Longevity is the ability to maintain vital body functions longer, minimizing the effects of external changes. We say that a dog is long-lived when it lives longer than the average life expectancy of similar specimens. Dogs manage to live more years when all the functions of their body remain optimal for longer, resisting the natural process of aging. The latter is a natural process of changes and adaptations throughout their life cycle.
The longevity of a dog depends on intrinsic factors, mainly genetic, and extrinsic agents that can be controlled to counteract the effects of aging. Nutrition, exercise, and the care given to a pet are all factors that affect the duration of their life.
Do dogs really age 7 times faster than humans?
A dog’s size determines the age at which they reach adulthood as well as when the signs of aging begin to appear, therefore longevity is related to size.
With smaller breeds at one end of the longevity scale and larger breeds at the other end, the popular belief that a “dog year” is equivalent to 7 human years is not always true.
There are exceptions to the rule and some dogs insisted on overcoming these parameters, thus going down in history as the longest living dogs.
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The 10 Longest Living Dogs
Although it was never officially confirmed, a dog named Chilla seems to be the longest living canid in history, reaching 32 years and 12 days. Genetically, Chilla was a mixture of Labrador and Australian Cattle Dog, which triggered a research on the special characteristics of the Australian Cattle Dog to stay healthy and live longer than dogs of breeds with similar size and characteristics.
Officially the oldest dog according to the Guinness book, Bluey was an Australian Shepherd Dog from Victoria, Australia, who lived more than 29 years and died in 1939, after working for almost 20 years as a sheep herder.
Also featured in the Guinness book, this Beagle from the state of Virginia, United States, died in 2003 at 28 years of age.
This Welsh Sheepdog from the United Kingdom, a shepherd dog like the Welsh Collie, appeared in the book of Guinness records as he lived almost 27 years and more than 300 days.
This pug from South Africa died in October 2018, after living for 27 years and 284 days.
Bramble was a rescue Border Collie, who was adopted and lived for 27 years and a little more than 211 days in England.
Adjutant was a black dog, mixed Labrador Retriever, that lived for 27 years and 98 days in England. Like a good labrador, with his intelligence and sportsmanship, he spent his days as a gun dog helping his owner to hunt.
This female dog of indefinite breed lived in a hostel in Hungary surrounded by equine friends for about 27 years until August 2017.
Up to the month of December 2011, Pusuke, a Japanese Shiba Inu dog, held the title of the oldest dog in the world recorded in the Guinness Records book of 2010. Pusuke died peacefully at 26 years and 9 months.
Not much is known about Sugar, beyond the fact that he lived for almost 25 years in the United States, until August 1977.
Piccolo was a mongrel dog from Italy who lived almost 24 years.
Regardless of the factors that affect longevity, it is important to be informed not only about the habits and preventive measures that contribute to the welfare and health of our pets, but also of the disorders that most commonly affect them when they reach old age.