Scientists in Britain have investigated how a dog’s breed, size, gender and facial shape affect its lifespan.
Flat-faced dogs, large dogs and male dogs tend to live shorter lives, the scientists found.
Breeds that live the longest, over 14.5 years, are Lancashire heelers, Tibetan spaniels and Shiba Inus.
Everyone wishes their dog would live forever, but as any animal lover knows, these beloved puppies only spend a fraction of our lives with us.
Whether you’re looking for a new dog or want to make the most of your time with the furry friend you have, it’s worth knowing the typical lifespans of different breeds.
Now scientists can answer your questions better than ever.
A massive new study from the dog welfare organization Dog’s Trust UK estimated the lifespans of 155 different dog breeds and found that breeds like Tibetan Spaniels and Shiba Inus tend to live the longest, while breeds like mastiffs and St. Bernards have some of the shortest lives.
The study, published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific reportsanalyzed data from more than half a million dogs in Britain to investigate how breed, body size, gender and facial shape affect their life expectancy.
Dogs with the longest and shortest lifespans
The study found that the average life expectancy for all dogs was 12.5 years old. But some breeds tend to live several years longer.
Among purebreds, the five breeds least at risk of early death were Lancashire heelers, Tibetan spaniels, Shiba Inus, papillons and Lakeland terriers.
Longest living varieties
Median lifespan (years)
Others tend to live much shorter lives. Among purebreds, the five breeds most at risk of premature death were the Caucasian Shepherd Dog, Presa Canarios, Cane Corsos, mastiffs and Saint Bernards.
Median lifespan (years)
It is no coincidence that these breeds do not live that long. All five are large dogs, which, according to the study, have a 20% greater risk of premature death than small dogs.
In addition to body size, the study found that gender and face shape also influence lifespan.
For example, males live an average of 0.3 years less than females, which supports growth female survival advantage hypothesis This indicates that in many different mammal species (including humans), females outlive males.
Additionally, dogs with flat faces, such as French bulldogs and pugs, have a 40% increased risk of premature death compared to dogs with medium-length faces, such as Labradors or golden retrievers, lead author Kirsten McMillan told Business Insider.
These flat-faced breeds often suffer from respiratory problems and heart disease Blue Crosswhich probably explains their shorter life expectancy.
In the image below you will see a list of the dog breeds that live the shortest. Many dog breeds are large, such as Newfoundlands and Burmese Mountain Dogs, and several have flat faces, including boxers and bulldogs.
So far we have mainly talked about purebred animals, but the scientists have also looked at crossbreeds. They found that the average lifespan of purebreds was 0.70 years longer compared to crossbreeds.
The difference could be explained by the rise of “designer” crossbreeds such as Labradoodles, McMillan said. These breeds emerged from artificial breeding practices, but were considered crossbreeds for this study.
As a result, this could explain why the data suggested crossbreeds live shorter lives, McMillan said.
A different kind of study
While previous studies have independently analyzed factors such as gender, facial shape, breed and body size, this is the first study to examine how these all relate to artificial breeding and ultimately how that affects a dog’s lifespan, McMillan told BI.
“No one has actually explored the possible link between evolutionary history and lifespan, despite the fact that we created these breeds,” McMillan said.
The domestication of dogs began about 16,000 years ago. But the enormous diversity of breeds we see today originated much more recently, some dating back more than 200 years.
In fact, the Lancashire Heeler – the breed that lives the longest, according to research – was just recognized as the America Kennel Club’s newest dog breed in January. Why breed so many dogs?
Artificial breeding has shortened the lives of dogs
People began to artificially breed dogs to achieve desired characteristics or abilities.
For example, dachshunds were bred specifically to hunt badgers. Their short legs and narrow, long bodies keep them low to the ground to sniff out scents and allow them to crawl into tight burrows.
Humans have shaped the evolutionary history of dogs, and in turn their lifespan, for centuries.
Artificial breeding practices such as inbreeding, trait selection and isolation of populations can reduce genetic diversity and lead to major health problems, McMillan said.
Nearly 700 hereditary conditions have been documented in domestic dogs, including hip dysplasia, endocrine disruption and blood disorders.
“Ethical and welfare issues surrounding breeding have become one of the most important issues in dog welfare. And that’s not just in the UK, it’s worldwide,” said McMillan.
This research can help you become a better pet owner
McMillan hopes this research will help potential pet owners make informed choices about which breeds to welcome into their lives, and provide current dog owners with important information about their dog’s aging process.
Longevity not only affects the amount of time you spend caring for your pet, but also the risk of dealing with major health problems earlier in your dog’s life, which can be costly both financially and emotionally .
“These dogs are members of our family,” McMillan said. “We want to make sure we provide them with a long, happy and healthy life.”
Read the original article on Business Insider