Skip to Content

The Longest Living Dog Breeds: Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, and More (2024)

This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.

longest living dog breeds

When searching for the longest living dog breeds, you’ll find that smaller pups like Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, and Bichon Frises often top the list, frequently living 14 to 18 years. These diminutive breeds defy the common assumption that bigger is better, highlighting the complex interplay between genetics, lifestyle, and longevity that researchers continue to explore.

Factors like proper nutrition, exercise, and vigilant veterinary care all contribute to maximizing a dog’s lifespan. To dive deeper into the mysteries surrounding the longest living dog breeds, you’ll want to learn more about their unique characteristics and care requirements.

Key Takeaways

  • Smaller dog breeds like Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, and Bichon Frises often live longer than larger breeds, with lifespans ranging from 14 to 18 years.
  • Genetics and lifestyle factors play a role in a dog’s lifespan, with researchers aiming to identify specific genes that may affect the aging process in dogs.
  • Proper nutrition, exercise, and veterinary care are essential for maximizing a dog’s lifespan.
  • Future research aims to increase our understanding of canine longevity and improve the quality of life for older dogs, including investigating the effects of oxidative stress on aging in various breeds.

Longest Living Dog Breeds

Longest Living Dog Breeds

Longer-lived dog breeds tend to be smaller in size, such as Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, Yorkshire Terriers, Bichon Frises, and Shiba Inus. These breeds can live up to 14-18 years, with some reaching their late teens or early 20s. Larger breeds, on the other hand, typically live 7-10 years. The reasons for this discrepancy aren’t fully understood, but genetics and lifestyle factors are believed to play a role.

Research has shown that larger dogs have a shorter lifespan than smaller breeds, a trend that’s opposite to what’s seen in other mammals. This phenomenon is partially attributed to underlying genetic factors, with researchers aiming to identify specific genes that may affect the aging process in dogs.

Wellness care, including proper diet, exercise, and veterinary exams, can contribute to a dog’s longevity. Additionally, smaller dogs may be more resilient to certain health issues that can affect larger breeds.

Future research aims to increase our understanding of canine longevity and improve the quality of life for older dogs. This includes investigating the effects of oxidative stress on aging in various breeds.



Chihuahuas: The Tiny Breed with a Big Personality

Chihuahuas are known for their small size, but they’ve a big impact on their owners’ lives. These pint-sized dogs have a lifespan of 14-16 years, making them one of the longest-living breeds. They come in a variety of colors, including black, black and tan, blue and tan, chocolate, chocolate and tan, cream, fawn, fawn and white, red, and more.

Chihuahuas are loyal, feisty, and quick-witted dogs that tend to cling to their owners but can be wary of strangers and other dogs. They’re also very vigilant and protective of their people and their space, often being quite vocal. Chihuahuas typically weigh between 3 to 6 pounds and stand between 5 to 8 inches tall.

Chihuahuas are prone to certain health issues, such as collapsing trachea, congestive heart failure, hypoglycemia, and luxating patella (dislocated kneecap). To guarantee their long-term health and well-being, it’s essential to provide them with proper nutrition, regular exercise, and veterinary care.

Chihuahuas are affectionate and bonded to their humans, but they can react with force when they feel intimidated by strangers, so proper socialization and training are necessary. They’re ideal for first-time and experienced pet parents alike, as they thrive in households with no other dominant pets.

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are renowned for their loving and amiable nature, but they also boast a comparatively extended lifespan relative to numerous other dog breeds. The average lifespan of a Shih Tzu oscillates between 10 to 18 years, with some living into their early 20s. This longevity is ascribed to their diminutive stature, as smaller dogs typically outlive larger breeds.

However, Shih Tzus aren’t immune to health concerns that can impact their longevity. Some prevalent health worries include ocular ailments such as cataracts, dry eye, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), as well as aural infections. These conditions can diminish a dog’s quality of life and potentially abbreviate their lifespan if not adequately managed.

To facilitate your Shih Tzu’s extended and salubrious existence, it’s of utmost importance to provide appropriate care, encompassing routine veterinary examinations, a wholesome diet, and regular exercise. In addition, early recognition and treatment of any health issues can have a substantial bearing on their lifespan and overall well-being.

Yorkshire Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

The Yorkshire Terrier is a pint-sized pup with a giant personality. These dogs defy the odds with a lifespan of 11-15 years.

Yorkshire Terrier Characteristics and Temperament are quite remarkable. They boast a curious and affectionate nature, packed into a small frame.

In terms of Yorkshire Terrier Health, they are generally sturdy, but require vigilant care to prevent common issues like patellar luxation.

Yorkshire Terrier Training is a breeze thanks to their sharp minds. Keeping their silky coats shining through Yorkshire Terrier Grooming is also an important aspect of caring for these pups.

Overall, the Yorkshire Terrier is a small breed with a big heart, full of personality and charm.

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is a hypoallergenic breed known for its fluffy white coat and affectionate nature. They typically live between 12 to 15 years, with some individuals reaching even longer lifespans due to improved veterinary care and owner awareness of their specific needs.

Their longevity can be influenced by factors such as genetics, diet, exercise, and preventive health measures. Common health issues that may impact their lifespan include dental disease, allergies, bladder stones, and cataracts.

Regular veterinary care, a balanced diet, and proper exercise are essential for maintaining their overall health and ensuring a long, happy life for these beloved companions.

Shiba Inu

The Shiba Inu is a medium-sized dog breed known for its fox-like appearance and spirited personality. With a lifespan of approximately 12 to 15 years, the Shiba Inu is considered to be a healthy and hardy breed. Regular veterinary visits, spaying or neutering, and genetic disease testing can help extend their lifespan.

Shiba Inus are prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, which can be diagnosed through x-ray imaging. They may also suffer from eye defects, such as cataracts. Luxating patellas, a leg condition that can cause lameness, may require surgery.

Exercise is essential for Shiba Inus, who typically need around 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise, which can be divided into two or three sessions. Mental stimulation is also important, as they’re known for their intelligence and hunting instincts.

Training is essential for Shiba Inus, as they can be stubborn and instinctive. Consistent and rigorous training can improve their lifespan by keeping them safe and stimulating their minds.

Grooming is essential for Shiba Inus, who’ve a double coat that requires specific grooming techniques to maintain its distinct look and ensure their comfort. Brushing should be done several times a week to reduce shedding and maintain coat health. Bathing should be done every three to four months, but over-bathing can strip their coat of natural oils. Nail trimming should be done every 1-2 months, depending on how quickly their nails grow. Ear care is also essential, with weekly ear checks to prevent the buildup of wax and debris. Dental hygiene is essential, with teeth brushing several times a week to prevent tartar and plaque buildup.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the average lifespan of a dog in human years?

You’re barking up the right tree – the average dog’s lifespan is roughly equivalent to 5 human years. While smaller pups live as long as teenagers, bigger pooches age like fine wine, maturing in just 7-10 canine years.

How does the Dog Aging Project contribute to understanding canine health and longevity?

The Dog Aging Project uses cutting-edge research to uncover the secrets of canine longevity. By studying thousands of dogs, they’re cracking the code to a longer, healthier life for our beloved four-legged friends.

What are some common health issues in aging dogs, and how are they managed in larger breeds?

As dogs age, common issues like joint problems, heart disease, and cancer become more difficult to manage in larger breeds. Vigilant observation and customized treatment plans are essential to supporting their well-being.

How does genetics play a role in a dogs lifespan?

Your pup’s genetics play a pivotal role, determining everything from their lifespan to their susceptibility to health issues. Purebreds often outlive their mixed-breed counterparts, but the secret lies in their DNA – the key to revealing a longer, happier life.

What are some lifestyle factors that can influence a dogs lifespan?

Your furry friend’s lifestyle – from diet and exercise to veterinary care – can notably influence their lifespan. Proper nutrition, regular activity, and preventative healthcare are crucial to helping your pup live their best, longest life.


Ultimately, the longest living dog breeds like Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, and Bichon Frises defy conventional wisdom. Though diminutive in size, these pups possess an uncanny resilience, outlasting their larger counterparts.

By understanding the unique characteristics and care requirements of these remarkable breeds, pet owners can discover the keys to maximizing a dog’s lifespan. Embracing this knowledge empowers you to provide your furry companion the exceptional longevity they deserve.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.