We all live for those milestone birthdays, don’t we? Whether we’re just turning 21, or reaching a grand old age with a nice round number attached to it, it’s our way of keeping track of where we are in our lives. What about dogs though? We’ve all heard of “dog years” but what does that term actually mean? Let’s find out.
What are dog years?
Some people may be expecting us to say that “one human year equals seven dog years” as this is an old adage that is often thrown around. Despite its popularity, it’s not really that correct and there are far more nuances to the answer than a formula that simple.
Back in the 1950s, people started trying to equate a dog’s life to a human life. If a dog lives X amount of years, and a human lives Y amount of years, and we say that Y=(X x 7) then we know if a dog is old, young, a teenager, in their 40s… but that’s really us trying to fit a dog shaped life into a human-shaped hole.
For a start, not all dogs share the same average lifespan. It’s not unusual for an Australian Shepherd Dog to reach 17 or 18 years old, while a Great Dane would be considered very old indeed if it made it beyond 8 years of age. Rottweilers won’t get much older than 9 years old, while a Beagle reaching its 15th birthday (in human years) is certainly not unusual. Do you see our problem here?