A Complete Guide On Which Dog Breeds Have The Shortest Lifespan
Stacy Reed
Author: Stacy Reed
Stacy is a freelance writer who has always shared her life with dogs, especially German Shepherds.
Published date: September 27, 2021
Updated date: May 31, 2023
This article was reviewed and fact checked If you have found any errors, please contact us!

A Complete Guide On Which Dog Breeds Have The Shortest Lifespan

Which Kinds Of Dogs Live For The Shortest Time? How Long Will My Dog Live For?

With so many dog breeds to choose from, each with individual personality traits and temperaments, how do you choose which one is right for you? 

Some people like to choose the breed of dog based on how long it is likely to live. Having as many years with your cherished pet is what every dog owner wants.

On the other hand, some people don’t want to commit to a pet with a very long lifespan, so finding a breed that won’t live for as long would be a better fit for them. 

We have put together a list of the dogs with the shortest lifespans, to help you find out more.


What Causes Some Dogs To Have A Shorter Lifespan?

Many dog enthusiasts are aware that bigger dogs tend to have shorter lifespans than smaller ones, and mixed breed dogs tend to suffer from less health complications than purebred dogs.

This is because large dogs age faster, and breeding from a smaller genetic pool increases the frequency of faulty genes and genetic disorders. 

One of the biggest factors for determining the lifespan of a dog breed is how likely they are to develop cancer or other health complications.

Male and female dogs have similar mortality rates, but more dog deaths occur in colder months of the year than warmer ones. 

Now let’s look at the dogs with the shortest lifespans. 

Dog De Bordeaux – 5 to 7 Years

This breed is very large, friendly, and quite lazy. They don’t need a lot of exercise and are quite happy relaxing for most of the day, but they enjoy company. 

Great Dane – 6 to 8 Years

Well known for being one of the largest breeds of domesticated dogs. Great Danes are affectionate and loyal and often make excellent family pets.

They are very active and strong, so it is very important to take their training seriously and start it as early as possible. 

Bernese Mountain Dog – 6 to 8 Years


Another large breed, these dogs have thick wooly coats and prefer to live in cooler climates.

They were originally a working breed and like to be kept busy with work, play and learning new tricks. They are considered to be quite easy to train as they are eager to please. 

Irish Wolfhound – 7 to 9 Years

These are the tallest breed of dog and due to their size, obedience training is key to prevent behavioural issues. They have a very friendly nature and prefer to live in colder temperatures. 

Chinese Shar-pei  – 8 to 10 Years

These unusual looking dogs have quite squashed facial features and are sensitive to climates that are too hot or too cold.

They can be territorial and can develop behavioral issues if not socialized at a young age. They are not particularly needy and are happy to be left alone for portions of the day. 

Newfoundland – 8 to 10 Years

These large dogs are bred for working in cold climates, so they will need to be clipped in the summer to prevent them from overheating.

They are patient and gentle which makes them an excellent choice for a family with young children.

They do not like to be left alone, and they require a lot of work to look after as they shed a lot of fur and are known for drooling a lot. 

Saint Bernard – 8 to 11 Years


These well known dogs enjoy getting out for a stretch and gentle exercise but do not require excessive walking.

They have an independent nature which can make training challenging, but they are friendly and gentle with children. 

French Bulldog – 8 to 12 Years

The smallest dog on the list so far, excessive breeding of this popular dog has led to health complications which can affect their lifespan.

They don’t shed very much and are docile in a family environment. They can be affectionate and clingy so socialization at a young age is important. 

Chow Chow – 8 to 12 Years

These fluffy dogs have a very unique appearance. They are quite independent and enjoy having a bit of time to themselves.

They can be territorial and don’t make the best family pets.

They don’t bark very often, and have been described as having a personality more similar to cats than other dog breeds. 

Rottweiler – 9 to 10 Years 

These large, muscular dogs are often displayed in films as aggressive, but this is not usually the case. They are laid back and gentle and make great family pets.

They are very loyal, but require firm training. 

Kuvasz – 9 to 12 Years

These pale, fluffy dogs were bred for guarding livestock which is quite a solitary task, with lots of hours spent outdoors.

They don’t make the best family dogs, as they are independent and lack social skills. They need an experienced handler and someone with an outdoor lifestyle to suit their needs. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – 9 to 12 Years

This is another small breed of dog which has made the list due to the health complications caused by over breeding, as they are prone to more than 20 different genetic disorders.

These affectionate dogs require a lot of human interaction and can be destructive when left alone, but they have a gentle and social nature. 

German Shepherd – 10 to 12 Years

This highly intelligent breed has been used for many different kinds of work from police dogs to farm hands. They love to chew and need very strong toys that cannot be easily destroyed.

They usually latch on to whoever they see as the Alpha, and see themselves as the Beta.

This can make them very clingy and difficult to train, especially in a family environment where they will need to take commands from multiple people. 


Size and genetics play a big part in determining the lifespan of different dog breeds. If you want a dog with a long lifespan, you may want to avoid the breeds listed above.

But if you are looking for a shorter commitment, these breeds have many endearing qualities and would make excellent pets. 

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