Published: 06 Jun 2018 | Last Updated: 06 Jun 2018 17:28:32

Do male and female dogs age differently?

Given that the lives of pet dogs are so closely entwined with their owners, we can learn a lot from dogs that can help both dogs themselves and also help the human species. Humans are known to exhibit female-biased survival and multiple sex differences in causes of death but this phenomenon has not been well-researched in dogs.

This study included lifespan data on thousands of dogs derived from the VetCompass™ project at the Royal Veterinary College. Unlike the findings in humans, only a small difference in lifespan was observed between the sexes in dogs. When broken down by neutering status, there was a small male advantage in survival among intact dogs but a clear female survival advantage among neutered dogs. Overall, the effect of neutering on life span was greater than the effect of sex. In addition, there were few differences in causes of death between the sexes in either intact or neutered dogs.

The results of this study suggest limited sex effects on either longevity or causes of death in the companion dog. The analysis suggests that the majority of apparent sex differences in the wider canine populations may be due to the effects of neutering

The full paper is freely available Open Access at

HOFFMAN, J. M., O'NEILL, D. G., CREEVY, K. E. & AUSTAD, S. N. 2018. Do Female Dogs Age Differently Than Male Dogs? The Journals of Gerontology: Series A,73,150-156.

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