Everyone loves their canine companions, but there comes a time in every dog owners’ life when they have to face a very hard truth everyone wishes didn’t exist. Humans tend to outlive their beloved pets, and dogs are no exception to this. When your beloved dog starts going grey in their face and paws, you may find yourself wondering, “How long do dogs live?”
The Myth of Dog Aging
You’ve probably heard the popular way for calculating a dog’s age as having 1 human year be the equivalent of 7 dog years. As it turns out, while that math can get close to calculating a dog’s age, it’s not quite correct, as we’ve now learned. It’s no longer as simple as adding 7 dog years for each human year.
How to Calculate Your Dog’s Age
When it comes to figuring out your dog’s actual age, there are a lot of factors that can go into it that would affect the outcome of how old your dog is, such as size, weight, diet, and the quality of life they’ve had.
However, we have found a rough, yet fairly accurate formula for calculating a dog’s age outside of circumstances or size. It won’t give you the exact age number, but it will put you pretty close. To start with, you have to take into account the fact that dogs tend to mature much more quickly than a human does during their first year. During their first year, most dogs fully mature sexually and are almost physically and mentally mature by that point. Their second year brings the rest of their physical growth and mental maturity.
When looking at dog years from this perspective, their first year is much closer in age to around 10-15 human years. So their first year puts them somewhere between 10-15. Their second year adds another 3-8 years, due to the finishing of physical and mental development, meaning a 2-year-old dog is somewhere around 13-23. For each year after the initial 2 years, you should add 4-5 years to their age as their growth, for most dogs, is done at that point and they will usually be around the age of a young adult when it comes to human comparison.
Determining the specific range within the variation is up to you and your dog, as each one will be a little different.
Different Life Expectancies for Different Breeds
Dogs have been observed to have different life expectancies for different breeds, making answering the question of just how long do dogs live a much more difficult task. The average life length across dogs of all breeds and sizes is a little over 11 years. but this doesn’t mean your dog isn’t going to live longer than that. If you want the most accurate estimation on how long your dog may live, look up a specific breed guide for your dog.
Small Dog Breeds
Small dogs, such as Shitzus and Chihuahuas, have been found to live a few years longer than their larger-sized counterparts. It’s been found that small dog breeds tend to live to an average of 15-16 years, if not more in some cases.
Medium and Large Dog Breeds
Medium dog breeds like the Australian Shepherd, and large dog breeds like German Shepherds, have been found to have relatively the same life expectancy with no significant difference between the two sizes. They have been found to conform more to the average life expectancy, living, on average, to 10-13 years.
Giant Dog Breeds
Giant dogs, such as Tibetian Mastiffs, have been found to have the shortest life expectancy out of all dog sizes. On average, they tend to only live 7-8 years, although they may live more, as this is only an average for all giant dog breeds, and doesn’t factor in the cause of death or the conditions in their lives.
Remember that different things can affect how long your dog lives, such as diet, weight, and any other health conditions they may have. The question, “How long do dogs live?” is one we’ve been able to answer for a while now as a general consensus, but we’ve been able to narrow it down further depending on what breed they are and what size they are.