The life expectancy of pets is also increasing

How old do dogs get?

Factor 1: the breed of dog

Although veterinarians say the average dog lives between 10-15 years of age, there are age differences between breeds. While a Great Dane rarely reaches the age of ten, there are Chihuahuas that can live up to 18 years. Occasionally, some representatives of small races make it to 20 years of age, although these are exceptions. The oldest female dog in the world was even 30 years old.

The gender does not play a role in relation to the expected age of the dog. Bitches have the same life expectancy as males. The assumption that a mixed breed is more robust than a pedigree dog and therefore lives longer persists to this day. In fact, there is no general answer to this theory. Depending on the individuality of the mongrel, the state of health of the parents and the racial mix, other life expectancies are determined.

This is how old the most popular dog breeds get: an overview


Factor 2: the body size

Why small races often live longer than large ones was investigated by two US researchers at Colgate University in 2017. There, tissue samples were taken from puppies of large and small breeds and analyzed for their components. The researchers set their focus on free radicals and metabolic products that demonstrate increased cell stress. Free radicals are aggressive, oxidative molecules which, in high concentrations, can damage the organism.

Increased cell stress during puppyhood has an impact on the dog's age

The result: Although adult dogs show no differences in the number of free radicals, many more harmful free radicals were found in their cells in puppies of large breeds. The young bodies of these dogs produced more of these substances than the puppy's organism could compensate for. This oxidative stress that arises from this supports the puppy during its rapid growth phases.

This resulted in the hypothesis of both researchers that the increased radical content in a puppy determines how old the dog will get. The resulting cell stress ultimately leads to a reduction in life expectancy. Cell damage that arose during large growth jumps (e.g. Great Danes) will be carried with large breeds of dogs for the rest of their lives. They can be the later causes of diseases and tumor formations. These and other factors would therefore prevent larger dogs from living as old as smaller ones.


Factor 3: Genetic Health

In addition to the breed and size of the dog, a dog's genetic make-up also play a role when it comes to the age of a dog. The genetic material that a dog inherits from its parent animals cannot be changed. Serious breeders or breed associations always pay attention to the genetic purity of the parent animals. Nevertheless, so-called mutations sometimes occur there during mating. Depending on its genetic makeup, a dog may be predestined for various diseases. These genetic diseases affect how old each dog gets.

Whether breeding or animal shelter: no guarantee of genetic health

However, breeders and purebred dogs are not immune to genetic errors. Even with healthy parent animals with stable immune systems and normal blood values, it can always happen that a dog has a genetic defect. It is also important to note that not every genetic mutation has an impact on how old a dog gets.

Choosing a reputable breeder who has his breeding dogs checked regularly by a veterinarian and who has attestations and certificates minimizes the risk of hereditary diseases. However, no one can guarantee that a breeding dog will grow older than a mixed breed dog from the animal shelter.


Factor 4: needs-based nutrition

As with humans, a dog's healthy diet is important for a long life. The high quality of dog food plays an important role in maintaining its immune system and vitality. A dog's balanced diet should consist of high-quality protein and carbohydrate sources as well as all the important vitamins and minerals that keep the dog fit over the long term. With a needs-based diet, the likelihood that a dog will reach old age increases.

Obesity will shorten your dog's life expectancy by several years

Veterinary medicine has shown that overweight dogs do not grow as old as normal-weight dogs. In some cases, being overweight shortens their life expectancy by 2 years. The reason for this is that being overweight puts a strain on the four-legged friend's organism. The likelihood of developing osteoarthritis or diabetes is significantly higher in overweight dogs. Slipped discs or cardiovascular diseases are also associated with obesity. Of course, you can pamper your dog with treats as long as you don't exceed the recommended daily amount. If a dog is already overweight, the amount of feed should be reduced or the feed changed in consultation with the veterinarian.

Discover our recommendation for a healthy diet for your senior:


Factor 5: medical check-ups

Regardless of whether a dog is healthy, overweight or at risk of hereditary diseases: A regular check-up at the vet protects the dog's health in the long term and prevents diseases from going undetected.

If your dog is prone to a specific illness, you should see your veterinarian regularly for preventative measures in relation to that illness. Regular visits to the vet are also essential for healthy and active dogs. Because preventive medical examinations such as vaccinations and wormer cures protect against infections. Comprehensive medical care will help your furry friend reach a old age.


Factor 6: Sufficient exercise

Regardless of whether they are house dogs or farm dogs: dogs are naturally active creatures and should therefore be given enough exercise and exercise. Depending on the breed of dog, there are differences in the amount of exercise your four-legged friend does. Long walks should still be allowed for every dog ​​so that its musculoskeletal system functions without restrictions even in old age.

If you have a very active dog, a dog sport or a common sport like jogging with your dog might be an option. The physical activity of a dog is not only important for its muscles, tendons and bones, but also protects its heart and circulation. Keeping a dog's body in motion to a healthy degree prevents deposits in his vessels and helps him to achieve mental balance. Even the smallest dog breeds should have at least 2-3 hours a day to explore the world, run and play extensively.

Signs of old age in dogs


Convert dog years to human years: Age of humans and dogs


Conclusion: You can influence the age of your dog to a limited extent.

As you can see, there are a few factors that you can influence in order for your dog to reach old age. Every dog ​​owner wishes that their own fur nose leads a long and fulfilling life. In addition to the genetic requirements, you can shape your four-legged friend's environment in a positive way, so that his life is active, healthy and happy.

Quality instead of quantity: this is how you extend your dog's life expectancy