10 of the Healthiest Dog Breeds
Like humans, dogs can be susceptible to certain health conditions based on their genetics. These medical issues often include heart disease, cancer, orthopedic problems, and even allergies and skin conditions. But some dog breeds generally lead very healthy lives and overall aren’t known for many serious health issues. Of course, every individual dog is different, and there’s no guarantee that just because a dog is known as a healthy breed that it won’t develop health conditions. Still, genetics do play a substantial role.
Here are 10 dog breeds that have relatively long lifespans with generally few health issues.
While genetics can make your dog prone to certain health problems, nurture also is a key contributor. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and limited stress all go a long way to keep a dog healthy. Be sure to discuss what a healthy lifestyle for your dog entails with your veterinarian.
Known for its keen sense of smell and savvy hunting skills, the beagle is a moderately active, medium-sized dog with an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Beagles generally lead healthy lives. The health conditions associated with the breed, including eye and hip problems, usually occur in older dogs.
HEIGHT: Two varieties: up to 13 inches; 13 to 15 inches
WEIGHT: Two varieties: under 20 pounds; 20 to 30 pounds
COAT AND COLOR: Close, hard, medium-length coat; colors include tricolor (tan, black, and white), red and white, lemon and white, and more
LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 15 years
Australian Cattle Dog
An athletic and intelligent breed, the Australian cattle dog can make a great running or hiking buddy for active people. These dogs have an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years with few health issues associated with the breed. However, their active nature sometimes can result in joint or ligament issues due to wear and tear. But these problems often can be corrected with rest, medication, or surgery.
HEIGHT: 18 to 20 inches (male); 17 to 19 inches (female)
WEIGHT: 35 to 50 pounds
COAT AND COLOR: Smooth double coat that comes in red or blue-gray
LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 16 years
Chihuahuas have a lot of spirit and intelligence for coming in such a small package. It’s also not uncommon for these little dogs to live close to 20 years. They generally remain healthy for most of their lives. But some health issues linked to the breed include heart and eye problems, along with patellar luxation (loose kneecaps).
HEIGHT: 5 to 8 inches
WEIGHT: Up to 6 pounds
COAT AND COLOR: Short-haired or long-haired coat that comes in numerous colors and patterns
LIFE EXPECTANCY: 14 to 16 years
The greyhound is one of the fastest dog breeds in the world. And on average, these dogs live between 10 and 13 years. They are generally very healthy throughout their lives. However, like other dogs with deep chests, they are susceptible to bloat and gastric torsion (twisting of the stomach), especially if they eat too quickly. This can be life-threatening, so it’s important to monitor their eating.
HEIGHT: 28 to 30 inches (male); 27 to 28 inches (female)
WEIGHT: 65 to 70 pounds (male); 60 to 65 pounds (female)
COAT AND COLOR: Short, smooth coat that comes in a variety of colors
LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 13 years
Poodles have a reputation of being prissy, but these coifed canines are anything but. Not only are poodles highly intelligent, but they’re extremely athletic, too. In fact, poodles were originally bred as hunting dogs. With an average lifespan of 10 to 18 years, poodles live longer and healthier lives than many other breeds. However, they can be prone to joint and eye issues.
GROUP: Nonsporting (standard and miniature) or Toy (toy)
HEIGHT: Standard: Over 15 inches; miniature: 10 to 15 inches; toy: up to 10 inches
WEIGHT: Standard: 60 to 70 pounds (male); 40 to 50 pounds (female); miniature: 10 to 15 pounds; toy: 4 to 6 pounds
COAT AND COLOR: Curly, dense, single-layer coat; comes in many colors, including white, black, gray, brown, and apricot
LIFE EXPECTANCY: 10 to 18 years
Hailing from Havana, Cuba—and securing the spot as the only dog breed native to Cuba—the Havanese is a small, smart dog that’s easy to train and extremely sociable. The typical Havanese has a lifespan of 14 to 16 years. These dogs are generally healthy, but some can be prone to hereditary deafness.
HEIGHT: 8.5 to 11.5 inches
WEIGHT: 7 to 13 pounds
COAT AND COLOR: Long, silky coat that comes in a variety of colors
LIFE EXPECTANCY: 14 to 16 years
Best known for its sled-pulling strength and endurance, the Siberian husky is a powerful, athletic dog with boundless energy. It’s ideal for those who like to take long daily walks, runs, or hikes. These dogs have a lifespan of 12 to 16 years, and they’re usually very healthy. Some are prone to eye and hip issues, but breeders have worked to remove some of that genetic predisposition.
HEIGHT: 21 to 23.5 inches (male); 20 to 22 inches (female)
WEIGHT: 45 to 60 pounds (male); 35 to 50 pounds (female)
COAT AND COLOR: Dense double coat; comes in a variety of colors and patterns; blue, brown, or gold eyes
LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 14 years
Basenjis are quite intelligent, athletic hunting dogs that have almost a cat-like nature. In fact, rather than barking, they make more of a yodeling sound, and they tend to groom like cats. These dogs have an average lifespan around 13 to 14 years, and they typically don’t develop many serious health issues. But the breed is prone to hypothyroidism and hip problems.
HEIGHT: 17 inches (male); 16 inches (female)
WEIGHT: 24 pounds (male); 22 pounds (female)
COAT AND COLOR: Short, smooth coat; curled tail; wrinkled forehead; coat colors come in brown, white, and fawn
LIFE EXPECTANCY: 13 to 14 years
Border collies are highly intelligent, athletic, and driven dogs. They thrive when they have a job and are up to learning most tasks, especially ones that require lots of mental and physical energy. These dogs are hardy and healthy overall with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years, though some can be prone to deafness and epilepsy.
HEIGHT: 19 to 22 inches (male); 18 to 21 inches (female)
WEIGHT: 30 to 55 pounds
COAT AND COLOR: Smooth or rough coat; colors include black and white, blue merle, sable, and more
LIFE EXPECTANCY: 12 to 15 years
Mixed-breed dogs are the result of breeding different purebreds or different mixed-breed dogs together. They typically aren’t pedigreed or registered, but they can inherit the traits—both good and bad—of all the breeds in their bloodline. Still, because mixed-breed dogs have an extremely wide gene pool (unlike purebred dogs), it’s less common for them to be prone to specific genetic disorders. But, like any dog, mixed-breed dogs also are the product of their environments and can develop conditions, such as canine obesity, if they don’t lead a healthy lifestyle.
COAT AND COLOR: Varies
LIFE EXPECTANCY: Varies