Dog Breeds With the Shortest Lifespans

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When a pet owner decides to bring a furry companion home, chances are, they will first consider every factor that is associated with owning a pet. From vet trips to food costs and everything in between, it’s expected for the owner to do their research before bringing home a new pup. While the predicted longevity of your pet should not be a deal breaker, it is still an important aspect that should be taken into consideration.

Unfortunately, some dog breeds are proven to have shorter lifespans compared to the average dog lifespan. As a general rule of thumb, teacup or toy-sized varieties live longer than your medium to large-sized breeds.

Why Do Larger Dogs Have Shorter Lifespans Than Smaller Dogs?

An easy explanation of why this occurs is that larger dogs age faster than smaller ones. This is simply because smaller dogs grow at a slower rate compared to larger breeds. When looking at dogs with the shortest lifespans, they all have one thing in common- their size.

Below is a list of the most common dog breeds with the shortest lifespans. This list is not here to deter you from adopting any of these breeds; however, it’s just an important factor to be aware of.

Dog Breeds With the Shortest Lifespans


dog breeds with short life spans_canna-pet

Average Lifespan: 9 years

Known for their sweet, gentle demeanor, the Newfoundland is a favorite for a family companion. Serving as the protector of the household, while also being gentle with children, it’s no wonder why this breed is among the top 40 most popular breeds in the United States today. Unfortunately, since they are prone to several health complications, the Newfoundland tends to have a shorter lifespan of 8 to 10 years.

Common health concerns include: Hip Dysplasia, Gastric Torsion (bloat), Cystinuria, Subaortic Stenosis, Cataracts, Cherry Eye, and Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

Saint Bernard

Average Lifespan: 8 years

Weighing up to 180 pounds, Saint Bernards are a hefty breed that’s admired for their majestic appearance and easy-going personality. Friendly to neighbors and strangers alike, this dog loves to provide love and attention to anyone in their path.

Their overall exercise needs are not indicative of their size. Surprisingly, this breed only requires a moderate amount of walking on a day to day basis. Strenuous activities such as running can cause damage to their growing bones, leading to injury and complications later on in life.

Common health concerns include: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Osteosarcoma, Gastric Torsion, Entropion, Epilepsy, and Cataracts.

Great Dane

dog breeds with the shortest life spans_canna-pet

Average Lifespan: 8.5 years

Ranking as one of the tallest dog breeds in the world, the Great Dane showcases a stoic presence, while being lovingly affectionate to their owners. Their commanding size catches the attention of any passerby, which will also deter any intruder from breaking into your home.

Even though they may appear to be aggressive, this breed is surprisingly playful and affectionate. Many pet owners also appreciate their high intelligence, making training efforts a breeze.

Common health complications include: Bloat, Bone Cancer, Heart Disease, Hip Dysplasia, Separation Anxiety, and Osteochondritis Dissecans.


Average Lifespan: 9.5 years

Obedient, courageous, and alert; the Rottweiler is a protective canine that shows complete devotion when given loving owners. Even though they have a bad reputation for being an aggressive breed, they are actually quite calm when properly trained.

It is also critical for this breed to get plenty of exercise. Since they are larger in size, they have a tendency for becoming obese if not properly cared for. Even though Rottweilers have a shorter lifespan compared to others, they are still one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States today.

Common health problems include: Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Osteosarcoma, Bloat, and Panosteitis.


Average Lifespan: 9 years

The Mastiff is an alert, yet affectionate breed, ready to defend their loved ones whenever necessary. They tend to be apprehensive when it comes to strangers, which makes them excellent guard dogs.

Beyond their protective qualities, Mastiffs also tend to be courageous and dignified. One of their defining qualities is their massive size and muscular build. These dogs can weigh up to 150 pounds, which puts them at a higher risk for health complications.

Common health problems include: Hip Dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Epilepsy, Arthritis, Hypothyroidism, and Cystinuria.

The longevity of your pet can depend on several factors and is not solely reliant on their physical size. Weight, activity level, and a diet are all critical components that facilitate a long and prosperous life. Keep in mind that some dog breeds with the shortest lifespans are still America’s favorite household pets.

What matters most is that you, as the pet owner, provide your dog with plenty of exercise and high-quality nutrition. This will ensure that your canine will be set up for success for a happy and healthy life.

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