Which dogs live the longest? Small ones with long noses

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Which dogs live the longest? Small ones with long noses

PARIS — According to recent research findings, small dog breeds like whippets and miniature dachshunds exhibit comparatively longer lifespans than larger flat-faced breeds such as English bulldogs.

The research, drawing upon information gathered from over 500,000 dogs in the United Kingdom, is intended to provide guidance to individuals considering dog ownership by assisting them in selecting a breed known for longevity and good health.

Lead author Kirsten McMillan, data manager at UK charity Dogs Trust, said it was the first study to look at how life expectancy varies across such a broad range of factors, including breed, size, face shape and gender.

“A medium-sized, flat-face male like an English bulldog is nearly three times more likely to live a shorter life than a small-sized, long-faced female, like a miniature dachshund or an Italian greyhound,” she told AFP.

Out of more than 150 breeds and crossbreeds across the UK, the median life expectancy for all dogs was 12.5 years.

However, for French bulldogs – the breed that claimed the top spot in popularity in the United States according to the American Kennel Club last year – the average lifespan was only 9.8 years.

Prior studies have indicated that the compact, shortened noses of flat-faced dogs, commonly known as brachycephalic breeds, may contribute to their resemblance to human infants, thereby enhancing their appeal to their owners due to their perceived cuteness.

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But those short noses also cause significant breathing problems.

Mr. Dan O’Neill, who serves as the chair of the campaign organization known as the Brachycephalic Working Group, emphasized that the study has shed even more light on the significant health and welfare challenges faced by these widely favored breeds.

“It is crucial that the public prioritises health over what they might think looks ‘cute’ and we urge anyone considering getting a flat-faced breed to stop and think,” he said.


The research, which was recently published in the esteemed journal Scientific Reports, revealed that among the various dog breeds studied, Lancashire heelers exhibited the highest life expectancy with a median of 15.4 years. This was closely followed by Tibetan spaniels, with a median lifespan of 15.2 years, and miniature dachshunds at 14 years.

French bulldogs, classified as the most favored breed in the United States by the American Kennel Club in the previous year, boast an average lifespan of 9.8 years.

Labradors, the most popular breed in the UK, scored 13.1 years.

Female dogs typically have a slightly longer lifespan than male dogs, with an average life expectancy of 12.7 years as opposed to 12.4 years for males.

The study also found that pure breeds lived a little longer than crossbreeds — the opposite finding of previous research.

One possible explanation for this trend could be attributed to the rise of what is often referred to as the “age of customized breeds”, where intentionally bred combinations like labradoodles, cockapoos, and pomskies are gaining popularity as stated by Ms. McMillan.

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When contemplating the purchase or adoption of a dog, it is crucial to understand that certain breeds may require more frequent visits to the veterinarian, as pointed out by Ms. McMillan.

But vet bills aside, a bigger consideration is the love and affection potential owners will invest in their hairy companions.

“These animals are members of our family,” Ms McMillan said.

“We want to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to provide them with a long, happy and healthy life.” AFP

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