Nutrition tips for large dogs
Nordic walking with a dog

Does the dog’s size affect life expectancy?

Is Health Innate?

Is there such a thing as the “golden mean” for dogs, sizes that – even within the breeds – should not be exceeded either upwards or downwards? And does the individual physique determine life expectancy? We asked dog owners about breed similarities. Measured against the average life expectancy of 10.4 years, the answer is pretty clear: The normally built Goldie, for example, lives an average of 0.6 years longer. If it is rather small, there are no disadvantages, but hardly any advantages either. If, on the other hand, he is rather big and strong – measured against other Goldies – then he already loses 1.1 years of life compared to the “normally” built Goldie. And the long-legged sluggards go 2.3 years earlier on average.

Does the breed determine the nature of the dog?

And what about the more or less innate “nature” of dogs? The “nature” of our dogs is, of course, “shaped” by heritage and environment, and also quite different. And every now and then you can find the whole range in a single litter of puppies: the born “sleeping pill”, the “choleric”, the tireless “researcher”. Does this “nature”, which is often very different, also have an impact on the health and life expectancy of our dogs? We also questioned that.

We see: the “sleeping pill”, the “researcher”, the “crook”, they are all very close to the statistical average of 10.4 years. The cheerful temperament, however, who stirs up and down again several times a day, exceeds all of them in life expectancy. The buck is for those who get excited about everything, but then can’t get out of their way, those who are always electrified, under steam. Not only does he live much more stressful than the quiet one. He lives an average of 2.6 years shorter than his happy companion, who quickly copes with stress – one way or another – and then enjoys his peace and quiet …

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Better immune system in dogs thanks to teething troubles?

But not only the physique, also the basic “character” is different in dogs. There are also more or less vital “lines”. Dogs that were seldom or never sick are in the statistical middle range: those that were seldom sick, more on the upper limit, those that were “never” sick, on the lower limit. Much better off are those who did not allow themselves to be “caught off guard” by their illness, in whom the illness somehow “crept in” over time: They lived an average of 1.1 years longer than the average. What is striking is the high age reached by those who came to their families sick as puppies, as newcomers, and were only nursed back to health there. It almost seems as if they had achieved improved vitality and a more effective immune system that protects them from the risk of illness through their “teething troubles”. On average, they die “old and wise” at almost 13 years of age …

Sick puppy, healthy young dog?

But don’t just bring the next sick puppy into your house now. Of those who arrived sick, only 30 percent got well. However, 70 percent remained ill from the start and for life, became – as they say in the country – “red runners” and “caught” everything from diseases that there is. The only illness that never “caught” (= zero percent) was old age … Sure, the vets also play a role in this.


Even the most competent veterinarian does not make a vital nature boy out of a vigorous, too big, too excited red ruff catcher from the start. He can only help, alleviate. But: Please do not fall from one extreme to the other: No, “nature” does not always help, and “time” does not heal every wound either. Don’t put off the questions you have until your next vaccination appointment. If you are worried, be a “permanent guest at the vet” for three weeks. You know: only quick help is good help. And if you then have to say afterwards: “How often have I been to the vet? I don’t know. It varied a lot from year to year”, then you have done exactly the best for your partner dog …

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Links worth reading

Health & CareThe Dog in PubertyInfectious DiseasesVaccination Calendar