10 Dogs with the Longest Lifespans

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: November 27, 2021
Image Credit Lim Tiaw Leong/Shutterstock.com
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When it comes to our pets we want them to stay around as long as possible. So when you are choosing a dog, how do you know how long your favorite dog is expected to live? Is it based on breed, size, and gender? If you want a lifelong pet maybe the dog is not the right animal for you. Can you imagine advising your guests to “Come on back to our fire pit, just watch out for our pet Galapagos Tortoise!”? Tortoises can live to be 100 years or more! They would need to be passed on from generation to the next; but when it comes to dogs; their lifespans can range from 8 to 18 years depending on many factors. Let’s take a look at 10 dogs with the longest lifespans and how long they can live!

10:  Beagle 10-15 years

beagle sitting in middle of the road with tongue out
This breed was originally bred to hunt down hares.

iStock.com/Przemysław Iciak

Beagles are hound dogs that are small to medium weighing around 20 pounds. The most common beagle is multi-colored with its head being tan and a band of dark brown around their back and white paws, belly and face. Snoopy, the comic strip character is a beagle! Beagles are known to be funny and easy going but are also good hunting dogs. The average lifespan of the beagle is 12 years but some live as long at 15 or more.

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9: Yorkshire Terrier 11-15 years

Yorkshire Terrier
Despite being dainty, Yorkshire terriers are known for being feisty and bold.

Yorkshire Terriers, or commonly called “Yorkies”, are a small-dog breed that in the U.S. has a reputation for being a pampered pet. You may have seen these cute little dogs with bows in their hair and a matching sweater and booties, a really small sweater because these dogs rarely get bigger than 7 pounds. A typical Yorkie has long tan fur around its face and silky steel gray fur on the rest of its body. Their fur is more similar to human hair and is considered hypoallergenic. Terriers in general appear on the lists of long-living dogs and Yorkies typically live from 11-15-years-old.

8: Lhasa Apso 12-15 years

Lhasa Apso playing with a ball in the garden.
Lhasa Apso playing with a ball in the garden.

Lianne McKnight/Shutterstock.com

Long, tan, floor-length fur that covers their eyes is one characteristic of the Lhasa Apso breed. These small dogs, around 15 pounds, were originally found in the Himalayan’s and were favorites in monasteries as well as palaces. They tend to be cold towards strangers but very loyal to their owners. These small dogs live an average of 12-15 years.

7: Australian Shepherd 12-15 years

Australian Shepherd
Fiercely loyal, the Australian Shepherd develops a strong bond with its owner.

iStock.com/Bigandt_Photography

Australian Shepherds, or “Aussie’s” for short, are the largest dog on our list, with the males weighing in at 50-65lbs. Aussies are herding dogs and considered the dog chosen most frequently by cowboys for herding and can be found on farms and ranches as working dogs. They need lots of exercise and are eager to be trained and please their owner. Perhaps it is the daily activity and the fresh air that keeps them fit and have longer lifespans than most dogs their size. The average lifespan for Aussies is 12-15 years.

6: Maltese 13-15 years

Maltese running through fall leaves
The Maltese has silky, elegant fur.

iStock.com/Mindaugas Dulinskas

These cute little dogs with long flowing white fur are originally from Malta, an island just south of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea. They are toy dogs weighing no more than 7 pounds, but they are not fragile and can do quite well on agility courses. Maltese can be harder to train since they can be a bit stubborn, but respond well to rewards. They are a very affection dog to their owners and can be playful and charming. They frequently live longer than 13 years with most living 13-15 years.

5: Dachshund 12-16 years

Dachshund stretched out on a log
The Dachshund is also known as the wiener dog.

iStock.com/NORRIE3699

Affectionately called “Weiner Dogs” due to their hotdog-like shape, Dachshunds are long skinny dogs that are typically dark brown or black with dark brown paws. They have short little legs that seem to have to work extra hard to keep up with their bodies. They come in both miniature (11 pounds) and standard (16-32 pounds) size and three different fur types; smooth hair, wirehaired and longhaired. Despite their small size they can be very brave and seem to have a fearless attitude. They have to be fearless because they were originally bred to hunt badgers. These companion dogs can live to be 12-16 years.

4: Pomeranian 12-16 years

Pomeranian puppy laying on rug
Pomeranians are strong-willed and confident.

iStock.com/FaST_9

These fluffy dogs look like they may have just gotten out of the dryer! They are puff balls, just 3-6 pounds and only 6-7 inches tall, maybe the size of your laptop screen! They come in a variety of colors and markings. Pomeranians are easy to train and get along well with their owners. These smart little dogs live for 12-16 years.

3: Chihuahua 14-16 years

Chihuahua basking in sun by basket of flowers
Chihuahuas weigh five pounds, on average.

iStock.com/Irina Nedikova

Chihuahua’s are most commonly associated with films and commercials as the “Taco Bell” dog. These dogs originate from Mexico, being a national symbol of the country. They have big black eyes and large ears that appear a little too big for their 6-pound bodies. Sometimes these dogs are referred to as “purse pets” because they are easy to carry around in a bag or purse. They are known to be sassy and think they are bigger than they are. But they are excellent lap pets and can be a long-time companion living 14-16 years.

2. Shih Tzu 10-18 years

Shih Tzu (Canis familiaris) - running through grassy field near lake

rebeccaashworth/Shutterstock.com

These dogs are common all over the world but were originally from China. They were one of the favorite pets of royalty in China. They are small dogs with fluffy white, tan or black fur and are friendly to all. Because of their sweet temperament, they do not make good watch dogs! One reason Shih Tzu’s have a long lifespan is that they seem to have very few genetic health problems, so if they are well taken care of can live an average of 16 years some even to 18 or more.

1. Toy Poodle 10-18 years

Smallest Dogs: Toy Poodle
The Toy Poodle dates all the way back to the 17th century.

Lim Tiaw Leong/Shutterstock.com

Toy poodles are the dog with the longest average lifespan on our list. The toy poodle weighs between 4-6 pounds and only gets to be 10 inches tall. Toy poodles come in a variety of colors and have curly hair. These cute little dogs are easy to train and eager to please their owner. They are good family dogs and get along well with young children. Surprisingly these little dogs are actually good swimmers just like the miniature and standard poodle. Their coats are waterproof and they enjoy retrieving in the water. Toy poodles have a lifespan of 10-18 years with most living well past 10 years.

Do big dogs live longer than small dogs?

No! With most animals, larger species live longer than smaller species. The African elephant and bowhead whale are some of the largest animals and they also live the longest. The African elephant can live up to 70 years and the bowhead whale can live up to 200 years old! On the other end of the spectrum are animals like house flies, dragon flies and the house mouse that live a few weeks to a few months. For dogs, the smaller breeds consistently outlive the larger breeds. Although researchers are uncertain of a definitive answer as to why this is true, they think it may be due to the rapid growth that larger dogs have in their first couple years of life.

That being said, the oldest dog ever on record was Bluey, an Australian cattle dog that loved to be more than 29 years old! As you’ll notice, we didn’t have Australian cattle dogs on this list so some dogs can significantly outlive their breeds’ average age.

Do female dogs live longer than male dogs?

Some studies have shown that female dogs live longer than male dogs but the biggest factor seems to be whether the dogs have been spayed or neutered. Researchers have found that female dogs that have been spayed live longer than female dogs that are intact. Female dogs that had been spayed lived 26.3% longer than intact females according to the study. Male dogs that have been neutered also live longer than male dogs that are intact.

Do spayed and neutered dogs live longer than intact dogs?

Yes! There have been several research experiments that have demonstrated that spaying and neutering your pet dogs have an advantageous effect on their life expectancy. Researchers studied over 40,000 dogs and discovered that the life expectancy of spayed and neutered dogs was longer than intact counterparts.

Do purebred dogs live longer than mixed dogs?

If you think that buying a purebred dog will insure that your pet will live longer you may be misled. It seems that there is no significant difference between the lifespans of purebred vs. mixed breed dogs.

What are the breeds of dogs that live the longest?

The most significant factors in a dog’s lifespan are size and breed.  Smaller breeds consistently outlive larger breeds. Let’s take a look at the breeds of dogs that have the longest lifespans.

Still think you’d rather have a tortoise?

So, if you can’t find a long-living dog on this list that you think you could enjoy and still want to go with a pet tortoise, remember that tortoises won’t greet you at the door after work, won’t furrow their eyebrows to convince you to give them a bite of your pork chop and are really not good lap pets for watching shows. If you take good care of your dog, give him proper care and nutrition it is likely that they will live into the higher end of these estimates and be affectionate companions for years to come.

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness and suggesting actions we can all do to help wildlife. As a former elementary school teacher I have a love for learning and teaching. My goal is to get kids fired-up about animals. Learning about the animals we share this earth with makes life better. When I am not writing I am living the good life with my husband and six kids (we are down to two that are still at home...and our giant labradoodle, Tango!).

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