Which Dog Breed Lives the Longest?

Breed Tips
Which Dog Breed Lives the Longest

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Our canine companions hold a large piece of our hearts. From being a rambunctious puppy to a relaxed senior citizen, they are with us for significant periods of our lives. Always by your side, the relationship between a dog and its owner is unlike anything else. If you’re thinking about adding a four-legged family member, you might want to know which breeds live the longest.   

The average lifespan varies from breed and from dog to dog. Longevity for any dog can be ensured with a healthy diet, lots of exercise, regular vet visits, and preventative health care. Making sure your dog lives a long, happy, and healthy life is one of the top priorities of any dog parent. And no dog owner can bear to think about losing their canine companion. Still, when choosing a breed, it is something to consider. 

Big dogs vs. small dogs

The good news for small dog owners is that research has found that the smaller the dog, the longer they are expected to live. But why? The specific reason isn’t entirely known, but vets and scientists have theories.  

Big dogs age faster. This is the prevailing reason many believe small dogs live longer. Big dogs have been found to age at an accelerated rate compared to their smaller breed counterparts. They grow bigger and quicker, leading to more health problems down the road as their cells, muscles, and organs have developed over a shorter period. Having an ‘aged’ body sooner makes bigger dogs more susceptible to illness. In fact, big dogs are more likely to get cancer. The reason for this is not entirely known. Experts believe it is because the cells in bigger dogs are more subjected to abnormal growth due to more rapid maturing. Here is a list of 10 Largest Dog Breeds.

Breeds with the longest lifespans

These breeds – listed in no particular order – boast the most extended average lifespans. 


Average lifespan: 17 years 

Small but mighty Chihuahuas have larger-than-life personalities in miniature little frames. Don’t let their size fool you! Huge-hearted and fiercely loyal, Chihuahuas make great companions who will absolutely be a best friend for life. Fortunately for chihuahua owners, they are some of the longest-living dogs. Making it to, on average, 17 birthdays, your chihuahua will be around for a considerable portion of your life. Not prone to any genetic diseases, your little guard dog will protect you for years and years to come. 

Shih Tzus

Average lifespan: 15 years 

Shih Tzu owners rejoice! Not only are these lovable little pooches just as tiny as they are cute, but they can also live for up to 18 years. With their teddy bear-like appearance and petite build, Shih Tzus are extremely popular dogs and make great family additions. Playful, loving, and sweet Shih Tzus are a breed that will be with you for a long time!  


Average lifespan: 13 years 

With unique proportions and even more unique personalities, Dachshunds are well known for their short legs, long torsos, and big hearts. Playful and energetic, this breed makes great adventure companions for as long as their little legs will carry them! Living from 12-16 years, your Dachshund will be around to trot alongside you for a long time.  


Average lifespan: 15 years 

Boasting a well-known white coat and sweet personalities, Malteses make great family companions. The breed isn’t known to have many health issues and is notably playful and loving! Petite and adorable, your Maltese will live a long and happy life – probably spending lots of its time in your lap! 

Yorkshire Terriers

Average lifespan: 13 to 16 years  

Commonly known as “Yorkies,” Yorkshire terriers are a popular small dog breed. Sometimes bossy but always loyal, Yorkies might want you all to themselves. With a long beautiful coat and a long lifespan, Yorkie owners will enjoy the company of their small furry friends for years! And probably do a lot of grooming visits.  


Average lifespan: 15 years  

Curious and calm, Pomeranians are bound to turn heads on the street from their fluffy coats and adorable ears. Like a real-life stuffed animal, Pomeranians’ small size makes them a perfect lap dog and cuddle buddy. Intelligent and inquisitive, they are not overly energetic but like to explore the world around them.  

Australian Shepherds

Average lifespan: 15 years 

One of the bigger dogs on the list, Australian shepherds, can be spotted from their unique and patterned coats and often beautifully colored eyes. Bred to herd, these dogs are active and quick-witted. Seen in many agility competitions, they love to exercise and do well with training. If you like bigger dogs – and are looking for one with a long average lifespan – Australian shepherds can make a perfect furry friend! 

Toy Poodles

Average lifespan: 13 years 

Appropriately named, Toy Poodles are cute as a button and adorably miniature. Hypoallergenic and highly smart, Toy Poodles make fantastic family dogs. They do well with other animals and people and are highly sociable. Poodles are known to be one of the most intelligent breeds in the world, making training them relatively easy. 

Jack Russell Terriers

Average lifespan: 14 years 

Known to be generally healthy & very happy dogs, Jack Russell Terriers have lots of energy in their little bodies! Full of energy and always ready to play, keeping them active will ensure they are content throughout their years.  

Ways to make your dog live longer

Nobody is immortal, but there are ways you can bolster your dog’s health to ensure a long and joyous life. Here are some things to prioritize as your dog matures and gets older. 

A healthy & balanced diet. Making sure your pup gets all the nutrients it needs is a great way to boost immune health, help digestion, and even keep its coat shiny and soft! Consult your vet about the right food for your dog and focus on choosing food brands that are nutrient-rich and recommended. 

Maintaining a healthy weight & regular exercise. Like humans, staying active is imperative to your dog’s health. Obesity causes many health complications and can shorten a dog’s lifespan considerably. Keeping your dog active and at a healthy weight will help them live as long as possible! 

Prioritizing dental care. Dreaded dentist visits aren’t just for humans! Make your dog’s dental health a priority and spend time from a young age maintaining a healthy and clean mouth and gums. Talk to your vet about what steps you can take to bolster your dental health. 

Preventative care. Vaccines, flea & tick prevention, and regular vet visits will keep your dog’s health in check. Protecting against deadly diseases with shots and monitoring your dog’s physical and mental state will lend itself to longevity.  

Lots of love! You are arguably the most important person in your dog’s life. They love you just as much as you love them, so let them know! Affection will go a long way to keep your dog feeling great for as long as they live.  

Here at Spot Pet Insurance, we do our best to provide helpful dog info. We care deeply about your dog’s health and want to be with you every step of the way. For other helpful info about pets, check out our Spot Pet Insurance webpage! Here we provide you with educational materials that can help you with the best foods, toys, safety, and care tips for your dog. We also offer personalized pet insurance plan options to help keep your dog protected in case of unexpected accidents and illnesses.


  • Why Do Small Dogs Live Longer Than Large Dogs? | AKC 
  • The 25 Dog Breeds With The Longest Lifespans | Newsweek 
  • 20 Longest Living Dog Breeds — From Chihuahuas to Toy Poodles | Parade 

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