Study: Which breed of dog has the longest life expectancy?

The British Royal Veterinary College conducted a large-scale study to determine the life expectancy of dog breeds.

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The answer to this question is often complicated, although it is possible to get an idea by observing the statistical life expectancy of each breed of dog. However, you should know that statistical studies are not an absolute rule and a dog of a breed whose life expectancy is less than ten years can very well live up to twelve years, or even more. The lifespan of a dog is, in fact, influenced by many factors, including genetics, but also cultural.

The Jack Russell has the longest life expectancy

The British Royal Veterinary College conducted a large-scale study to determine the life expectancy for different breeds of dogs.The researchers used data from VetCompass, a database listing the records of nearly 20 million animals. First, they selected the 97,000 dogs that died between January 1, 2016 and July 31, 2020, before eliminating the two thirds who had an incomplete and insufficient file for the scientific study, such as those whose sex , age at death or vaccination or sterilization status were not mentioned. The cohort selected for the study ultimately comprised 30,563 dogs of 18 different breeds and one category of crossbreeds.

The aim of this study was to give the annual life expectancy of each breed of dog studied and not, like previous studies, the average life expectancy.

According to the results of this study, the Jack Russell breed is the one with the highest average life expectancy at birth among the breeds studied. This life expectancy is 12.72 years, while it is 12.54 for the Yorkshire, good second and 12.10 years for the Border Collie, third.The Spaniel and the Labrador are fourth and sixth with a life expectancy at birth exceeding 11 years, as are the next in the ranking, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Cocker Spaniel and the Shih-Tzu.

Factors that influence dog longevity

Although considered to be a determining factor, breed is not the only element that influences a dog's life expectancy. Other factors can affect the longevity of these animals.

Flat-faced dogs, for example, have a shorter lifespan. In this study, this type of dog had the lowest life expectancies. Thus, that of the American Bulldog is 7.79 years, that of the Pug 7.65 years and that of the French Bulldog 4.53 years.

The flat face and muzzle that characterize these breeds expose these dogs to “life-limiting disorders, such as respiratory problems, spinal problems and dystocia (difficulty giving birth)”, is it explained in the study.

Genetic factors are also discriminating in terms of the life expectancy of dogs, including within the same breed. In previous studies, it was found that a Golden Retriever has an average lifespan of 14.1 years in Japan, while in Denmark the average lifespan of a dog of the same breed is not than 10.5 years. These differences within the same breed are explained by genetics, because even if it is the same breed, the Japanese and Danish Golden Retrievers are of distant lines.

Other factors may be behind this disparity in dog breed life expectancies. Neutering, for example, increases dog life expectancy by an average of 10% and females live longer, with an average life expectancy of 11.41 years compared to 11.07 years for males.

This study, however, only offers a statistical overview of the life expectancy of dogs. "A statistic allows you to have an average that is correct, but there are many more nuances in all the data" , explains Dan O'Neill, one of the authors of the study.Thus, according to him, some Chihuahuas live to be 15 or 16 years old, while the average age at death within this breed is only 7.91 years.

Mutuals will no doubt be interested in this study to set up differentiated insurance rates according to dog breeds. These organizations use, in fact, mortality tables as a tool in the implementation of their policies and their tariffs.

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