Top 13 Breeds That Live the Longest

Perhaps you’ve heard of people said to be living in “blue zones,” those geographic areas where groups of people regularly live to be centenarians. Whether their longevity is genetic (hardwired) or whether their environment (climate, diet, stress levels, activity) factors into the equation is not completely certain.

Being asked which dogs live the longest is not quite as easy. There aren’t “blue zones” for dogs, and one must remember that all dogs—like people—can get sick and die, regardless of breed. Most dogs live between 8-13 years of age, not precluding illness shortening their lifespans.  Generally, smaller breeds of dogs mature more quickly and yet live the longest, an unusual paradox which is not fully understood. That said, some dogs do seem to live longer lives than most, and certain breeds, such as the following, are known for having longer lifespans.

Photo Thomas Pitera © American Kennel Club

#1 Pyrenean Shepherd
Life Expectancy: 17 – 19 years

A rare, medium-sized herding dog of the Pyrenees Mountains, the Pyrenean Shepherd can live to the late teens. They come in two varieties: rough-faced and smooth-faced. Both varieties have a longer body coat in colours of fawn, brindle, merle, black, and black with white markings. They are cheerful but with a strong work drive and herding instincts. They are loyal to owners but distrustful of strangers and make excellent watchdogs. Puppies need extensive socialization.

Photo a.chernyavsjaya/

#2 Shiba Inu
Life Expectancy: 13 – 16 years

The Shiba Inu is the smallest and oldest of the native breeds of Japan. Spirited, self-reliant, and independent, the Shiba Inu requires proper and consistent socialization and training.

Photo angie kerins ©american kennel club

#3  Azawakh
Life Expectancy: 12 – 15 years

This ancient, elegant sighthound hails from the Sudanese valley. Sensitive and independent, the Azawakh is selective in who they choose to let into their lives.

Photo Thomas Pitera ©American Kennel Club

#4 Dachshund
Life Expectancy: 12 – 16 years

Originally a German breed bred to be a badger hunter, Dachshunds have since become one of the most popular dogs in the world. Dachshunds are extremely intelligent, attuned to their environment, and can become easily distracted. They are great house and apartment dogs if given proper exercise, important especially when they are younger. Dachshunds come in three varieties of coat: smooth, longhaired, and wire coated. Miniatures exist in all three coat varieties, and they all come in many colours and colour combinations.

Photo anna-av/

#5 Toy Poodle
Life Expectancy: 10 – 18 years

Toy Poodles, the smallest variety of the Poodle breed (the others are Miniature and Standard), are intelligent, sensitive, and easy to train. They are sociable by nature and come in solid colours only. Their coats do require regular clipping to keep them looking their best. Poodles make outstanding house dogs and get along with other dogs in the home.

Photo Thomas Pitera ©American Kennel Club

#6 Chihuahua
Life Expectancy: 14 – 16 years

The Chihuahua comes in two varieties: smooth coat and longhaired. Among the smallest of all dog breeds, they make ideal companions but still need proper socialization and training for them not to become defensive, shy, or clingy.

PhotoThomas Pitera ©American Kennel Club

#7 Saluki
Life Expectancy: 10 – 17 years

One of the oldest hunting breeds from the Middle East, the Saluki is a spirited, elegant, dignified, and gentle but independent sighthound that comes in many colours and colour varieties. They make excellent house dogs once they mature, provided their athletic needs are fulfilled.

Photo Thomas Pitera ©American Kennel Club

#8 Papillon
Life Expectancy: 14 – 16 years

A continental lap dog favoured by Marie Antoinette, Papillons are extremely intelligent, athletic, happy, and outgoing. Papillon means “butterfly” in French, which describes the ears of this breed, although there is a drop-eared version (Phalene) as well.

Photo Angie Kerins ©American Kennel Club

#9 Shih Tzu
Life Expectancy: 10 – 18 years

This ancient toy Chinese breed is covered in long, silky hair requiring maintenance. Happy and affectionate, the Shin Tzu demands human companionship.

Photo adomir rezny/

#10 Manchester Terrier
Life Expectancy: 15 – 17 years

The Manchester Terrier is extremely loyal, alert, and always on the lookout. This medium-sized, short-haired, always black-and-tan breed is the oldest documented terrier breed developed as a rat hunter. There is also a Toy Manchester breed, similar in all ways except for size.

Photo Thomas Pitera ©American Kennel Club

#11 Chinese Crested
Life Expectancy: 13 – 18 years

This small breed comes in two varieties: hairless and powderpuff forms. The Chinese Crested bonds closely to owners but is more wary of strangers. They are of ancient Mexican and Chinese descent.

Photo Thomas Pitera ©American Kennel Club

#12  Schipperke
Life Expectancy: 12 – 14 years

This Belgian breed was used on barges as a watchdog. Today, these small, all-black dogs with prick ears and expressive faces make equally good watchdogs and companions in homes and apartments.

Photo Thomas Pitera ©American Kennel Club

#13 Rat Terrier
Life Expectancy: 12 – 18 years

The Rat Terrier is an all-purpose, small, short-haired terrier that has been used as a farm dog, watchdog, hunting dog, and overall companion. Rat Terriers are intelligent, loyal, athletic, and fun dogs.


This article originally appeared in the award-winning Modern Dog magazine. Subscribe today!

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