Let’s face it; we all want our dogs to live for as long as possible. However, if you want to get a big dog, your choices are more limited.
It’s the small dogs who seem to live the longest. Shih Tzus and Beagles for example often live well past their 15th year, while a larger breed, such as the the Irish Wolfhound only reaches on average, 7 years.
Hi, my name’s Irena and I am the proud owner of four gorgeous mixed breed dogs. Three of them are reaching their 15th year which is great going for medium sized dogs.
Mixed breed dogs do often go on for longer, but if you’ve got your heart set on a large purebred dog, I’m here to tell you not to give up hope.
There are large breeds out there which can live much longer than just seven years.
Why Do Large Breed Dogs Live Shorter Than Small Breeds?
Nobody knows exactly why, but it could be because extra strain is put on their bodies because of their size.
It has also been put forward that they have more insulin than small dogs which makes them grow faster.
High levels of insulin can bring on age-related diseases such as cancer and heart problems.
How Can You Extend the Lifespan of Your Dogs?
There are lots of things you can do to give your dogs a chance of living a longer life.
Firstly, feed them an appropriate diet. If you can get them a food especially formulated for large breeds, all the better. In addition, don’t overfeed them. Obesity is a killer.
Make sure your dogs have all their vaccinations and are spayed or neutered. Go to the vet for regular check-ups. This way health problems can be detected early and treated before they become serious.
Get your dogs from a reputable breeder. Then you will be confident that they come from healthy breeding stock. Good breeders also try to ensure that their dogs don’t suffer from congenital conditions.
Finally, make sure that your pups get lots of exercise and don’t become couch potatoes. Exercise keeps your dogs fit and healthy. Vary their exercise routine so that it staves off boredom.
The World’s Oldest Dog
The world’s oldest dog is thought to be an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey.
He was born in 1910 in Victoria, Australia, and worked for 20 years herding cattle and sheep.
He finally died in 1939 at the age of 29 years and 5 months.
Australian Cattle Dogs are a large dog breed so there is hope for all of us who want to adopt a big dog that has a long lifespan.
10 of The Longest Living Large Dog Breeds
#1 Alaskan Malamute
Alaskan Malamutes are big, strong, working dogs that can live between 13 and 16 years. They are 23 – 25 inches tall and can weigh anywhere from 75 – 90 pounds. Despite their size, they are playful, as well as being affectionate and loyal.
They were arctic sled dogs and they need plenty of exercise; at least an hour a day. If they don’t get it they will bark or howl and could start chewing your furniture. You won’t want that so take them out on a long hike.
They’re not dogs for owners who don’t like walking much. Having said that, once their energy is spent they love to snuggle up with you by the fireside.
Alaskan Malamutes do have a stubborn streak and are independent, so training needs to be taken on by someone with a firm hand. Start when they are puppies for the best results. Like all dogs they need to know who is pack leader and that should be you.
They are great family dogs. They don’t care if the kids climb all over them. However, they don’t like to be disturbed when they are eating so make sure the children leave them alone at feeding time.
This is a great breed to get if you want to have a large dog with a long lifespan. They’re fun, easy-going, and loyal. However, they do suffer from separation anxiety so they’re not the best dog to get if you are all out at work all day.
#2 Australian Cattle Dog
It would be impossible not to mention the Australian Cattle Dog in my top 10. Granted they all don’t live as long as Bluey, but they can live between 12 and 15 years, and if you’re lucky even longer.
They are a bit smaller than the Alaskan Malamute at 17 – 19 inches and they weigh between 44 and 62 pounds, but they’re still big dogs.
They originated in Australia and were used to herd cattle. They even have a little dingo in them. They love their family, but they’re not so good with strangers.
Small children remind them of cattle so it’s not a good idea to bring them into a young family. Older kids are generally fine.
Australian Cattle Dogs are powerful and need good firm training to stop them from destroying things. It is important that you establish yourself as pack leader from the start to stop them from taking over.
Exercise is a must and if you’re a family who loves to go out on hikes, these dogs will suit you right down to the ground. They don’t fit in with apartment life as it’s too cramped for them. It’s best if you have a big yard for them to run and play.
#3 Standard Poodle
Perhaps you don’t think of Standard Poodles as being large, but they can get as big as 75 pounds and can grow up to 22 inches in height. They have a good lifespan of between 14 and 15 years.
Standard Poodles are lovely dogs. People sometimes think of them being clipped in all sorts of funny ways for shows, but if you’re not interested in this they can be clipped into a shorthaired dog.
You may be surprised to learn that they don’t shed much and they are considered “hypoallergenic.” I use the parenthesis as it’s often debated whether anything can be truly hypoallergenic, as we’ve discussed before in other articles, such as here.
They are very affectionate and are certainly not stupid dogs. In fact they are among the smartest and most trainable dogs out there. They learn fast and they excel in both obedience and agility competitions.
Standard Poodles are quite shy dogs so introduce them to your friends from an early age. This should stop them being so timid. They are sensitive so they don’t suit households with lots of noise and little kids running about. If they get upset, it can lead to digestive upsets.
However, Standard Poodles are quite high-maintenance. They need to be clipped every 4 – 6 weeks. In addition, they need lots of exercise. A yard is good for them to run around in, but they do also need daily walks.
#4 Chow Chow
Chow Chows aren’t enormous dogs but they can get to be over 70 pounds which is pretty heavy. They grow to a height of between 17 and 20 inches and their lifespan is 12 – 15 years.
Chow Chows originated in China and were used for hunting, guarding boats, and pulling carts. They are strong, independent dogs and make excellent guard dogs.
They can be aggressive however and should only be adopted by experienced dog owners. They don’t blend in well with kids.
They need to be trained from an early age with a firm hand. You have to show them that you are leader of the pack particularly because they hate anyone telling them what to do. Make sure you have plenty of treats at the ready to reward them if they do what they are told.
Chow Chows need plenty of exercise so be prepared to expend a lot of energy. A few walks a day is ideal together with a run around the yard. They don’t suit apartment life. They shouldn’t be let off the leash as they can be aggressive towards other dogs and even people.
Having said all this, well-trained Chow Chows are worth the trouble if you want a loyal pet. They usually get attached to one or two people, those that treat them with the most love and respect.
#5 Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois dogs can get as big as 80 pounds. They live for 12 – 14 years and usually create a strong bond with their family. They are fine with children if they are brought up with them.
These dogs are energetic so be prepared for long walks and hikes. A fenced in yard is also good for them to expend extra energy. If they don’t get enough exercise as well as mental stimulation, they can become destructive.
They were originally herders so they like to chase anything and everything. However, they also make good guard dogs and are often used as police dogs and assistance dogs.
Their high level of intelligence makes them suitable in narcotics and search and rescue. They are happiest when they have a job to do.
#6 American Alsatian
Now this is a dog I would like to have. American Alsatians have been bred to look like wolves and I love wolves. However, despite their appearance they have a very sweet temperament.
They weigh a minimum of 90 pounds which is a lot when you think that they love to be lap dogs! They can live up to 14 years
They don’t like a lot of exercise. Just a 30 minute walk a day is fine for them. Despite this they do like a back yard where they can stroll about at leisure. They like lots of space to wander about in the home so an apartment isn’t suitable.
American Alsatians are easy to train as they are so laid back. The best thing you can so to reward them in a training session is to give them lots of treats and cuddles as well. Don’t be hard-headed as this can make them retreat into themselves.
#7 Irish Setter
Irish Setters can live up to 13 years and they weigh up to 70 pounds. They are very active and energetic dogs and need to have plenty of exercise. If they don’t get enough exercise they can become destructive.
They need an owner with a firm hand to train them as they can be a handful in the puppy stage which, believe it or not, seems to last for 2 or 3 years.
Irish Setters have long memories so will remember what they learn from you as the owner. However, they will also remember if they are shouted at or told off.
Bad habits are difficult to get rid of. They have a stubborn streak so you have to be firm, but kind with them.
They are quite high-maintenance dogs to keep as they need to be brushed and clipped often. In addition, they need to go to a groomer every few months for a trim.
Collies can live to the grand old age of 12, but some can even get to 17. I have a friend who has a collie which is 13 years old and seems very strong and healthy. And she barks a lot!
When you think of Collies, Lassie always comes to mind and what a lovely dog she is. Certainly a good ambassador for the breed. They are very affectionate, loyal, and intelligent. They love children so are great as family dogs.
Collies are active dogs and they need a lot of exercise so suit an active family. It’s great if they have lots of different people taking them out so that they can get all the exercise they need. They are pretty easy to train so walks should be easy.
They suffer from separation anxiety so don’t suit a home where everybody is out for most of the day. If they are lonely they can disturb the neighbors with continual barking or they might even chew your slippers!
Because they are so easy to train, Collies are often used as service dogs. They can even become guard dogs or be involved in search and rescue.
#9 Curly Coated Retriever
Now here’s a dog I’ve only recently heard of. They’re not as common as other retrievers, but they’re just as lovely and friendly. They are big dogs and can weigh as much as 100 pounds. They live for between 10 and 12 years.
Curly Coated Retrievers love playtime and need masses of exercise. A large yard is a must as they don’t like curling up on the coach for too long, and long daily walks are required.
If you jog they will happily jog along with you and they love to swim. They will bark loudly and chew everything in sight if they don’t get enough exercise.
They are very affectionate with their families, but can be a little wary with strangers. To reduce this, socialize them early. Then they will become more confident in themselves.
#10 Giant Schnauzer
These bundles of joy weigh between 50 and 90 pounds and live between 10 and 12 years. They are very loving towards their own families, but a little wary with strangers. Again, early socialization is required.
Giant Schnauzers are independent spirits so can be a little difficult to train for a new dog owner.
They require lots of exercise; at least a mile or two of walking or jogging a day will suit them down to the ground. They also need some form of mental exercise such as obedience training.
If you’re looking for some cool tricks to teach your dog, to keep them stimulated, check out our article on Brain Training for Dogs!
Males don’t usually get on with other male dogs and can act aggressively. They’re not keen on cats either. They would best suit a one-dog household where all the attention is placed on them.
As I have tried to show you, you can get larger dog breeds which can live a good long life, perhaps not as long as Bluey, but still a lot longer than just 7 or 8 years.
Just remember that to extend their lives, feed them good nutritious food, take them to the vet regularly, and exercise them.
It’s the perfect combination if you want your dog to live as long as possible. I’m so happy that I have dogs that are nearly fifteen and are healthy and energetic.
If you have any stories or comments about dogs, please fell free to leave them below!