10 years. 

3. Diet and nutrition

A balanced and nutritious diet tailored to a dog’s needs is vital for their well-being. Proper nutrition helps support their immune system, maintain a healthy weight, and prevent obesity-related health issues. 

Ensuring a dog receives the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals can help promote a longer and healthier life.

4. Health care

Routine veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive care measures like parasite control can help detect and prevent potential health problems. 

Early detection and treatment of diseases can significantly improve a dog’s prognosis and life expectancy.

5. Activity and exercise

Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, strengthens muscles, improves cardiovascular health, and reduces the risk of obesity-related diseases. Mental stimulation through playtime and training also contributes to a dog’s happiness and longevity. 

A dog with regular exercise and routine mental stimulation is likely to outlive a dormant one.

6. Weight management

Obesity can lead to various health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, and decreased mobility. Maintaining an ideal weight through portion control, regular exercise, and a balanced diet can help prevent these problems and promote a longer life.

7. Environmental factors

Environmental factors such as living conditions, exposure to toxins or pollutants, and access to clean water can also impact a dog’s lifespan. Providing a safe and clean environment free from hazards is essential for their overall health and well-being.

8. Accidents and injuries

Accidents and injuries can, unfortunately, occur throughout a dog’s life and may shorten its lifespan. Taking precautions to prevent accidents, such as keeping dogs on leashes in public areas or ensuring they have safe spaces to play, can help reduce the risk of injuries.

What Can You Do To Make Your Dog Live Longer?

As a devoted dog owner, you undoubtedly want your furry friend to live a long, vibrant life filled with joy and companionship. 

Fortunately, the key to extending your dog’s lifespan is not a mysterious secret; it’s a combination of responsible care, attention, and mindful choices. Here is what you can do to increase your dog’s lifespan.

  • Provide a balanced diet – Just like humans, dogs thrive on a diet that meets their nutritional needs. High-quality, well-balanced dog food ensures your pet receives the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for optimal health. 

Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate diet for your dog’s age, size, and specific health considerations. 

Avoid overfeeding and feeding excessive treats, as obesity can lead to various health problems that could shorten your dog’s lifespan.

  • Regular exercise, but don’t overdo it – Exercise is essential for promoting cardiovascular health and preventing behavioral issues. Engage your dog in regular physical activity that suits their energy level. 

Play fetch, go for walks, or explore dog-friendly parks. However, avoid overexerting them, especially in extreme weather conditions.

  • Routine veterinary care – Routine check-ups help catch potential health issues before they become serious problems. 

Vaccinations, parasite control, dental checks, and early disease detection are all integral to ensuring your dog’s longevity. Don’t forget to follow your vet’s recommended schedule for vaccinations and screenings.

  • Keep the weight in check – To keep your dog’s weight in check, provide them with appropriate portions of nutritious food and avoid feeding them table scraps or excessive treats. 

Regularly monitor their weight and consult with your veterinarian if you notice any significant changes.

  • Provide mental stimulation – Exercises such as puzzle toys, interactive games, and training sessions can help keep their minds sharp and prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. 

Mental stimulation improves their cognitive abilities and enhances their overall happiness and quality of life.

  • Dental care – Dental care is often overlooked but plays a significant role in a dog’s longevity. Dental disease can lead to severe pain, infection, tooth loss, and even affect other organs such as the heart and kidneys. 

Regular brushing of your dog’s teeth, providing dental chews or toys, and scheduling professional dental cleanings are all important aspects of maintaining good oral hygiene for your furry friend.


Why don’t dogs live as long as humans? Several factors contribute to the shorter lifespan of dogs compared to humans. 

One major factor is species’ differences in metabolic rate and aging. Genetic factors, such as breed and size, can also influence lifespan. 

Environmental factors, including diet, exercise, and healthcare, also play a role in determining a dog’s longevity. 

After knowing that your dog might leave you soon, what next? The best thing to do is to cherish your time with them and provide them with the best possible care and love throughout their lives.

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