Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your dog.

How Long Do Dogs Live?

Dogs don’t live as long as humans.

Dogs don't live as long as humans, and that is a source of heartache for every dog-lover. When you get a puppy, it feels like you'll have a long time to enjoy her, but it always seems like only a blink of an eye before she's gone.

How long do dogs live?

Bigger Dogs Generally Have Shorter Lifespans

Usually, the larger the dog breed, the shorter the average lifespan. This is the opposite of what occurs in many other species. For example, whales are huge, and they can live for upwards of 100 years. Scientists are still trying to determine why dogs don't follow this trend.

Average lifespans for differing sized dogs are as follows:

  • Small breeds: 10-15 years
  • Medium breeds: 10-13 years
  • Large breeds: 10-12 years
  • Giant breeds: 8-10 years

Some breeds within these general groups may have average lifespans which are longer or shorter than the other averages for that size.

Of course, these lifespans are just averages, and dogs may live much longer or shorter than those times depending on individual health.

How Can I Help My Dog Live Longer?

Here are some general ways to ensure that your dog is as healthy as possible so that you can enjoy the most time together:

  • When you choose a puppy, if you are considering a purebred dog, be sure to carefully consider the breeder. Research which disease processes are more common in that particular breed, and ask the breeder how he or she minimizes the risks of those illnesses in their line.
  • Prepare ahead of time for your new dog's care, so you know what needs to be done when and you are able to afford it. You can learn more here: "How to Be Prepared for Your Dog's Veterinary Bills."
  • Establish your dog with a veterinarian and follow his or her recommendations for preventive care and testing. Avoiding medical problems that are preventable, like heartworm disease, is an important part of ensuring that your dog has a long and quality life.
  • Consider pet insurance. As soon as you get a new dog, get pet insurance. That way, it will cover the maximum number of issues. If you wait, there will be some things considered pre-existing. Pet insurance can also cover a part of your dog's routine health care.
  • Protect your dog from accidents as much as possible. Household toxins, human foods that are dangerous for dogs, chewing electrical cords, and escaping are all issues to be aware of and guard against as much as possible. You can visit these articles to learn more: "A General Guide to Puppy Safety," "General Tips for Dog Safety," and "Foods Toxic to Dogs."

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