Dogs have been regarded as man’s most loyal and best friends since time immemorial. But it’s not just their loyalty that we humans love our dogs for. There are as many reasons to choose a dog for a pet as there are breeds of dog!
But if you’re currently trying to decide which type of dog you should go for, then take some time to research the different breeds because it may be the case that not every type of dog is suitable for your home and your family. It’s therefore important to look at different breeds’ characters, temperaments, how much activity and exercise they need, how much care and grooming they need and what particular health concerns they are prone to suffering with. There is another factor that can vary across the breeds too, and that is average life expectancy.
Aging in dogs
Many myths abound about aging in dogs, not all of them true. But most derive from the fact that dogs visibly age faster than humans, especially in their early years. However, the older a dog becomes, the slower the rate at which it grows in comparison to humans. Studies have shown that a one year old dog is approximately as mature as a 15-year old human teenager. They therefore reach a level of maturity and are able to reproduce when they are as ‘young’ as one. They don’t continue to age at this rate though.
Scientists have also found that dogs’ lifespans and maturity vary depending on their breed and size. Their size matters greatly. If you have two dogs of the same breed but different sizes, one is likely to live longer than the other. Generally, smaller dogs live longer than medium and large sized dogs. This is thought to be due to the fact that smaller dogs are less vulnerable to diseases that the larger breeds of dogs often succumb to. There is also obviously a care factor in this equation too as animals who are well nourished and lead a healthy life will live longer than those who are poorly cared for.
Dog breeds that live the longest
There are some breeds that generally live longer than others. Below are some of the breeds that have the longest life expectancy:
The toy poodle is the smallest of the three poodle groups. Ranked as the second most intelligent dog breed, poodles are very active dogs, which makes them ideal for taking along on sports and adventures and for active families. Toy poodles usually have a life expectancy of about 15-20 years. They are pretty easy to train and are very smart. They make good pets for smaller homes with their toy size, but do need plenty of exercise and stimulation.
The Chihuahua is one of the smallest and longest living breeds of dogs. With a lifespan of about 12-20 years, Chihuahuas usually weigh between 1.8-2.7kg. Like the toy poodle, Chihuahuas are also classified under the toy breed of dogs because of their size. Owning a Chihuahua can give you many happy years with a loyal and loving companion.
The Cockapoo is a mix-breed dog that is a cross between the Cocker Spaniel and Poodle. Cockapoos have more similarities to their Poodle sides than that of the Cocker Spaniel. They are moderately active, outgoing and fun loving dogs who shed fur minimally because of the Poodle breed in them. Like most small dogs, they have a long lifespan expectancy of about 14-18 years. The qualities of Cockapoos are not consistent and can vary depending on the Cocker Spaniel and or Poodle used in their breeding and this because they do not breed true.
New Guinea Singing Dog
This breed of dog is one of the rarest breeds of dogs. The New Guinea Singing dog is a medium sized dog and is believed to have originated from New Guinea. Although little is known of the dog, it is known for its distinctive howl that sounds like it is singing. With a life expectancy of 18 years, it is one of the breeds with the longest average life span.
Often known as Yorkies, Yorkshire Terriers are one of the smallest breeds of terriers. Originally bred in the 19th century, the Yorkshire Terrier is one of the most popular companion dogs around probably because of its overprotective and active personality. It is a feisty small dog that has a life expectancy of about 13-16 years.
Pomeranian dogs are also classified as toy dogs because of their size. They are typically playful, lively and friendly. They are also very alert and can easily sense changes in their immediate environment, they can become aggressive when they feel their territory is being threatened. These active dogs have a life expectancy of 12-16 years and have become popular because of some very high profile owners.
Dachshunds are long-bodied, short-legged hound dogs with a life expectancy of 12-16 years. This small dog is often nicknamed the sausage dog because of its long slim back and short-legged appearance. It’s long, slim back means that they are often prone to back problems so it’s important they don’t jump frequently.
Also referred to as the Australian Cattle Dog, the Australian Shepard is a medium sized Australian dog that was originally developed for the purpose of herding cattle. This medium sized dog is very intelligent, playful with children, easy to train and requires little attention because of its independent streak. It has an average life expectancy of 15 years. There was even an Australian Shepard named Bluey that died in 1939, having lived for 29.5 years!
The Beagle is a breed of small hound dog that was developed to be a hunting dog. It’s heightened sense of smell has made it a great detection dog for illegal drugs and agricultural products. Despite their original purpose, Beagles make fantastic domestic dogs and are great for children due to their docile nature and loving personality. Their life expectancy is about 12-15 years but there have been records of Beagles living much longer. One Beagle named Butch, who died in 2003, had lived for 27 years!
The Maltese is another popular small, toy breed dog that originated from the Mediterranean Island of Malta. This lively, affectionate, responsive and active dog is a good companion dog with a life expectancy of 12-15 years. It is easy to groom and sheds less fur than most dogs.
The Miniature Schnauzer is another small dog that has a life expectancy of 12-15 years. Just like its larger counterparts, the Miniature Schnauzer has a high level of trainability and energy that makes it great for sporting shows. It is a feisty breed of dog that has become the most popular of the Schnauzer types.
Lhasa Apso is a long-haired Lhasa dog with a life expectancy of 12-14 years, that is believed to have originated from Tibet, China where it was used in Buddhist monasteries to alert monks to intruders. This breed of dog is very intelligent, has a keen sense of hearing because of its origin and is very loyal to its owner.
Irrespective of the breed of dog you go for, it is very important to take proper care of your dog. A dog that has a life expectancy of 18 years but is not given good nutrition, exercise and mental stimulation, regular checks at the vets, grooming with dog clippers if the breed requires it, and all their recommended vaccinations, can die after 7 years. Therefore, it’s very important to only buy a dog if you know you can give it a healthy lifestyle and take good care of it. Finding the right breed for you, and offering that dog a loving home, when done right, can lead to very many years of happy companionship.