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  • Natalie Garcia
    Natalie Garcia

    Why Smaller Dogs Live Longer

    When it comes to life expectancy, bigger isn't always better when it comes to canine companions. In the world of dogs, small breeds have greater longevity than their larger counterparts—some living up to twice as long. Many factors could be responsible for this phenomenon, but one thing's for sure: some furry friends are around longer than others.

    Size definitely matters when it comes to canine lifespans. One downer of owning a large breed pooch is that they usually have comparatively shorter lifespans due to their size. Now, this isn't a universal rule and there are exceptions. Some small breeds, such as the Shih Tzu, are fairly short-lived, while some large breeds live uncommonly longer lives. But in general, the smaller the dog, the greater the chance for longevity. This difference in life span means that if you own a smaller dog, you're more likely to get more hours of tail wagging and kibbles and bits for your buck.

    So why do smaller dogs live longer? Well, when it comes to longevity, size does matter. One explanation for this can be boiled down to basic biology and genetics. The larger a dog is, the more metabolic activity it has to undertake. Dogs with big bodies require extra energy in order to properly sustain themselves and this zaps their life force more quickly over time, leading to a shorter lifespan. It's an issue of effort versus reward — those dainty dogs take less effort to maintain their bodies and so can direct their energy towards living longer lives.

    Smaller dogs may initially require less energy simply just because their size limits how much energy they expend on their bodily functions; however, genetics may also play a significant role in their longer lifespans. Breeds naturally predisposed to produce smaller sizes require fewer metabolic activities in order to sustain their shorter heights and weigh less. Thus these slender varieties require fewer caloric requirements throughout the day and thus generally outlive bigger breeds.

    What potential psychological benefits may explain why smaller dogs live longer? The answer lies in attention span — or rather, lack thereof! Smaller sized pooches are often more active and curious than large breeds due to their smaller stature — they're able to make use of overlooked nooks and crannies that larger breeds have no way of squeezing into. Because small dogs remain mentally challenged throughout their entire lives due to their continuously curious antics and physical ability to explore, small dogs often experience less overall stress than larger canines whose size can limit their activities and explorations. And what does stress reduction mean? Longer life spans! In addition, because small breeds age on a more gradual scale, there is less of an apparent decline in physical and cognitive capacity with aging which is known to lead to shorter lifespans.

    There are many things that factor into why some small dogs live longer than others — from genetics and biology to lifestyle and psychology — the important thing for any loving pup parent is to appreciate every tail wag, romp around the yard and biscuit-snatching moment together.

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