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Why do bigger dogs live shorter lives than smaller dogs?

Why do bigger dogs live shorter lives than smaller dogs?
Francesca Fernside from Lancashire (age 5-14)

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One Response

  1. Firstly, it is not always true that bigger dogs live shorter lives. Some big dogs live very long lives. When talking about dog life length we should remember that we are considering average life and there will always be those that die younger or older than the average for that breed. Big dogs have big needs. Big needs put additional strain on the heart and other major organs and as a result some large breeds live shorter lives particularly if they live very energetic (excessively so) lives. It should also be noted that mongrel dogs often live longer and healthier lives than pedigrees because they enjoy the mix up of genes from several different sets of breeds. This is called ‘hybrid vigour’ or outbreeding. Although the KC would hate me for saying it, especially as Crufts is hardly over, pedigree dogs often share very small family gene pools – in other words, there is a lot of inbreeding of closely related lines. This is why pedigrees often suffer more than average genetic complaints and live (on average) shorter lives. If you want a long lived breed? Buy a small, cheap mongrel.

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