Dog years refer to a popular
seven years for each human year. For example, a dog of age 9 would be
said to be "63 in dog years".
In technical terms, this is not correct: Most household pets do not age in
any linear correspondence with human
aging. Dogs and
cats age much more quickly in their early life than in their later life relative
to humans. For example, the human equivalent of a one-year-old cat or dog is
actually between about 10 and 15 years—a one-year-old dog or cat has generally
reached its full growth and is sexually mature, although it might still be lanky
and need to fill in a more mature musculature, similar to human teenagers. The
second year is equivalent to about another 3 to 8 years in terms of physical and
mental maturity, and each year thereafter is equivalent to only about 4 or 5
However, even that rough guideline varies immensely from breed to breed. For
example, giant dog breeds might suffer from arthritis and heart disease by the
age of 7 or 8, while some small terrier breeds might live 20 years. According to
the UC Davis Book of Dogs, small-breed dogs (such as small
geriatric at about 11 years; medium-breed dogs (such as larger
10 years; large-breed dogs (such as
German Shepherd Dogs) at 8 years; and giant-breed dogs (such as
at 7 years.
Conversely, giant breeds mature mentally and physically more slowly than small
With the advent of computerized data collection for breeds and for
veterinarians, it has become possible to establish reliable records for
average and typical life expectancies of animals. British life
expectancy data show that
mixed-breed dogs have a
life expectancy of 13.2 years; some breeds, including the
Bernese Mountain Dog,
Irish Wolfhound, have median life expectancies of only around 7 years, while
the median is over 14 years for some small dogs, including
Bedlington Terriers, and
Jack Russell Terriers.
^ Spadafori, Gina (1996).
Dogs for Dummies. IDG Books.
^ Siegal, Mordecai (Ed.; 1995).
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Book of the Dogs; Chapter 5,
"Geriatrics", by Aldrich, Janet. Harper Collins.
^ Fogle, Bruce, DVM (2000).
The New Encyclopedia of the Dog. Doring Kindersley (DK).
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