By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 28 April 2022 • 23:00
Do you know how long your dog will live, the Royal Veterinary College knows?
According to research undertaken by the Royal Veterinary College the average life expectancy for dogs is 11.2 years, with smaller breeds typically living longer than larger ones. That’s according to an analysis based on a random sample of 30,563 dogs that died between 1 January 2016 and 31 July 2020, from 18 different breeds and crossbreeds.
The good news for those who love their Jack Russell, they live longer than any other pet breed in the UK – ok that might not be good news as some Jack Russells can be a handful.
The bad news for those who love their “new, in fashion breed”, the French bulldog is likely to enjoy the shortest life.
Researchers also found that there is little difference in the life expectancies of male and female canines, with male dogs living on average four months less.
Unsurprisingly flat faced breeds have the shortest life expectancy, many of these breeds having been banned by the Kennel Clun because of the difficulties they experience with breathing and spinal disease as a result of “designer” breeding.
That view is supported by the researchers who say the findings support experts’ calls for people to stop and think before buying a dog with a short snout.
Interestingly in both male and female dogs, neutered dogs were found to have a longer life expectancy.
Dr Dan O’Neil, associate professor in Companion Animal Epidemiology at the Royal Veterinary College, and co-author of the paper, said: “Dogs have helped so many humans get through loneliness and isolation of the COVID pandemic.
“These new VetCompass Life tables enable owners to now estimate how much longer they can benefit from these dogs.”
Up until now the average life of a breed was based on anecdotal evidence but now the tables produced as part of the research, provide an accurate picture of life expectancy for breeds. That allows potential pet owners to estimate accurately how much longer their pet dog may live.
Topping the list of breeds that live longest are the Jack Russel, the Yorkshire Terrier and the Border Collie. Interestingly cross bred dogs also make the top five longest living dogs, with cross breeding often removing the shortcomings of pedigreed animals.
Of the breeds included in the research the shortest life span was for the French Bulldog at just four and half years, followed by the English Bulldog, Pug and American Bulldog.
The researchers also found that the health of the dog was more important that looks, advising people considering pets to follow that simple mantra.
They also pointed to the need for proper care, which can extend a pet’s life substantially. Proper diet, vet care and ensuring optimum weight were all key to the pet’s survival.
Jack Russell terrier – 12.72 years
Yorkshire terrier – 12.54 years
Border collie – 12.10 years
Springer spaniel – 11.92 years
Crossbred – 11.82 years
Labrador retriever – 11.77 years
Staffordshire bull terrier – 11.33 years
Cocker spaniel – 11.31 years
Shih-tzu – 11.05 years
Cavalier King Charles spaniel – 10.45 years
German shepherd dog – 10.16 years
Boxer – 10.04 years
Beagle – 9.85 years
Husky – 9.53 years
Chihuahua – 7.91 years
American bulldog – 7.79 years
Pug – 7.65 years
English bulldog – 7.39 years
French bulldog – 4.53 years
So next time you are thinking of getting a pet dog, remember what the Royal Veterinary College says, health over looks and your dog will live longer.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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