Dog Days: How Long Are Dog Years, Dog Life Expectancy Chart, and More | Pupford
December 5th, 2023
Filed under Pet Parenting
Ahh, the dog days of summer.
That phrase got us thinking: why are they called the ‘dog days’? Are dog days really that different from human days considering they grow and live differently than we do?
So today we’re going to talk about all things dog days -- how long are “dog years?” and “dog days”? As well as how to make each one of our dogs’ days fun and enjoyable.
Topics we’ll cover today:
- How long are dog years?
- Life expectancy of dogs
- Dog health tips
- More ways to keep your dog happy for all their days
Let’s get started by digging into the truth about dog years.
HOW LONG IS A DOG YEAR?
There’s a common saying that a dog year is equivalent to seven human years. But that’s not totally accurate, and the reality isn’t quite so straightforward as a simple conversion.
That concept of a “dog year” probably came about as a reasonable explanation of how dogs develop and age at a different rate than humans do. For example, a one year old human baby is still completely dependent on their parents, whereas a one year old dog is more independent -- and in some cases has reached full maturity.
Like we mentioned before, a “dog year” is a little more complicated than you would think, mainly because not all years are the same. There are a few factors that shape what a year in your dog’s life looks like:
- Size - reach full size and maturity quicker than larger breeds do, simply because they have less growing to do. So different size dogs may hit different milestones in different years -- be sure to know what is normal for your dog.
- Breed - Breed impacts size, development, physical and mental qualities, and so many other factors that affect how your dog grows and ages in a given year. Different breeds also have different life expectancies which impacts their years, which we’ll get into more later.
- Current age - Dog years are not the same from year to year. For example, a dog will reach milestones in their first year that are equivalent to 15 human years, but will only advance another 9 “dog years” in the second year.
So as you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all conversion for dog years to human years. The “7 years” myth is not a terrible estimation when all factors are averaged, but it’s definitely not a hard and fast rule to live by.
HUMAN YEARS TO DOG YEARS CHART
Here’s a little chart to help you understand dog years a little better based on your dog!
Remember, this dog years chart is an estimate. Every dog and situation is different!
LIFE EXPECTANCY OF DOGS
As much as we wish our furry friends could live forever, it’s unfortunately not the case.
Understanding the life expectancy of your dog isn’t meant to scare or worry you -- it’s just another tool for learning what your dog needs at every stage of life so you can be the best possible pup parent!
- Small breeds (<20lbs) typically live slightly longer than that average, with some reaching 16 years of age or more.
- (20-50lbs) sit right around the average of 11-13 years.
- (50-90lbs) will sit on the lower end of average, at 9-11 years.
- Giant breeds (>90lbs) have the shortest life expectancy of 7-9 years.
DOG LIFE EXPECTANCY CHART
While it’s a little more challenging to estimate life expectancy for mixed-breed dogs, here are some common breed’s lifespans, according to Dog Longevity:
If your dog is a mixed breed or you are unsure of their breed, you can go by the general rule that smaller dogs tend to enjoy longer lives. In fact, the dogs with the longest average lifespan include:
- Chihuahuas (they can live for up to 20 years!)
- Toy Poodles
- Jack Russell Terriers
- Shih Tzus
- Yorkshire Terriers
- Shiba Inus
- Australian Cattle Dogs
Keep in mind that your dog’s lifespan is greatly affected by their diet, exercise, mental stimulation, and daily routine. Maximize your days with your pup by making an active effort to keep them happy and healthy.
DOG HEALTH TIPS
Our goal is to help you keep your dog as healthy and happy as possible to live their very best, and longest, life.
- See your vet regularly - your dog should be getting routine physical exams at least once a year. Identifying health issues at their beginning makes them easier to treat and potentially less impactful to your dog’s health.
- - knowing basic first aid for your dog can help you and learn health indicators you might not have otherwise known. The Dog First Aid Course in the is taught by veterinarians and features in-depth videos and PDFs for preventative care, DIY remedies, and more.
- Know how to properly groom your dog - caring for your dog’s skin, coat, nails, and teeth can prevent serious health conditions and keep your dog active and happy. The in the Pupford Academy has in-depth videos for brushing, haircutting, bathing, nail care, and more.
- Keep your dog mentally stimulated - mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise when it comes to your dog living a long, happy life. Courses like and in the Pupford Academy can show you activities that keep your dog’s brain working hard.
DOG YEARS RECAP
Again, remember that every dog is different and all of this information about dog years is just an estimate! No matter what age your pup lives to, remember to enjoy each day with your pup!
What else are you doing to ensure your dog has as many “dog days” with you as possible? Share in the comments!