13 of the Longest Living Dog Breeds

Longest Living Dog Breeds illustration with toy poodle and maltese

Treehugger / Lara Antal

Dogs bring joy to our lives, but there is one heartbreaking thing about them: They don't live as long as we do. Life expectancy for dogs varies greatly, from just five years up to 18 years. This is due to many factors, but the most important one is size. Research has shown that large dogs generally have shorter lifespans than small dogs because they age more quickly.

Therefore, it's no surprise that most of the longest-living dog breeds are smaller canines. Here are some of the dogs you can expect will be with you for a long time.

Millions of pets (including many purebreds) are available to be adopted from shelters. We always recommend adoption as a first choice. If you've decided to buy a pet from a breeder, be sure to choose a responsible breeder, and always avoid puppy mills.

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close-up portrait of tan chihuahua sitting in grass with ears perked

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Lifespan: 14–16 years

Animated and entertaining, chihuahuas are intelligent and alert dogs that can be good with children who are gentle and patient. They are an extra-small breed that does its best as a mostly indoor pet. Though both short-hair and long-hair varieties exist, chihuahuas were bred for the warm weather of Mexico and thus don't do well in the cold.

Chihuahuas don't need much exercise, but they can become overweight easily if they are fed too much food or given too many treats. So be sure to keep a careful eye on portion size.

Life expectancy for chihuahuas is between 14 and 16 years. One dog named Megabyte surpassed this and reached an age of 20 years and 265 days, making him the oldest of his breed at the time of his death in 2014.

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Toy Poodle

tan toy poodle with red bandana lying on gray couch in sunny room

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Lifespan: 10–18 years

As the smallest variety of the poodle, the toy poodle has the same look and personality as its larger relatives but in a decidedly more petite package. They don't shed much (so they're a great choice for people with allergies), but they do require regular grooming, even if you don't want to keep them looking like show dogs.

Toy poodles are intelligent, athletic, and energetic, which makes sense considering poodles were initially bred as hunting dogs. They are more prone to orthopedic problems than their standard counterpart, but most live long, healthy lives. In fact, they have one of the longest lifespans of any dog breed. In 2012, the oldest toy poodle on record was Chichi, who was aged between 24 and 26 years.

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fluffy tan pomeranian sits on green grass with smiling face and tongue hanging out

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Lifespan: 12–16 years

The pomeranian is part of a group of dogs unofficially known as the spitz group, which are descended from the sled dogs of Iceland and Lapland. This compact, intelligent toy breed has a fluffy double coat that, not surprisingly, needs a lot of brushing. It comes in a rainbow of colors, but the most popular shades are orange and red.

Pomeranians are known for being extroverts with big personalities. With routine care, a good diet, and appropriate exercise, they can live long lives without any expected major health issues.

The pomeranian has an expected lifespan of 12 to 16 years. However, at the time of his death in 2016, the longest-living pomeranian documented was a 21-year-old named Coty.

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Australian Cattle Dog

Australian cattle dog plays outside in fall weather holding large stick in mouth

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Lifespan: 12–16 years

Also known as blue heelers, Australian cattle dogs are energetic working canines that are highly intelligent and happiest when they have a job to do. To prevent boredom (which could result in some creative misbehavior because of its smarts), an Australian cattle dog should be kept busy and challenged, both mentally and physically. Good activity options include herding, running, and participating in dog sports such as agility and obedience.

The cattle dog's distinct coat comes in blue or red mottled coloring, which comes from the involvement of a dalmatian in its breeding history. In terms of special care, the only real need for this dog is that its perky ears are checked regularly for wax buildup and unknown objects.

As of 2021, an Australian cattle dog holds the Guinness World Record for oldest dog ever. Bluey lived to the age of 29 years and five months.

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two brown dachshunds on bed sitting alert looking to left

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Lifespan: 12–16 years

Dachshunds are spunky, playful dogs that have three possible coats: smooth, wirehaired, and longhaired. Despite what its small stature may make you believe, these dogs were bred to hunt badgers when developed in Germany 600 years ago. In fact, the breed's name translates to "badger dog."

Dachshunds can be stubborn but are typically very fun to be around. Its elongated back, while iconic, does bring a greater risk of disk injury. It is especially important to keep these dogs fit and at a healthy weight so they can support their extra-long spine.

Dachshunds have held the Guinness World Record title for oldest dog on more than one occasion. One of them was a 20-year-old named Chanel.

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Parson Russell Terrier

parson russell terrier dog running fast holding tennis ball and stick with leaves in mouth

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Lifespan: 13–15 years

Also called the Jack Russell terrier, these smart little dogs are bold and outgoing. They're known for being alert and confident and for having fun.

Parson Russell terriers were developed in England nearly 200 years ago to hunt foxes, so they are quick runners and skilled diggers. That love for the outdoors remains in today's modern breed, shown through their high energy and need for exercise. As such, they may not be the best choice for city and apartment dwellers.

Life expectancy for a Parson Russell terrier spans 13 to 15 years. In 2014, British dog Willie passed away at 20 years old, making him the oldest of the breed at the time of his death.

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white maltese dog lying on white bed next to colorful ball

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Lifespan: 12–15 years

The maltese was so beloved by the Greeks that they were written into literature and had tombs erected in their honor. Typically gentle and affectionate, they are often considered a classic lapdog. The breed also noted for its silky white hair that is often worn long. Don't let its elegance confuse you, however. The maltese also has a fearless streak and enjoys playing the role of watchdog.

This breed is more susceptible to liver issues than others, but simple bile-acid testing can rule out any concerns to ensure a dog lives a happy and healthy life. One maltese dog that drew attention was a rescue named Zac, who, at 20 years old, far surpassed his breed's lifespan.

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Yorkshire Terrier

close up of face of yorkie puppy with shaggy tan and gray hair and tongue sticking out

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Lifespan: 11–15 years

Like the maltese, the Yorkshire terrier (affectionately called the "yorkie") has a shiny coat of hair that can grow quite long. The breed was named for the English county they come from, where they were originally used to catch rats in clothing mills. They eventually went from being the pets of mill workers to being prized by aristocrats.

In terms of temperament, yorkies are both independent and spirited. They tend to not realize how small they are — they have big personalities that could be surprising coming from a dog of their size.

Yorkies are expected to live between 11 and 15 years. One dog named Bonny reached about 28 years old in 2011, and there was talk of her potentially being the oldest living dog in the world at that time.

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Shih Tzu

brown and white shih tzu resting on tan ottoman looking forward

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Lifespan: 10–18 years

Another breed with the potential for a luxurious coat is the shih tzu, though it looks just as cute in a shorter puppy cut. Their name comes from the Chinese word for "lion," and it's possible that references to them exist as far back as 624 CE in documents, paintings, and other art.

The shih tzu is nicknamed the "chrysanthemum-faced dog" because of the round way its hair grows haphazardly on his face. This is also why you often see shih tzus with long hair sporting the characteristic ponytail at the top of their heads.

This breed is full of affection and good with children. Its pronounced eyes make it especially cute, but that attribute can also lead to eye health problems, so be sure to clean its eyes daily.

The longest-living shih tzu may have been Smokey from St. Petersburg, Florida, who was 23 years old in 2009.

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Lhasa Apso

tan short-haired lhasa apso lying down on grass in golden sunlight

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Lifespan: 12–15 years

The lhasa apso is a small dog that originated in Tibet, where it was used primarily as a watchdog for Buddhist temples. As such, the breed is independent and loyal, though wary of strangers. That does not mean they cannot be fun, though. When around people they trust, lhasa apsos can be playful and affectionate.

Life expectancy for this breed is between 12 and 15 years. As of 2021, the longest-living lhasa apso on record was an incredible 29 years old.

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Shiba Inu

shiba inu dog stands on pavement in front of garden, looking down

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Lifespan: 13–16 years

The shiba inu is an ancient breed, believed to have existed since 300 BCE. Native to the mountainous areas of Japan, it was bred to hunt small game. One of this breed's defining characteristics is its curled tail — sometimes called a ring tail. When sleeping in harsh weather, the shiba inu would curl up tight and place its tail over its face to protect sensitive areas like the nose from the biting cold.

The shiba inu almost went extinct at the end of World War II due to bombing raids and a widespread canine viral disease. The breed was brought back from just three bloodlines that remained.

A shiba inu is expected to live between 13 and 16 years. One of the longest-living dogs of this breed was 26-year-old Pusuke, who, at the time of his death in 2011, held the Guinness World Record for the oldest living dog.

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close up of papillon dog face with ears perked, tongue out, and smiling

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Lifespan: 14–16 years

With its small size and long coat, the papillon has an undeniably elegant appearance. It's no wonder that this breed was favored by royalty — it is depicted in artwork as early as the 16th century, including in a family portrait with Louis XIV.

But don't let this breed's refined looks deceive you. These dogs are also intelligent, agile, and fun-loving. Paps make good family dogs because they are excellent companions, with both the energy to go out and play and an appreciation for curling up inside for a nap.

The papillon is named for its distinctive, butterfly-like ears — papillon is "butterfly" in French. There is no single dog that's been recorded as the longest living of this breed, but in general, they are expected to live from 14 to 16 years.

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Chinese Crested

Chinese crested dog with shaved gray body and long hair on ears, standing in field

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Lifespan: 13–18 years

The Chinese crested comes in two varieties: hairless, which features humanlike skin and some tufts of hair, and powderpuff, which features a full, glossy coat.

Its name is a bit of a misnomer, as these dogs technically hail from Africa or Mexico. It was in China, however, that they were bred to their small size. Chinese cresteds were often used in Chinese sailing ships as vermin control — they were skilled at catching rats and even earned the unofficial name of Chinese Ship Dog. But appreciation for this breed was not limited to mariners. These dogs were loved across society, including by emperors. Chinese cresteds were believed to have magical powers.

Whether or not that is true, they do have the ability to live a long time. Their expected lifespan is between 13 and 18 years, and anecdotes report one pet living to at least 20.

Why Pets Matter to Treehugger

At Treehugger, we are advocates of animal welfare, including our pets and other domestic animals. The better we understand our dogs, the better we can support and protect their wellbeing. We hope our readers will adopt rescue pets instead of shopping from breeders or pet stores, and will also consider supporting local animal shelters.