Small dogs with elongated snouts live the oldest, according to a study. Male dogs, i.e. male dogs, medium-sized breeds with flat snouts have the lowest life expectancy. This was the result of a British study published in the journal “Scientific Reports”.
The team led by Kirsten M. McMillan from the Dog Trust organization in London evaluated data from more than 580,000 dogs from over 150 breeds. Around half of the dogs had already died. Based on the guidelines of the Kennel Club, the umbrella organization of British dog breeders, the group divided the purebred animals into categories of size (small, medium, large) and head shape (short-headed, medium-length head, long-headed). Non-purebred dogs were not included in the first part of the study. The dogs’ median life expectancy was then calculated. The median describes the value that lies exactly in the middle of a data series ordered by size.
According to the experts, small purebred dogs with elongated skulls such as the miniature dachshund or Shetland sheepdog had the highest median life expectancy at 13.3 years. The study found that the popular Labrador dog breed had a median life expectancy of 13.1 years.
Survival advantage of females over males
Medium-sized dogs with flat skulls, such as the English bulldog, had the lowest median life expectancy at 9.1 years for male dogs and 9.6 years for female dogs. Short-headed, so-called brachycephalic breeds, which include the bulldog and the pug, are particularly susceptible to certain health risks. According to veterinary experts, the shortening of the facial skull caused by breeding can lead to, among other things, breathing problems.
Overall, female dogs had, on average, a slightly higher median life expectancy of 12.7 years than male dogs (12.4 years). The study thus supports the survival advantage of females over males in mammals, which has already been documented in science. In addition, according to the British research team's evaluations, purebred dogs had a higher median life expectancy of 12.7 years than mixed breeds (12.0 years). The results differ from previous findings.
Many older studies reported lower life expectancy in purebred dogs compared to mixed breed dogs. However, it must be noted that the British study ignores differences within the mixed race group. The group of mixed breeds includes both purebred crosses such as the Labradoodle from a Labrador and a Poodle, as well as dogs with unknown backgrounds.
The data used came from various British sources, including veterinarians, animal welfare organizations and animal insurance companies. The study recorded, among other things, race, gender, date of birth and, if applicable, date of death.