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13 Long-living dog breeds

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkies live 14 to 16 years. Don’t let the look of these feisty terriers fool you. While this popular breed is often pampered today, people used their ancestors to hunt rats. Little dogs tend to live a lot longer than larger breeds. Big dogs, it seems, just age faster. It may be because they have more growth hormones.


Curly-haired poodles can be big or small. Toy-sized ones live 12 to 14 years, and the larger standards live about 12 to 15. The little dogs can easily get underfoot. In fact, accidents are a leading cause of death for poodles. So be on the lookout for your four-legged friend.


This elegant breed, which has a life span of 12 to 14 years, has been around for 28 centuries. Ancient Egyptians may have worshipped the dogs, and Greek and Roman philosophers wrote about them. With their long, silky white hair and gentle manner, it’s hard to believe the Maltese, too, once hunted rats.

Miniature Schnauzer

Just 12 to 14 inches tall, miniature Schnauzers are sturdy, muscular dogs that typically live 12 to 14 years. Because the breed tends to live long and love kids, it’s a great pick for family pets. These dogs can be prone to pancreatitis caused by high levels of fat in their blood, so he may need a special diet.

Boston Terrier

These smart little show-offs love to play. Young at heart, they usually live about 14 years. They may reel you in with their large eyes, but those peepers need protection. They stick out from their face, making it easier for the sun, wind, and dust to harm them. The Boston Terrier Club of America suggests buying your dog a visor.

Shih Tzu

Almost unknown in the Western world until the 20th century, shih tzus were favorites of royalty in China’s Ming Dynasty. These hardy little charmers usually live 11 to 14 years. They don’t have many health problems other than skin irritations. Be sure to keep your dog well groomed.


Who can resist lovable “wiener dogs”? Long-haired, wire-haired, or smooth, these playful pups usually live 12 to 14 years. In the Middle Ages, Germans used dachshunds to hunt. Their long, low bodies were perfect for ducking into badger dens. Protect that long back from problems: Keep your dachshund lean, and don’t let him jump off high furniture.


Beagles are curious, smart, and guaranteed to keep you entertained. This lovable, vocal breed lives 12 to 14 years. With their great sense of smell, they love to eat, so be careful not to overfeed your beagle. Extra pounds can shorten any dog’s life.

Shetland Sheepdog

Farmers raised these dogs to herd animals on the Shetland Islands near Scotland. Because of their small size, they ate less and lived longer than other dogs. Today’s Shelties live 12 to 14 years. Pay attention to their teeth, which are prone to infections that can lead to kidney failure.

Labrador Retriever

Labs are the most popular breed in America. Fortunately, they’re also one larger-sized breed that lives a long time — 10 to 12 years. Energetic Labs love to play, so they’re likely to keep you young, too! Like other large dogs, they’re prone to hip problems, which can be painful. So be mindful of your dog’s back end as he ages.


The Chihuahua, the smallest recognized breed, traces its roots back to the 9th century. Their ancestors were beloved by people of Central America. The mighty mites live as long as 14 to 18 years. Bred in warm climates, Chihuahuas don’t do well in the cold. Given their small size, they may not be the right breed for young, active kids.


With their big eyes and flat snouts, pugs have the funniest faces. They live 12 to 15 years, so be ready for a long-term relationship. Pugs don’t do well in heat, and they’re big shedders. Also, these eager eaters can get fat if you’re not careful. They may be high maintenance, but pug fans love this loyal breed, snorts and all.

Mixed breeds

Mixed-breed dogs live an average of 14 years. Overall, purebreds live an average of nearly 10 years. The difference may be because dogs bred to meet standards sometimes pass along problems in their genes, too. It’s hard to predict how long a mixed-breed dog will live, but your mutt is certain to be one-of-a-kind and probably a lot less expensive. –


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