What Is the Average Life Expectancy of Dogs and Cats?

How long is my pet going to live?
How long is my pet going to live?

Table of Contents:

  1. The Average Life Expectancy of a Cat
  2. Converting Cat Years to Human Years
  3. The Average Life Expectancy of a Dog
  4. Converting Dog Years to Human Years


There are so many wonderful aspects of pet ownership. Dogs and cats bring so much joy into our lives. We all wish that our pets could be with us forever, but, unfortunately, that’s not the case. In comparison to humans, pets’ lives are actually quite short. Let’s take a closer look at the life expectancy of cats and dogs.

The Average Life Expectancy of a Cat

According to the ASPCA, the average life expectancy of an indoor cat is 13 to 17 years, however, cats have been known to live to be 20 years old. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest cat ever was Crème Puff from Austin, Texas who lived with her owner, Jake Perry, for 38 years and 3 days. She was fed an odd diet that included coffee, asparagus, eggs, and heavy cream.

Life expectancy for cats has increased dramatically over the past few decades. In the early 1980s, the average cat lived to be just seven years old, and, in 1995, cats lived to be about 9 years old. Today, if your cat lives a healthy life, they have a shot at making it into their 20s.

Your cat’s breed is one of the main factors that will determine life expectancy. For the most part, mixed breed cats live longer than purebreds. That’s because their genetic diversity helps to protect them from certain hereditary diseases.

On average, indoor cats live longer lives than outdoor cats. That’s because cats with access to the outdoors are more susceptible to dangers like traffic accidents, attacks from other animals, and certain diseases like Feline immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Because of this, the more time a cat spends outside, the greater the risk of an illness or injury from the environment, and the shorter the lifespan. Most outdoor cats only live to be about 7 years old.

We all want our cats to live long, happy lives, and the best way to ensure that is to keep them healthy and to protect them from danger by keeping them indoors. Diet and exercise are also important for longevity, so feed your cat a high-quality food and give them an adequate amount of exercise. Proper diet and exercise are important to fight obesity, which can cause diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, breathing issues, and liver disease. Also, make sure to see your veterinarian on a regular basis to help catch any health issues.

Converting Cat Years to Human Years

Have you ever wondered how cat years compare to human years? Here’s how it all stacks up according to the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners. During the first year of its life, a cat ages quickly. It will go through infancy and childhood as well as much of its adolescence. At the age of 1 year, a cat is equivalent to a 15-year-old human. At five years old, the cat is the equivalent of 36 years in human years. When a cat turns 10 years old, it is the equivalent of 56 years in human years. And when a cat turns 20, it is like being 96 years old in human years.

The Average Life Expectancy of a Dog

On average, a dog will live to be between 8 to 15 years of age. There have been instances of dogs living for more than 20 years, but this is not the norm and these accounts are of mostly small breed dogs. All breeds age differently. Large breed dogs age at faster rates than small breed dogs, so the risk of death in larger breeds increases more with age than it does for small breeds. Also, some dogs are more susceptible to certain diseases, which will affect life expectancy.

Factors such as healthy eating habits, exercise, and adequate healthcare will also play a part in how long a dog will live. Also, having your dog neutered or spayed can add as much as 1 to 3 years to their lifespan.

Per the Guinness Book of World Records, an Australian cattle-dog was the oldest in history, living to be 29 years and 5 months. Some of the longest living dog breeds include the Chihuahua, the Dachshund, the Yorkshire Terrier, the Toy Poodle, the Jack Russell Terrier, and the Shih Tzu. Dogs with the shortest lifespan include the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Boxer, the Collie, and the Great Dane.

To help give you a better idea of life expectancy in dog breeds, here is an alphabetical list of some of the top dog breeds and their average estimated lifespans.

Breed Average Lifespan (in Years)
Airedale Terrier 10-13
American Bulldog 12-14
Basset Hound 11-14
Beagle 12-14
Bernese Mountain Dog 6-9
Bichon Frise 12-15
Bloodhound 10-12
Border Collie 10-14
Border Terrier 12-15
Boston Terrier 14
Boxer 8-10
Brussels Griffon 12-15
Bull Terrier 11-14
Bullmastiff 8-10
Cairn Terrier 12-14
Cardigan Welsh Corgi 12-14
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 9-14
Chihuahua 14-18
Chow Chow 8-12
Cocker Spaniel 12-15
Cockapoo 14-18
Collie 8-12
Dachshund 12-14
Dalmatian 12-14
Doberman Pinscher 10-12
English Bulldogs 8-12
French Bulldog 9-11
German Pinscher 12-15
German Shepherd 10-12
Golden Retriever 10-13
Goldendoodle 14
Great Dane 7-10
Greyhound 10-13
Havanese 12-14
Irish Setter 12-14
Italian Greyhound 12-15
Jack Russell Terrier 13
Kerry Blue Terrier 12-15
Labradoodle 13
Labrador Retriever 10-12
Lhasa Apso 12-14
Maltese 12-14
Maltipoo 13
Mastiff 9-11
Miniature Poodle 12-14
Miniature Schnauzer 12-14
Pekingese 12-15
Pembroke Welsh Corgi 11-13
Pit Bull 12-14
Pointer 11-15
Pomeranian 12-16
Poodle (Standard) 12-15
Portuguese Water Dog 10-14
Pug 12-15
Rottweiler 8-11
Saint Bernard 8-10
Samoyed 10-12
Shih Tzu 11-14
Siberian Husky 11-13
Standard Schnauzer 12-14
Toy Poodle 12-14
Yorkie-Poo 14
Yorkshire Terrier 14-16

Converting Dog Years to Human Years

You may have heard that one dog year is equal to 7 human years, but that is not an exact calculation. There are other factors involved, like the size of the dog and the fact that dogs mature faster than humans. Did you know that the first year of a dog’s life is the same as 15 years of life for you or me?

A better way to compare the life of a dog to that of a human is to consider the life expectancy for the specific dog breed and the life expectancy of humans in your part of the world. For instance, if you live in the United States, the average life expectancy is 78.74 years. Divide that number by the average life expectancy of your dog breed and you’ll have a better indication of dog years to human years. So, for a Jack Russell Terrier (with an average lifespan of 13 years), 1 year of your dog’s life would equal 6.05 of your years.

Click here for more tips on calculating your dog’s age.

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