Adopting an Australian Shepherd is an exciting and wonderful time. But, you need to know how many years you will get with your dog and what you can do to extend the Australian Shepherd lifespan.
Anyone who has every lost a pet in the past knows how painful it is to lose a pet at any age, but especially when it is much sooner than expected. You want to spend every possible moment with your dog and naturally, you will only want the very best for your best friend.
While there are always elements regarding longevity that we have absolutely no power over, there are also some things that we can do about it.
This can include food, exercise, routine vet visits, and even dental care. We have everything that you need to know about an Australian Shepherd lifespan and what you can do to make it as long as possible.
Australian Shepherd Life Expectancy
If you are wondering how long Australian Shepherds live, the answer can be a little bit jumbled. The median life expectancy of an Australian Shepherd is 9 years, but considering they are medium-sized dog, that number seems pretty low.
According to a UK survey that followed 10 years of breed data, the longest living Australian Shepherds will live to 15 years.
In general, you can probably split the difference, stating the average lifespan for an Australian Shepherd is between 11 and 13 years, but the data is skewed due to young traumatic deaths (like being hit by a car).
The lifespan can vary dramatically from dog to dog. Some purebreds are prone to more health problems than a mixed breed would be.
The lifespan is also affected by the dog’s environment. If your dog is treated well, given good food and exercise, and visits the vet routinely, he has a much better chance of living out a nice, long life.
How Can I Extend The Life Of My Australian Shepherd
Feed Him Healthy Diet
Feeding your Australian Shepherd a healthy diet is the first step to increasing his life expectancy.
While the big name brand dog foods advertise more and often less expensive than other brands, they often contain fillers and additives that your pup does not need included in his diet.
There is even a formula to be looking at when it comes to food. You should be aiming for a dog food with crude fat that makes up between 5 and 8 percent of the food as well as crude protein that should make up around 20 percent of the food.
You also should be looking for high amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, phosphorus, and calcium.
In addition, your dog will need to get the right amount of water. That equates to about 8 ounces of water per 10 pounds of body weight a day. But, since Australian Shepherds are prone to urinary issues, your pup might need even more than that.
They have a high risk of urinary tract infections and urinary stones, so make sure that the food does not have too much magnesium in it, because that can aggravate the situation and increase the chance of developing stones.
Brush Your Aussie’s Teeth
Unfortunately, canine dental hygiene is one of the most overlooked pieces of care. It is easy to forget to do it regularly and sometimes the dogs simply will not let us do it.
When a dog’s teeth are not taken care of properly, your dog can develop plaque, gingivitis, and periodontal disease, which is the worst type of gum issue that your dog can get.
The disease is really a bacterial infection within the mouth and has been linked to heart disease in humans. If you are not sure how to properly clean your dog’s teeth, have your vet show you.
Exercise & Training
Australian Shepherds are not lazy dogs. They are working dogs and require exercise for both their physical and mental well-being.
You might need to go off of your dog’s needs, however, as not all Australian Shepherds will need the same amount of exercise.
Puppies, for example, need a little bit of movement a day, because they are growing and will wear themselves out pretty easily. If your puppy is tried, you need to let him sleep and recover.
As your puppy gets older, the need for exercise will also increase. Generally, Australian Shepherds need between one and two hours of cardio exercise a day, provided they are not dealing with some other health complication.
Some Australian Shepherds develop heart disease and cannot experience the same level of intense exercise as a dog that does not have a heart condition.
But even if your dog does have a heart condition, you don’t want to swing the opposite direction and allow him to rest all of the time and get out of exercising. That is still not healthy.
When all else fails, just talk to your vet about the appropriate amount of exercise for your dog specifically, since it can vary so much from dog to dog.
Visit The Vet Regularly
You also want to make sure that you are not skipping out on any vet visits. Even if your dog appears in perfect health, remember that your dog cannot tell you if something hurts or is wrong, but your vet can have a better sense of what is going on with your dog.
There was a study that said that only 8 percent of dog’s that visit the vet are healthy, which refers to both weight and disease.
With your vet, you can make sure that your dog is up-to-date on heartworm prevention and vaccinations. You can make sure that you are giving your dog the right kind of food and look for any possible things that could harm your dog in the future.
If you catch arthritis when it starts, for example, you can have a better time treating it so that its progression slows way down.
Australian Shepherd vs Mini Australian Shepherd Lifespan
If you are comparing an Australian Shepherd to a mini Australian Shepherd, you might be wondering whether their size affects which type of dog will live longer.
There is a slight difference in lifespan between the two, but it might not be in the way that you expect. In fact, on average, the mini Australian Shepherd lives about 2 years less than a full-sized Australian Shepherd does.
There are not a lot of differences between the two breeds outside of size, but they both have health issues that you will need to tackle. Mini Australian Shepherds are prone to glaucoma, cataracts, retinal dysplasia, and other eye conditions.
Standard Australian Shepherds can have a lot of other problems, like epilepsy, cancer, allergies, among other things, but they still have a high lifespan than the mini Australian Shepherds do.
Overweight Australian Shepherds Live Shorter Lives
It is an unfortunate truth that overweight Australian Shepherds will not live as long as healthy weight Australian Shepherds.
While Australian Shepherds are active dogs and do burn a lot of calories, if they are not getting the best kind of food possible, being fed too much, or being given lots of treats and human food, no amount of activity will be able to override that. Treats might be your thing when you are training your dog, but too many is a bad thing.
Because obese dogs cannot move as easily as dogs with a healthy weight, they are more likely to develop weight-related health issues, like diabetes, heart disease, and even arthritis.
Once your dog develops these health conditions, losing the weight becomes even harder. It is best to just avoid having your dog become overweight to begin with.
Do Mixed Australian Shepherds Live Longer Than Purebred Ones?
Lifespan can be a tricky thing to measure between purebred dogs and mixed breed dogs. Mixed dogs can be mixed with any number of breeds so that their longevity can be nearly impossible to determine.
That said, there are some advantages to having a mixed breed dog over a purebred dog. Purebred dogs are more prone to congenital issues than mixed breed dogs are.
The biggest trick here is that some purebreds have just been bred too close on the genetic family tree. When a dog is bred with another dog from the same line, the risk of congenital defects becomes even bigger.
The best bet is to confirm the dog’s family history before you adopt, but sometimes even that is not fully known. If it is not worth the risk for you, it might be better for you to get an Australian Shepherd that has been mixed with another breed. There are no guarantees either way, it just depends on what you are comfortable with.
Does Neutering & Spaying Affect Aussie Lifespan
A common question is whether spaying or neutering your dog will affect his lifespan. The short answer is yes, spaying or neutering your dog can increase his lifespan.
Doges that have been fixed generally live longer, healthier, and happier lives. They have fewer behavioural issues and are less likely to develop infections and degenerative diseases.
You also do not need to worry about your dog running off in search of a mate, exposing him to life-threatening situations, like being run over by a car. For larger dogs, it is better to wait to do this until they are fully grown. Since Aussies are more a medium-sized dog, consult with your vet.
Australian Shepherd Common Health Issues That Can Affect Their Lifespan
Like all purebred dogs, Australian Shepherds are prone to some common health issues that can impact their overall lifespan. These include:
Congenital deafness: The dog is naturally deaf, which is not ideal for a working dog.
Congenital heart disease: A terrible disease that might shorten your dog’s life.
Congenital ocular defects: Eye conditions are often not fatal, but might still be troublesome.
Epilepsy: Epilepsy is a very unpredictable issue as seizures can present themselves differently and the end result can vary.
Hip dysplasia: This will limit your dog’s ability to move and be active over time.
Hyperuricosuria: This refers to too much acid in the urine, which can cause bladder stones and urinary tract infections.
Hypothyroidism: This is where the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones and can cause your dog to be overweight.
Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis: Depositing fatty pigments in your dog’s brain can lead to neurological issues.
Unfortunately, most of these conditions can shorten your dog’s lifespan and there is often no way to know ahead of time that your dog is going to develop anything. Some conditions are more of a nuisance than fatal, like congenital deafness, but others can cause some very unfortunate issues.
Australian Shepherd Lifespan FAQs
What Is The Longest Living Australian Shepherd?
The longest living Australian Shepherd on record was Bluey, who lived from 1910 to 1939. She died when she was 29 years, 5 months old. This is highly unusual since the average lifespan of an Aussie is shorter by about half of Bluey’s age.
Is The Average Aussie Lifespan Increasing?
With a life expectancy median of 9 years, it does not seem that the Aussie lifespan is increasing. But with so many of them living to 15 years, it seems that younger dogs are just more likely to experience a traumatic, unexpected death, pulling the median down.
Does Aussie Coat Colour Affect Their Life Expectancy?
Australian Shepherds can come in a few different colours, but their fur will not alter their life expectancy. The dogs all have the same medium length of fur and their colours can be several different shades (with even their eyes being different colours).
Do Australian Shepherds Live Longer Than Border Collies?
While these breeds have a lot of differences, they also have some similarities. Generally, Australian Shepherds and Border Collies have the same lifespan, even though Border Collies are typically smaller than Australian Shepherds. They are both medium-sized working dogs and have the same life expectancy.
The important thing to remember when it comes to Australian Shepherd life expectancy is that how you care for your dog will affect how long he lives.
Ensuring that your dog gets the right kind of nutrition and exercise is paramount to a dog’s life expectancy. Just like you should be keeping up with annual physicals with your doctor, your pup should have annual checkups with the vet to confirm that everything is going as well as it should be.
Aussies are such a wonderful breed to have that you should be doing everything you can to help them live a long, happy life with you.