These Are the Shortest-Living Dog Breeds

When it comes to life expectancy in dogs, bigger isn’t usually better. Several factors determine how long your dog will live, including quality of care, breeding, and whether they’re spayed or neutered, Canine Journal reports. But on average, most large dog breeds tend to have fewer years to spend romping around the yard, chewing on bones, and giving you wet kisses. Here are the dog breeds with the shortest lifespans.

15. Boerboel

Boerboel dog
Boerboel | Smok Bazyli/Wikimedia Commons

Lifespan: 9 to 11 years

The boerboel, otherwise known as the South African mastiff, might not have the longest lifespan, but he surely makes his presence known. Weighing about 150 to 200 pounds, this massive pup is strong yet agile, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). Boerboels were bred as farm dogs, working and protecting their land. They also love their family, especially kids. They’re generally a healthy breed, so it’s primarily their giant size that limits their lifespan.

Next: Newfoundland

14. Newfoundland

Newfoundland puppy
Newfoundland puppy |

Lifespan: 9 to 10 years

According to the AKC, the Newfoundland is a workhorse — and about the size of a horse at 100 to 150 pounds. These dogs are known for saving lives, with their rescue ability being especially strong in water. Their big, strong bodies are surprisingly agile, and they need a moderate amount of exercise. Throughout their decade or so of life, they’re prone to hip and elbow dysplasia; cardiac disease; and kidney, bladder, and ureter stones.

Next: Greater Swiss mountain dog

13. Greater Swiss mountain dog

Greater Swiss mountain dog
Greater Swiss mountain dog |

Lifespan: 8 to 11 years

If you were to describe greater Swiss mountain dogs in one word, the AKC says it would be “majestic.” These big dogs top out at about 140 pounds, and they’re as agile as they are strong. They’re incredibly even-tempered and make great family dogs. Swissies might develop elbow and hip dysplasia, as well as eye disease. They’re also prone to a potentially life-threatening stomach disorder, bloat. And they don’t tolerate heat well and could fall victim to heatstroke.

Next: Scottish deerhound

12. Scottish deerhound

Scottish deerhound running
Scottish deerhound | Brown

Lifespan: 8 to 11 years

A Scottish deerhound will definitely be able to reach all the food on your countertops (and hopefully that doesn’t cut his lifespan even shorter if he gets into something toxic). These canines love to gallop around outside, but you’ll also find them napping inside across your entire couch. They’re prone to a few health problems that might affect their lifespan, including cardiac disease and a blood clotting disorder. They’re also sensitive to anesthesia and some other drugs. Plus, they don’t handle stress well, so it’s important to actively maintain their health.

Next: Rottweiler

11. Rottweiler

portrait of a purebred rottweiler
Rottweiler |

Lifespan: 8 to 10 years

Rottweilers are smart, affectionate, and love to work. And they perform well in various roles, including service and therapy dogs, police dogs, and herding dogs. They’re prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, heart problems, bleeding disorders, and cancer.

Next: St. Bernard

10. St. Bernard

St. Bernard rescue dog
St. Bernard |

Lifespan: 8 to 10 years

There’s no other way to spin it: St. Bernards are huge. They tip the scales at anywhere from 120 to 180 pounds, and their huge heads make them look even more imposing. But these dogs are gentle giants who are friendly, patient, and great with kids. Like many other breeds on this list, St. Bernards face hip dysplasia, as well as eye problems. But they generally lead healthy lives.

Next: Bulldog

9. Bulldog

Bulldog | Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Lifespan: 8 to 10 years

Try to look at a bulldog and not smile. Its short face and wrinkles will get you every time. These low-key dogs are friendly and good with kids. They’d also much prefer to take a nap than a walk, but they need the exercise to keep them healthy. They’re actually one of the smaller dogs on our list, weighing roughly 40 to 50 pounds. They tend to have breathing problems because of their short nose. And, though adorable, their wrinkles can trap dirt and bacteria, leading to skin infections.

Next: Leonberger

8. Leonberger

A young Leonberger puppy is lying on floor
Leonberger puppy |

Lifespan: 7 to 10 years

A Leonberger might have some St. Bernard and Newfoundland in it, giving it some traits — and surely the size — of those breeds. Bred as strong working dogs, these pups can grow up to about 170 pounds. They’re active, agile, and love their families. Leonbergers are generally healthy during their short lives, but they might develop hip dysplasia and eye disease.

Next: Bloodhound

7. Bloodhound

Bloodhound puppies
Bloodhound puppies |

Lifespan: 7 to 9 years

Bloodhounds are one of the most recognizable breeds with their wrinkly faces and long, droopy ears. And as adorable and friendly as they are, forget about diverting their attention when they’re tracking a scent. Bloodhounds are prone to the life-threatening bloat and must be forced to eat slowly. They also tend to eat anything in their path — socks, rocks, remotes, you name it — so you must know your emergency vet’s number by heart.

Next: Neapolitan mastiff

6. Neapolitan mastiff

Neapolitan mastiff
Neapolitan mastiff |

Lifespan: 7 to 9 years

Remember Fang from Harry Potter? That’s a Neapolitan mastiff. If you’re a giant, he might seem like a normal dog, but for us Muggles, he’s absolutely massive. Regarding this breed’s gigantic head, the AKC says, “The profuse hanging wrinkles and folds, and pendulous lips, make the Neapolitan mastiff look like a marzipan mastiff that’s been out in the sun too long.” And with their impressive appearance comes an equally sweet and loyal demeanor. This breed might develop hip dysplasia and eye problems, but they generally live healthy lives.

Next: Mastiff

5. Mastiff

English Mastiff portrait
Mastiff |

Lifespan: 6 to 10 years

Like the Neapolitan mastiff, the English mastiff — or just mastiff — has a big head on an even bigger body. These giants can tip the scales at up to 230 pounds, so they don’t make for great lap dogs. Thankfully, these big boys and girls respond well to training and are generally docile. Unfortunately, they are prone to bone cancer and lymphoma, as well as hip or elbow dysplasia and eye problems.

Next: Great Dane

4. Great Dane

great dane
Great Dane |

Lifespan: 6 to 8 years

Great Danes are aptly named, as they stand taller than most other dogs and weigh up to 200 pounds. But these giants are fairly easygoing and are eager to please their owners. Throughout their short lives, they might develop hip dysplasia, eye disease, cardiac disease, and thyroid problems. They also notoriously suffer from growing pains as puppies — and justifiably so — as rapid growth causes inflammation.

Next: Irish wolfhound

3. Irish wolfhound

Irish wolfhound
Irish wolfhound |

Lifespan: 6 to 8 years

If you were forming a canine basketball team, you’d certainly want an Irish wolfhound as your center. These are the tallest of the AKC breeds, with males standing at about 32 inches at the shoulder. They’re also built like greyhounds, meaning they run quickly and gracefully in spite of their size. This breed is generally healthy, but, like the others on this list, it might face hip dysplasia, eye problems, and cardiac disease.

Next: Bernese mountain dog

2. Bernese mountain dog

Bernese mountain dog
Bernese mountain dog |

Lifespan: 6 to 8 years

You can’t help but to fall in love with a Bernese mountain dog, and that makes their shorter lifespans sting even more. These dogs are smart, friendly, and love spending time with their family. And despite their imposing 100-pound frame, they’re excellent with kids. Many live healthy lives, but some might develop hip dysplasia, cancer, bloat, eye problems, and thyroid disorders.

Next: Dogue de Bordeaux

1. Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux
Dogue de Bordeaux |

Lifespan: 5 to 8 years

Although a dogue de Bordeaux might not be with his owners for very many years, he’ll certainly make an impression. This breed is loyal and affectionate, though he typically doesn’t like to share his human’s attention with another dog. These dogs live mostly healthy lives but are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia and cardiac disease. And when they’re gone, you might just miss the buckets of drool they produce.

Read more: Caution: These Types of Pets Should Never Live Together