10 Dog Breeds That Live a Long Time

Puppy seeping on the floor
Photo: Saranya Loi/Shutterstock

One of the most heartbreaking things about loving dogs is that our canine best friends don't live as long as we do. Typically, smaller dogs tend to have greater lifespans that larger ones. Large dogs age at an accelerated pace, and “their lives seem to unwind in fast motion,” researcher Cornelia Kraus, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Göttingen in Germany, told LiveScience.

With help from the American Kennel Club, we did some research to come up with a list of 10 of the longest-living dog breeds.

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Photo: Barn Images/flickr

Lifespan: 15-17 years

Called "animated and entertaining creatures" by the AKC, these intelligent and alert dogs come with either a smooth or long coat. Chihuahuas are extra-small dogs that do their best as mostly indoor pets. Bred for the warm weather of Mexico, they don't do very well in the cold. (Plan to invest in a doggy sweater.)

Chihuahuas don't need much exercise and can be good with children who are gentle and patient.

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Toy poodle

Photo: akihirohatako/Shutterstock

Lifespan: 14-18 years

The mini version of the standard and giant poodles, the toy poodle has the same look and personality of his larger poodle relatives but in a decidedly more petite package. Although the poodle is considered to be the national dog of France, these intelligent, funny canines are thought to have originated in nearby Germany.

Toy poodles don't shed much (meaning 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.

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Photo: youngthousands/flickr

Lifespan: 14 to 16 years

This compact, intelligent toy breed has a fluffy double coat that, not surprisingly, tends to need a lot of brushing. 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. The AKC describes this breed as "cocky, commanding, and animated."

Pomeranians come in a rainbow of colors, but the most popular shades are usually orange and red.

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Australian cattle dog

Photo: Chris Michaels/flickr

Lifespan: 12-16 years

These high-energy working dogs are very intelligent and are happiest when they have a job — like agility, herding or obedience. The breed's origins come from a cross between a dingo and a blue merle collie.

These early dogs were bred with a Dalmatian which eventually resulted in the dog's well-known speckled coat. The cattle dog comes in blue or red mottled coloring, often with white, black or tan markings.

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Photo: kelly/flickr

Lifespan: 12-16 years

These spunky, playful dogs have three possible coats: smooth, wirehair and longhaired. The breed was developed more than 300 years ago in Germany to hunt badgers. The breed's name, in fact, translates to mean "badger-hunter."

This popular dog can be stubborn, but is typically very playful. Says the AKC of this long, wiener-shaped canine: "Luckily, he is as much fun to live with as he is to look at."

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Jack Russell terrier

Photo: B Napa/flickr

Lifespan: 13-15 years

Officially known as the Parson Russell terrier, these feisty little dogs are incredibly energetic and outgoing. They're known for being alert and confident and for having fun.

They were developed in England nearly 200 years ago to hunt foxes, and that love for the outdoors remains in today's modern breed. They may not be the absolute best choice for city and apartment dwellers because of their high energy and need for exercise.

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Photo: Abby Lanes/flickr

Lifespan: 13-15 years

This extra-small breed was so beloved by the Greeks that they erected tombs to these lovely dogs. They're tiny but fearless and covered with silky white hair that has to be groomed extensively. Maltese are typically gentle and affectionate.

Although they can be energetic and playful, the Maltese is often considered a classic lapdog. But, says the AKC: "Don’t let the showy looks fool you: These are hearty, adaptable pets."

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Yorkshire terrier

Photo: Roger Ahlbrand/flickr

Lifespan: 12-15 years

This long-haired toy breed doesn't need much exercise, but it does require a lot of brushing and attention. Because these dogs simply don't realize how small they are, the AKC says Yorkies "offer big personalities in small packages."

The breed was named for the English county where they come from and were originally used to catch rats in clothing mills. They eventually went from being the pets of mill workers to being prized by aristocrats.

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Shih tzu

Photo: Russ Sanderlin/flickr

Lifespan: 12-14 years

"Being cute is a way of life for these lively charmers." So says the AKC about these companion pets who don't need a lot of exercise but certainly do need a lot of brushing for those long, luxurious coats. Evidence of these so-called "lion dogs" exist at least as far back as 624 A.D. from documents, paintings and other art from the time period.

The shih tzu is also nicknamed the "chrysanthemum-faced dog" because of the round way his hair grows haphazardly on his face.

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Lhasa Apso

Photo: VKarlov/Shutterstock

Lifespan: 11-14 years

These small dogs originated in Tibet, where they were used primarily as watchdogs for Buddhist temples.

Although they can be playful, these silky-haired dogs can be quite independent. They are typically devoted to their family members, but can be distant and wary of strangers. That quality (despite their diminutive size) can make them excellent watchdogs.