18 Dog Breeds With Surprisingly Short Lifespans

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By Jonathan Trent

As much as we’d love for them to live forever, dogs tend to have a lifespan of between 10-13 years. Sadly, some dogs, usually larger breeds, are more vulnerable to health problems, meaning they have considerably shorter lifespans than other breeds. Here are 18 breeds with short lifespans.

Great Dane

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As big dogs go, Great Danes are up there, with males measuring up to 35 inches in height. Unfortunately, size affects the lifespan of dogs, with the University of Melbourne stating that “Large dogs die young mainly because they age so quickly.” A Great Dane’s typical lifespan is, unfortunately, between seven to 10 years.


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Borzois are graceful and elegant in appearance, measuring up to 28 inches in height. They are vulnerable to what is known as bloat, a condition that involves the stomach filling with gas, food, and liquid, cutting off blood supply. This leads to their average lifespan of between nine to 11 years.


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A bulldog’s lifespan is between eight and 10 years, and the breed is blighted by breathing problems due to a deformation of its upper airway tract. This is known as brachycephaly, a condition that has worsened over the last 100 years. Tragically, the most common cause of death in bulldogs is cardiac issues.

Bernese Mountain Dog

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Bernese Mountain dogs, originally bred as mountain rescue dogs in the Swiss Alps, feature a distinctive coat and family-friendly nature. Their large size makes them vulnerable to diseases such as cancer and musculoskeletal disorders, with affected dogs rarely living past seven years. It’s super sad. 

St. Bernard

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Like the Bernese Mountain Dog, St. Bernards were bred to work in the Swiss Alps, carrying out rescue missions on the St. Bernard Pass. They are even larger than their fellow Swiss breed but have a similar life expectancy of around eight years.

Basset Hound

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Historically, hunters have used Basset hounds because of their incredible sense of smell. As Britannica describes, Basset hounds are vulnerable to obesity because of their low energy levels, ear infections, and gastrointestinal problems. Their average lifespan is, therefore, between eight and 12 years.

Scottish Deerhound

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Scottish deerhounds are, unfortunately, very prone to cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease present in many large breeds. It involves the weakening of the heart’s muscles and cannot be cured; so, as a result, the lifespan of the breed is between seven to nine years. 

Irish Wolfhound

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The Irish Wolfhound is an ancient breed that has inspired many works of mythology, literature, and poetry, mainly because of its extraordinary height and grace. Unfortunately, the breed is also known for its short lifespan of between six and ten years. They pass far too soon, sadly.


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Like many of the breeds on this list, Rottweilers are prone to various diseases, ranging from intestinal issues to obesity. Their large frame makes them vulnerable to a handful of bone problems and ligament damage and with 45% of Rottweiler deaths being attributed to cancers, their average lifespan is low, at eight years.

Cane Corso

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Cane Corsos are a large breed dating back to ancient Roman times; because of their size, they are vulnerable to hip dysplasia and bloat, a life-threatening stomach condition. It’s a real shame, but unfortunately, most Cane Corsi will only live to the age of 10.


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Although their faces aren’t quite as flat as those of bulldogs, boxers are also victims of brachycephalic problems, meaning they’ll often have issues with their breathing. As the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals suggests, boxers are also prone to neurological disorders such as epilepsy. This means that, sadly, breeding them is kind of inhumane.


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Another breed to fall victim to specific health issues is the mastiff, which commonly suffers from bone cancers, joint disorders, and abdominal problems caused by the breed’s eating style. This means that mastiffs usually live between six to 10 years. It’s sad, but it could be worse. 


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Originally bred to work as fishermen’s dogs in the Dominion of Newfoundland, Newfoundlands are now part of Canada. They have a relatively short life expectancy of just below ten years, with cancer being the most common cause of death. Due to the weight of their thick coat, they are also vulnerable to hip issues.

French Mastiff

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French mastiffs are large, heavy dogs suffering from breathing issues due to brachycephaly. Their size also makes them prone to various cancers and hip issues, which explains their short life expectancy of just five to eight years. Five years is just far too fast. 

Chow Chow

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As distinctive-looking a breed as any, chow chows are stocky and muscular underneath their fluffy exterior. They are prone to skeletal, ophthalmological, dermatological, and gastrointestinal conditions, as well as diabetes, which means that they rarely live past 12 years of age. To be fair, 12 years is not so bad.

Shar Pei

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Due to the way they are bred, Shar Peis often develops ocular problems, with ulcerated eyes often leading to cornea pigmentation and subsequent blindness. They’re also at risk of respiratory issues due to their facial structures, leading to a lifespan of around nine years.

English Bulldog

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One of the biggest challenges faced by English bulldogs is regulating their body temperatures, which, coupled with brachycephalic breathing problems, greatly shortens their lifespans. On average, they live between eight and ten years of age. Their health problems even mean that the breed is at risk of disappearing, according to CBS News!


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Finally, Dachshunds, often known as sausage dogs, are a distinctive breed with short legs and long bodies. Their long bodies put them at risk of Intervertebral Disk Disease, which can sometimes lead to paralysis. The breed has an average lifespan of 12 years, and while this is fairly long, it’s too short for such adorable doggos.

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