Dogs are man's best friends, but unfortunately, they don't live forever. Our canine pals face a short life span relative to ours, so if you want a longtime companion, think small. Almost 40 percent of small dog breeds live longer than 10 years. Read about 10 of the longest-living dog breeds, as well as the health maladies that may still afflict them. Breed information provided by Vetstreet.
Average life span: 12-15 years
Dachshunds come in two sizes — standard and miniature — and are the smallest of the hounds. They are prone to back injuries and are one of the breeds most likely to need canine wheelchairs. Normal behavior like jumping on and off of furniture is hazardous to dachshunds, due to their long, low-slung backs. Training them to use ramps to access sofas or beds can help prolong their life expectancy since there is less risk of back problems.
Average Life Span: 12-14 years
Pugs love to be around people and have fun. They are affectionate and energetic with little need to exercise. Pugs can experience a breed-specific disease called Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE). It is an inflammation of the brain that causes seizures and could lead to death. There is no cure and no way to treat the disease.
Average Life Span: 13-16 years
Beagles are one of the most popular breeds for families. As scenthounds, they are happiest when following their noses. Beagles are prone to ear infections in their long ears. If left untreated, infections could cause permanent damage to the ear canal and loss of hearing.
Average Life Span: 15 years or longer
Pomeranians are bright dogs that love to explore and stay active. While they are small enough to live in apartments, they prefer to be outside on long walks or playing with other dogs. They stay healthy through their lives, but hips can be problem spots. A condition called Legg-Calve-Perthes causes a reduced blood supply to the rear legs. The first sign of this hip problem is limping. A full recovery is possible with early detection.
Average Life Span: 12-20 years
Chihuahuas can be high-strung, but they have big personalities. They need constant training with lots of patience. Many Chihuahuas live long and healthy lives, but some can suffer from luxating patella. This orthopedic problem occurs when the kneecap becomes displaced. The condition sometimes resolves on its own, but in other cases it requires surgery.
Average Life Span: 12-15 years
Lhasa Apsos make wonderful family pets if children in the home treat them with respect. These dogs do not have the patience for any ear tugging or tail pulling. Health problems for Lhasa Apsos are often eye-related. Progressive retinal atrophy, dry eye and glaucoma are all conditions to watch for. Proper treatment and routine vet visits can help to cut any risks and keep Lhasa Apsos healthy for longer.
Average Life Span: 11-13 years
Boston Terriers are happy as long as they are around people. Content to either sit on the couch or go out for a walk, they are excellent, friendly pets. Because of their flat faces, Boston Terriers are at risk for breathing problems. These can become severe, and sometimes need surgery to correct. Minor conditions like snoring or snuffling are also common in this breed.
Average Life Span: 12-14 years
Miniature Schnauzers are smart and athletic dogs that excel at obedience. They love people, but they are not lap dogs. This breed is prone to eye issues such as cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy. PRA is an inherited disease that can lead to blindness in both eyes.
Next: 10 Small Dog Breeds
Average Life Span: 15-18 years
Maltese dogs stay puppies at heart their whole lives. They are fun, animated and loyal to their owners. The Maltese is a healthy breed, but they are prone to a condition called "shaker dog" syndrome. This causes uncontrollable shaking. An afflicted Maltese may not be able to get up or walk at all. Some respond to short-term treatment, while others need medication for their entire lives.