Happy First Birthday! What do “Dog Years” really mean?

February 21st, 2008 by Dan

This past week, Lucian – my Dogue De Bordeaux – turned 1! He enjoyed frolicking around the house with a little stuffed ice cream cone that squeaked obnoxiously. While it used to be believed that each year a dog was alive was the equivalent of 7 human years, that theory has been debunked for a variety of reasons.

Dog with Birthday Cake

Photo by itchmo

On average, smaller dogs have longer lifespans (some living over 15-16 years!) than large breeds (who typically live to be around 12-13). Then we have the giant breeds who typically (and sadly) only live to be about 7 or 8 years of age. The process of aging varies for each of these groups of dogs. Small and medium breeds start to reach maturity around 1 year of age, while their giant counterparts don’t mature until they are about 2. These breeds are often acting much like goofy puppies while other dogs of the same age have reached a more dignified stage of life.

So, when we think about “Dog Years”, we have to consider our particular dogs. The first year of life for a dog is considered it’s adolescence- thus you could consider a 1 year old dog somewhere between 10-15 “human years”, depending on the breed of dog you own. At this age, your pooch could still be filling out and gaining more muscle mass. Giant breeds often continue this process until they are about 30 months of age. However, small breeds usually have reached their adult size by this point. On their 2nd birthday, add about 3-8 more years to your dogs “human age”. From that point on, each “dog birthday” is worth 4-5 years.

Bully in Birthday Hat

Photo by inmyblueroom

While you are doing the calculations, you also have to figure in certain modifiers such as weight, diet, and veterinary care. If your dog is overweight, his lifespan is going to be drastically decreased. A dog that is fed a high quality diet and who receives veterinary care when needed is going to be on the “younger” end of the spectrum.

Of course, these figures are mostly just for fun, but it is an interesting and updated way to look at your pup’s birthday!





11 Responses to “Happy First Birthday! What do “Dog Years” really mean?”

  1. paige Says:

    thanks

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  11. louanne studer Says:

    my dog is a rescue – they only way to know how old she is -is by guessing via her teeth color
    louanne studer

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