LONDON — Dogs may be man’s (and woman’s) best friend — but which breed of dog you choose as your companion could have an impact on how many years you end up spending together.
A major study published in the Journal Scientific Reports last week looked at almost 600,000 dogs from over 150 breeds and crossbreeds in Britain to assess “variation in life expectancy between breeds” — and found that life expectancy can differ hugely.
According to the study, the median life expectancy of all dogs is about 12.5 years — but when it comes to longevity, which breed is top dog? Take our quiz to find out more, and then scroll to the bottom to see a table of all the dog breeds they studied.
Illustration showing a Caucasian Shepherd Dog, a Tibetan spaniel, a Golden Retriever and a French Bulldog
Question 1 of 5
Which of these dog breeds has the longest average life span?
Illustration showing one dog with a short nose and one with a long tail, long tongue and short legs
Question 2 of 5
The study found that one of the following attributes is associated with a shorter life span in dogs. Which one?
Illustration showing a large and a small dog
Question 3 of 5
Larger dogs tend to live longer than smaller dogs. True or False?
Which dogs live longer on average -male dogs or female dogs?
Question 4 of 5
Which dogs live longer on average — male dogs or female dogs?
Illustration showing two dogs looking at each other
Question 5 of 5
Do crossbred dogs live longer than purebred dogs?
McMillan, who has two pet dogs — a Border Collie and a Labrador Retriever — said she hoped the study would become a “catalyst” for professional breeders and government officials globally to look further into why some dogs are not living longer and acknowledge that certain groups may need more investigation.
Chart showing the average life expectancy of different dog breeds
The study comes with some caveats — the data on the 584,734 dogs was collected from a range of sources, and could be affected by representation bias.
However McMillan, who describes the study as the biggest of its kind so far in Britain, hopes the findings will kick-start more research. “We are providing clear evidence that some breeds or groupings are not doing very well, and they do have an increased risk of living shorter lives.”
She stresses that pet owners should bear in mind individual dogs’ life spans vary hugely based on their human-led environments, including their diet, exercise, lifestyle and how much owners invest in them.
Ultimately, she hopes the study will empower pet owners to make more informed decisions about the commitments of looking after a dog, and will act “as a catalyst for others,” including researchers, vets, breeders and policymakers, to “move toward improving the lives of our canine companions.”
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Illustration of a dog lying down