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How many years does a dog live? See the average lifespan of each dog

When we adopt a dog, one of the first questions that comes to mind is: "How many years does a dog live?" A dog's life expectancy varies widely between different breeds and sizes, and is influenced by various factors such as genetics, health care and lifestyle.

In this article, we'll explore the average lifespan of dogs, highlighting the differences between large and small sizes, as well as looking at the life expectancy of mongrels. Let's get started!

How many years does a dog live?

A dog's life expectancy is a question often raised by guardians and animal lovers. On average, a puppy lives 10-13 years. This average age varies significantly between different breeds and sizes, and is influenced by various factors such as genetics, health care and lifestyle.


Large dogs, such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds, generally have a shorter life expectancy compared to smaller dogs.

On average, these dogs live between 8 and 12 years.

Factors such as their rapid growth and predisposition to certain diseases, such as hip dysplasia and heart problems, can influence this expectation.

These large dogs are also more susceptible to developing cancer problems. 

For example, a Saint Bernard, known for his impressive size, tends to have a shorter lifespan, while a Labrador, despite being large, can live a little longer due to his general robustness and less predisposition to serious illnesses.


On the other hand, small dogs such as Chihuahuas, Poodles and Shih Tzus can live longer.

These dogs often live between 12 and 15 years, with some reaching up to 18 years. The Shih Tzu, for example, is known to live an average of 11.05 years. 

These smaller dogs grow more slowly and generally have fewer serious health problems compared to larger dogs, contributing to a longer life.

How many years does a mongrel dog live?

Mongrels, or dogs without a defined breed, have a variety of life expectancies. Generally, they have an average lifespan of between 10 and 15 years, depending on factors such as size, health care and genetics.

The genetic diversity of mutts often contributes to better health and a lower incidence of breed-specific genetic diseases, which can result in a longer life.

Longer-lived puppies

Some dogs stand out for their longevity, surpassing the average life expectancy of many breeds. 

For example, breeds such as Chihuahua, Pomeranian Lulu and Jack Russell Terrier are known for their longevity, sometimes living beyond 15 years.

These smaller breeds tend to have a slower pace of life and are less prone to complex genetic diseases, which contributes to their greater longevity.

Specific breeds such as the Toy Poodle and the Lhasa Apso are also notable for their long lives, often reaching 15 years. 

In addition, dogs without a defined breed (SRD) tend to live about 1.2 years longer than purebred dogs of the same size. 

Read More: How do dogs age?

How to increase your dog's life expectancy

Increasing a dog's life expectancy involves a combination of favorable genetics, proper health care and a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips to help your dog live a long and healthy life:

  1. Proper nutrition: A balanced diet, appropriate to the dog's age, size and activity level, is crucial. High-quality food, rich in essential nutrients, can make a big difference to a dog's overall health.
  2. Regular exercise: Regular physical activity keeps dogs fit and helps prevent health problems such as obesity and heart disease.
  3. Veterinary care: Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are essential to prevent and treat diseases early on. Vaccinations, parasite control and dental hygiene are also important aspects of health care.
  4. Stimulating environment: Keeping your dog mentally and physically stimulated is essential for overall health. This includes play, training and proper socialization.
  5. Accident prevention: Keeping your dog safe from danger, both indoors and outdoors, can prevent accidents and injuries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about the life expectancy of dogs.

  1. What is the maximum number of years a dog can live?
  • Although the average life expectancy of dogs is around 10 to 13 years, some dogs, especially small breeds, can live to 15 years or more. Exceptional cases of dogs living up to 20 years do exist, but they are rare.
  1. Some dogs live up to 20 years?
  • While it is uncommon, there are records of dogs that have lived up to or beyond 20 years. These cases are exceptional and usually involve small dogs with excellent health care, nutrition and genetics.
  1. What is the average lifespan of a mongrel dog?
  • Mongrel puppies tend to have an average life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. Their genetic diversity often makes them more resistant to certain genetic diseases common in pure breeds.
  1. How old is a 9-year-old dog in human years?
  • Traditionally, it was believed that one dog year is equivalent to seven human years. However, recent studies suggest that this conversion varies depending on the breed and size of the dog. For a medium-sized dog, 9 dog years can be roughly equivalent to 50 to 55 human years.
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