The hardest thing about opening your home — and heart — to a dog is the thought of ever having to say goodbye. Whether we have time to brace ourselves for that fateful day or it comes as complete surprise, no one is truly ever ready to let go of a beloved pet. While we can’t prepare for such heartbreak, there’s one way we can make sure we’re getting the most out of our time with our furry friends.
A healthy diet and plenty of exercise are key to giving your dog a happy life, though the breed of your pet is equally as important in determining how long they’ll be around. While many pet owners have an idea of which dogs have the longest lifespans, these 25 breeds truly have the longest of them all.
25. Shih Tzu: Don’t let that face fool you: once you open your heart to a Shih Tzu, they’ll love you for life. Prepare yourself for plenty of playtime and cuddles, as these adorable pups typically live to between 10 and 16 years old.
24. Beagle: With a smile like that, who could say no to making a Beagle part of the family? And just to sweeten the deal, this beloved breed also boasts a long lifespan, usually in the 12- to 15-year range.
23. Pug: All that energy must be good for something, as these wrinkly pups typically keep rolling and wriggling well beyond their 10th birthday. In fact, the average pug lives to be between 12 and 15 years old, making them a great addition to any family.
22. Toy Poodle: If you’re looking for a best friend for life, look no further than this fluffy breed. Their gentle demeanor is perfect for families with small children, and with a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, they’ll grow with you.
21. Miniature Schnauzer: Ho ho ho! Expect this little guy to be sliding down the chimney for plenty of Christmases, as mini Schnauzers also typically live 12 to 15 years — just don’t let him eat the cookies!
20. Lhasa Apso: Wait, what’s that climbing under the covers? Why, it’s your little Lhasa Apso, of course! And also with a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, you can expect a whole lot of snuggles and cuddles like these for many mornings to come.
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19. Corgi: Everyone loves a Corgi, and any hesitancy to own one should go right out the door when you hear that most live to between 12 and 15 years old. So what are you waiting for? Toss out those plushes and go get yourself a real one!
18. Dachshund: Hot dogs! Get your hot dogs here! Well, even if you’re not a fan of eating one (the food), you’ll definitely be a fan of owning one (the dog) after learning that these long-bodied pups can live anywhere between 12 and 16 years old.
17. Pomeranian: With a diet like that, the only thing your dog is guaranteed is a tummy ache. But with proper care — and a whole lot of love — any Pomeranian can grow to see his twelfth, thirteenth, and even sixteenth birthday!
16. Australian Shepherd: That’s one cool dog, but what’s even cooler is how long an Australian Shepherd will be part of your family. With a healthy diet and a good amount of exercise, expect this cool cat — sorry, dog — to live to be between 13 and 16 years old.
15. Jack Russell Terrier: Who in their right mind would let a Jack Russell Terrier behind the wheel? As it turns out, this breed can live anywhere between 13 and 16 years old, so, at the very least, let’s hope she has her permit!
14. Yorkshire Terrier: There’s nothing like a spa day to help make those years melt away — 13 to 16 years, to be exact. Though someone should tell this little girl that digging in the yard is a lot different than a mud bath…
13. Rough Collie: Fido here has spent years prepping for his first scuba dive, though he’s a little embarrassed to admit he still hasn’t mastered the doggie paddle. But with a life expectancy of 13 to 16 years, he and his Collie friends still have plenty of time to learn.
12. Standard Schnauzer: These mustachioed pooches boast an average lifespan of 13 to 16 years, just a bit longer than their miniature counterparts. This should come as no surprise, as these Schnauzers already look like they’re lined up for the early-bird special!
11. Schipperke: Get ready to think you’ve got a giant bat in the house for the next 13 to 17 years, as that’s how long these pointy-eared, chubby snouted pups will usually hang around. And don’t worry: this guy won’t bite.
10. Papillon: Though the name of this breed translates to “butterfly” in French, the grace of the insect seems to have been lost on this goofy pup. But, hey: with a lifespan of 13 to 17 years, who could really keep it together all the time?
9. Manchester Terrier: If you need a running buddy, look no further than a Manchester Terrier. For the next 14 to 17 years, this loyal, energetic breed will be right by your side as you trek the toughest terrains… or even just take a quick walk around the block.
8. Cockapoo: If you thought that Australian Shepherd was cool, then this Cockapoo is practically the Fonz. Someone get that rum away from him, though, as this breed typically lives to be short of the drinking age at 14 to 18 years old.
7. Pyrenean Shepherd: Judging by this breed’s rugged look, it’s safe to say that the Pyrenean Shepherd practically invented the outdoors. Expect this adventurous pup to roam the woods for between 15 and 17 years.
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6. Rat Terrier: Go on — play catch a little longer. With an average lifespan of between 15 and 18 years old, you’ll be tossing that tennis ball to ‘ol Spot well into his golden years.
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5. Maltese: With a lifespan of 12 to 20 years, your Maltese is bound to get tuckered out from all the fun you’ll be having. Still, there are always ways to turn that tired frown upside down!
4. Xoloitzcuintli: Also known as the Mexican hairless dog, these pooches look like if rock music were an animal. And with a life expectancy of between 12 and 20 years, they’ll be touring for a long, long time.
3. Shiba Inu: Kato here isn’t about to let you give up on your goal of biking 10 miles every day, even if that means she has to ride along with you. And don’t even think about trying to wait her out: this adorable breed typically lives between 12 and 20 years.
2. Chihuahua: Say what you will about small dogs being needy, but Rosa here wants just one thing: to model her new onezie for you. Sure, Chihuahuas usually live to the age of between 12 and 20, though it’s a safe bet she’ll never outgrow it.
1. Australian Cattle Dog: The average lifespan of an Australian Cattle Dog ranges from 11 years to anywhere in their mid 20s, though their tendency to nip at children means they’re not ideal for every family — though by no means are they the only breed to be wary of.
ethanaldrichal / Instagram
2. Boxers: Though Boxers generally only take issue with large dogs of the same sex, boredom can also turn them aggressive. Lack of exercise may result in chewing, digging, and other disruptive behavior.
3. Dogo Argentinos: Although commonly found as police and rescue dogs, Dogos were originally bred as big-game hunters. Combined with their strong opposition to strangers, an untrained Dogo is about as dangerous a dog as they come.
4. Akita Inus: While its smiling face would suggest a gentle temperament, Akitas are socially dominant dogs that do not get along with other pooches of the same sex. Without a confident handler, this breed can become highly aggressive and shirk obedience altogether.
5. Dobermans: Though decades of breeding have made most Dobermans more gentle in temperament, the breed as a whole was originally bred as a fiercely loyal guard dog. While attacks on owners are rare, untrained Dobermans pose a serious threat both strangers and other dogs.
6. Malamutes: Known for their skill at pulling sleds and other freight, Malamutes are closer to their wolf ancestors than most other domesticated dogs. As such, they have a high prey drive, meaning they’re likely to chase and even attack smaller animals.
7. Great Danes: Despite its reputation as a gentle giant, Great Danes can be dangerous if not properly trained. With some weighing up to 200 pounds and standing nearly three feet tall, you certainly wouldn’t want to see a Great Dane charging at you full force.
A Humane World
8. Bull Terriers: A powerful pooch in a small package, Bull Terriers can be incredibly stubborn and independent. If not socialized early on, they can become disobedient and aggressive toward strangers.
9. Japanese Tosas: The sumo wrestler of the dog fighting world, Tosas are favored in legal Japanese dog fights for their size, power, and aggression. As such, the Tosa is actually banned in countries like Australia, Iceland, and Norway.
10. Huskies: Like Malamutes, Huskies were also bred to pull sleds and are therefore highly energetic. Their prey drives are also high, meaning it’s best to keep an untrained or unsocialized Husky away from small animals and children… and maybe Christmas scarves.
11. German Shepherds: While used in highly social situations like disability aid, search-and-rescue, and even acting, German Shepherds can become aggressive and territorial if not trained correctly. A powerful breed, German Shepherds possess a bite strength nearly three times that of a human.
12. Dalmatians: Believe it or not, about 30 percent of all Dalmatians are born either partially or completely deaf. Unsurprisingly, training these Dalmatians is incredibly difficult and can lead to aggressive, unmanageable behavior.
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13. St. Bernards: Given this breed’s enormous size, training a St. Bernard as a puppy is crucial to preventing it from becoming a large and unruly adult. It’s probably best to keep them away from rabid bats, too…
14. Rhodesian Ridgebacks: Bred as hunting dogs capable of fending off lions, Ridgebacks are also particularly sensitive. If mistreated or trained too harshly, these dogs can become aggressive and lash out.
15. Rottweilers: Originally bred to herd livestock for butchers, Rottweilers have gained a reputation as vicious guard and attack dogs. Their territorial instincts result in aggressive behavior toward strangers, especially when mistreated or not properly trained.
16. Fila Brasileiros: Also known as Brazilian Mastiffs, Fila Brasileiros are bred to be aggressive and are faithful to their masters to a fault. If left alone with a Fila, a stranger may stand to suffer serious injury.
17. Basenjis: Considered one of the least trainable dogs in the world, Basenjis have high prey drives and generally dislike all non-canine animals. Given the opportunity, Basenjis will chase cats and other small animals, even scaling fences to do so.
18. Caucasian Shepherd Dogs: A highly protective breed, Caucasian Shepherd Dogs need broad socialization in order to properly get along with other animals. If threatened or perceiving a threat to its master, this breed will not hesitate to make noise or attack.
19. Pit Bulls: Sorry pit lovers, but these dogs were bred for violence since Medieval times. Though there are plenty out there that are big ‘ol softies, a pit bull in the wrong hands can become a powerful and deadly weapon.
20. Cane Corsos: While Corsos typically pose no threat to their owners, strangers should be mindful to keep their distance from this traditional guard dog. Corsos rarely let anyone other than their masters handle them, making veterinary care a potentially dangerous undertaking.
21. Bullmastiffs: Originally used by 19th-century gamekeepers to guard estates, Bullmastiffs are instinctively protective of their household. Highly independent, this breed can become aggressive if not trained consistently.
Bullmastiff Dog Information Center
For some dogs, however, this behavior may actually be caused by rage syndrome. Also known as sudden onset aggression, dogs suffering from this disorder will suddenly attack anyone around them, especially if approached while sleeping.
Animal Wellness Magazine
Rage syndrome is a genetic disorder. Springer Spaniels are most likely to suffer from this condition, but Dobermans, Poodles, and even Golden Retrievers are known to exhibit symptoms of rage syndrome.
Or, this behavior could be caused by small dog syndrome. Any dog suffering from this disorder will typically become overly aggressive when around other dogs or humans, growling and biting at anything they perceive to be a threat.
Animal experts believe that small dog syndrome is fueled by the behavior of the pet’s owner. If an owner becomes lax with a dog’s training and allows it to get away with things a larger dog would not, this reinforces the bad behavior and may lead to this disorder.
In other species, this kind of aggression could be the result of berserk male syndrome. Another disorder that causes sudden fits of rage, berserk male syndrome causes animals such as llamas, alpacas, and peacocks to attack anything in their paths.
Being around humans from a young age will cause these animals to view their owners as members of their pack, which can become dangerous once the animal reaches adulthood. A territorial animal suffering from berserk male syndrome will attempt to attack anyone who invades their personal space.
Irritable male syndrome is also a common cause of aggression. A disorder typically observed in Soay sheep, reindeer, and other male animals with seasonal breeding patterns, irritable male syndrome occurs as a result of low testosterone levels. Male animals will become nervous and aggressive, attacking almost anything that irks them.
Unsurprisingly, this phenomenon also occurs in human males between the ages of 40 and 60. Considered by researchers to be the male version of menopause, these men are prone to sudden fits of anger, irritation, and hostility.
Epic Eats Blog
Yet not all animal syndromes result in increased aggression. Limber tail syndrome causes a dog’s tail to go completely limp. This disorder occurs when a dog engages in tiring activities or gets exposed to cold water, which prevents blood from reaching the tail and causes it to swell.
Fine Art America
This syndrome is particularly painful for afflicted dogs, and most sufferers will refuse to sit, eat, or even relieve themselves because of the pain. Luckily, the condition isn’t permanent and will usually pass after a few days.
2. Balloon Syndrome: Like the name of this condition implies, balloon syndrome occurs when a hedgehog puffs up so much it begins to resemble an inflated balloon. Scientists don’t fully understand the disorder, but they do know it occurs when air becomes trapped under the animal’s skin.
aCuteFatSoftDogBelly / Imgur
Some speculate balloon syndrome may occur as the result of a punctured lung, so when the hedgehog breathes it’s actually sending air under its skin. By puncturing small holes on the body, vets can release this built-up air until the hedgehog’s lungs have fully healed.
3. Black Dog and Black Cat Syndrome: According to most animal shelters, black dogs and black cats are less likely to be adopted than non-black animals. This is likely due to the fact that dark-colored animals typically lack distinguishing features, making adopters less apt to notice them.
However, this phenomenon may actually be a result of the superstitions surrounding black animals. Black cats are most commonly associated with witchcraft and bad luck, while some believe that black dogs are actually vampires in disguise.
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4. Floppy Trunk Syndrome: The name of this disorder may sound funny, but its effects are deadly for the suffering animal. Floppy trunk syndrome causes elephants’ trunks to go limp, making it difficult for them to eat and putting them at risk of starvation.
This condition is caused by heavy metal poisoning. If an elephant ingests a large amount of concentrated lead – commonly found in dry riverbeds – the nerve endings in its trunk will become paralyzed, rendering the appendage useless.
5. High-Rise Syndrome: This disorder refers to the act of cats falling from great heights. Cats are known to scale tall objects and high places, but doing so puts them at great risk of falling, which happens quite often.
Surprisingly, cats are more likely to get injured from a fall of less than two stories than one of a greater height. This is because falls of more than two stories allow the cats more time to land on their feet, whereas a short fall does not give such luxury.
6. Domestication Syndrome: This syndrome is indiscriminate, meaning that no one species is more susceptible than others. Domestication syndrome is caused by the domestication of an animal, leading to droopy ears, lighters coats, and smaller brains, among other notable traits.
The Golf Club
Russian farmer Dmitry Belyaev was the first to notice this phenomenon after he began domesticating silver foxes in the 1950s. After breeding them through 20 generations, he discovered the foxes had lost most of the traits possessed by their wild counterparts, leaving them docile and ill-equipped.
7. Short-Spine Syndrome: As dog owners, we want to know our furry friends are as healthy and happy as possible. Besides only wanting the best for our beloved companions, caring for animals with health problems can be difficult.