The lifespan of your family dog is something to consider when adopting or buying a new member of your family. Adding a dog to your family is a long-term commitment, with the loving nature of dogs making them important family members. Part of dog ownership means choosing your family pooch for their lifespan.
Studies have shown large dog breeds can have a short lifespan because of the energy put into their rapid growth. The shortest living dog breeds include large pets, such as the French mastiff and the Irish Wolfhound.
All Dogs Are Not Created Equal
Large dogs are usually top of our list when discussing the dog with the shortest lifespan. Studies have identified larger breed dogs as living shorter lives than many small dogs. The American Kennel Club explains the longer lifespan of small dog breeds has baffled scientists for decades . Overall, dog owners know a family dog well cared for will live for between 10 and 13 years. All dog breeds are not created equal in their lifespan. A chihuahua is one of the smallest dogs, yet it has an average lifespan of between 15 and 17 years. The Great Dane is a popular large breed for its caring and gentle nature. These large dog breeds have a lifespan of seven to 10 years.
Why do Large Dog Breeds Have a Shorter Lifespan?
One of the mysteries of dog breeding is why large dog breeds have the shortest lifespan. Some experts believe the energy required to grow to large size accelerates the aging process in the cells of large dogs. No scientific evidence has yet been proven to back up this claim.
Large dog breeds with the shortest life expectancy usually suffer from cancer and other medical issues. Cancerous tumors are the biggest killer of dogs in the western world. The reasons why cancer has become such a problem among larger dog breeds are unknown. Veterinary experts speculate the speed at which the cells of larger dog breeds grow to increase the likelihood of genetic mutations.
Why Invest in Health Screenings?
Genetic screening and DNA testing have become popular industries in the 21st-century. This is made possible using the best dog DNA test kits. We associate the use of DNA testing and genetic screening as part of the drive to understand the health of our pet dog. Experts believe the potential for sickness and certain medical conditions can be identified using DNA testing and genetic screening. Kits like the Embark Breed & Health Dog DNA Test Kit gives insight into your dog’s potential to develop a genetic health issue and the information you need to properly care for your dog.
In the case of an individual, genetic testing has the potential to provide estimates of the likelihood of medical conditions arriving. Caution is required when using genetic screening because it is uncertain how accurate the results are. A genetic predisposition for certain conditions should not eliminate the chances of adopting a dog. In large dog breeds, you will be able to identify the risk for cancer and other conditions known to shorten the lives of family pets.
Feed a Healthy Diet
A contributor to the shortening of the lifespan of all dogs is obesity. Some studies show 34 percent of U.S. family dogs are overweight. Obesity has been shown to reduce the life expectancy of all dogs by two years. Feeding your family dog a healthy diet can increase their lifespan and improve their energy levels. You can achieve this by understanding dog nutrition and providing the best dog food for Fido.
Among the life-threatening conditions, obesity adds to a dog’s life is osteoarthritis. The weight of an obese canine limits their mobility and adds to the stress on their joints. Diabetes and pancreatitis are two medical conditions seen in the majority of obese dog breeds. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise is the best way of protecting your family dog from the dangers of obesity.
Dog With Shortest Lifespan
Below is a list of the commonly known dog breeds with the shortest lifespan including some tips on how to care for them.
French Mastiff – Five to Eight Years
The Dogue de Bordeaux is a large dog breed that has difficulties from conception to adulthood. The French mastiff’s life expectancy is between five and eight years. Despite its large size, the Dogue de Bordeaux is the dog with the shortest lifespan. Before birth, the French Mastiff has the highest rate of stillbirth of all dog breeds. The number of c-section births required is high and leads to long-term health problems. The French mastiff has a wide skull that limits their breathing. Breathing issues make it difficult for the French mastiff to remain heart-healthy. A lack of energy makes these excellent home watchdogs capable of being protective and loving in equal measure.
Great Dane – Six to Eight Years
The Great Dane is another gentle giant with a short life expectancy. This popular family dog ranks highly on the list of shortest living dog breeds because of inherited health problems. Being the tallest dog, this breed can reach 32 inches and 175 pounds during its lifetime. The main reason for the short life expectancy of the Great Dane is bloat. This medical condition is life-threatening and is caused by the twisting of the intestines. A veterinarian can help you care for a Great Dane to protect them from the threat of bloat later in life.
Bernese Mountain Dog – Six to Eight Years
The Bernese mountain dog is a double-coated breed that requires cool conditions throughout the year. The breed does not cope well in warm temperatures and can become sick when living in warm climates. In the past, the Bernese was given an average lifespan of between 10 and 12 years. Rising cancer rates as the Bernese is taken from its traditional cool weather home to warmer areas of the U.S. have resulted in rising cancer rates. Like the other large dog breeds on this list, the Bernese can suffer from bloat and heart problems that lower the average life expectancy.
Irish Wolfhound – Seven to Nine Years
The Irish wolfhound is a large dog breed that has more energy than you may think. The breed has been called the greyhound of Ireland because of its high energy levels and running ability. Standing at up to 32 inches, the breed is the largest registered with the American Kennel Club. The strong personality of the Irish Wolfhound means it needs obedience training early in life to keep your pet dog under control.
The rapid growth of the Irish wolfhound has made it susceptible to certain medical conditions. Among the problems you should look for in your Irish Wolfhound is bone cancer. Bloat, lymphoma, and hyperthyroidism are commonly seen in the Irish wolfhound. The vast array of medical conditions this dog breed has become known for has reduced its average life expectancy to between seven and nine years.
English Bulldog – Eight to Ten Years
The English Bulldog is the first medium-sized dog breed to make the list. Adding an English Bulldog to your family is an undertaking lasting a decade when your pet pooch stays healthy. Experts believe the breed will soon become extinct because of its many health problems. The inbreeding undertaken to develop the breed standard has shortened the nose of the bulldog so much it has problems breathing. An intolerance to the cold adds up to a breed that suffers from a multitude of medical issues.
Great Swiss Mountain Dog – Eight to Ten Years
The Swiss have become a popular large dog breed in cooler climes. The Great Swiss mountain dog requires lots of attention and daily walks to keep her from becoming destructive. The Swiss require specialist care to remain healthy throughout her lifetime. Stomach issues are a health issue for the breed, with a twisted spleen causing premature death. The stomach issues affecting the breed have been discussed by canine experts, with the short lifespan associated with issues rising from nutritional problems.
Saint Bernard – Eight to 11 Years
Saint Bernard is a large dog breed that has become accustomed to the cool air of the mountains. The spread of the breed to other parts of the world has accompanied the decline in their life expectancy. Although this is not the dog with the shortest lifespan, the eight to 11 years earn them a place on the list. Choosing a Saint Bernard means adding a stubborn new member to your family. Strong positive reinforcement dog training is required to enforce the rules of your household. Saint Bernard is a friendly and loyal dog who will help your family to enjoy walks and time at the dog park. The breed is not an active member of the canine group and requires an area to walk and stretch each day.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Nine to 12 Years
The Cavalier King Charles spaniel is a small breed that goes against all the rules of large breeds having the shortest lifespan. The dog has been inbred and changed significantly over the last few centuries. Breeding the Cavalier King Charles spaniel to obtain its unique appearance resulted in a range of genetic disorders being identified among members of the breed. At the last count, 25 different genetic disorders had been identified among the Cavalier King Charles spaniel breed.
Scottish Deerhound – Nine to 11 Years
The Scottish Deerhound has become a perennial favorite among the dog breeding community. The breed is known for its gentle and loving nature, which defies the image cultivated by the media on TV and film. The problems facing the Scottish Deerhound are similar to those seen in the Irish Wolfhound based on their large stature. The breed can be independent and difficult to train. They tend to attach themselves to a single owner and remain loyal throughout their life. Scottish Deerhounds tend to roam out of their yard and can be affected by trauma and accidents. The problem of bloat is common among the breed and a restrictive diet is needed to maintain good health.
Fila Brasileiros – Nine to 11 Years
Popular guard dogs, Fila Brasileiros are affectionate dogs towards their family. The main concern for owners is properly socializing members of the breed to avoid aggression problems in the future. A strong owner is needed to head the pack and not allow their family dog from becoming aggressive. The health problems among the breed are plentiful and have limited their lifespan.
A member of the mastiff breed, Boerboel dogs are impressive pack leaders who are aggressive to those outside their family group. The health problems of mastiffs have been well reported and are reflected in their short lifespan. The Boerboel is a powerful dog that is a popular guard dog against humans and wild animals.
What are the top 10 dogs with the shortest lifespan?
The top ten dogs with the shortest lifespan are headed by the Dogue de Bordeaux. The top five on the list are all large breeds, including the Great Dane and the Bernese mountain dog. The top five are rounded out by the Irish wolfhound and the Bullmastiff. The next five digs with the shortest lifespan include the Great Swiss mountain dog and the Chinese Shar-pei. The final three breeds on the list are Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, and the Shetland sheepdog.