Special Report

These 26 Dogs Have the Shortest Lifespan

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Dogs are often described in one phrase — man’s best friend. Canines have been humans’ loyal companions for centuries. Today, about 85 million American households own a pet, and more than 63 million of them have a dog.

The average lifespan of a dog is between 10 and 13 years. Sadly, some breeds don’t normally make it past 9 years old. To determine the dog breeds that have the shortest life expectancy, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the life expectancy of nearly 300 dog breeds listed by the American Kennel Club.

In general, large-size breeds tend to have a shorter life expectancy, and small-size breeds tend to live longer — and these are the dogs that live the longest

Nearly half of the dogs on the list of the breeds with the shortest life expectancy weigh at least 100 pounds, especially the male. Females usually weigh between 10 and 20 pounds less. 

Dogs with short lifespans are not only heavy, but they are also usually very tall. Generally measuring at over 25 inches at the shoulder, some can even be taller than their human owner when standing on their hind legs.

Click here to see the shortest-living dogs in the US.

To identify the shortest-living dog breeds in the United States, 24/7 Tempo reviewed information on each of the 282 dog breeds currently listed by the American Kennel Club, the country’s purebred dog registry. Breeds’ life expectancies are listed in a range. We only considered dog breeds who are estimated to live up to 9 years. Information on popularity, height, weight, and breed category also came from the AKC.

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24. Leonberger
> Life expectancy: 9 years
> Popularity: 98 out of 197
> Height: 28-31.5 inches (male), 25.5-29.5 inches (female)
> Weight: 110-170 pounds (male), 90-140 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Friendly, Gentle, Playful

The leonberger was popularized by Heinrich Essig of Leonberg, Germany in the 1800s. This very large breed caught the attention of artists and celebrities and was even used in theater productions in the U.S. It almost went extinct after World War I but was revived in Europe and re-established in America in the 1970s and 1980s.

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23. Newfoundland
> Life expectancy: 9-10 years
> Popularity: 41 out of 197
> Height: 28 inches (male), 26 inches (female)
> Weight: 130-150 pounds (male), 100-120 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Sweet, Patient, Devoted

If you’ve never owned a Newfoundland or knew of anyone that did, you may be in awe of its size when you first encounter one. A male typically stands over 2 feet tall and weighs up to 150 lbs. Aside from being a large pup, Newfoundlands are known for being excellent long distance swimmers thanks to their lung capacity and webbed paws.

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22. Rottweiler
> Life expectancy: 9-10 years
> Popularity: 8 out of 197
> Height: 24-27 inches (male), 22-25 inches (female)
> Weight: 95-135 pounds (male), 80-100 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Loyal, Loving, Confident Guardian

The rottweiler is one of the oldest working breeds and may have been herding livestock since the days of the Roman Empire. The breed combines intelligence, strength, and endurance. Unfortunately, the Rottweiler has sometimes been portrayed in the media as aggressive, but according to the AKC, it is “a calm, confident, and courageous dog.”

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21. Perro de Presa Canario
> Life expectancy: 9-11 years
> Popularity: Not ranked
> Height: 22-26 inches
> Weight: 84-110 pounds
> Temperament: Confident, Calm, Strong-Willed

The perro de presa Canario, or the “Canary dog of prey,” also known as the Canary dog, is a very loyal dog — suspicious of strangers and devoted to its owner. The exact origin of the breed is unclear but there is some evidence it existed as early as the 15th century.

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20. Boerboel
> Life expectancy: 9-11 years
> Popularity: 123 out of 197
> Height: 24-27 inches (male), 22-25 inches (female)
> Weight: 150-200 pounds
> Temperament: Confident, Intelligent, Calm

The boerboel was developed as a farm dog in South Africa. It is a mastiff type, strong and muscular in appearance, and can weigh up to 200 pounds. It is also dominant, so new owners should have experience handling large dogs.

19. Cane corso
> Life expectancy: 9-12 years
> Popularity: 25 out of 197
> Height: 25-27.5 inches (male), 23.5-26 inches (female)
> Weight: Proportionate to height pounds
> Temperament: Affectionate, Intelligent, Majestic

Originating in Italy and bred as a guard dog, the Cane corso is described by the AKC as a peerless protector. This dog is intelligent, loyal, and docile in the company of its owners. However, that docility may not extend to others, and the cane corso requires intensive socialization and training.

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18. Taiwan dog
> Life expectancy: 9-13 years
> Popularity: Not ranked
> Height: 17-20 inches
> Weight: 26-40 pounds
> Temperament: Loyal, Versatile, Intelligent

The Taiwan dog is a breed of medium-sized dogs indigenous to the mountains of Taiwan. The breed is easily recognizable with its triangular head, almond-shaped eyes, and thin pricked ears. Taiwan dogs should be household dogs, not outside dogs, because they need daily interaction with their family, according to the AKC.

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17. Borzoi
> Life expectancy: 9-14 years
> Popularity: 103 out of 197
> Height: 28 inches & up (male), 26 inches & up (female)
> Weight: 75-105 pounds (male), 60-85 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Affectionate, Loyal, Regally Dignified

Borzoi are big sighthounds — hunting primarily by sight and speed — and can weigh over 100 pounds. Once known as the Russian wolfhound, borzoi were bred to be fast and tough. They are independent and sometimes stubborn, so training can be a challenge.

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16. Dogo Argentino
> Life expectancy: 9-15 years
> Popularity: 93 out of 197
> Height: 24-26.5 inches (male), 24-25.5 inches (female)
> Weight: 88-100 pounds (male), 88-95 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Loyal, Courageous, Athletic

As its name suggests, the dogo Argentino originated in Argentina. The breed was created by Antonio Nores Martinez, a doctor with a passion for dogs and for hunting. It is a powerful and athletic dog with a short, completely white coat. It is used to hunt wild boars and other formidable game and is very protective of those it loves. It is sometimes called the Argentinian mastiff.

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15. Broholmer
> Life expectancy: 8-10 years
> Popularity: Not ranked
> Height: 26-30 inches
> Weight: 90-150 pounds
> Temperament: Friendly, Watchful, Loving

The Broholmer is originally from Denmark and is thus sometimes referred to as the Dannish mastiff. The presence of a Broholmer in the U.S. was first recorded in 2009, when a couple brought one from Europe.

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14. Flat-coated retriever
> Life expectancy: 8-10 years
> Popularity: 102 out of 197
> Height: 23-24.5 inches (male), 22-23.5 inches (female)
> Weight: 60-70 pounds
> Temperament: Cheerful, Optimistic, Good-Humored

The flat-coated retriever is one of six retriever breeds recognized by the AKC. It was first bred in Britain in the mid-19th century and was known as the “gamekeeper’s dog” because of its widespread use on estates. It is not just distinguished by its lustrous coat, but by its long head, which is unique among retrievers.

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13. Saint Bernard
> Life expectancy: 8-10 years
> Popularity: 52 out of 197
> Height: 28-30 inches (males), 26-28 inches (female)
> Weight: 140-180 pounds (male), 120-140 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Playful, Charming, Inquisitive

The Saint Bernard is a world-famous gentle giant that could act as a “nanny dog” for children. Named after a monk who aided pilgrims crossing the Alps on their way to Rome, the Saint Bernard is also famous as a rescue dog.

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12. Bulldog
> Life expectancy: 8-10 years
> Popularity: 5 out of 197
> Height: 14-15 inches
> Weight: 50 pounds (male), 40 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Friendly, Courageous, Calm

The bulldog has long been associated with British culture (note the resemblance to Winston Churchill!), but it’s also one of the most popular breeds in America. Its name belies a friendly personality and gentle disposition.

11. Scottish deerhound
> Life expectancy: 8-11 years
> Popularity: 166 out of 197
> Height: 30-32 inches (male), 28 inches & up (female)
> Weight: 85-110 pounds (male), 75-95 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Gentle, Dignified, Polite

At one point in time, only nobles and dignitaries owned this ancient and elegant breed. The Scottish deerhound is one of the largest breeds, even among relatively short-living dogs.

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10. Greater Swiss mountain dog
> Life expectancy: 8-11 years
> Popularity: 76 out of 197
> Height: 25.5-28.5 inches (male), 23.5-27 inches (female)
> Weight: 115-140 pounds (male), 85-110 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Faithful, Family-Oriented, Dependable

The greater Swiss mountain dog is descended from war dogs brought across the Alps by Julius Caesar’s armies, but was only fully recognized by the AKC in 1995. It is a large, powerful working dog. It needs regular exercise but does not cope well with hot weather.

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9. Chow chow
> Life expectancy: 8-12 years
> Popularity: 84 out of 197
> Height: 17-20 inches
> Weight: 45-70 pounds
> Temperament: Dignified, Bright, Serious-Minded

The chow chow is a member of the AKC’s Non-Sporting Group and does fine without a lot of exercise. Its deep-set eyes give it a serious look. It comes in a variety of colors, including red, black, and blue. The chow chow is one of two AKC registered breeds with a unique blue-black tongue, the other being the Chinese shar-pei.

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8. Chinese shar-pei
> Life expectancy: 8-12 years
> Popularity: 61 out of 197
> Height: 18-20 inches
> Weight: 45-60 pounds
> Temperament: Loyal, Independent, Calm

Shar-pei have some very distinctive characteristics, including a rough coat and folds of wrinkled skin. They are intelligent but stubborn and need to be trained at an early age. Unfortunately, shar-pei are prone to a range of health conditions, including allergic skin disease, eye disorders, and various bone and joint problems.

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7. Bernese mountain dog
> Life expectancy: 7-10 years
> Popularity: 22 out of 197
> Height: 25-27.5 inches (male), 23-26 inches (female)
> Weight: 80-115 pounds (male), 70-95 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Good-Natured, Calm, Strong

The Bernese mountain dog hails from the Swiss Alps. It was used to herd cattle and haul carts filled with farm produce. The Bernese was the perfect fit for such work because of its muscular build and was known to haul loads weighing more than 1,000 pounds.

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6. Great Dane
> Life expectancy: 7-10 years
> Popularity: 15 out of 197
> Height: 30-32 inches (male), 28-30 inches (female)
> Weight: 140-175 pounds (male), 110-140 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Friendly, Patient, Dependable

The great Dane was developed in England and Germany as a boar hound, its long ears often left shredded by the sharp tusks of the wild boar. Today’s great Danes lead much less hazardous lives and can make for great pets. They are dependable, patient, and friendly. But as their name implies, they are huge. Standing on its hind legs, a great Dane can be taller than its owner.

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5. Neapolitan mastiff
> Life expectancy: 7-9 years
> Popularity: 100 out of 197
> Height: 26-31 inches (male), 24-29 inches (female)
> Weight: 150 pounds (male), 110 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Loyal, Dignified, Watchful

The Neapolitan mastiff, also known as the mastino, has been around since ancient Roman times. This type of dog was bred as early as 700 B.C. The breed’s massive hanging wrinkles and folds of loose skin are among its most recognizable features.

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4. Bullmastiff
> Life expectancy: 7-9 years
> Popularity: 55 out of 197
> Height: 25-27 inches (male), 24-26 inches (female)
> Weight: 110-130 pounds (male), 100-120 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Affectionate, Loyal, Brave

As the name suggests, the bullmastiff is the result of bulldog and mastiff crosses. It was bred to guard country estates and game preserves from poachers. It is large, tipping the scale at up to 130 pounds, and is powerful and intimidating. The bullmastiff requires careful training.

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3. Mastiff
> Life expectancy: 6-10 years
> Popularity: 33 out of 197
> Height: 30 inches & up (male), 27.5 inches & up (female)
> Weight: 160-230 pounds (male), 120-170 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Courageous, Dignified, Good-Natured

Due to their large size, mastiffs make an immediately imposing impression on newcomers, but they are known for being good-natured and docile. The mastiff is the heaviest dog, clocking in at an average of 160 pounds.

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2. Irish wolfhound
> Life expectancy: 6-8 years
> Popularity: 74 out of 197
> Height: 32 inches minimum (male), 30 inches minimum (female)
> Weight: 120 pounds (male), 105 pounds (female)
> Temperament: Courageous, Dignified, Calm

The Irish wolfhound is a massive, muscular dog. Perhaps at odds with its imposing appearance, owners of this breed report Irish wolfhounds as calm and quiet dogs.

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1. Dogue de Bordeaux
> Life expectancy: 5-8 years
> Popularity: 71 out of 197
> Height: 23.27 inches (male), 23-26 inches (female)
> Weight: 110 pounds & up (male), 99 pounds & up (female)
> Temperament: Affectionate, Loyal, Courageous

Dogue is French for “mastiff,” and this is a big, muscular breed with a massive head. While it is not aggressive, it is not great with other dogs. Dogue de Bordeaux was featured in the 1989 Tom Hanks’ movie “Turner and Hooch” but was not recognized by the AKC until 2008.

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