Jack Russell terriers live the longest lives of all dogs

They’re small, feisty and renowned for being tireless and now a new study has suggested that Jack Russell terriers have the longest life expectancy of pet dogs in the UK.

Research also discovered that the overall average life expectancy for pets was 11.2 years while French bulldogs have the shortest lifespans.

Like their human companions, there was also a difference between the life expectancies of male and females with male dogs living on average four months shorter (11.1 years).

Jack Russell terriers had the greatest life expectancy at 12.7 years, followed by border collies (12.1 years) and springer spaniels (11.92 years).

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Boundless energy: Jack Russell terriers live the longest of all pet dogs in the UK.

In comparison, four flat-faced breeds were found to have the shortest life expectancy with French bulldogs expected to live only 4.5 years, followed by English bulldogs at 7.4 years, pugs at 7.7 years and American bulldogs 7.8 years.

Researchers say the findings support experts’ warnings that people should stop and think before buying a flat-faced dog – those with short snouts.

The lower life expectancies of flat-faced breeds are heavily associated with the animals suffering from a number of conditions including breathing problems and spinal disease, the experts suggest.

Dr Dan O’Neill, associate professor in Companion Animal Epidemiology at the Royal Veterinary College, and co-author of the paper, said: “Dogs have helped many humans to get through the loneliness and isolation of the Covid pandemic.

Springer Spaniel Spodge enjoying the snow: the breed has an average life expectancy of 11.92 years.

“The short life expectancies for flat-faced breeds such as French bulldogs shown by the VetCompass Life tables supports the UK Brachycephalic Working Group’s call for all owners to ‘stop and think before buying a flat-faced dog’.”

Dr Justine Shotton, British Veterinary Association president, said: “These life tables offer an important insight into the life expectancy of popular dog breeds in the UK and will be a useful tool for vets and pet owners in assessing dog welfare.

“A concerning finding is the lower life expectancy for flat-faced breeds.

“While the study doesn’t prove a direct link between these breeds’ potential welfare issues and shorter length of life, the findings serve as a fresh reminder for prospective dog owners to choose a breed based on health, not looks.”

Ill-fated: Pugs like Daisy can only expect to live for an average 7.7 years

The analysis is based on a random sample of 30,563 dogs that died between January 1, 2016 and July 31, 2020, from 18 different breeds and crossbreeds.

Other key findings were that among the Kennel Club breed groups, terrier had the longest life expectancy at age 0 at 12.0 years, followed by gundog (11.7 years), pastoral (11.2 years), hound (10.7 years), toy (10.7 years), and utility (10.1 years).

In both male and female dogs, neutered dogs were found to have a longer life expectancy than their non-neutered counterparts.

The new research from the RVC’s Veterinary Companion Animal Surveillance System (VetCompass) programme means owners can predict the remaining life expectancy of their dog from different ages.

Previously life expectancy was approximated using only the average age of death of dogs overall or for a particular breed.

But the researchers say using life tables allows owners to estimate accurately how much longer their pet dog may live.

While they are commonly used for humans, life tables are a novel concept for dogs, the researchers say.

The study, conducted in collaboration with researchers from the National Taiwan University in Taiwan, is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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