Life expectancy of the dog breeds (list)

The flat-faced dog breeds such as pugs and bulldogs are known to have health issues and The Telegraph reports that they struggle to reach old age which got me thinking about the average lifespan of the dog breeds, which is illustrated in the chart below.

It appears that the lifespan of the dog breeds is complicated by various factors including the size of the dog and the level of the bond between owner and dog. So, despite the known health issues of the brachycephalic dog breeds (round-headed and flat-faced) they may not be euthanised quite so quickly as the large dog breeds as they can become difficult to handle if they have illnesses which affect their mobility. The point being made is that a large dog with a mobility issue is going to be more likely to be euthanised than a small dog with the same health issue because you can assist a small dog with a spinal disorder much more easily than you can assist a much larger dog.

Comparison flat-faced man-made dog and normal face
Comparison flat-faced man-made dog and normal face. Pictures in public domain. Montage by AHR.

It’s become known that there has been a surge in adoptions of French bulldogs and flat-faced breeds which is concerning because it appears that many people have adopted these dog breeds during the coronavirus lockdowns without exercising due diligence on the issue of health. And they’ve sometimes bought them from illegal traders who have shipped the dog from continental Europe where they have been bred in puppy mills under poor conditions. This all adds to potential health issues in addition to the inherited ones due to the flat face.

There’s been a 488% increase in bulldog popularity over the past 20 years. The figure is 601% with respect to pugs. People go for cute faces and they find the faces on these dog breeds cute; beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. Appearance overrides every other issue including health which can be enormously burdensome in terms treatments and cost. People adopting inherently unhealthy dog breeds push to one side these major issues and in doing so they support poor breeding and illegal practices. With more adoptions there will inevitably be an increase in relinquishments as inexperienced owners give up on their dog when they understand the demands and responsibilities. This can mean selling the animal online: not a good idea from the dog’s perspective as it carries risks. Or abandonment to a shelter.

Health issues concerning the flat-faced, bulging-eyed dogs include: corneal ulcers, heatstroke and breathing problems. I have a page on this which you might like to read.

Table of dog breed life-expectancy

My thanks to Canine Journal for this table.

2017 Popularity RankDog BreedAverage Lifespan
1Labrador Retriever11 Years
2German Shepherd11 Years
3Golden Retriever11 Years
4French Bulldog8-10 Years
5Bulldog8-12 Years
6Beagle12-15 Years
7Poodle12 Years
8Rottweiler9 Years
9Yorkshire Terrier13 Years (possibly up to 20 years)
10German Shorthaired Pointer12-14 Years
11Boxer9-10 Years
12Siberian Huskie12-15 Years
13Dachshund13-15 Years
14Great Dane6-8 Years
15Pembroke Welsh Corgi12-15 Years
16Doberman Pinscher10-13 Years
17Australian Shepherd12-18 Years
18Miniature Schnauzer12-14 Years
19Cavalier King Charles Spaniel9-14 Years
20Shih Tzu12-16 Years
21Boston Terrier11-15 Years
22Pomeranian14 Years
23Havanese14-16 Years
24Shetland Sheepdog12-13 Years
25Bernese Mountain Dogs6-8 Years


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Post Category: Dogs > Canine Health