These are the longest and shortest-living dog breeds in the UK

·2-min read
Jack Russell terriers and springer spaniels have high life expectancy (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Jack Russell terriers and springer spaniels have high life expectancy (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Jack Russell terriers are the longest living dogs in the UK, while French bulldogs have the shortest lifespans, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Royal Veterinary College found that on average, life expectancies in male dogs are four months shorter than in females.

As per the study, published in the Scientific Reports journal, the overall average life expectancy in dogs is 11.2 years.

The analysis is based on a sample of 30,563 dogs that died between January 2016 and July 2020, from 18 different breeds and crossbreeds.

It found that Jack Russell terriers have a life expectancy of 12.7 years. This is followed by border collies (12.1 years) and springer spaniels (11.92 years).

Four breeds of flat-faced dogs, also known as brachycephalic, were found to have the shortest life expectancy. American bulldogs live for an average of 7.8 years, pugs for 7.7 years, English bulldogs for 7.4 years and French bulldogs for just 4.5 years.

The research supports experts’ warnings that people should think twice before buying a flat-faced dog.

The lower life expectancies of flat-faced breeds are heavily associated with the animals suffering from a number of conditions including breathing problems and spinal disease.

Researchers said the findings, presented as life tables – a tool that lists the remaining life expectancy and probability of death across a range of age groups in any given population – will allows owners to estimate accurately how much longer their pet dog may live.

Dr Justine Shotton, president of the British Veterinary Association, commented: “These life tables offer an important insight into the life expectancy of popular dog breeds in the UK and will be a useful tool for vets and pet owners in assessing dog welfare.

“A concerning finding is the lower life expectancy for flat-faced breeds.

“While the study doesn’t prove a direct link between these breeds’ potential welfare issues and shorter length of life, the findings serve as a fresh reminder for prospective dog owners to choose a breed based on health, not looks.”

In both male and female dogs, neutered dogs were found to have a longer life expectancy than their non-neutered counterparts.

The breeding of flat-faced dogs was banned in Norway earlier this year, with an Oslo court ruling that the practice is cruel and results in man-made health problems and is in violation of Norway’s Animal Welfare Act.

Explaining the health problems during an appearance on This Morning at the time, veterinarian Dr Scott Miller used the example of the British bulldog, which has very narrow nostrils and “virtually no nose”.

This means that the structures in their nasal passages are shunted back, and that they have an elongated soft palate.

“Which means they struggle to breathe [and] they overheat and also, because of their shape, they struggle with arthritis and tend to be overweight because you can’t exercise them that much,” Miller said.