What Are the Longest Living Dog Breeds? These Dogs Often Live Into Their Teens

A Bichon Frisé happily chewing on a shoe.
A Bichon Frisé happily chewing on a shoe. Photography by LAURENT/SHUTTERSTOCK.

When we bring a new pup home, we know time is precious. Our dogs’ lifespans are short. I’ve had four German Shepherd Dogs over four decades. And if we love giant breeds like Saint Bernards or Newfoundlands, we may lose our beloved friend even sooner. Small breeds’ average lifespans are longer than those of large breeds. Some scientists connect it to rates of growth. And interestingly, within other species such as the mouse, horse or elephant, smaller varieties also live longer. So, what are the longest living dog breeds? Let’s hear from five breeds with longer-than-average dog lifespans, at least relative to their size.

1. Australian Cattle Dog

An Australian Cattle Dog may live into his teens.
Australian Cattle Dog. Photography courtesy Sherry Clark.

My name accurately describes me. I was developed in Australia to control cattle. I’m a robust, adaptable herder, capable of handling the roughest of livestock. Some people call me a Blue or Red Heeler because of my coloring and my instinct to nip the heels of stubborn livestock. My median lifespan is about 13 years, about a year or so more than other breeds in my weight class. Scientists and studies aside, I contend I live longer because I’m incredibly tough. When the grim reaper comes knocking at my door, I’m chase him off. If nothing else, I’ll nip at his heels and buy some time.

2. Pomeranian

Pomeranians have longer-than-average dog lifespans. Photography courtesy Diane Finch.
Pomeranian. Photography courtesy Diane Finch.

Descending from larger Spitz breeds and with a history of sheep herding behind me, today I’m a companion toy breed, weighing only some 3 to 7 pounds. Don’t let my size mislead you. Maybe because I was bred down from bigger breeds, you’ll find me a confident character with charisma to spare. Exuberant and affectionate, I’ll wow your world for some 13 to 15 years. Throughout my lifetime, you’ll find I generally excel in sports such as agility, rally, or obedience. I’ll also impress you with my improvisational climbing, jumping, or dancing skills at home.

3. Bichon Frise

A Bichon Frise is among the longest living dog breeds.
Bichon Frise, Tiki. Photography courtesy Becky Buchman.

Playful and gentle, I’m well known for my cheerfulness. I’m a small yet sturdy breed, weighing somewhere between 11 and 19 pounds. Fortunately for you, you’ll have me and my white-powdery beauty and sweet temperament around for a long time. My lifespan is about 12 to 13 years, but I frequently live into mid-teen years. As for my history, I was developed in the Mediterranean from Poodles and spaniels. We were a favorite trade item for sea merchants. Because sailors often gifted us to their ladies, we adopted the “Love Dog” nickname. You can also call me your curly lap dog, a loose translation of my name in French.

4. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas enjoy longer-than-average dog lifespans.
Chihuahua. Photography courtesy Barbara Jeleski.

My name stems from my ancestors’ popularity in Chihuahua, Mexico. Notice my proud, if not lordly qualities? I’m descended from ancient Techichi dogs, renowned for serving sacred religious purposes as well as warm companionship. Best yet, when I join your family, odds are we’ll share a long friendship. Weighing in at about 6 pounds, I’m one of the longest-living breeds. Our median doggie lifespan is some 14 or 15 years. A good number of us reach our upper teens. A few of us offer two full decades of passionate friendship!

5. Saluki

The Saluki is a dog that can grow old.
Saluki. Photography courtesy Sharon Walls, Saluki Club of America.

I’m an ancient, athletic, sight hound, developed in the Middle East to hunt. Egypt is my likely historical cradle. I typically weigh somewhere between 40 and 60 pounds; males are generally taller and larger. Renowned for extraordinary speed, sight and toughness, my ancestors were so treasured they were mummified. That’s bizarre, yet flattering. Refined and sensitive, I’ll attach closely to my family, sharing my life with them for some 12 to 14 years. Keep in mind that during all those years, I’ll need plenty of running space, on-leash walks and ideally a fenced yard. I doubt I’ll listen to you when I spot prey! Since I’m going to be around a long time, may I suggest open field coursing, agility, or lure coursing for our weekend activities? There’s always evening couch nuzzling on my schedule too…

Thumbnail: Photography by LAURENT/SHUTTERSTOCK.

Tell: In your opinion, what are the longest living dog breeds? How old was your dog when he passed away?

Read more about dog lifespans on Dogster.com:

20 thoughts on “What Are the Longest Living Dog Breeds? These Dogs Often Live Into Their Teens”

  1. I have a “Malchibor”. He’s Maltese, Chihuahua and border Collie. He is almost 15 and has cardiomyopathy, but he still is active and likes to go for walks with his younger sister age 9 a toy poodle.

  2. Emily A Boronkay

    We had a Pitbull, Great Dane, Boxer mix who lived to be 16 years old. He looked like the biggest Pitbull you ever laid eyes on, loved kids, and would chew through the fence to go play with the neighborhood children. He weighed over 100 pounds at his prime. Although he looked like a walking skeleton his last 2 years, the vet said he was good. He chewed through the fence one last time the week before he died at age 16.

  3. Lawrence Alan Glinzman

    We have a 19 year old Maltese who still runs around, eats, drinks, poops and plays. Aside from his teeth, nothing wrong with him.

  4. My shepherd /great Dane mix, Max was 14 years old. My min pin, Sweet William (willie) lived to 17yo. My Chihuahua, Edward the Terribly Cute (eddie) lived until 17 yo

  5. Lynn Hayner, author

    The Jack Russell is a hardy, relatively long lived breed–especially if from a healthy line. if you love Jacks, look for my Jack Russell breed profile coming out in Spring (with great photos too!) in our print Dogster magazine. I’ll even explain the distinction between the Parson Russell Terrier, the Russell Terrier, and the Jack Russell Terrier. (Whew!) Thank you for reading!

  6. I love adopting senior Chihuahuas. The one who lived the longest as adopted at 10 and lived to be almost 23. Two others, one adopted at 17, the other at 14, both lived to 19. My latest is a Chihuahua mix and was adopted as a youngster of around 7-8 years old. 5 years later, she’s still going strong.

  7. I have 2 Shih Tsu’s. Rescued them at an estimated two years old. They were together. they are now 14 years +. Both dogs don’t really seem that old. My male is a little slower these day… but my little lady looks and acts like a puppy. Love them both a pray I have them well into their teens.

  8. Most Shih Tsus live 10 to 16 years with an average life span of 13. I love my little Shiranian! Shih tsu-pomeranian mix.

  9. I had two American Eskimos. My female made it a few weeks shy of her 16th birthday and my male lived to a ripe age of 18 years old.

  10. We have an 11 yr. old Jack Russell Terrier who is still very lively & playful. How does their lifespan compare with other breeds?

    1. My Maggie, is 15 y.o. She is still lively and active. Loves to still play ball. But when I am in the recliner there she is by my side covered with our blanket !

  11. I have a Shih-tsu and I’m curious where they sit on the longevity scale. He was a rescue and as near as the vet could estimate, he is now about 4.5 years old now.

  12. I sure hope my two will be around that long. I have a Bichon and a Border Collie mix.
    They have me trained pretty well. You would have trouble controlling Jack when he sees people and other animals. He wants to make friends with every living thing he sees.
    He gets his agility runs in the house. His sister starts him up almost every time. She wants him to chase her around. Both are rescues Mandy was abused, hurt and abandoned and afraid but Jack had to be the mascot at the human shelter.

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