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The Top 10 Longest-Living Dog Breeds

Larry Slawson received his Master's Degree from UNC Charlotte. He has 15+ years of experience with dogs and various pets.

From the Australian Cattle Dog to the Chihuahua, this article examines 10 of the world's longest-living dog breeds.

From the Australian Cattle Dog to the Chihuahua, this article examines 10 of the world's longest-living dog breeds.

The 10 Longest Living Dogs in the World

  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Dachshund
  • Pomeranian
  • Beagle
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Xoloitzcuintli
  • Shih Tzu
  • Rat Terrier
  • Toy Poodle
  • Chihuahua

10 Dog Breeds With Long Lifespans

Throughout the world, a number of dog breeds have been recognized for both their overall health and longevity in terms of life expectancy. While the average canine tends to live in the vicinity of 10 to 13 years, several breeds have displayed remarkable resilience in regard to the aging process, living upwards of 20+ years. From the Australian Cattle Dog to the Chihuahua, this article examines the 10 longest living dog breeds in the world. It provides a direct analysis of each dog’s history, physical characteristics, and general lifespan. It is the author’s hope that a better understanding (and appreciation) of these remarkable dog breeds will accompany readers following their completion of this work.

Selection Criteria

In selecting the world’s longest-living dogs, several criteria were implemented for the extents and purposes of this research. First and foremost, average lifespan of each breed served as the primary indicator of a dog’s longevity (in terms of age). To meet the “top 10” list that follows, only dogs with a lifespan exceeding 10 to 13 years (the average for most canines) were allowed to make the final cut.

Second, each breed’s capacity for living beyond their average lifespan was also taken into consideration. Median lifespan was certainly an important factor for ranking. Alone, however, it doesn’t take into effect each dog’s potential age and longevity (assuming there is an absence of serious health and medical issues). Finally, and critically, world records for each breed’s age was also taken into consideration for the selection (and ranking) process. This final criteria dovetails with the second standard applied for this list, and allows for “age” to be examined in extraordinary circumstances (or outliers to the norm).

While shortcomings certainly exist to these three criteria, the author believes they provide one of the best means for determining the world’s longest-living dogs.

The Australian Cattle Dog.  Generally speaking, this breed is capable of living 12 to 16 years on average.

The Australian Cattle Dog. Generally speaking, this breed is capable of living 12 to 16 years on average.

10. Australian Cattle Dog

  • Average Weight: 35 to 50 pounds (male and female)
  • Average Height: 18 to 20 inches (male); 17 to 19 inches (female)
  • Lifespan: 12 to 16 years

As its name implies, the Australian Cattle Dog (ACD or “Cattle Dog” for short) is a breed that originated in Australia during the 1800s. Originally bred from a variety of Dingoes, Scottish Highland Collies, and Dalmatians, the end result was a highly loyal, adaptable, and intelligent breed capable of taking on a wide array of roles for their owner. In modern times, the Australian Cattle Dog continues to be a favorite of ranchers and farmers due to their high energy levels, industrious spirit, and obedience.

What is the Australian Cattle Dog’s Average Lifespan?

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), average life span for the Australian Cattle Dog is an astounding 12 to 16 years, with a median age of approximately 14.5 years. However, these figures represent only the average lifespan, with several Cattle Dogs living several years beyond this. In fact, the current Guinness record for longest-living dog breed is held by an Australian Cattle Dog by the name of “Bluey.” Bluey reportedly lived to be 29 years old before passing away. And while this number is certainly outside the norm for most dogs, several independent studies have shown that the ACD tends to live (on average) 2 to 3 years longer than average dog breeds.

The lovable Dachshund.  On average, this breed lives approximately 12 to 16 years.

The lovable Dachshund. On average, this breed lives approximately 12 to 16 years.

9. Dachshund

  • Average Weight: 16 to 32 pounds (standard); Less than 11 pounds (miniature)
  • Average Height: 8 to 9 inches (standard); 5 to 6 inches (miniature)
  • Lifespan: 12 to 16 years

The Dachshund is a relatively older breed that was developed in Germany during the 1400s. Originally developed for the purpose of hunting and trailing various animals (such as wild boar, foxes, and badgers), the Dachshund is now a popular choice due to its family-friendly demeanor and watchdog capabilities. This breed comes in two different sizes, which include both standard and miniature. Three separate coat types are also available for the Dachshund, and include: wirehaired, longhaired, or smooth-coat varieties. Personalities for each type vary significantly, with longhairs being naturally calm and quiet, wirehairs being stubborn and mischievous, and smooth-coats possessing a temperament that lies somewhere in between.

What is the Dachshund’s Average Lifespan?

The average life expectancy for the Dachshund is approximately 12 to 16 years, with a median age of nearly 15 years. This gives the Dachshund a 2 to 3-year edge over most dog breeds. In spite of this, however, experts are quick to point out that many Dachshunds are capable of living several years beyond this, with many pets reaching their late teens (17+ years) if nutritional guidelines and regular checkups are followed.

Unfortunately. many Dachshunds are known to suffer from a variety of health concerns (most notably, problems with their backs and joints). As such, keeping your pet healthy beyond their average lifespan can be difficult for this particular breed. In spite of this, some Dachshunds have reached world-record status for their age and longevity. To date, a dog by the name of “Rocky” holds the record for longest-living Dachshund after living for an astounding 25 years.

An adorable Pomeranian smiles for the camera.  On average, this breed lives 12 to 16 years.

An adorable Pomeranian smiles for the camera. On average, this breed lives 12 to 16 years.

8. Pomeranian

  • Average Weight: 3 to 7 pounds (male and female)
  • Average Height: 6 to 7 inches (male and female)
  • Lifespan: 12 to 16 years

The Pomeranian is an incredibly small breed of dog believed to have originated in Pomerania (Northwest Poland and Northeast Germany). Originally bred for working purposes, the Pomeranian is now favored for its companionship qualities, devotion, and family-friendly personalities. These dogs are highly inquisitive and energetic, and are renowned for their vivacious attitudes. They are also a highly alert and intelligent breed with a propensity for learning new tricks and commands throughout their lifetime.

What is the Pomeranian’s Average Lifespan?

The average lifespan of a Pomeranian is approximately 12 to 16 years, with many living several years beyond this number. Pomeranians are incredibly healthy breeds with only a few health concerns. As a result, their overall lifespan is approximately 2 to 3 years longer than most dog breeds. On occasion, a few Pomeranians have even managed to achieve world-record status with their long lives. To date, the oldest recorded Pomeranian was a dog by the name of “Coty,” who lived several months beyond his 21st birthday. And while this certainly lies outside the norm for most pets, reaching their late teens is not an uncommon characteristic of the Pomeranian, assuming they remain in good health and proper nutritional guidelines are followed by owners.

Beagle puppy posing for the camera. On average, this breed lives approximately 12 to 15 years.

Beagle puppy posing for the camera. On average, this breed lives approximately 12 to 15 years.

7. Beagle

  • Average Weight: 20 to 30 pounds (male and female)
  • Average Height: 13 to 15 inches (male and female)
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years

The Beagle is a relatively small breed believed to have originated in Ancient Greece as early as 400 B.C. Its name is believed to have derived from the French word beugler, which means to “bellow.” The name is highly appropriate for this breed as it fits their highly unique bark. Beagles are an incredibly sweet and gentle dog renowned for their comical nature and companionship qualities. And while this breed can be extremely stubborn (to a fault), owners will be hard-pressed to find another breed that is as affectionate and devoted to their owners.

What is the Beagle’s Average Lifespan?

The average lifespan for a Beagle is approximately 12 to 15 years, with many living several years beyond this. Generally speaking, the Beagle is an incredibly healthy breed with only a few specific ailments that affect their overall health. As a result, their average lifespan is approximately 2 to 3 years longer than most canines. Nevertheless, some beagles have managed to reach world-record status with their age. The oldest recorded Beagle in history was a dog by the name of “Butch,” who lived to be an astounding 27 years old. And while this feat certainly lies outside the norm for most Beagles, experts are quick to point out that the Beagle’s small size and health provide it with a tremendous advantage in regard to longevity.

Adorable Jack Russell Terrier.  Average lifespan for this breed is 13 to 16 years.

Adorable Jack Russell Terrier. Average lifespan for this breed is 13 to 16 years.

6. Jack Russell Terrier

  • Average Weight: 14 to 18 pounds (male and female)
  • Average Height: 13 to 14 inches (male and female)
  • Lifespan: 13 to 16 years

The Jack Russell Terrier (sometimes referred to as the Parson Russell Terrier) is a relatively small breed developed in England during the 1800s. Originally bred for the purpose of hunting and bolting foxes, the Jack Russell Terrier is now favored for their loving and affectionate nature, as well as playful demeanor. Although considered highly stubborn by most dog experts, this breed is exceptionally smart with a capacity for problem-solving and learning new tricks. They are also quite athletic and are renowned for their seemingly tireless energy.

What is the Jack Russell Terrier’s Average Lifespan?

The Jack Russell Terrier has an average lifespan of approximately 13 to 16 years. They are an incredibly healthy breed with relatively few ailments that affect their overall health and longevity. In comparison to other dog breeds, the Jack Russell Terrier generally lives 3 years beyond the average life expectancy of most canines. With proper diet and nutrition, however, it isn’t uncommon for this breed to live into their late teens before passing away. To date, the oldest Jack Russell Terrier on record was a dog by the name of “Lady,” who lived several months past her 23rd birthday.

Up-close photo of the Xoloitzcuintli.  Average lifespan for this breed is an astounding 13 to 18 years.

Up-close photo of the Xoloitzcuintli. Average lifespan for this breed is an astounding 13 to 18 years.

5. Xoloitzcuintli

  • Average Weight: 10 to 15 pounds (toy); 15 to 30 pounds (miniature); 30 to 55 pounds (standard)
  • Average Height: 10 to 14 inches (toy); 14 to 18 inches (miniature); 18 to 23 inches (standard)
  • Lifespan: 13 to 18 years

The Xoloitzcuintli (also known as the “Xolo” or “Mexican Hairless”) is an ancient breed that originated in Latin America during the time of the Aztec Empire. Occasionally confused for the Chinese Crested, the Xoloitzcuintli was originally bred for the purpose of hunting, protection, and companionship during its early history. The breed comes in three sizes, including toy, miniature, and standard. Two varieties are also available, and include the hairless as well as the coated. To this day, the Xoloitzcuintli continues to be favored for its remarkable loyalty and devotion towards owners, as well as its calm and alert demeanor (which make it a favorite for individuals seeking a dog for watchdog purposes).

What is the Xoloitzcuintli’s Average Lifespan?

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the average life expectancy of the Xoloitzcuintli is approximately 13 to 18 years. In comparison to other breeds, this means that the Xoloitzcuintli lives nearly 3 to 5 years longer than most canines. According to a recent Australian survey, however, some researchers have found that it is quite normal for the Xolo to reach an astounding 20 years of age before passing on (petidregister.com). This is due, in part, to the dog’s relatively small size (particularly for the toy and miniature sizes), as well as their absence of major health concerns. With “17” being the median age of this breed, the Xoloitzcuintli is easily one of the world’s longest-living dog breeds.

Up-close photo of the lovable Shih Tzu.  Average lifespan for this breed is 10 to 18 years.

Up-close photo of the lovable Shih Tzu. Average lifespan for this breed is 10 to 18 years.

4. Shih Tzu

  • Average Weight: 9 to 16 pounds (male and female)
  • Average Height: 9 to 10.5 pounds (male and female)
  • Lifespan: 10 to 18 years

The Shih Tzu is a small breed that originated in Ancient China as early as 8,000 B.C. Its name, which means “little lion,” is perhaps a misnomer as the Shih Tzu is an incredibly affectionate breed well-known for their companionship and loyalty to owners. Little is known about the dog’s early role or development. Nevertheless, historical records have continued to show time and again that the Shih Tzu likely played a prominent role in Chinese society as they were a favorite for royal families. In the modern era, the Shih Tzu continues to be a popular dog choice for many households and individuals, including the elderly and family-based environments. This is due, in part, to the dog’s incredible adaptability, loving nature, and friendly disposition.

What is the Shih Tzu’s Average Lifespan?

The Shih Tzu has an average lifespan of approximately 10 to 18 years. This large gap is a result of health issues that tend to plague this particular breed. Nevertheless, most Shih Tzus tend to live approximately 14 years in the absence of major health problems, with 18 years being attainable with proper care, diet, and nutrition. In regard to the average lifespan for a canine, this means that the Shih Tzu lives approximately 4 years longer than most breeds. In exceptional cases, some Shih Tzus are known to live several years beyond this. To date, the oldest living Shih Tzu ever recorded was a dog by the name of “Smokey,” who lived to be 23 years old.

An adorable Rat Terrier poses for the camera.  Average life expectancy for this breed is 12 to 18 years.

An adorable Rat Terrier poses for the camera. Average life expectancy for this breed is 12 to 18 years.

3. Rat Terrier

  • Average Weight: 10 to 25 pounds (male and female)
  • Average Height: 10 to 13 inches (miniature); 13 to 18 inches (standard)
  • Lifespan: 12 to 18 years

The Rat Terrier is a small breed that originated in the United States during the early 1900s. Considered a rare breed by modern standards, the Rat Terrier was originally developed for both companionship and ratting (as their name implies). This breed comes in two sizes (miniature and standard), and are renowned for their friendliness, intelligence, and devotion towards owners. They also possess a great deal of energy, and require mental stimulation on a daily basis to prevent boredom (and destructive behaviors).

What is the Rat Terrier’s Average Lifespan?

The Rat Terrier has an average lifespan of approximately 12 to 18 years, with a median age of 15.5. This large gap exists due to the number of health issues that the Rat Terrier is prone to. With proper diet, exercise, and care though, it is not uncommon for this breed to reach the maximum of 18 years. In fact, prior to Bluey (the Australian Cattle Dog who lived an astounding 29 years), a Rat Terrier by the name of “Jake” once held the world record for “oldest living dog.” Jake eventually passed away after living an incredible 21 years. And while this feat certainly lies outside of the normal expectations for a Rat Terrier’s lifespan, the maximum of 18 years continues to be an extremely long life for canines. Given that the average lifespan of a dog is approximately 10 to 13 years, this figure shows that the Rat Terrier tends to live nearly 2 to 5 years longer than most breeds.

Pair of Toy Poodles posing for the camera.  Average lifespan for these adorable dogs is approximately 14 to 18 years.

Pair of Toy Poodles posing for the camera. Average lifespan for these adorable dogs is approximately 14 to 18 years.

2. Toy Poodle

  • Average Weight: 4 to 6 pounds (male and female)
  • Average Height: Less than 10 inches (male and female)
  • Lifespan: 14 to 18 years

The Toy Poodle derives from the traditional Poodle breed, and is believed to have originated in America during the early 1900s. Originally bred as a companion dog for smaller living spaces, it wasn’t long before the Toy Poodle attained international fame due to its intelligence, athleticism, and natural beauty. For these reasons, the dog is often a favorite for dog shows and competitions due to their elegance and natural sense of confidence. Although considered a high-maintenance breed (due to their tremendous grooming requirements), owners will be hard-pressed to find another dog that is as intelligent, affectionate, and fun-loving as the Toy Poodle.

What is the Toy Poodle’s Average Lifespan?

Toy Poodles have an average life expectancy of approximately 14 to 18 years, with a median age of approximately 14.5 years. This equates to a lifespan that exceeds most breeds by nearly 4 to 5 years. Nevertheless, according to an independent study conducted by the U.K. government, researchers discovered that it wasn’t uncommon for the Toy Poodle to reach their late teens, with one dog making it to 19 years of age during their investigation (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). It was also discovered that in rarer cases, the Toy Poodle was capable of living into its twenties. To date, the oldest recorded Toy Poodle was a dog by the name of “Chichi,” who lived to be 24 years old before passing away.

It remains unclear why this particular breed is capable of such a remarkable lifespan. However, their small size and natural propensity for good health are certainly major contributors.

Chihuahua smiling for his owner.  Average lifespan for this breed is 14 to 18 years, with many living several years beyond this.

Chihuahua smiling for his owner. Average lifespan for this breed is 14 to 18 years, with many living several years beyond this.

1. Chihuahua

  • Average Weight: Less than 6 pounds (male and female)
  • Average Height: 5 to 8 inches (male and female)
  • Lifespan: 14 to 18 years

The Chihuahua is considered the smallest dog breed in the world, and is believed to have originated in Central America during ancient times. Renowned for their courageousness, loyalty, and companionship qualities, the Chihuahua is a remarkable dog breed that makes for an excellent addition to a wide variety of homes. Although they are generally described as a “high-maintenance” breed, due to their need for constant attention and affection by owners, few dogs are capable of matching the love and admiration offered by the Chihuahua toward their owners. They are also quite intelligent, adaptive, and make for great watchdogs due to their tendency to bark at strangers (or strange sounds).

What is the Chihuahua’s Average Lifespan?

Chihuahuas are regularly classified as the longest-living dog breed in the world. According to the AKC, average lifespan for the Chihuahua is approximately 14 to 18 years. This, in turn, means that the Chihuahua tends to live approximately 4 to 5 years beyond the average lifespan of dogs in general. And for healthy dogs without medical issues, it is not uncommon for this breed to live in the vicinity of 20+ years. In fact, the oldest recorded Chihuahua on record was a dog by the name of “Megabyte,” who passed away 100 days before his 21st birthday. For these reasons, the Chihuahua is easily the longest-living dog breed in existence today.

Concluding Thoughts

In closing, dogs play an important role in our world due to the remarkable companionship and affection they provide for humans. With this in mind, proper care, checkups (by a qualified veterinarian), and nutritional guidelines should always be followed by owners to ensure their dog is provided with a means to live a long and and healthy life. And while unforeseen circumstances don’t always make this goal possible, providing our faithful companions with both love and support will always ensure that they lived a happy and satisfying life on Earth.

Works Cited

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Larry Slawson

Comments

Larry Slawson (author) from North Carolina on August 11, 2020:

Thank you, Pamela! I was surprised by some of these lifespans as well. Before writing this, I never knew that the Chihuahua was capable of living such a long time.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 11, 2020:

This list of dogs that live longer than the average is very interesting. I didn't know any dog typically lived from 18-20 years. This is a great list, Larry, and a very interesting article.

Larry Slawson (author) from North Carolina on August 11, 2020:

I agree, Eric! I was completely surprised by the lifespan of these dogs. I was also reading that smaller breeds tend to live a lot longer than larger ones.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 11, 2020:

How fun!!

Too hard to pick a favorite --- 20+ years - Wow.

Larry Slawson (author) from North Carolina on August 11, 2020:

Thank you so much, Cheryl! I'm glad you enjoyed :)

Larry Slawson (author) from North Carolina on August 11, 2020:

Thank you, Ankita! So glad you enjoyed!

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on August 11, 2020:

This is interesting and great to know.

Ankita B on August 11, 2020:

This is an interesting article. Thank you for sharing this. It was a good read.