If we could choose, we’d make it so our beloved canine pals live just as long as we do. As young adults, we’d pick up a puppy, and we’d be tossing him the same chewed up tennis ball until we were old and frail. That way, we’d never have to deal with the overwhelming grief that occurs when a pet passes on.
Unfortunately, this kind of technology is currently out of reach. Some dogs, however, do have long life spans — a few select breeds can even survive for decades! These longest-living dog breeds are sure to keep you company for a long, long time!
20. Shih Tzu (10 – 16 years): This iconic breed, that originated on the Tibetan Plateau but soon became an international favorite, has a lifespan of between ten and sixteen years.
19. Lhasa Apso (12 – 14 years): This pup has locks so luscious they rival Farrah Fawcett’s famous curls. This dog is beautiful and friendly, and will also likely live to be fourteen!
18. Jack Chi (12 – 15 years): Sweet and loving, playful and active, this little guy combines the best aspects of its forefathers, Jack Russell Terriers and Chihuahuas. The best part is he’ll survive as many as fifteen years.
Little Doggies Rule
17. Pom-Coton (12 – 16 years): The Pom-Coton is sweet and adorable and can live to be sixteen years old. They’re really smart and highly trainable — great dogs to hang out with!
16. Ratshi Terrier (12 – 18 years): Rat Terriers are clearly a popular dog to mix genes with, and this cutie is also mixed with a Shih Tzu. With such good DNA, it’s no wonder that the little guy has a life expectancy of nearly twenty years.
15. Cheenese (12 – 18 years): This pup has a funny name and a very chill temperament. Just look at him totally blissing out in this photo. Luckily for everyone, he has plenty of time to do just that as he’ll live up to eighteen years.
14. Lacasapoo (12 – 18 years): What an incredible name for such a funny little creature. This Lacasapoo, who looks like he just got back from Mardi Gras, has an expected lifespan of eighteen big ones.
13. Australian Shepard (13 – 15 years): This gorgeous Aussie actually hails from the USA, despite its misleading name. He’ll keep you company for up to fifteen years if you treat him well!
12. Jack Russell Terrier (13 – 16 years): Attempting to steer a boat like this dog is doing probably won’t do them any favors, but typically these handsome dogs live a hefty 13-16 years.
11. Rat-Cha (13 – 18 years): This little guy who looks like he’s posing for an elementary school picture day is a cross-breed of an American Rat Terrier and a Chihuahua!
10. Ratese (13 – 18 years): This designer dog breed, a cross between an American Rat Terrier and a Maltese, will keep you company for as long as it lives — which will probably be about 18 years.
9. Boykin Spaniel (14 – 16 years): Originally bred for hunting turkeys and ducks, this agile little hunting companion can live over a decade and a half — that’s a lot of time to bond!
8. Lagotto Romagnolo (15 – 17 years): What an elegant name for such a frisky little guy. The Lagotto Romagnolo will live out his 17 year life running, jumping, and being an all around frenetic ball of energy.
7. Pomchi (~ 18 years): This guy knows what’s up: the only thing better than one Pomchi, is two of them. These balls of fur will live up to eighteen.
6. Rattle (12 – 18 years): Goodness, that sweater! And that face! This nutty little beast will live up to eighteen years, and remain sharp as a tack the entire time.
5. Toy Poodle (14 – 18 years): Look at this guy! He’ll live 14-18 years old. In the meanwhile, he’ll be smart, loyal, and weigh only about 10 pounds.
4. Cockapoo (14 – 18 years): This furry, soulful mix of a poodle and cocker spaniel are not only intelligent and loyal, but also quite long-lived. Some of them even survive into their twenties.
3. Rattle Griffon (15 – 18 years): Wow. This miniature wookie looks like he walked right off the set of Star Wars. He’s not actually an alien, but he does have some age-defying powers as he’ll live as long as eighteen years.
2. Chihuahua (12 – 20 years): Even when they’re not dressed up as hot dogs, chihuahuas are pretty darn cute. And the best part is, they’ll live an impressive 12-20 years.
Flickr – Lisa Tiffany
1. New Guinea Singing Dog (15 – 20 years): This foxy dog gets its name from the unique sounds it makes. While it won’t likely make it into a choir any time soon, it does enjoy a healthy lifespan of 15-20 years!
San Diego Zoo
Now that you’re familiar with all the dogs that live the longest, let’s take a look at the ones who you might not want hanging around your household. After all, every pup deserves a loving home, but that home doesn’t necessarily have to be yours.
Pet Web MD
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
Brett Davies / Flickr
12. 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…
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
boosifur / Tumblr
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.