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Top 10 Shortest Living Dog Breeds

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Some dogs live more than 15 years, others, are not so lucky. That does not mean you should not these breeds.

Shortest living dog breeds

What it does mean is you should be extra careful when caring for them. And expect them to leave your life sooner. That is the reality. The shortest living dog breeds live between 6 and 9 years on average.

There is nothing wrong with these breeds. It is just life. Usually, dogs that have shorter lifespan are large dog breeds. Their size puts a toll on their body, and it gives up sooner rather than later.

Factors that determine canine longevity

As mentioned previously, size is the biggest factor when it comes to how long your dog will live. On average, large dog breeds do not cross the 10 years threshold. In fact, only 13% of large dog breeds live longer than 10 years.

On the other side, you have small dog breeds, 40% of which live 10 years or more. Some small dogs live 15 dogs on average. According to experts, the main reason small dogs live longer is that their internal organs do not have to work as hard to function.

Genetics, gender, and spraying and neutering also play a role. Same as humans, dogs are prone to hereditary diseases. It is crucial that you get a puppy from healthy parents, and a certified breeder, to ensure a long lifespan of your dog.

Spraying and neutering are considered ways to prolong your dog’s longevity. Spaying and neutering help prevent cancer and other problems associated with the reproductive organs.

Some breeds, are also prone to certain diseases. For example, the Golden Retriever, one of the most popular dog breeds in the world according to the American Kennel Club, is prone to cancer. Gender plays a role, and female dogs live longer than their male counterparts.

Another big problem is in-breeding, specifically in purebred dogs. In-breeding causes serious health issues. That is not a problem in mixed breeds, and they often live longer than pure breed dogs.

Last, but not least, dental health and dental hygiene are essential for long and happy life. Dogs chew toys and foods to keep their teeth healthy.

If your dog’s oral hygiene is poor, he might be susceptible to bacteria, viruses, and similar problems. Oral bacteria can travel through the bloodstream, and cause all sort of problems.

10 Shortest Living Dog Breeds

Scottish Deerhound

Scottish Deerhound

Called the Royal Dog of Scotland, this hound type dog can live up to 9.5 years on average . While that is a long lifespan for a large dog, the problem is after four or five years, he transforms in a large lap and couch dog.

This large breed of the hound was once bred to hunt the Red Deer by coursing. His appearance is similar to the Greyhound. However, he is larger, and has more heavily boned body with a rough coat.

The good news is that the dog is quite active as a puppy. But once he passes adulthood, he goes to your couch, and does not want to leave that place.



This domestic and family pet dog was known as a butcher’s dog in Germany. Their main use was to herd livestock and pull cards with meat to the market. Nowadays, the Rottie is a perfectly loving, playful, and affectionate family dog.

The Rottie is a strong dog with a high energy level. But his energy levels can also go down to couch potato level. When he is active, the Rottweiler loves a large yard to run and roam around. Another downside of the Rottweiler is that he is prone to cancer.

The Rottweiler is the most popular pet dog on this list. He ranks in the top 10 according to the American Kennel Club.

On average, the Rottweiler lives 9 to 10 years.

Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard

A dog of his size definitely has troubles moving from point A to point B. The Saint Bernard can weigh up to 180 pounds. Famous for saving and rescuing humans from the wind and snow of the Swiss Alps, the breed was popularized thanks to the movie Beethoven.

He might look big and scary, but the St Bernard is gentle, and has a kind heart. And you can train him to bring you stuff. For example, train him to bring you beer from the fridge.

Calm, sensible, and patient, St Bernard is good with other dogs and animals. These large dogs make great family dogs.



Another gentle giant on the list of shortest living dog breeds, the Newfoundland is the dog of Canada. They come in different colors, including black, brown, or white and black. Just for info, the most common color coat is black.

While he is gentle and calm, he can be aggressive with other male dogs. The Newfoundland has a dominant nature and character, but he is also shy. Excessive shyness is common among the breed. He is not a pushover to train, but has an independent streak.

The breed was popularized as a natural babysitter in Peter Pan. And there is a reason for that. The dog has all the instincts to take care of your babies and kids.



The Bullmastiff is a large dog that was bred by crossing Mastiff and Bulldog. As a result, you get a large-sized domestic dog that has a solid build. Good with children, they have a protective nature, and they can be alert towards strangers if they move close to the people the dog is guarding.

While his size might fool you, the Bullmastiff is kind and gentle. And he is a low-energy dog. Adapts well to most home environments. He is, however, best suited for a house with a fenced yard.

Most of the problems come from the fact he has a short muzzle. That means respiratory issues, and trouble breathing. You have to make sure he is cool, especially in the warm days.

On average, the Bullmastiff can live up to 9 years.

Great Dane

Great Dane

The Great Dane is the tallest dog in the world. They hold the Guinness World Record. This dog looks scary at first sight. But he is so sweet and loves to play. Loyal companions, the Great Dane lives between 8 and 9 years on average.

Their height is what makes them recognizable, but also their downfall. The reason why many Great Danes die young is because they have more IGF-1 factor, or growth hormone. Their high concentration of growth hormone is their downfall.

These large dogs have probably the shortest lifespan in the canine world. This is one of the reasons why you can also find some mixes. Crossing Great Dane with other puppies results in longer lifespan.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

Very similar in appearance to the Bernese mountain dog, the origin is the difference. Developed in the Swiss Alps, the name of the dog, Sennenhund, actually refers to people who are dairymen and herders in the Swiss Alps.

Known also as the Swissy, this sweet and gentle dog loves to play and please his owner. The breed excels in dog sports, including agility training, and weight pulling. His heritage as an all-around working dog helps the dog excel in every task you throw at him.

In the same time, the dog is quite smart and intelligent. However, they can also be stubborn. Do not worry, their loyal personality will make up for it. On average, the Swissie can live up to 8 years.



The Mastiff, or better known as the English Mastiff, is the parent to the Bullmastiff. An extremely large dog, you will find it they do not have short muzzle as their Bullmastiff successors.

Some dog experts believe the Mastiff descends from ancient dogs, and the Alpine Mastiff in the 19th century. Their roots date back 5,000 years. Weighing over 200 pounds in average, the large size is what contributes to the short lifespan.

The Mastiff can live up to 8 years on average. Dogue de Bordeauxs, or French Mastiff, is another large dog breed, with a life expectancy between 5 and 8 years.

Irish Wolfhound

Irish Wolfhound

This dog has served as inspiration in literature, poetry, and mythology. Famed as guardian dog, the bred specialized in protection against and the hunting of wolves. Originating from Ireland, this is another big dog that has size as his downfall.

But during his lifespan, which averages 7 years, the Irish Wolfhound will fill his owner’s day with admiration, love, and kisses. He gets along with everyone, including kids, people, and other dogs. With early socialization and training, he will be gracious toward other dogs.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

This breed excels in colder weather. Resembling small bears, the Bernese Mountain dog has a great temperament. They are devoted to their families. The only problem is their life expectancy, which is between 6 and 8 years.

The dog is eager to please, and will welcome any task or job you throw at him. Their history as herding dogs makes them good watchdogs as well.

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3 Responses

  1. My adult son and I are planning on getting a Dogue de Bordeaux. We have very seriously researched this breed and are aware of its longevity (or lack of) but this dog will still be loved so very much. Thank you for your input.

  2. I have a two year old Dogue. He is so affectionate, you won’t regret it. Drooling is a big issue, so hopefully you won’t mind having brown walls from every time he shakes his head. If you have wooden floors, you better get rugs because in less than one year they will be all scratched and you’ll have to resurface them. Did I mention that he drools a lot? You’ll need rags. He doesn’t do well with heat, so you’ll need to make sure he has plenty of water and don’t take him out when it’s too hot outside.

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