Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

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How long do Aussies live?
Results of the 2017 ASGHI longevity survey indicated that the average lifespan for an Aussie is about 11 years but individual dogs have been reported to live as long as 18 years, though that is highly unusual.  Females tend to live about a half year longer than males.  Average lifespan can change over time.  In the late 1990s John Armstrong of the University of Ottawa conducted a canine longevity study which included Aussies.  The found that early dogs in the breed averaged 14 years while more recent (at the time of the study) dogs averaged only 12 years, largely due to an increase in cancer deaths in dogs that were not old.  The ASHGI longevity survey indicates that the trend toward reduced lifespans is continuing, also in association with an increase in earlier cancer deaths.

How can I tell how long my Aussie will live?

There is no way to make a precise prediction for any individual dog, but if your dog is healthy and has been healthy all his life, he could easily live a longer than average lifespan.  The longevity of his deceased relatives who died of non-accidental causes would be another indicator.

What else affects longevity?

Smaller/lighter dogs tend to live longer than bigger/heavier ones.  Life-style factors like diet and exercise can impact longevity in dogs just as they do in humans.  If you feed your dog a balanced, healthy diet and keep her lean and well-exercised she is more likely to live her full span.  Diseases and injury, even if not directly fatal, may sometimes impact the body sufficiently that lifespan is reduced.