How Long Do Dogs Live?

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If you’re like most people, when you think about what happens to your pets after you pass away, your mind drifts toward your furry friend who was by your side through all your adventures and then inevitably toward your beloved companion who has since passed away. While there is no way to predict the exact lifespan of any individual dog, it’s generally safe to say that your pooch will outlast you.

In fact, according to an American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) study conducted in 2012, dogs are typically four times as likely to survive their owners than humans. And with good reason because they can run faster, jump higher, climb trees and swim farther, dogs have far greater endurance than we ever could.

The average life span of a pet cat is 11 years. According to the AVMA study, cats tend to die at an older age than dogs. Although cat longevity varies widely based on breed and health factors, typical cat lifespans range from three to 13 years. While this may seem short compared to dog lives, keep in mind that cats were domesticated thousands of years ago while dogs only began being tamed around 5,000 B.C.E., making them much newer additions to society.

As such, cats are biologically inclined toward longer life spans, whereas dogs have evolved to be able to adapt to modern living conditions. For instance, although dogs are natural hunters, they also need access to food, water and shelter. All these things require energy, which requires oxygen. This means that the physical demands placed on dogs make them prone to shorter lifespans.

So, how old is too old for a pet? The AVMA recommends keeping your feline friends until they reach 12 to 15 years of age, depending on the breed. If you own a kitten, take extra precautions to ensure that she doesn’t get hit by cars, become entangled in electrical cords or caught in household debris. Also, if you plan on getting a new kitty, check local laws first before bringing home another animal. Finally, remember that even healthy animals can still develop illnesses and injuries due to accidents or negligence.
Even though dogs might not last quite as long as cats, they don’t necessarily have to go extinct first! Learn about some exceptionally long-lived dogs next.

The average life span of a pet dog is 10 years. There’s no denying that dogs typically have shorter lifespans than cats. According to the AVMA study mentioned earlier, dogs live an average of seven to 10 years, but again, this depends heavily upon the type of dog you own. Some purebreds have been known to live upwards of 14 years, but this is rare.

Like cats, the general rule is that smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger ones, as well as those who spend less time outside versus indoor pets. In addition, older dogs tend to live longer than younger ones, perhaps because these pups haven’t yet faced the same health problems as their counterparts.

In 2004, a pair of retired racing greyhounds named T’Challa and Nocciola lived together for nearly 20 years. They were adopted separately as puppies and reconnected later in life, becoming best friends and companions. When Nocciola suffered a stroke, T’Challa stayed calm enough to comfort her and eventually died himself. After his death several months later, T’Challa came back to life thanks to a donated liver.

Long-lived Dogs

Although dogs aren’t typically thought of as having exceptional lifespans, certain breeds have defied the odds to reach extremely advanced ages. Here are some notable examples.

Irish Wolfhound: The Irish wolfhound is one of the oldest existing dog breeds, having originated near Ireland during the Middle Ages. These large hounds have been clocked running up to 40 miles per hour (64.4 kilometers per hour), so you’d assume that they wouldn’t make very good pets. However, despite their high speed, Irish wolves have been known to live between 80 and 100 years.

Their longevity comes down to genetics the longest-living wolfhounds belong to the Borzoi family. Borzois usually weigh 70 pounds (31 kilograms) or more and stand 23 inches (58 centimeters) tall at the shoulder. Because of their size, they often end up confined to small apartments, making exercise difficult. Many owners choose to train their dogs using positive reinforcement methods instead of traditional training techniques. One popular trick involves teaching the dog to walk beside its owner without pulling on the lead.

Bull Mastiff: A massive breed with a reputation for strength and aggression, the bull mastiff is sometimes called “the world’s strongest dog”. It’s estimated that these beasts weighed anywhere from 700 to 1,200 pounds (318 to 544 kilograms) during their heyday. Due to their size, bullmastiffs are typically kept chained indoors where they can’t roam freely. Despite their aggressive natures, however, these giant dogs can actually be surprisingly docile once socialized properly.

One famous bullmastiff, Big Bertha, lived to be 29 years, 9 months old. She had two litters throughout her lifetime and produced over 400 puppies. Her descendants still exist today and may continue to defy expectations of mastiff longevity.

Labrador Retriever: Known as the quintessential gentle man’s dog, the Labrador retriever is one of the most common working dogs in America. With a name that literally translates to “retrieve the rod,” Labradors were originally bred to retrieve birds, fish and other game.

Over the past century, however, Labs have become increasingly popular as family pets. Since these dogs excel at retrieving things, they’ve grown accustomed to fetching objects off of the ground. Not surprisingly, Labrador retrievers are excellent swimmers and enjoy swimming pools and the occasional bath.

Final Word

As with most dogs, the main causes of death among labradors include cancer, heart disease, infection and trauma. One interesting note regarding Labrador longevity is that females are typically better suited to longevity than males. Although both male and female Labradors tend to live roughly the same amount of years, males tend to suffer more early deaths than females.

This is probably related to the differences in hunting instincts between the sexes. Men traditionally hunt prey on land, while women are commonly seen hunting sea creatures such as seals or whales.

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