How Long Can You Expect Your Australian Shepherd to Live?

Australian Shepherd

The lean but tough Australian shepherds frequently appear on the rodeo shows and make cowboys’ favorite pets for their keen eyes.

Their coats can be interesting patterns of red or blue. They are agile and rugged. The herding dogs can quickly gather and protect birds, kids, and other dogs on a property – something that a pet owner who likes to get things done without moving from his chair enjoys the most.

However, new pet owners must be wary of this intelligent breed. They can easily trick them. The Australian shepherd is the choice if you need an energetic, brainy, and easy-to-train worker pet.

The life expectancy of an Australian shepherd

If you plan to foster an Australian shepherd, you may also be curious about its age. Most pet parents bother about the long life of their adopted animals.

Generally, the Australian shepherd lifespan ranges from 12 to 15 years. While this looks like nothing because of the attachment and bond you develop with your pet over the years, this lifespan is still significant considering overall dog years.

The intelligent breed will keep you happy no matter your time with him. Your socialization training and others will teach him good behavior.

And Aussies are healthy dogs by default, so your medical cost can be relatively lower than owning French and English bulldogs. Still, your care and love are critical to its long and easy life.

The life expectancy of Australian shepherds vs. other breeds

Scientific studies demonstrate that a dog’s life expectancy and size have a link. The American kennel association says most pure breeds enjoy a life of 8 to 15 years, and Aussies’ 12 to 15 years of age is in the higher range.

The long-lived dogs do have an advantage in this case. Great Danes and other large dogs live short lives, while smaller breeds like Chihuahuas have the most extended life.

Only mini Australian shepherds are small-size dogs. The rest of them is typically medium height. Most mid-size dogs live for 10 to 13 years.

That’s why Dalmatians usually enjoy 11 to 13 years, and the English foxhound and the Australian Kelpie about 10 to 13 years.

Nevertheless, other dogs that live for a length similar to the Australian shepherds include American Staffordshire terriers, Australian cattle dogs, and huskies.

Some medium-height dogs other than them can have more years to live. Interestingly, smaller Aussie species live only about 12 to 13 years of age, less than most other small breeds’ life expectancy.

Mini Aussies breeding started in the initial phase of the 1960s. Due to this, some believe there is more room to analyze their lifespan. Scientists say their shorter life can be attributable to breeding practices involving less healthy Aussie runts.

The reason behind Australian shepherds’ long life

Pet experts credit their long lifespan to their breeding background. Although they look gorgeous in their red merle, blue merle, and tri-color shades of shiny double coats, Aussie’s primary purpose is to work and not beauty.

Most breeding activities focused on looks create loud physical traits that can be risky for their health. For instance, you must have noticed the German shepherd’s sloped back and the English bulldog’s wrinkles. While these features are attractive, these breeds suffer from the risk of hip dysplasia due to them.

As the breeders focus on making a herding dog variety out of males and females, the main focus is on dogs’ strength, brain, stamina, herding capability, and health.

They avoid unhealthy species for this type of working dog. Because of this, Australian shepherds enjoy a long life.

Records show that the purebred Aussie ancestor Basque sheepdog (also referred to as the Pyrenean shepherd) comes with a longer life of 17 to 19 years. It is the highest among all the purebred dog species.

The health challenges affecting Australian Shepherds’ life expectancy

Some genetic conditions can decrease their lifespan and quality of life despite their naturally good health.

One of them is a neurological condition like epilepsy. Lack of treatment can cause brain damage or death. However, you can manage their health with anti-epileptic drugs.

Hypothyroidism is another factor. Due to less thyroid hormone production, they suffer from reduced metabolic rates.

It affects their weight, hair, etc. They become sensitive to cold. Since hypothyroidism interferes with their immunity, pulse rate, and cholesterol, their life expectancy significantly reduces. A joint problem is also a reason, though German shepherds are more at risk.

Nevertheless, Aussies face hip or elbow dysplasia, which hinders their joints from connecting to their sockets.

Then, these working dogs are susceptible to injuries as they participate in agility sports. As such, weak joints don’t affect their lifespan.

But it compels them to lead a sedentary life, which affects their overall age. Unfortunately, Aussies are susceptible to deafness.

The vet says even deafness puts them at risk. While it is not life-threatening, hearing loss increases the chances of injuries and car accidents.

Other common diseases include collie eye anomaly (CEA), cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

These eye disorders impair their vision and lead to blindness. Again, it’s not the direct cause of death. But a sedentary lifestyle and increased injury risks affect them.

Ways to extend your Australian shepherds’ life

Good care and diet can do magic for their health. But make sure you adopt your pet from a recognized breeder who takes all the precautions regarding breeding.

Keep them updated with vaccination. Annual vet visits will prevent any health risks while allowing early diagnosis of something developing.

The vet can treat them as soon as possible. Please keep your pet engaged through physical exercises for their fitness.

Mental stimulation and activities are essential. One must pay attention to their dietary needs, supplying them with enough meat, vegetables, and fruits.

It is also necessary to watch their calories to protect them from obesity risks. Obese dogs lose at least 2 ½ years of their life, as per the research.

Aussies can become your best friend, who will be there with you till their last breath. If you want them to live longer, care for them.

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