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11 Small Breed Dogs With The Longest Lives

Written by: Ejay Camposano
A college graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Ejay has a diverse background that combines technical expertise with a passion for pets and is now one of the content writers at IHD. Read more
| Published on July 3, 2024

When selecting a dog, many prospective owners seek breeds known for their longevity, especially those who want a companion that will be with them for many years. Small breed dogs often outlive their larger counterparts, providing many years of joy, companionship, and love. These dogs, while small in size, usually boast robust health and spirited personalities. Advances in veterinary care, proper nutrition, and regular exercise have all contributed to the increased lifespans of these beloved small breeds. This article explores eleven small breed dogs known for their extended lifespans, detailing why these breeds tend to live longer and what makes them excellent companions.

11. Chihuahua

Chihuahuas are one of the most miniature dog breeds but boast 12 to 20 years of impressive lifespan. Their longevity can be attributed to their robust health and manageable size, reducing their body strain. Chihuahuas are known for their bold and lively personalities. Despite their tiny stature, they are fearless and often act like larger dogs. Proper nutrition, regular exercise, and routine veterinary care are essential to their health. Chihuahuas are also prone to dental issues, so regular dental care is crucial. Their long lifespan and spirited nature make them beloved companions for many years.

10. Toy Poodle

Toy Poodles are known for their intelligence, elegance, and long lifespan, often 12 to 18 years. This breed’s longevity is partly due to its robust genetics and overall health. Toy Poodles require regular grooming and an active lifestyle to maintain their well-being. Their high intelligence and trainability make them easy to manage, contributing to a stress-free life for the dog and the owner. Regular mental stimulation through training and activities, a balanced diet, and routine health care help Toy Poodles enjoy long, healthy lives. Their hypoallergenic coats also make them a popular choice for people with allergies.

9. Dachshund

Dachshunds, known for their distinctive long bodies and short legs, typically live between 12 to 16 years. These dogs are robust and generally healthy, with a solid genetic makeup contributing to their longevity. Dachshunds require regular exercise and a balanced diet to maintain their health, as they are prone to obesity. They are known for their lively and playful nature, making them excellent companions. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor for potential health issues, mainly back problems due to their unique body shape. Their affectionate nature and long lifespan make them cherished pets.

8. Pomeranian

Pomeranians are small, fluffy dogs that often live between 12 to 16 years. Known for their lively and outgoing personalities, Pomeranians are highly adaptable and thrive in active and relaxed households. Regular grooming is necessary to keep their beautiful coats in good condition, and they require regular exercise to stay healthy. Pomeranians are generally healthy dogs, but routine vet visits are essential to monitor for potential health issues. Their affectionate nature and relatively long lifespan make them excellent companions. Pomeranians are also known for their alertness and can be effective watchdogs despite their small size.

7. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus, aged 10 to 16, are known for their gentle and affectionate nature. These dogs were initially bred as companion animals for Chinese royalty, and they thrive on human interaction. Regular grooming is necessary to keep their long, flowing coats in good condition, and they require regular exercise to maintain their health. Shih Tzus are generally healthy dogs, but responsible breeding and regular veterinary care are essential to prevent genetic conditions. Their loving disposition and long lifespan make them wonderful companions for families and individuals. Shih Tzus are also known for their friendly and social demeanor, making them great with other pets.

6. Maltese

Maltese dogs are small, elegant companions known for their long lifespan, often reaching 12 to 15 years. These dogs have a robust health profile and require regular grooming to maintain their silky white coats. Maltese are affectionate and playful, enjoying active play and quiet cuddles with their owners. Regular exercise and a balanced diet are essential to maintain their health. They are generally healthy dogs, but routine veterinary care is necessary to monitor for potential health issues. Their lively and affectionate nature, combined with their long lifespan, makes them excellent family pets. Maltese are also known for their hypoallergenic coats, making them suitable for people with allergies.

5. Papillon

Papillons are small, intelligent dogs known for their long lifespan, often 12 to 16 years. Named for their butterfly-like ears, Papillons are energetic and enjoy mental and physical activities. Regular exercise and training are crucial to keep Papillons healthy and happy. They are highly adaptable and thrive in various living environments. Papillons are generally healthy dogs, but routine veterinary care is necessary to monitor for potential health issues. Their lively and affectionate nature, combined with their long lifespan, makes them excellent companions. Papillons are also known for their agility and excel in various canine sports.

4. Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers, known for their distinctive tuxedo-like markings, typically live between 12 to 15 years. These dogs are sturdy and generally healthy, with a friendly and affectionate nature. Regular exercise and a balanced diet are essential to maintain their health. Boston Terriers are prone to certain genetic conditions, so responsible breeding and regular veterinary care are necessary. Their loving disposition and relatively long lifespan make them excellent family pets. Boston Terriers are also known for their playful and social nature, making them great companions for children and pets.

3. Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apsos are small, sturdy dogs that often live between 12 to 15 years. Bred initially as sentinel dogs in Tibetan monasteries, Lhasa Apsos are known for their independence and loyalty. Regular grooming is necessary to maintain their long, flowing coats, and they require regular exercise to stay healthy. Lhasa Apsos are generally healthy dogs, but routine vet check-ups are essential to monitor for potential health issues. Their long lifespan and unique personality make them fascinating and devoted companions. Lhasa Apsos are also known for their alertness and can be very effective watchdogs.

2. Pekingese

Pekingese, often between 12 and 15 years old, are known for their distinctive appearance and regal demeanor. These dogs were initially bred as companion animals for Chinese royalty, and they thrive on human interaction. Regular grooming is necessary to maintain their long, flowing coats, and they require regular exercise to maintain their health. Pekingese are generally healthy dogs, but responsible breeding and regular veterinary care are essential to prevent genetic conditions. Their loving disposition and long lifespan make them wonderful companions for families and individuals. Pekingese are also known for their loyal and protective nature.

1. Toy Manchester Terrier

Toy Manchester Terriers are known for their longevity, often living between 15 to 17 years. These small, elegant dogs are robust and generally healthy, with a solid genetic makeup contributing to their long lives. Regular exercise and a balanced diet are essential to maintain their health. Toy Manchester Terriers are known for their lively and playful nature, making them excellent companions. Regular veterinary check-ups are necessary to monitor for any potential health issues. Their affectionate nature and impressive lifespan make them cherished pets. Toy Manchester Terriers are also known for their intelligence and agility, excelling in various canine sports.

In conclusion, these eleven small breed dogs are known for their relatively long lifespans, offering their owners many years of companionship and joy. Proper care, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine veterinary check-ups, is essential to maintaining their health and longevity. Understanding the unique needs of each breed can help ensure they live long, happy lives, enriching the lives of their families with their presence.