It’s devastating to lose a pet. In fact, psychologists have found that it can be just as hard as losing a human companion. So it’s only natural that dog lovers would want to adopt a pet they’ll have for a long time.
In general, smaller dogs tend to live longer. Chihuahuas, for example, are one of the longest-living breeds and can often live beyond the ripe old age of 15 – and a handful to age 20! (That’s well into their 90s in *small* dog years!) Alas, giant breeds like Great Danes only bless us with their majesty for about 8 years. It’s not fair, but there’s not much to be done about it.
With people starting to adopt more shelter pets – and those tending to be mixed breeds – “shopping” for a certain breed isn’t as common anymore. But there are still many people who trust reputable breeders and want a specific dog with a known pedigree.
So if you have your heart set on a certain breed and want more than 10 years of love and snuggles, we recommend looking for the following types of dogs (and adopting, not shopping, whenever possible!):
The diminutive Dachshund has one of the longest lifespans, with a median age of about 15 years.
Of course, like most purebreds, they can suffer from genetic and skeletal issues – Dachshunds are prone to back problems, specifically.
But if you keep your pup fit and lean, you have a good chance of spending the better part of two decades with one of these little guys.
2. Toy Poodles
Poodles are intelligent dogs that require a lot of training to reach their potential. The Toy Poodle is a smaller version of the original that can live 14-16 years, just like a Dachshund. Their maximum life expectancy is 18 years.
But they can come with conditions such as skin tumors, tracheal collapses, and cataracts due to the way they’ve been bred, so always do your research on a breeder before you commit.
And it helps to form a good relationship with a vet early in your dog’s life to keep track of issues.
You can expect to have your adorable beagle anywhere between 12-14 years and they tend to reach about 20 pounds of fun and love.
A small hunting hound dog, beagles are very popular in the U.S. because they’re smart and very friendly towards people and other animals.
Unfortunately, they tend to be prone to epilepsy (as do Dachsunds and Poodles). But this can be controlled with medication if you watch for the signs.
4. Lhasa Apsos
The Lhasa Apso is a 1000-year old breed that originated in the Buddhist monasteries of Tibet to alert the monks to intruders, so their hearing is great although without proper socialization they can be wary of strangers. They’re known for their majestic coats, which require frequent grooming.
The average lifespan of the fearless guard dogs is 12-15 years, but they can live to be 20 in rare cases (any dog living to be 20 is quite rare).
Most of the health issues they develop have to do with their eyes, which tend to be covered by their silky coats. It’s a breed you should only adopt if you’re committed to their careful grooming and training.
5. Australian Shepherd
If you’re wondering what medium-sized dogs make the long-lived list, the Australian Shepherd or “Aussie” lives to be 13-15. They’re inveterate herding dogs and loyal companions.
Aussies are great family dogs and some males can grow to be 70lbs! Because they’re smart and more easily trainable, they’re often used as search and rescue as well as therapy dogs.
Despite their breed name, they were actually bred in America starting in the 1840s to corral livestock.
Chihuahuas get a bad rap, but they’re some of the longest-lived dogs (and also the smallest breed). The life expectancy of this Mexican-bred mini ranges from 12-20 years old!
And like any other dog, they are generally well-behaved if they’re trained correctly, though Chihuahuas tend to be full of energy.
Because they’re fiercely loyal to whomever they consider their main caretaker to be, they can be a little overprotective of that specific person. That, combined with their small size and ability to be injured more easily – should make you think twice about introducing them into a home with small children.
7. Welsh Corgis
Welsh Corgis are actually comprised of two different breeds, the Pembroke (the one pictured above and also the breed favored by Queen Elizabeth) and the Cardigan. You can expect a Corgi to live about 12 years, but they can live up to 15 under the best of circumstances (though quality of life might be an issue).
The breed is prone to being overweight, which can result in painful skeletal issues, so owners need to make sure they get enough exercise.
Thought to have originated on the Mediterranean island of Malta, the Maltese breed lives to be roughly 12-15 years old.
But treat this dog like the wise, ancient creature it is – this breed has been around for thousands of years. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans were fascinated by them.
And, like any other dog, if they get the training, attention, and exercise they need, they don’t become “barkers.”
Unfortunately, they are more prone to a neurological condition called white shaker dog syndrome which causes seizures. While some dismiss this as the tiny dogs simply shaking because they’re scared or anxious, it’s a condition that can only be treated by a vet.
9. Yorkshire Terriers
The bold little Yorkshire Terrier can be raised with long or short hair, depending on your grooming preferences, but their coats can be silk, soft, or wiry.
Expect to care for this dog anywhere between 13 and 16 years. Despite the fact that their size makes some men think they’re not “real dogs,” they tend to bond better with men.
Another medium-sized dog with a longer lifespan, these herding dogs live for roughly 10-14 years.
Thanks to cultural icons such as Lassie, Collies are one of the most recognizable breeds in the world.
Luckily, they make great pets and are intelligent and loyal by nature. They’re also generally healthy dogs if they’re bred with care, though they can develop eye and hip problems.
Cockapoos are mixed breed dogs that don’t quite fall into the “mutt” category – in fact, they were among the first “designer dogs” ever created back in the 1950s. They blend the characteristics of Cocker Spaniel breeds and Poodles.
Unfortunately, because they are so popular, they’re often bred in puppy mills and backyard breeder situations so buyers should beware and report bad breeders to The Humane Society.
Cockapoos tend to have kneecap and hip issues and unethical breeding can make these conditions worse since breeders only care about the number of animals they can breed rather than the quality.
If the dogs are healthy, they can live between 13 and 16 years, although some sites claim they can live to be 20 (a claim that is often thrown around about many breeds but is actually incredibly rare and involves a great amount of luck). Think of 18 as the upper age limit.
12. Jack Russell Terriers
These little creatures were bred as hunting dogs and never quite lost their instincts. While they’re happy and energetic pups, they can rarely be in the house with another Jack Russell of the same sex due to aggression issues.
They do, however, make great guard dogs and can live to be 14 to 16 years old, so it’s worth training them well as puppies.
13. Shih Tzus
Plan for 10 to 16-year commitment if you’re going to adopt one of these little Tibetan-bred pups. They can even live up to 18 years with luck and good care, though they’re generally considered senior dogs at the age of 9.
They’re a bit lazy and love to lounge on the couch, so they’re prone to being overweight, but you can keep your little pup healthy with the right amount of exercise.
14. Miniature Schnauzer
These unique little dogs were originally bred in Germany in the 19th century and typically live 12-15 years.
They both enjoy and need exercise, so if you live a sedentary lifestyle or don’t have space for them to run, they may not be the perfect breed for you.
While they require some care and grooming to be at their best, they are a low-shedding animal and are considered great family dogs.
15. Shetland Sheepdog
Shetland Sheepdogs or “Shelties” are sometimes mistaken for Collies because of their coloring and face shape and the fact that they are both herding breeds.
Like Collies, Shelties are extremely smart and do well at agility training. Hip dysplasia is the most common issue in overbred dogs, which can get expensive to treat, so it’s important to find a reputable breeder.
But, if you’ere lucky, you’ll have this beautiful and loyal companion for 12 to 13 years.
Unfortunately, a lot can happen over the course of a dog’s life and many don’t live to see their oldest years.
But if you’re lucky and you take good care of your pet, you can spend a decade or more with some of the mid-sized and smaller breeds.
Just remember that it’s important to find a reputable breeder through official organizations like the AKC.
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