Categories
Leonbergers

The Life Span of Different Dog Breeds

As I mentioned before, our Leonberger Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, or as we called him, Bronco, was an unusually long lived Leonberger. Leonbergers live on average 8-9 years, but our Bronco almost made it 13 (by two weeks).

Photo of our old Leonberger Bronco going on 13. He loved walking into his old age but needed breaks.
Our Old Leonberger Bronco going on 13. He loved walking into his old age but needed breaks.
Snapshot of website where you can lookup the life spans of hundreds of dog breeds.
You can look up the average life span of hundreds of dog breeds by clicking on the image. As you see, smaller dogs live longer, the giant breeds have the shortest life spans.

Scientific veterinary research has shown that large dogs have a much shorter life span than small dogs. This is not controversial, yet so many people are surprised by it. For example, one day after Bronco had just visited the veterinarian and I was walking him around the shopping center, a woman came up to me and asked about him. I told her he was twelve—old for a Leonberger. She said, “Twelve isn’t very old; my Chihuahua lived to be sixteen.” I explained to her that big dogs, especially really big dogs such as Leonbergers and Saint Bernards, don’t live as long as small dogs do, so for a Leonberger, Bronco was indeed really old. The look on her face told me she didn’t believe me; excuses, excuses, excuses. So this fact is far from intuitive to people, especially considering that big animals tend to live longer than small animals in the wild.

The cliché that one human year corresponds to seven dog years is a myth. For example, the average life span of a Great Dane is eight to ten years. For a Chihuahua, it is twelve to twenty years. Dachshunds and Pomeranians live between twelve and sixteen years, and pugs live between twelve and fifteen years. The average life span of a Leonberger, by contrast, is eight to nine years (some sources say seven years*). You can look up your dog’s particulars online: the product-review website Goody Pet features a life-expectancy calculator for hundreds of dog breeds.

Knowing the expected life span of your dog has value. When a dog reaches three-quarters of it, for example, he is considered a senior and needs to be treated differently.‡ You should get dog food that’s especially made for senior dogs and visit the veterinarian more often—ideally, twice a year.

To take Bronco’s temperature, we used a thermometer that we could insert into his ear canal. However, you can also do it the old-fashioned way: coat a thermometer with petroleum jelly or baby oil and gently insert it about one inch into your dog’s anus. Wait sixty seconds, then remove the thermometer. It should be noted, however, that the old-fashioned approach may lead to protests.

It’s also important to keep careful track of your Leonberger’s weight. Obesity in dogs is a growing problem: according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, in 2018, 56 percent of American dogs were obese. Obesity, by definition, is a condition in which a person—or an animal—weighs at least 30 percent more than his ideal weight. In the photo below, in which Bronco is sitting on Claudia’s lap, he weighed 167 pounds—thirty-two pounds above his ideal weight of 135 pounds. Soon after that photograph was taken, we put him on a diet. Obesity can cause a lot of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, early-onset arthritis, and joint pain. It can also put a strain on the body’s vital organs.

Photo of our Leonberger Bronco sitting in Claudia's lap. Bronco was a loving dog but 167 pounds in your lap might be a tad much.
Bronco was a loving dog but 167 pounds in your lap might be a tad much.

Finally, I would like to promote my book about Bronco and Leonbergers.

This is a photo of the front cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
This is the front cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com location for the book.
Photo of the back cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This is the back cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon.se location for the book.
This image feature the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.
These are the endorsements for the book. Click on the image to got to the Barnes and Noble location for the book.

Below is a list of where you can find the book. Click on the links to go to the respective store. However, if your favorite bookstore is not listed below you can search for it using the ISBN or ASIN numbers.

ISBN number for printed edition: 978-0998084954 ASIN number for the e-book edition: B0B5NN32SR

By thomasstigwikman

My name is Thomas Wikman. I am a software/robotics engineer with a background in physics, but I am currently retired. I took early retirement. I am a dog lover, and especially a Leonberger lover, a home brewer, craft beer enthusiast, an amateur astronomer, I’m learning French, and I am an avid reader. I live in Dallas, Texas, but I am originally from Sweden. I am married to Claudia, and we have three children Jacob, David and Rachel. My blog feature the crazy adventures of our Leonberger e Bronco von der Löwenhöhle as well as information on Leonbergers

7 replies on “The Life Span of Different Dog Breeds”

It’s hard to believe that there are folks out there that don’t know/don’t believe that the bigger the dog, the shorter the average lifespan. I noticed this trend even before I owned my yellow Labrador retriever, Mary Joe.

You – and Bronco – certainly hit the lifespan lottery; 13 years for a Leonberger is well above the average life expectancy for such a big (and big-hearted) dog!

Liked by 1 person

I agree with Alex. People who have been around dogs know the larger ones tend to live shorter lives, sadly. Even so, the woman with the chihuahua—it’s not a competition. Better ten good years than fifteen miserable years. And the point is to make the time we have we them the best we can.

Liked by 2 people

I have to admit I did not know that before I had dogs for the first time in my 30’s. Now when I know I think people who don’t know are kind of ignorant. But seriously, you are very observant and not everyone pays attention that much. Also, thank you for your kind words. Yes we won the lifespan lottery. Hopefully Bronco’s DNA will be helpful in extended the lifespan of Leonbergers and other giant breeds.

Liked by 1 person

Thank you very much Jacqui. We had not heard of Leonbergers either until our son became fascinated with them. They are related to St. Bernards but are specifically bred to be family dogs (and protectors) the only giant breed bred for that purpose (in 1836). Our Bronco was truly astonishing, so loving, he loved people, protected our little dogs with his life, he sniffed out an oncoming insulin shock before it happened, and he was funny. He gave us so many laughs.

Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s