Unveiling the Mystery: Why do some dogs live so short?

Unveiling the Mystery: Why do some dogs live so short?

As devoted pet owners, we all yearn for our beloved dogs to enjoy long and fulfilling lives. After all, we cherish them as members of our families. Ask your grandparents or older generations, you might be astounded to learn that dogs once commonly reached impressive ages. Dogs used to live up to 15 or even 20 years. In recent times, the lifespan of our canine companions has decreased. This leaves many of us wondering: why do some dogs live so short?

In a thought-provoking study conducted by the Royal Veterinary College, researchers analysed the lives of 30,563 dogs that passed between 2016 and 2020. The findings were alarming, shedding light on the troubling decline in doggy longevity. Among the breeds examined, Jack Russell Terriers emerged with the greatest life expectancy, averaging 12.7 years. Border Collies at 12.1 years and Springer Spaniels a23t 11.92 years.

Conversely, the study revealed that several flat-faced (brachycephalic) breeds experienced shorter life expectancies. French Bulldogs, were projected to live a mere 4.5 years, while English Bulldogs averaged 7.4 years. Pugs and American Bulldogs fared slightly better, with respective life expectancies of 7.7 years and 7.8 years.

Bull dogs have short life expectancies

These statistics prompt us to ask: what factors contribute to such disparities in canine lifespan? Is there a secret to helping our dogs live longer and healthier lives? To answer these pressing questions, we must turn to the stories of the oldest living dogs in history.

Take Fleet, for instance, the inspiring figure behind Fleetful. She currently revels in a vet-free existence at nearly 9 years old. Fleet has been eating a fresh, whole-food diet for three years. Fleet's remarkable journey serves as a beacon of hope. And drives our quest to unravel the enigma of exceptional canine longevity.

By delving into the lifestyles and diets provided to these exceptional canines, we may uncover valuable insights into why some dogs live shorter lives. Each story acts as a testament to the power of food and surroundings. What can we do to ensure our dogs thrive?

Bobi - Portuguese Farm Dog - 31 Years Old

 First, we have Bobi, a Portuguese Farm Dog whose story has captivated hearts around the world. Bobi defies the odds, still gracing us with his presence at the remarkable age of 31. He recently celebrated his birthday on the 11th of May, 2023. In a quaint village in rural Portugal, Bobi has found his home with the Costa Family.

Bobi the dog - currently oldest dog
The average life expectancy for dogs like Bobi ranges from 12 to 14 years. Bobi has surpassed all expectations, more than doubling his anticipated lifespan. This prompts us to ask the thought-provoking question: why do some dogs live so short? Why do exceptional canines like Bobi surpass the boundaries of time?

Bobi's story provides us with intriguing factors that may contribute to his remarkable longevity. One notable aspect is his diet, as Bobi has always enjoyed "human food". He shares in the nourishment of the Costa Family's meals. This approach to his nutrition is believed to have played a significant role in his exceptional health and vitality.

Additionally, Bobi's idyllic surroundings have played a pivotal role in his long life. Far removed from urban life, Bobi thrives in a calm and peaceful environment "off leash". With unrestricted access to the lush forests and farmland surrounding the Costa family home, Bobi has enjoyed the freedom to roam and explore. He is able to engage in the natural wonders of the world around him.

Bramble - British Border Collie - 25 years

You may already be familiar with Bramble, the legendary British Border Collie who etched her name in history. At the time, she held the title of the oldest bitch ever to have lived, reaching a remarkable age of 25 years and 89 days. While Bramble's vegan diet garnered attention, it was not the sole reason behind her longevity. To uncover the true secrets of her remarkable lifespan, let's delve into the captivating story chronicled by her owner, Ann Heritage, in the book "Bramble: The Dog Who Wanted to Live Forever - The Somerset Notes".

Bramble, the dog who wanted to live forever
Contrary to popular belief, Bramble's longevity cannot be attributed solely to her vegan diet. Yes, she embraced a 100% vegan lifestyle, a fact celebrated by vegan companies far and wide. However, it is essential to recognize that her diet encompassed more than the absence of animal products. Bramble's meals consisted of fresh, organic, and human-quality whole foods. We can compare Bramble's diet to Fleetful's fresh organic dog food kits. Her diet provided her with the vital nutrients and nourishment she needed to thrive.

Bramble's extraordinary life was also shaped by her daily adventures in the great outdoors. Regular, long walks amidst the countryside invigorated her spirit and her physical well-being. The power of nature, combined with the loving care provided by Ann Heritage, created a harmonious environment that supported Bramble's vibrant health and extended her years.

The fascinating journey of Bramble challenges us to ponder the question: why do some dogs live so short while others, like Bramble, defy the limitations of time? In Bramble's case, it was organic nutrition and an active outdoor lifestyle.

Chilla - Black Labrador and Australian Cattle Dog Cross - 32 years

In the vast tapestry of dogs' lives, one story stands out as both intriguing and enigmatic: the tale of Chilla. Born in 1952 in Australia, Chilla was a remarkable mutt of black Labrador and cattle dog lineage. As we explore the question of why some dogs live so short, Chilla's extraordinary journey becomes a focal point of contemplation.

Chilla the oldest dog

While debates surround the accuracy of the claim, Chilla's fame stems from being the oldest dog ever. Even though her longevity is controversial, Chilla's existence invites us to question why did she live so long?

Chilla's dietary choices added an extra layer of intrigue to her story. Her meals mainly consisted of boiled leftovers. Humble ingredients like potato peels, cabbage ends, and eggshells.

Against all odds, Chilla defied the boundaries of canine lifespan, living an astonishing 32 years. This is 224 in "human" years. Was it because of her fresh vegetable diet?

Bluey - Australian Cattle Dog - 29 years

In the world of amazing dogs, we now look at Bluey, the extraordinary Australian Cattle Dog. People admire Bluey because he lived a very long life. His story can help us understand why some dogs live so short.

Bluey the oldest dog

Bluey's adventure started in the wild Australian outback, where he spent over twenty years alongside cows and sheep. He had an important job of herding them and became very connected to the land and its animals. This strong bond with nature set the stage for an incredible journey filled with energy and strength.

Let's take a look at Bluey's diet. Unlike most dogs who eat commercial dog food, Bluey enjoyed local, fresh food. He ate emu and kangaroo. This fresh, unprocessed food likely played a big role in helping Bluey live a long and healthy life.

Bluey also had the freedom to explore his natural surroundings without being kept in a small space. He loved running around in wide-open areas, enjoying the thrill of discovering new things. Being able to roam in a big and open environment may have helped Bluey live even longer.

Bluey lived for thirty years, defying the normal limits of time, and this teaches us how environment and nutrition can make a big difference in a dog's life.

So why do some dogs live so short?

When we explore the reasons why some dogs live shorter lives, it becomes clear that their diet and surroundings play a significant role. The oldest dogs in history come in various sexes, breeds, and sizes. They share two common factors: a fresh, human-grade diet and ample time to explore natural surroundings.

What can we do to ensure our dogs don’t live short lives?

Luckily, our findings are only twofold. You only have to do these two things to give your dog the best chance for a long and happy life. 

  1. We can support their well-being by feeding them fresh food, just as our ancestors did. Dogs evolved from wolves thousands of years ago and survived on human scraps. They have developed the ability to digest starches efficiently. They require fresh vegetables in their diet to maintain good health. Dogs that lack this diet and are fed commercial processed dog food containing GMO ingredients are likely to have shorter lives. A healthy gut plays a crucial role in nutrient absorption. Adding more fresh fibre to their diet is essential to feed a healthy gut microbiombe. All of the dogs we have studied in thie article are fed fresh, human grade food. The stories also suggest that the food is local and GMO free. 
  2. Exposure to outdoor stimulation is crucial for dogs to live longer, as seen in the oldest dogs in the world. When dogs have the opportunity to explore their natural surroundings, process smells, and make decisions for themselves, they become happier and healthier. Almost all of the oldest dogs in history have spent a considerable amount of time in natural environments.


Practically, what does this mean?

Aim for at least two walks a day. If your dog is on a leash, slow down your walks and allow them to dictate when and what they want to sniff. If possible, vary your walking routes and take them to different places. Remember, even older dogs need regular exercise, so increase the frequency and shorten the distances if needed.

Adding fresh and organic food offers better bioavailability of vitamins and minerals. Consider using organic dog food recipe kits formulated by a canine nutritionist. Organic options allow your dog's body to focus on processing nutrients rather than eliminating toxins.

By following these simple guidelines, you'll likely see improvements in your dog's behaviour, coat quality, and mobility. Many owners have reported better behaviour and health improvements after switching to Fleetful's fresh food.

For more information on canine nutrition and health, follow us on YouTube and Instagram, where we regularly share valuable insights.

Together, let's provide our furry friends with the best possible care, promoting longevity and a happy, healthy life.


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