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Why do small dogs live longer than big dogs?

  1. #1
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    Question Why do small dogs live longer than big dogs?


    I read somewhere there is known to be a direct connection between breed size and breed longevity. At my vet's office, there is an age comparison chart in all of the exam rooms that shows differences in dogs based on weight ranges. I never looked at that part because I only adopt cats, but it is clear dog year measurements stop earlier for each weight range, verifying what I read online. This is not about obesity, but breed size differences. - like a golden retriver will live 13 years and a Chihuaha lives 18 years, etc. Does anyone know what causes this size/lifespan discrepency?
    An inside cat is a safe cat.

  2. #2
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    What you have written is correct, CM. As a general rule, larger dogs don't live as long as smaller ones. But this is only a general rule and there are exceptions and other factors apart from size. Australian Shepherds (the dogs, not human shepherds in Australia, haha!) are quite big, but live to 15 usually. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is classed as a toy dog, but lifespan (at 9 to 14 years) is shorter than bigger spaniels. So it is not that straightforward. Also, cross breeds live longer than pure breeds.

    I am truly fortunate to have a cockapoo, which is a mixed breed and has a good life expectancy at 16 years. He was a rescue dog from a local shelter and I would always choose a crossbred dog if possible.

    Here are two good pages, which might help you, CM:
    https://www.cesarsway.com/about-dogs...ve-the-longest
    and
    https://www.caninejournal.com/life-expectancy-of-dogs

    As to the "Why?", more research is needed, but the latest view is that larger breeds grow more quickly and this in turn causes accelerated ageing. There is a brief article here:
    https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-care/l...er-isnt-better

    I hope that this goes a little way to answering your question.

  3. #3
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    Thank you.
    An inside cat is a safe cat.

  4. #4
    Well this isn't a scientific reason but more a logical one, is that we tend to treat smaller things more fragile and it kind of applies with animals too unfortunately. Most people who have big dogs think that they're 'strong, resilient, easy to maintain, able to take care of itself, etc' and when it comes to tiny dogs we're all like 'aww, look at this cute thing that I'm going to watch closely from now on because he's too tiny to look after himself'.

    Your result? The bigger dog that's often left alone has the freedom to run around, picking whatever germs, bacteria, toxic non-food, etc up in the process, while your little pup is so well sheltered that even a sneeze from him would send the owner flying to the vet.

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    ^

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    The Bernese Mountain Dog live an average of only 7 years. They can get to over 100 pounds and often have hip problems, arthritis, etc. They are sweet and friendly dogs though, I see many of them at the park.


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    the scotish deerhound and the great dane have the shortest lifespan of any breeds. The great dane is so prone to bloat that when they are spayed they tack down the stomach so it can't flip.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

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    On the other hand, there is the new Pocketwatch Poodle. Fits in your shirt pocket, and lives 30 years.

  9. #9
    WOW!!!
    I do a podcast about pets with my sister called: FurBalls & DogBones - A great resource for all things pets!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dog Force One View Post
    On the other hand, there is the new Pocketwatch Poodle. Fits in your shirt pocket, and lives 30 years.

  11. #11
    So cool!

  12. #12
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    Hmm good question, I wonder if due to their larger size more pressure on the joints and larger organs could help play a part in their shorter lifespans.

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    Chances are more pressure on the joints occurs in overweight dogs no matter what breeds are in their DNA.
    An inside cat is a safe cat.

  14. #14
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    Hmmm. Big cats such as Maine Coons and Ragdolls mature more slowly than kitties half their size.
    An inside cat is a safe cat.

  15. #15
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    This is actually quite an interesting subject considering larger animal species tend to live longer than smaller ones (e.g. shrew: 1 year, bowhead whale 200 years), but we see the inverse in dogs. This inverse relationship of body mass and lifespan has also been noted in humans and lab rats, but in no other species is this inverse relationship so obvious.

    Body mass influences biology and is a trait that can be correlated with an animals maximum lifespan potential, having an impact on metabolic rate, maturation and growth. Metabolic rate and maximum lifespan potential may be linked to oxidative stress (anti-oxidative defences), mitochondrial efficiency (rates of O2 and H2O2 production) and other physiological influences that may impact on maximum lifespan potential.

    In the case of the dog it seems selective breeding over time for phenotypic traits such as body size has accelerated physiological aging, independent of the effect of body size alone. Although the mechanisms for the precise reason for this phenomenon are not well understood, it seems it’s largely the genetic make-up of the dogs’ breed, particularly as this problem is more evident in purebreds than in mixed breeds. The breeding of purebred dogs for desirable traits may have served to increase and multiply injurious recessive mutations, although this alone may not explain the correlation of body mass and lifespan fully.
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