AnAge entry for Canis familiaris

Classification (HAGRID: 02073)

Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Chordata
        Class: Mammalia (Taxon entry)
            Order: Carnivora
                Family: Canidae
                    Genus: Canis
Canis familiaris
Common name
Domestic dog

Lifespan, ageing, and relevant traits

3 years
Maximum longevity
27 years (captivity)
ref. 1330
Sample size
Data quality

Dogs descend from the gray wolf (/Canis lupus/) and technically are not an individual species, being often classified as /Canis lupus familiaris/. Herein, they are classified as /Canis familiaris/ for practical reasons. Dogs could prove an ideal model to study ageing as they share many of the same illnesses, medical treatments and environments that humans do. Additionally they have a well annotated genome and can be studied in their natural environment [1208].

There is considerable variation in life history among the different dog breeds, including differences in longevity. In general, smaller breeds of dogs tend to live longer and may age slower [0423], though some have argued this might be due to artificial selection for high growth rates [0726]. One study in England reported the longest-lived pure breeds were Miniature poodle, Bearded collie, Border collie and Miniature dachshund. The shortest-lived were the Dogue de Bordeaux and Great Dane. Longevity in crossbred dogs exceeded purebred dogs by 1.2 years [1141].

Dogs are considered old after they are about 12 years old, though a few can live over 20 years [0434]. There are anecdotal reports of dogs living around 30 years, including one Australian cattle dog named "Bluey" living 29.5 years. These records are unverified and the maximum longevity of dogs is currently 27 years [1330]. A Shiba Inu mix breed male called "Pusuke" was reportedly 26.7 years of age when it died, which is unconfirmed but plausible.

Older dogs are affected by a variety of degenerative conditions and age-related diseases that are also observed in humans; larger breeds are often affected by conditions that may be related to their rapid growth, such as cancer; smaller breeds can also suffer from cancer as well as from cardiac disease. Hearing loss, cataracts and senile dementia have also been observed [0981]. Neoplastic, musculoskeletal and neurological disorders have been found to be the most frequently attributed causes of death [1141]. Caloric restriction in Labrador Retrievers has been reported to increase median lifespan and improve physiological function [0521]. Similarly to humans, dogs have also been shown to have a cognitive decline and accumulation of amyloid plaques with age [1326]. Older dogs suffer from subfertility due to a decrease in sperm motility, vigour, viability and an increase in morphological defects [1328].

Aging dogs have been shown to also suffer from inflammaging, experiencing similar changes to those found in humans. Consequently to these changes, there is an increase of inflammation and in oxidative stress damage with age [1327].

Studies comparing ageing-associated differentially methylated positions (aDMPs) between mouse, dog, naked mole-rat, rhesus monkey, humpback whale and human, have shown that lifespan in these mammalian species is strongly correlated with the rate of change of methylation levels in aDMPs. Additionally, these methylation dynamics are a measure of cellular ageing [1315]. Telomere length has been shown to be a strong predictor of longevity in these animals [1329]. Furthermore, there might be a connection between extremely-aged dogs and the mechanisms around the regulation of gene transcription/translation [1330].

Life history traits (averages)

Female sexual maturity
510 days
Male sexual maturity
510 days
63 days
Litter size
6 (viviparous)
Litters per year
Inter-litter interval
Weight at birth
Weight at weaning
Adult weight
40,000 g
Postnatal growth rate
0.0244 days-1 (from Gompertz function)
Maximum longevity residual


No information on metabolism is available.


External Resources

Integrated Taxonomic Information System
ITIS 183815
Animal Diversity Web
ADW account (if available)
Encyclopaedia of Life
Search EOL
NCBI Taxonomy
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Ageing Literature
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Google Image search
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