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New study challenges common belief on dog lifespan: Prepare for surprising findings

New study challenges common belief on dog lifespan: Prepare for surprising findings Scientists have found out how long dogs of different breeds live (Collage by RBC-Ukraine)
Author: Daria Shekina

In the UK, a large-scale study on the lifespan of dogs of different breeds was conducted. The study involved over 500,000 dogs and examined various breeds, sizes, facial shapes, and other factors.

RBC-Ukraine reports on the findings of the study, according to an article in the journal Nature.

A study has shown that small and long-nosed dogs tend to live the longest, while large and flat-nosed dogs have shorter lifespans.

These findings may help pet owners, animal shelters, breeders, and policymakers make more informed decisions regarding the health and well-being of dogs.

Lead study author Kirsten McMillan, a data scientist at the London-based animal welfare organization Dogs Trust, states that the findings allow them to improve the lives of companion dogs.

According to the study, dogs typically live between 10 and 13.7 years. However, like with humans, the lifespan of dogs varies significantly depending on a range of factors, from genetics to lifestyle and size. The researchers wanted to study these characteristics on a large scale and see if any patterns emerged.

To do this, they gathered data from breed registries, veterinarians, pet insurance companies, animal welfare charities, and universities.

In the end, their dataset included information on 584,734 dogs residing in the UK. Of these, approximately half, 284,734 individuals, had passed away. Their sample included purebred and mixed-breed dogs.

The team found that the average lifespan of all dogs in the sample was 12.5 years. Females generally live slightly longer than males, with an average lifespan of 12.7 years for females compared to 12.4 years for males.

When the team examined size and facial shape, they found that smaller and long-nosed dogs tend to live longer than large and flat-nosed dogs. For example, miniature dachshunds, which are both small and long-nosed, had an average lifespan of 14 years, compared to just 9.8 years in French Bulldogs, which are medium-sized dogs with flat noses.

Flat-faced, or brachycephalic, dogs have many known health issues, including breathing problems and heat intolerance, but it remains unclear whether these risk factors contribute to premature death.

Among the 155 purebred breeds included in the dataset, Lancashire Heelers typically live the longest, with an average lifespan of 15.4 years. Behind them were Tibetan Spaniels (15.2 years), Bolognese (14.9 years), Shiba Inu (14.6 years), and Papillons (14.5 years), among others.

Breeds with the shortest lifespans included Caucasian Shepherds (5.4 years), Canary Dogs (7.7 years), and Cane Corsos (8.1 years).

One unexpected finding was that purebred dogs generally live longer than mixed breeds: the average lifespan of purebred dogs was 12.7 years, compared to 12 years for mixed breeds.

This contrasts with the long-held belief that mixed-breed dogs live longer than purebred dogs because they have more genetic variation.

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