Napo logo

10 of the longest-living dog breeds in the world

Written by Napo HQ
Reviewed by Dr Louisa Lane
11th May 2022
6 min read
Summary
The average life expectancy for dogs is up to 13-14 years, but some breeds buck the trend and live into their late teens and twenties. Rehoming or buying one of these 10 longest-living dog breeds could give you longer with your furry friend. You can also maximise any dog’s lifespan by feeding them a balanced diet, providing plenty of exercise, and keeping them at a healthy weight.
Dogs are the most “phenotypically diverse” species on the planet, which is the smart way of saying they come in all different shapes, sizes, and colours. But another way that dogs can vary is their lifespan.
A dog’s physical characteristics, breed, and genetics can influence their lifespan for better or worse.
Typically big dogs
don't live as long
as small ones. The “mountain” group of dogs live shorter than average lives. And brachycephalic dogs and some pedigree dogs with high levels of inbreeding have
a greater need for veterinary care
and don’t have as long or healthy lives.
That study found Bulldogs were one of the shortest-living dog breeds and
a recent paper
found French Bulldogs had the shortest life expectancy of just 4.5 years.
Meanwhile, dogs with
lower body weights live longer
than heavier dogs, and
neutered dogs
usually
live longer
than intact dogs.
Even gender plays a part, as female dogs often
live longer
than male ones.
There’s a lot to consider before
adopting
or
buying a dog
, and how healthy and long-lived they are should be a part of that. So what are some of the longest-living dog breeds?

1. Toy & Miniature Poodles

The smaller breeds of Poodle became popular for their intelligence, apartment-friendly size, and non-shed coat.
Another big benefit of these little dogs is their long lives, which go well into their mid to late teens.
The Miniature Poodle was the top dog in studies on canine lifespans
in the UK
and the US, and the Toy Poodle wasn’t far behind.
  • Size:
    Small
  • Temperament:
    Smart, lively, affectionate
  • Daily exercise:
    1 hour
  • Life expectancy:
    13-15 years

2. West Highland White Terrier

The Westie might only have an average lifespan of
12.7 years
, but many of these snow-white dogs live into their mid to late teens, if not longer.
One of the oldest-living dogs in the world is a Westie called “Sugaray” who is approaching his 21st birthday.
  • Size:
    Small
  • Temperament:
    Friendly, independent, alert
  • Daily exercise:
    1 hour
  • Life expectancy:
    12-15 years

3. Yorkshire Terrier

Petite and pretty Yorkshire Terriers are fragile, which can cut their lives short, bringing down their average lifespan to 14-15 years.
However, it’s not uncommon to see these small dogs live into their late teens and twenties with the right care.
  • Size:
    Small
  • Temperament:
    Alert, confident, independent
  • Daily exercise:
    45-60 minutes
  • Life expectancy:
    13-15 years

4. Lakeland Terrier

The Lakeland Terrier is another feisty northern breed with a long life.
These tenacious terriers tend to cross the rainbow bridge at 15.5 years, although individuals have been known to reach their 18th birthday.
  • Size:
    Small
  • Temperament:
    Confident, friendly, intelligent
  • Daily exercise:
    1 hour
  • Life expectancy:
    14-18 years

5. Chihuahua

The Chihuahua’s average lifespan is only a few months better than average because their small size can make them vulnerable to accidents.
However, many Chihuahuas live into their late teens and twenties, making this confident little canine one of the longest-living dog breeds as well as one of the smallest.
In fact, the oldest living dog in the world is
a Chihuahua called "TobyKeith
".
  • Size:
    Small
  • Temperament:
    Bold, lively, devoted
  • Daily exercise:
    30-45 minutes
  • Life expectancy:
    13-18 years

6. Swedish Vallhund

The striking Swedish Vallhund looks like a wolf crossed with a Corgi, and it’s one of the hardiest and longest-living dog breeds on the planet.
Their minimum age of death is higher than almost any other breed, they tend to live for 15 years, and many dogs make it to their late teens.
  • Size:
    Small
  • Temperament:
    Friendly, active, brave
  • Daily exercise:
    1 hour
  • Life expectancy:
    14-18 years

7. Bearded Collie

Bearded Collies are the biggest breed on this list and another active herding breed.
These dogs regularly appear in studies on
the longest-living dog breeds
, with almost every pooch making it into their teens.
The best-kept Bearded Collies have been known to celebrate 19 birthdays before crossing the rainbow bridge.
  • Size:
    Medium
  • Temperament:
    Intelligent, active, hardy
  • Daily exercise:
    1-2 hours
  • Life expectancy:
    13-15 years

8. Border Terrier

If you couldn’t already tell, terriers dominate this list of long-living dogs, and the scruffy Border Terrier is no exception.
Many of these plucky pooches make it to their late teens and twenties. So with a healthy lifestyle and a lot of love, you could spend more than two decades with your beloved Border.
  • Size:
    Small
  • Temperament:
    Affectionate, cheerful, bright
  • Daily exercise:
    1 hour
  • Life expectancy:
    14-15 years

9. Tibetan Spaniel

Tibetan Spaniels tend to live 3.5 years longer than the average for all dogs, and many make it to their late teens.
However, their
brachycephalic nature
does make them prone to a few more health problems than other long-lived dog breeds.
  • Size:
    Small
  • Temperament:
    Independent, spirited, bright
  • Daily exercise:
    30-60 minutes
  • Life expectancy:
    13-15 years

10. Jack Russell Terrier

In one of the most
recent studies
on canine life expectancy, the Jack Russell Terrier was the top dog. They had the longest lifespan throughout their life, and individuals often reach an astonishing 19 years old.
  • Size:
    Small
  • Temperament:
    Intelligent, energetic, stubborn
  • Daily exercise:
    60 minutes
  • Life expectancy:
    13-15 years

Do crossbreed dogs live longer?

Across multiple studies, mixed breeds and crossbreeds often came out on top as some of the healthiest and longest-living dogs.
If you check out
the oldest dogs on record
, more of them are mutts, mongrels, crossbreeds, and strays than any breed.
This doesn’t just mean crosses like
Cockapoos
, these are dogs with multiple breeds and bloodlines which creates “hybrid vigour”. This makes crosses less prone to certain medical conditions and genetic diseases.

How to help your dog live longer

Although you might not pick what breed your dog is based on how long they might live, you’ll certainly want to do everything you can to make sure your pet lives a long, happy, healthy life.
The strongest influence on a dog’s lifespan is their body weight. Typically the lower their body weight, the longer they live.
Obesity leads to
a shorter life and increased health issues
. Meanwhile, lean dogs
live 2 years longer
than obese ones and stay healthy and active for longer.
Keeping your dog at a normal weight will give you more quality time with your canine companion.
Regular exercise will help to prevent your pooch from piling on the pounds, but it can also help your dog to live longer too because there's a
a potential link
with higher energy expenditure with a longer lifespan. (That would explain why lively little Terriers and herding breeds tend to live so long!)
Looking after your pet
and practising preventative care like routine wellness checks with the vet,
regular teeth cleaning
, and vaccinations can also prevent illness. That means fewer stressful (
and expensive
) vet visits and a longer, healthier, and more active life for your furry friend.