How Long Do Small Dogs Live

Mar 5, 2024

Are you thinking about bringing a small dog into your home but aren't sure how long they typically live?

Understanding the average lifespan of these tiny breeds is an important part of making the right decision for your family.

Read on to learn more about different types of small dogs and the expected life expectancy for each type.

An Overview of Small Dog Breeds and Their Average Lifespan

The life expectancy of small dogs can vary greatly depending on the breed. Typically, smaller breeds have longer lifespans than larger breeds due to their size. Smaller breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Toy Poodles, usually live between 12 and 20 years.

On the other hand, larger dog breeds like Labradors and Golden Retrievers often have a shorter lifespan, living between 8 and 14 years.

Also, the lifestyle of a small dog is another factor to consider when thinking about their lifespan. Dogs that get plenty of exercise and are well-nourished may live longer than those that aren't as active or receive poor nutrition.

Popular Small Dog Breeds and Their Lifespans

Popular Small Dog Breeds and Their Lifespans

Here's an overview of the most common small dog breeds and their average life expectancies:

  • Chihuahuas: 12-20 years
  • Pomeranians: 12-16 years
  • Shih Tzus: 10-18 years
  • Yorkshire Terriers: 11-15 years
  • Pugs: 12-15 years
  • Beagles: 10 - 15 years
  • Dachshunds: 12-16 years
  • Maltese: 12 - 15 years

As you can see, the average lifespan of small dogs tends to vary depending on the breed. Some breeds may live longer than others due to their size or lifestyle.

Common Diseases That Shorten a Small Dog's Life

Common Diseases That Shorten a Small Dog's Life

Just like humans, small dogs are subject to health problems and diseases that can affect their life expectancy. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Heart Disease: This is one of the leading causes of death among small breeds.
  • Kidney Problems: Small dog breeds are particularly susceptible to kidney issues due to their size.
  • Cancer: Cancer can be a problem in small dogs, especially if they are not spayed or neutered.
  • Diabetes: This is another common issue among small breeds, and it can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication.
  • Hypothyroidism: This condition can cause a variety of health issues in small dogs, including weight gain and hair loss.

By understanding the potential health risks associated with owning a small dog breed, you can be better prepared to give your pet the care they need for a long and happy life.

Factors that Can Impact How Long Your Dog Lives

When it comes to the life expectancy of small dogs, several factors can impact how long they live. These include:

  • Genetics: Genetics play a big role in determining how long your dog will live. Dogs with healthier genes tend to have longer lifespans than those with weaker genetics.
  • Diet and Exercise: Providing your pet with a balanced, nutritious diet can help them to stay healthy and live longer. Exercise is also important for small breeds, as it helps to keep their hearts strong and their joints healthy.
  • Overall Health: Keeping your dog up to date on vaccinations, regular checkups, and preventative care will help them avoid many common health issues that can shorten their life.

By considering these factors, you can help ensure that your small dog will live a long and happy life.

Tips for Helping Your Small Dog Live a Long, Healthy Life

Tips for Helping Your Small Dog Live a Long, Healthy Life

Owning a small dog comes with many responsibilities, including making sure your pet has a long and happy life. Here are some tips for helping your small dog live their best life:

  • Provide plenty of exercises: Taking your dog for daily walks or trips to the park will help to keep them active and healthy.
  • Feed them nutritious meals: Invest in high-quality dog food that is specifically designed for small dogs.
  • Keep up with preventative care: Regular checkups, vaccinations, and parasite prevention are important for keeping your pet healthy.
  • Offer plenty of playtime: Playing games or engaging in other activities with your pup can help them stay mentally stimulated and alert.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your small dog lives a long and healthy life.

Signs to Look for if You Think Your Dog Might Be Getting Old

As your small dog ages, they may start to show signs of age-related health issues It's important to pay attention to changes in their behavior or physical appearance that could indicate something is wrong. Common signs include:

  • Increased sleep and decreased energy levels
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Difficulty getting up or climbing stairs
  • Changes in appetite or water intake
  • Decreased mental alertness and responsiveness

If you notice any of these signs, it's important to take your pet to the vet for a checkup. Catching health issues early can help prolong your dog's life.

When to Start Thinking About End-of-Life Care for Your Dog

As your small dog starts to get older, it's important to start thinking about end-of-life care for them. This includes understanding their quality of life and discussing any treatments or decisions that need to be made with your vet.

If you think your pet is suffering from a terminal illness or other condition that may shorten their life, it's essential to talk to your vet and develop a plan for their final months. This can include palliative care, hospice care, or other end-of-life options.

Ultimately, it's up to you as the owner to decide what is best for your pet when it comes to end-of-life care. By making these decisions early on, you can ensure that your pet's last days are as comfortable and pain-free as possible.

With proper care and a little bit of luck, small dogs can live long and healthy lives. By understanding their expected lifespan, potential health issues, and end-of-life care needs, you can make sure your beloved pet has the best possible life.


Are small dogs more prone to certain health issues than larger breeds?

Yes, small dog breeds are more susceptible to certain health issues due to their size. They are more likely to suffer from heart disease, kidney problems, cancer, diabetes, and hypothyroidism. It's important to keep up with preventative care and recognize signs of illness early on to give your pet the best chance of a long and healthy life.

What should I feed my small dog?

It's important to invest in high-quality, nutritious food specifically designed for small dogs. This will help ensure that your pup is getting all the vitamins and nutrients they need to stay healthy and live longer. You should also consider adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your meals for added health benefits.

How often should I take my small dog to the vet?

It's recommended that you take your small dog to the vet at least once a year for a checkup and vaccinations. Additionally, you should bring them in if they show any signs of illness or have any changes in behavior. By keeping up with regular care, you can help your pet maintain their health and live a long life.


To conclude, small dog breeds can be expected to live an average of 10-15 years, although this varies per breed. 

Nutrition and health care are key components for any pet's long life, as well as emotional support and exercise.

Speaking with a veterinarian familiar with small breeds is the best way to gauge how long a particular small breed dog may live. 

The vet can often provide estimates based on their experience with specific breeds. 

Ultimately, providing your pup with all of the necessary resources to maintain good health will ensure they age gracefully and happily, giving them the longest life possible. 

So if you're considering investing in a small breed pup, do your research and understand what it requires so that everyone in the family can enjoy precious moments together for many years to come - after all, how long do small dogs live?

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