Why Do Little Dogs Live Longer Than Big Dogs?

It is fairly common knowledge that small dogs typically have a longer lifespan than their large dog counterparts, but it begs the question: why? This is a common occurrence in dogs, but what about other animals like mammals? Many scientists have been riveting by this idea, which is a fascinating topic in the area of biology. For example, mice typically live a much shorter life than elephants. Many experts believe this is because the larger the animal, the faster the metabolism. Mice have much faster metabolism which could cause them to gather more free radicals that can damage tissues over time.

However when it comes to our beloved four legged dog friends, the opposite is true: small dogs typically live much longer than big dogs. Scientists are not in complete agreement on why this happens, though they do have a few good theories. It’s possible that big dogs grow much faster than small dogs, reaching their peak size at around the same age or time. Many claim that this faster growth cycle is closely tied to higher rates of cancer. There is not a clear answer though, but there is certainly a faster rate of aging that takes place in larger dogs that is noticeable and proven.


Just a few years ago, a major study was published that used data gathered about the mortality of thousands of dogs that covered seventy four different breeds. There were many theories about why large dogs typically live a shorter life than their smaller counterparts, but there was a specific conclusion to the study. They found that while aging starts at basically the same time in both small and large dogs, large breed dogs actually age faster. There are no definite conclusions as to why this happens, but it’s thought that further research is necessary to understand the genetics behind this conundrum. Regardless of how long they live or their size, we love dogs regardless!

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