When we bring a new pet into our home, we never want to think of that terrible future day that their health will start to fail, or we may lose them. The reality is, all living things — people or pets — can get health issues, but there’s all sorts of factors that come into play about whether or not a dog will have a long and healthy life. Interestingly, one of those factors is a dog's breed — some breeds are just generally healthier and longer living than others, and interestingly, some of the healthiest dogs are mixed breeds.
"Many genetic diseases require that a dog inherit two copies of a mutated gene — one from each parent. The chances of this occurring increases for purebreds because dogs from the same breed share more genes in common than do dogs from different breeds,” says Dr. Jennifer Coates of Pet News Daily. Of course, adopting a mutt doesn’t eliminate the risk of genetic or other diseases, and to the same end, having a purebred dog does not mean you’ll end up having one with many health concerns.
Some of the dogs that are known to be pretty healthy and long living historically include various types of hounds, such as Australian Cattle Dogs.
It’s absolutely fair to look into a dog’s health history, as well as that of their family and of their breed, before adopting them. "In general, dogs who have been bred to work (Labrador Retrievers as guide dogs, for example) are healthier than those who have been bred for the show ring or as a hobby," says Dr. Coates.
But of course, when thinking about what makes a dog breed a healthy breed is going to depend on how you are going to define being healthy. Every breed has some disease they are genetically more prevalent to suffer from, but what that disease is and how bad it will be can depend on all sorts of other factors. For example: “Breeds commonly known to have a higher incidence of cancer include Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers. Breeds that have the lowest incidence of cancer include Chihuahuas and Belgian Malinois," says Nicholas DeRoma, a veterinary technologist, canine behavior specialist, and consultant for CatPet.club. However, there is no guarantee that a Chihuahua or Malinois will not develop cancer throughout its lifetime.
But all things considered, here’s some breeds known to be especially healthy.
This dog breed got its name for helping ranchers herd their cattle. That’s hard work, and very physically demanding — for that reason, this outdoors-loving dog breed is known to be pretty athletic and very healthy. In fact, an Australian Cattle Dog achieved the Guinness World Record for the oldest living dog at 29 years old!
There’s an absolute pattern of athletic dogs being healthier and Australian Shepherds are another great example. These active dogs generally live 12 to 15 years.
The Beagle is best known for their impressive sense of smell — that’s why they are a coveted breed for hunting, and thanks to all the activity involved in their skills, they often live up to 15 years.
While we may not want to take our fur baby skydiving, this breed is known for being so healthy and well-trained that they have assisted the military in sky-diving missions! This agile and obedient breed can live up to around 14 years old.
This breed is another known for their hunting skills, and generally lives to about 12 years old, especially if they honor their breeding with a busy, active lifestyle.
These small but mighty dogs may not be known for hunting, but they are known for long and healthy lives — in fact, they can live up to around 18 years old!
This dog breed can live for up to 20 years with frequent exercise and stimulation.
These dogs are known for loving to run, and it’s all that activity that keeps them young and healthy. These dogs generally live to be about 14 years old.
These dogs are known to be such great runners that a bus company was named after them! Known for being great at chasing, they generally live to about 14 years old.
The Icelandic Sheepdog is an active dog also known for being great with children, because they are so playful and love a good adventure. These dogs generally live to about 14 years old.
These dogs are known for their super cute curly coats, but it’s that coat that also helps them to adapt to many different climates and seasons. They generally live up to 14 years.
This athletic dog breed is great at hunting and hiking, and that makes them a great hunting companion but also adaptable to rough terrains. They generally live to about 15 years old.
You know a dog is strong when it is bred to survive pulling a sled through snow and ice on mountainous terrain. This dog has lots of energy and loves to run and explore, and generally lives up to about 15 years old.
This dog breed has a fun name, and its root is their ability to run at great speeds, which can be very useful in chasing or escaping! They are generally able to live up to 15 years.