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Thursday, August 11, 2022

The longevity of the dog: How long will my beloved dog live?

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Do you ever wonder how long your dog will live when you look at it? Do you ever think about how many more years you’ll have to go on walks or cuddle on the couch?

By analyzing the life expectancy of British canine pets, a new in-depth study intends to assist.

Credits: Canva

It demonstrates that the average lifespan of a newborn Jack Russell Terrier is 12.7 years, with Border Collies (12.1 years) and Springer Spaniels (11.9 years) not far behind.

Some of the popular pets among social media influencers, on the other hand, may break your heart sooner than you anticipate.

The life expectancy of four flat-faced breeds was discovered to be the shortest at age zero, with French Bulldogs projected to live only 4.5 years, followed by English Bulldogs at 7.4 years, Pugs at 7.7 years, and American Bulldogs at 7.8 years.

Credits: Canva

These dogs are linked to a number of life-threatening conditions, including breathing issues, spinal disease, and difficulty giving birth, all of which will shorten the breed’s overall lifespan.

At birth, a dog’s life expectancy is:

  • French Bulldog 4.53 years
  • English Bulldog 7.39 years
  • Pug 7.65 years
  • American Bulldog 7.79 years
  • Chihuahua 7.91 years
  • Husky 9.53 years
  • Beagle 9.85 years
  • Boxer 10.04 years
  • German Shepherd Dog 10.16 years
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 10.45 years
  • Shih-tzu 11.05 years
  • Cocker Spaniel 11.31 years
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier 11.33 years
  • Labrador Retriever 11.77 years
  • Crossbred 11.82 years
  • Springer Spaniel 11.92 years
  • Border Collie 12.10 years
  • Yorkshire Terrier 12.54 years
  • Jack Russell Terrier 12.72 years

Age lists like the one above (for 18 different breeds and crossbreds) have been made before, but this one is the most sophisticated because it is based on a study of VetCompass, a massive database of veterinary records.

This monitoring system, which is run by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), currently has information on 20 million animals.

It has enabled Dr. Kendy Tzu-yun Teng and his colleagues to create “life tables.”

Simply described, these are graphs that divide a population into age groups, with each band indicating the likelihood of dying before the next.

Credits: Canva

Because so many factors influence how long your dog lives, typical lifespans are only relevant in part.

Take the Chihuahua, for example. From the age of zero, one can expect to live for 7.9 years. You might believe that rescuing a six-year-old Chihuahua from a shelter is pointless because the breed’s average age at death predicts that you’ll only get to spend fewer than two years with it.

However, veterinary statistics show that many Chihuahuas die at a young age, lowering the average life expectancy.

As a result, a Chihuahua who has reached the age of six is likely to live far longer than an eight-year-old Chihuahua. We know that some Chihuahuas will live to be 15 or 16 years old.

Dr. Dan O’Neill, a research co-author, remarked, “It’s that phrase ‘damn lies and statistics.'”

“Sometimes a statistic that is a single value, giving you the middle of a curve – it’s correct, technically, but there’s much more nuance in the data and distributions than that.”

“And the Chihuahua is the perfect example of where that nuance is important. Just knowing the middle of the distribution of ages can lead you astray,” BBC News spoke with a veterinary epidemiologist from the RVC.

This method will come in handy for anyone considering adopting an older animal or deciding whether or not to pursue costly medical therapy for their aging pet.

The owner will now be in a far better position to make a well-informed and fine-tuned selection. Actuaries will be attentive readers of the new tables as pet insurance becomes increasingly widespread.

Credits: Canva

“These life tables offer an important insight into the life expectancy of popular dog breeds in the UK and will be a useful tool for vets and pet owners in assessing dog welfare,” said Dr Justine Shotton, president of the British Veterinary Association.

“A concerning finding is the lower life expectancy for flat-faced breeds. While the study doesn’t prove a direct link between these breeds’ potential welfare issues and shorter length of life, the findings serve as a fresh reminder for prospective dog owners to choose a breed based on health, not looks.”

Dr. O’Neill agreed with Dr. Shotton’s assessment on flat-faced breeds, but added that the French Bulldog’s very low life expectancy in the tables is likely skewed by its quick surge in popularity.

Because the population of French Bulldogs has exploded, it’s difficult to predict how long they’ll live.

The number of French Bulldogs registered with the Kennel Club in the United Kingdom increased dramatically from 2,771 in 2011 to 39,266 in 2020.

Credits: Canva

“This means that there are more young animals in this population, on average, than there are in other breeds.”

“Therefore, there are more young animals available to die. Therefore, it biases or pushes down the kind of median or average lifespan,” Dr. O’Neill elaborated.

“Over time, as we collect more data, their lifespan probably won’t be as low as four and a half years.”

“But I doubt it’s going to go above what the Pug and English Bulldog have arrived at.”

Credits: Gettyimages

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