If you’ve ever had a dog, you probably know that the bond between canine and owner is often incredibly close and meaningful. After all, we call them “man’s best friend” for a reason. Unfortunately, the average lifespan of a dog is only around 10 years. The loss of a pet is a deeply painful one for any owner, leading many prospective puppy parents to seek out breeds with longer-than-average life expectancies that will allow them to enjoy more years together. Although no breed lasts forever, the longest-living dog breeds tend to stick around longer than average, meaning you will get to keep your pup by your side for as much time as possible.
It’s no secret that most owners are willing to go way out of their way to care for their dogs. Research confirms, with a survey of 2,000 American dog owners reporting all the ways respondents show their love for their pooch. More than seven in 10 people (72%) said they would gladly put themselves in harm’s way to save their dog. It’s no surprise that respondents leaped into action when their pup was in danger since nearly four in five (78%) consider them a full-fledged member of the family. With any breed, taking high-quality care of them can certainly keep them in your life for longer.
For some, their dog may also be a main source of comfort in difficult times. In fact, a survey of more than 2,000 pet parents found that 44 percent of respondents would rather turn to their dog for emotional support than talk about their feelings with a family member. Dogs also appear to be the center of affection for many families as well, with 38 percent of respondents admitting that the family dog is the “person” they show the most love or attention to in their household. For reference, 31 percent of respondents said they show the most affection towards their own children and 23 percent reported giving their spouse or significant other the most attention/affection.
With all this love for pups, it makes sense that owners would want to maximize their time with their furry friend. A decade may sound like a long time, but the years fly by when you’re having fun! While there are a variety of factors that contribute to canine life expectancy, there are some breeds that tend to live longer than others. For future pet parents eager to enjoy as many years as possible with their new family member, StudyFinds compiled this list of the longest living dog breeds. If you have a favorite we missed, be sure to let us know in the comments below!
The List: Longest Living Dog Breeds, According to Pet Experts
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the world’s smallest dog breed also claims top spot on the list of longest living pups. These petite pooches can live upwards of 16 years, with some even reaching their milestone 20th birthday! And while Chihuahuas are extremely petite, their personalities are often more than big enough to make up the difference. As Daily Paws says, “Chis, as their loving owners often call them, are bright, curious, and full of spark and pluck. They’re extremely loyal, too, which is a plus for a pup for whom you’ll bake 16 or more birthday cakes.”
“The idea that small dogs live longer is backed up by science. The larger the dog, the more physical strain they require just to function. This causes their bodies to wear out—and therefore age—more quickly than pint-sized members of their species,” explains Mental Floss. “Many sources list chihuahuas as the longest-living dog breed. In addition to being tiny at 6 pounds or less, they’re also relatively healthy. Unlike some purebreds, chihuahuas aren’t afflicted by numerous life-threatening health problems that are specific to their breed. A chihuahua that eats well and receives regular exercise can live to be 16 or older.”
“They’re small dogs with big personalities, most known as purse dogs that you can carry with you anywhere. Chihuahua temperament depends on their upbringing, with some being more excitable than others, but they’re independent and affectionate with family,” notes Dutch. “Chihuahuas are relatively low maintenance, and some barely shed. These dogs are incredibly high-energy and playful, so they’ll need regular activities to keep them occupied.”
If you have kids, it would be hard to find a dog that gets along with young people better than the beagle. This lovable breed is great for all ages, but shines particularly bright when happily playing with children. As Daily Paws puts it, “if your child begs for a playmate, you really can’t go wrong with the adorable and gentle beagle, as this dog’s lifespan is about 10–15 years. Endlessly popular, these hounds have enough energy to keep up with even the most rambunctious kids! They’re also great small-game trackers for hunters in the field.”
“Bred to accompany hunters in packs, the beagle can live up to 15 years. These medium-sized dogs are affectionate and good-natured canines that get along well with children, other dogs, and dog-friendly cats,” notes The Spruce Pets. “Beagles are energetic dogs that need regular exercise, playtime and attention to keep them from becoming destructive or engaging in excessive barking.”
Be prepared to spend some time training this smart but stubborn breed, but once you do, you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic furry family member for years to come. As Pure Pet Food explains, “with beautiful floppy ears, these dogs are ideal family dogs due to their size, temperament and sturdiness. They can be a little hard to train but they’re very friendly and love to sniff about on a walk.”
3. Toy Poodle
If you want a puppy with a long life ahead of them and little to no shedding, the toy poodle may just be your perfect pooch. This pocket-sized pup is the smallest poodle variety, but still offers the same great personality, abilities, and intelligence as their older relatives. As Dutch puts it, “toy poodles are another dog breed with a long lifespan, and they’re popular due to their fun-loving personalities. Toy poodles are affectionate, great with children, and highly intelligent. They’re ideal pets for those who don’t want to find fur on their clothing because they barely shed.”
“Just as smart and easy to train as their larger counterparts, the Toy Poodle doesn’t shed much making them perfect for families with allergy issues. Great with kids, these dogs need plenty of physical and mental exercise,” adds Pure Pet Food. “Their small size helps them live a little longer than you’d expect, managing to live for between 14 and 20 years.”
To ensure you’re meeting your dog’s mental exercise needs, set aside a bit of time each day to work on training new behaviors and tricks. This smart breed will prove more than capable of keeping up with you! As petMD puts it, “though small, Toy Poodles have a big personality and an even bigger brain—they are so smart that basic training and complicated tricks can be taught relatively easily.”
Allergic to dogs? The Maltese is a hypoallergenic breeds that allows many allergy sufferers to enjoy canine companionship comfortably. And with such a long lifespan, potential owners can look forward to 12 to 15 years of sneeze-free puppy snuggles. “Maltese are small, white, long-life dogs that are considered ‘hypoallergenic,'” says petMD. “These stylish dogs have long, silky coats that need daily upkeep to stay free of tangles. But the good news is Maltese are fairly healthy pups, so pet parents can focus more energy on grooming than managing any medical conditions.”
“The Mediterranean Maltese are agile, playful and affectionate dogs who love to spend their time with humans,” notes Pure Pet Food. “Often used as therapy dogs, these small dogs are very gentle but can be lively and fearless when called upon. Great with kids, these super-smart dogs can live between 12 and 15 years.”
As an added bonus, you really do get the best of both worlds with a Maltese pup! This breed is easy to train and more than happy to cuddle up with you on the couch right after. “Another reduced-allergy companion might be this top snuggle pooch with an ancient lineage. Combining brains and beauty, Maltese dogs are some of the most affectionate pups you’ll ever know,” claims Daily Paws. “Playful but not prissy, they’re easily trainable and will relish the opportunity to do tricks with you for 12–15 years.”
It doesn’t take long to recognize this distinct dog. Even from a distance, the dachshund’s signature long body is its claim to fame. While you may know this breed for its looks, they also tend to enjoy long and healthy lives for up to 16 years. As petMD explains, “long-bodied Dachshunds get their nickname ‘wiener dogs’ from their lengthy torso. But don’t let those short legs fool you—they are muscular, energetic, and were originally bred to be badger hunters.”
“Who can resist lovable ‘wiener dogs?’ Long-haired, wire-haired, or smooth, these playful pups usually live 12 to 14 years,” says WebMD. “In the Middle Ages, Germans used dachshunds to hunt. Their long, low bodies were perfect for ducking into badger dens. Protect that long back from problems: Keep your dachshund lean, and don’t let them jump off high furniture.”
These unique pups have quite a fan club, with many owners developing a true passion for the breed. “Be she a wiener dog, doxie, sausage dog, weenie, or dashie, she’ll be yours for 12–16 years! That’s quite a while to love this tenacious, outgoing, and playful pooch,” notes Daily Paws. “The dachshund breed is so revered, a dashie was the mascot for the 1972 Olympic Summer Games in Munich. And how many dog breeds have a museum dedicated just to them?”
You might also be interested in:
- Best Dog Breeds For Busy Owners
- Best Dog Breeds For Emotional Support
- Best Dog Breeds For Travel
- Best Dog Breeds For Families
- Daily Paws
- Mental Floss
- Southern Living
- The Spruce Pets
- Pure Pet Food
- Cesar’s Way
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.