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Laid back dogs live longer, study says

lucasblog

 
We all know that small dogs generally live longer than big dogs, but a new study in Canada suggests that docile, obedient, shy dogs dogs are prone to longer lives than unruly, disobedient, bold ones.

Vincent Careau at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec compared data from previous studies of personality in a number of dog breeds, and mortality data on the same varieties, and used additional data from insurance companies to come up with the conclusion.

Careau’s team found the most obedient breeds, such as German shepherds, poodles and bichon frises, tended to be the longest lived, while hard-to-train, high energy dogs such as pomeranians and beagles were more likely to die younger.

Another trait, aggressiveness, was linked to metabolic rate, with docile dogs such as collies burning calories more slowly than more territorial breeds, for instance .

According to a study abstract, “we tested whether proactive personalities (high levels of activity, boldness, and aggression) are related to a fast “pace of life” (high rates of growth, mortality, and energy expenditure)…

Being a shy, slow burner of calories myself, I can only hope the phenomenon applies to humans as well — for it means if I watch enough TV, take enough naps and avoid chasing squirrels, I will live longer than all of you doing your daily aerobics.

(Photo by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)

Comments

Comment from Anne’n'Spencer
Time April 28, 2010 at 7:58 am

Beagles? Hard to train, yes. High energy? Maybe on some other planet. And I think just about any vet will tell you they’re quite a long-lived breed, with most making it to 16 years old and quite a few going all the way to 20. Statistics can be skewed because a lot of Beagles die in accidents or after being abandoned, and a lot of them are used in “research.”

The conventional wisdom, and my own observation, is that very large dogs unfortunately do not live as long as smaller dogs. The other bit of knowledge I’ve gleaned from reading is that feral or wild dogs generally die between the ages of 5 and 7. So domestication and association with humans have certainly lengthened the lifespan of dogs in general. I think it would be a lot more profitable to look at ways to lengthen the lifespan of larger dogs, if possible.

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