As a pet parent, you want your dog to live a long, healthy life. Unfortunately, some dogs have shorter lifespans than others. A dog's lifespan depends on many factors, but it's well known that small dog breeds live longer than large breeds, even though scientists aren't exactly sure why.1 On average, small breeds can live anywhere from 10-15 years, but it ultimately depends on the breed and individual health factors.1
Of course, some dogs live much longer than that. For example, Bluey, an Australian cattle dog, lived to be nearly 30 years old.2 Of course, you can't expect all dogs of the same breed to live that long since the average lifespan of Australian cattle dogs is 13-15 years, but there are outliers. Since a dog's health can affect how long they live, averages can only provide guidelines for what to expect; they can't tell you exactly how long your dog will live.
That being said, it's no secret that smaller dogs live longer than larger breeds. Check out our dogs with the longest lifespan list below to learn about the average lifespan of many of the most popular breeds.
- Toy Poodle
- Rat Terrier
- Shih Tzu
- Jack Russell Terrier
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Average lifespan: 14-18 years
- Weight: Less than 6 pounds
- Height: 5-8 inches3
Chihuahuas are the dog breed with the longest lifespan, likely related to their small size. They're small dogs with big personalities, most known as purse dogs that you can carry with you anywhere.4 Chihuahua temperament depends on their upbringing, with some being more excitable than others, but they're independent and affectionate with family. Unfortunately, their big personalities mean they're not great with children, so all interactions should be monitored. Chihuahuas are relatively low maintenance, and some barely shed. These dogs are incredibly high-energy and playful, so they'll need regular activities to keep them occupied. A few health issues may affect Chihuahuas, including heart problems, eye disease, and loose kneecaps.4 However, they're relatively healthy dogs.
2. Toy Poodle
- Average lifespan: 10-18 years
- Weight: 4-6 pounds
- Height: Less than 10 inches
Toy poodles are another dog breed with a long lifespan, and they're popular due to their fun-loving personalities. Toy poodles are affectionate, great with children, and highly intelligent.5 They're ideal pets for those who don't want to find fur on their clothing because they barely shed. However, they must be groomed regularly. Toy poodles are relatively healthy but may experience some health issues, including hip dysplasia and eye disorders.5
3. Rat Terrier
- Average lifespan: 12-18 years
- Weight: 10-25 pounds
- Height: 10-18 inches
Rat terriers are exterminator dogs bred for hunting rodents. However, they're also affectionate with family and great with young children. Rat terriers are mixed breeds, often mixed with Chihuahuas and various terriers to be the ultimate rodent-hunting dog. However, they're incredibly intelligent and respond well to training.6 Rat terriers are high-energy dogs, so they need physical and mental stimulation, but they tend to do well in apartments as long as they get daily walks.
4. Shih Tzu
- Average lifespan:10-18 years
- Weight: 9-16 pounds
- Height: 9-10.5 inches
Shih Tzus are another dog with a long lifespan, living up to 18 years in many cases. These dogs are most known for their long coats, but you can groom a Shih Tzu for a shorter, more manageable coat. Shih Tzus are all-around loving dogs that are affectionate with family, good with young children, and friendly with other dogs.7
- Average lifespan: 13-18 years
- Weight: 10-55 pounds (depending on size)
- Height: 10-23 inches
Xoloitzcuintli are non-sporting dogs bred in toy, miniature, and standard sizes. These ancient Aztec dogs are affectionate companions and watchdogs that are low maintenance. They're hairless with low shedding levels and only require a bath once a month, depending on their activity.8 Xoloitzcuintlis have fairly high energy levels, so they need regular exercise and mental stimulation. However, they make great apartment dogs, especially if you get the toy or miniature version.
6. Jack Russell Terrier
- Average lifespan: 12-14 years
- Weight: 9-15 pounds
- Height: 10-12 inches
The Jack Russell Terrier is a popular dog breed with a long lifespan. They're sporting dogs that have been featured in the television shows like Frasier and movies like The Mask. This breed is highly affectionate with family and good with other dogs. However, some are known to be stubborn. Terriers of all kinds are incredibly playful, high-energy dogs, so they'll require tons of physical and mental stimulation.9
- Average lifespan: 10-15 years
- Weight: 20-30 pounds
- Height: 13-15 inches
Beagles are another popular dog breed with a long lifespan. They're fairly independent dogs, but they're good with young children and other pets. Beagles are hunting dogs, so they're relatively playful with high energy levels. Unfortunately, this breed is prone to some health conditions like hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, and eye disorders.10 However, by providing them with at least an hour of activity a day, you can keep a Beagle healthy and happy. Since Beagles are used to having a job, staying inside all day without play can cause destructive behavior.
- Average lifespan: 12-16 years
- Weight: 3-7 pounds
- Height: 6-7 inches
Royals once favored Pomeranians because they're great companion animals. With a beautiful coat and a fun personality, Pomeranians are full of joy. They're also smart and easy to train, making good watchdogs. This breed is not as open to strangers as other dogs, but they're low maintenance lap dogs that love to snuggle up on the couch with their pet parents.11
- Average lifespan: 12-16 years
- Weight: 16-32 pounds
- Height: 8-9 inches
A favorite for their unique body shape, Dachshunds are a fun-loving, affectionate breed that's fairly low maintenance and easy to train. However, Dachshunds are very vocal and love to howl. If you're looking for a small dog, try the miniature Dachshund, which stands at just 5-6 inches and weighs less than 11 pounds.12 Dachshunds have different coats, including smooth, wirehaired, and longhaired. However, even though these dogs have high energy levels, they're not built for strenuous activity. Instead, walking around the block should satisfy your dog's exercise requirements. Dachshunds are relatively healthy, but they are prone to obesity.12 Therefore, your dog should eat a balanced diet and get the physical exercise they need to prevent weight gain.
10. Australian Cattle Dog
- Average lifespan:12-16 years
- Weight: 35-50 pounds
- Height: 17-20 inches
Australian Cattle Dogs are the only medium-sized dog breed with the longest lifespan on this list, so they're quite special. These dogs are muscular, bred to herd cattle and sheep, hunt, and chase. For this reason, they need a job to do to stay happy and healthy.13 Australian Cattle Dogs have high energy levels and require tons of exercise. In most cases, a walk isn't enough to keep them calm and relaxed; instead, they may need multiple walks or a run every day.13
Can a dog live 20 years?
A dog can live 20 years or more. For example, a Toy Fox Terrier named Pebbles is currently the oldest living dog at 22 years old.14 Smaller dogs are more likely to live to be up to 20 years old or more, but how long a dog lives depends on their individual health. Unfortunately, a dog's health may deteriorate through their senior years. Knowing the signs of dementia in dogs and other age-related illnesses can ensure your dog gets the care they need when they need it most.
What is 17 dog years in human years?
The age of a dog in human years depends on their size. Since smaller dogs typically live longer, they're younger than large breeds in human years. A general rule of thumb is that a medium dog's first year equals about 15 human years, and the second year of their life equals about nine years. After the second year, a human year is five years for dogs.15 Therefore, a medium-sized dog at 17 years of age would be approximately 99 years old in human years. You can use our dog age calculator to determine your dog's age.
How can I help my dog live longer?
There are many ways to help your dog live longer. However, it's important to note that how long a dog lives depends on many factors, so you won't be able to do everything for them. However, ensuring their health is an important part of being a pet parent, and it can help them live longer. Here are a few ways to help your dog live longer:
- Understand their background: Knowing your dog's risk factors can help ensure they're checked for them during their yearly physical. You can get this information from a breeder or learn more about your dog from the shelter where you adopted them.
- Feed them a high-quality diet: Diet and nutrition are crucial components of your dog's health. If you're unsure if the food you give your dog is improving their health, talk to a vet.
- Save money: Your dog will likely need medical care at some point. Whether they've accidentally swallowed something and have an intestinal blockage or they get injured, you must be able to pay vet bills to ensure your dog gets the treatment they need.
- Visit your vet: Dogs should have yearly exams to ensure their health, test them for heartworm, and get prescriptions for preventative treatments like fleas, ticks, and heartworm.
- Exercise: All dogs need some form of exercise to prevent weight gain and obesity, which can shorten your dog's lifespan.
Dogs that live the longest are usually small breeds, although scientists aren't exactly sure why they live longer. Nevertheless, there are many benefits to having a dog live longer, especially because saying goodbye is so hard.
Wondering how to keep your dog healthy to ensure they live a long life? Talk to a Dutch-affiliated vet. We can help you find the right diet and discuss exercise tips to ensure your dog is as healthy as they can be. In addition, if you have a senior dog, we can help treat conditions like cataracts and joint pain to improve their quality of life. Learn how Dutch works.