Much like us humans, dogs are susceptible to illness and disease. From cancer to heart disease, genetic issues, to kidney disease, some dog breeds are healthier than others. This is particularly true for working dogs, as they are bred to maximize physical abilities instead of trying to achieve a specific look. While there is no guarantee that any dog will or will not develop a potentially life-threatening illness, there are certain breeds that have a longer lifespan than others. These dogs statistically live a long life when they're well cared for, making them an integral part of any family.
Being one of the smallest dog breeds, Chihuahuas can live up to 20 years. While they weigh an average of just six pounds, chihuahuas are not tiny when it comes to their personality. Chihuahuas are known for their diverse hereditary lines, reducing their risk of genetic complications. The most common conditions that affect this breed are those found across all toy or small-breed dogs, such as tracheal issues. Overall, Chihuahuas are generally a healthy breed, having the capacity to outlive most other dogs.
As its name suggests, the Australian cattle dog was once bred to herd livestock. First known as the Australian heeler, some people still call them blue heelers or Queensland heelers. Bluey, a 29-year-old Australian cattle dog, is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest dog. Since these dogs are naturally active, they benefit from exercise. This breed is also a small to medium-sized dog, which helps prevent the breakdown of cartilage. Bred for problem-solving and intelligence, not looks, these cattle dogs live 12-16 years on average. The key is to keep these dogs active — they are not couch potatoes.
Known for being small but mighty, beagles were originally bred to be part of a hunting pack. Originating in Great Britain over 200 years ago, they would track rabbits while their hunters would follow on horseback. Although they're excellent working dogs, they also make loyal companions. With an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years, beagles need to remain active and consume a proper diet. That is because one of the most common health problems associated with beagles is obesity. Since this health concern can be managed from day one, daily exercise is also imperative.
Poodles are highly intelligent dogs that typically live longer than other large breeds. They are elegant and proud, often winning best-in-show. However, they were not always bred for their looks. Being one of the oldest breeds, they were traditionally bred specifically for hunting waterfowl. When provided with a proper diet and plenty of exercise, this breed lives to be around 14 years old. Since poodles do not shed easily, they are a brilliant choice for owners with allergies.
Like the Alaskan malamute, Siberian huskies most closely resemble wolves. Since they share more similarities with their ancient ancestors than other breeds, they have undergone less drastic human intervention. The healthiest huskies are raised as working dogs instead of as pets. Like other large dogs, huskies can develop hip dysplasia as they age. They are also prone to eye conditions. However, since this breed typically suffers only from minor health problems, Siberian huskies live 11 to 13 years.
The German Pinscher is both elegant and strong. Admired for their beauty and intelligence, this breed is often chosen for working dogs, guard dogs, and welcomed into homes as loving family dogs. Since they have so much energy, they require plenty of exercise. The German Pinscher isn't troubled with any major or minor health problems; therefore, these dogs live an average of 12 to 15 years.
Some of the healthiest dogs are actually those that are of mixed breeds. This is because of their large genetic pool, making them less prone to hereditary issues and recessive disorders. Unlike other breeds, that have been interbred and over-bred, mixed-breed dogs tend to be healthier as a whole. One study looked at the medical records of 27,000 dogs. It found that 42% of genetic disorders were significantly greater in purebred dogs compared to just 4% in mixed-breed dogs. To ensure the longest possible lifespan, a balanced diet is crucial.
German shorthaired pointers are commonly used in hunting. They are high-energy dogs that need a lot of exercise. Although their short hair rarely sheds, making them great for indoor living, they need to remain active. That is why they do best when owners spend plenty of time outdoors with them. While they can develop hip dysplasia and some cancers, they typically live 10 to 12 healthy years.
English foxhounds are natural hunters and loving pets. Raised to hunt in packs, they can run for hours, helping them stay physically healthy. Bred to remain in outstanding physical condition, this breed does not typically suffer from genetic diseases, such as patella luxation (dislocated knee), elbow dysplasia, or degenerative eye conditions. While they often live to 13 years, it's important to remain mindful of this breed's need to be athletic.
Known for their unique yodel, Basenjis are often used for hunting. However, they are also a wonderful addition to any family. Often referred to as the barkless dog, this ancient breed's lineage is traced back to Egypt. When properly cared for, this breed is long-lived with an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years and develops very few health conditions. This breed is often described as being cat-like, showcasing traits such as being clever, independent, and reserved.
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