The 7 Dog Breeds That Live the Longest, According to Veterinarians

These dogs have an average lifespan between 12 and 16 years.

Of course, everyone wishes they could have their dog by their side forever. But perhaps the next best option is to choose one of the longest-living dog breeds.

A recent study supports the belief that small dogs typically live longer than bigger ones. The research shows that small and large breeds tend to suffer from different health problems, however, the latter group may be predisposed to more serious conditions such as cancer and bone-related diseases. Though veterinarians generally agree with these findings, there are always some exceptions to the rule. That's why we consulted pet experts to find out the dog breeds that live the longest. Read on to learn about those that have an average lifespan between 12 and 16 years.

RELATED: I'm a Dog Trainer and I'd Never Own These 5 Breeds "Unless My Life Depended on It."

1
Chihuahua

Light brown chihuahua lying on couch. Pet. Home comfort. Cozy
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The Chihuahua is small but mighty, with a life expectancy of 14 to 16 years.

"Despite being so small they tend to be very healthy and are not especially prone to developing cancer," explains Ray Spragley, DVM, founder and veterinarian at Zen Dog Veterinary Care.

While they may get chronic ailments such as dental disease, heart disease, and medial patella luxation, Spragley notes that all three of these issues can be well managed with treatment and early detection.

Jennifer Sperry, DVM, veterinarian and spokesperson for AKC Pet Insurance, adds that Chihuahuas are more likely to lead lower-risk lifestyles: "They are often kept almost exclusively indoors, where they are at a lower risk for accidents and traumas compared to 'outdoor' dogs with more rugged lifestyles."

2
West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier in the grass, top dog breeds
Shutterstock

Jaclyn M. Coble, DVM, the CEO and founder of Sea Legs Integrative Veterinary Health, says that West Highland White Terriers, or "Westies" as they're known colloquially, are one of the most popular dogs in the U.K., which may have to do with their life expectancy.

Coble shares that one 2014 British study of Kennel Club-registered dogs showed that the West Highland White Terrier had the longest lifespan of 12.6 years.

"Small dogs are believed to live longer than large breeds because of their lower growth rate, which results in lower metabolic demand and lower oxidative stress on cells," explains Coble. Westies usually weigh no more than 20 pounds, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), which agrees that they are generally healthy dogs.

RELATED: How to Tell If Your Dog Is Really a "Genius," New Study Says.

3
Lhasa Apso

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The Lhasa Apso is another small dog breed that weighs less than 20 pounds. According to Sabrina Kong, staff veterinarian writer at WeLoveDoodles, this dog often enjoys a lifespan of around 12 to 15 years, sometimes even longer.

"This breed was historically bred as a watchdog in Tibetan monasteries, which may contribute to their robust health," she notes.

4
Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Cattle Dog
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While Australian Cattle Dogs can weigh up to 50 pounds, they also have a life expectancy of 12 to 16 years, according to the AKC.

Kong notes that this breed is known for its high energy levels and sturdy build. "Originally bred for herding cattle in Australia, they possess strong resilience and an active lifestyle, contributing significantly to their overall health and longevity," she says.

RELATED: 10 Best Dog Breeds to Own If You're Over 55, Veterinarian Says.

5
Bichon Frise

bichon frise dog walking in the park
Shutterstock / OlgaOvcharenko

Known for their fluffy coats and playful energy, Bichon Frises can live up to 15 years.

"Like other breeds with long life expectancies, they are prone to diseases that are manageable with veterinary care and early diagnosis," says Spragley. "Some of the chronic issues Bichons are prone to are diabetes, cataracts, chronic kidney disease, and arthritis."

6
Lancashire Heeler

lancashire heeler walking
LNbjors / Shutterstock

Another recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports found that, in addition to their size, a dog's snout size may also correlate to their longevity. According to the research, the dog breed with the longest average lifespan (15.4 years) was the Lancashire Heeler.

According to the AKC, they have medium to high energy and are typically healthy dogs.

RELATED: The 10 Most Unique Dog Breeds, According to Pet Experts.

7
Miniature Pinscher

Three Miniature Pinscher Puppies
PozitivStudija/Shutterstock

According to Spragley, the Miniature Pinscher is a very active toy breed that has a long life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.

While they're generally pretty healthy, "they are slightly predisposed to medial patella luxation, hypothyroidism, and diabetes," explains Spragley. But as long as they have regular health screenings, these shouldn't be cause for concern.

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Courtney Shapiro
Courtney Shapiro is an Associate Editor at Best Life. Before joining the Best Life team, she had editorial internships with BizBash and Anton Media Group. Read more
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