One year in dog age is equivalent to seven years in human age. If you are a dog lover, I’m sure you have heard of this well-known calculation that has been going for decades. No one actually knows where the traditional seven-year rule came from. Some believe that it was based on the assumption of human lives to about 70 and dogs to about 10.
Interestingly, a recent study suggests that this is not true and claimed they have found a more accurate way to calculate the dog years. The research was conducted with 104 Labrador Retrievers aged from 0.1 to 16 years, and 320 individuals aged from 1 to 103 years. The researchers compare and match the dog’s methylation (a process of which chemical changes to the DNA profile over the course of life) to human’s.
Surprisingly, it turns out a 1 year old Lab is equivalent to a 31 years old human, then the aging rate quickly tapers off and becomes much slower in the later years. By the age of 10, the Lab’s DNA profile is similar to a 68 years old person. With that in mind, Lab has an average lifespan of 12 years which lines up with human’s average lifespan of 70 years old.
They then plotted a graph against both the Lab’s and human’s DNA profile to get the dog-to-human age calculation.
Small Breeds vs Large Breeds
We all have accepted the fact that smaller breeds typically live longer than the larger breeds. The biologists have done a research to determine the relationship between the dog sizes and life expectancy. Analyze 74 breeds of dogs, and concluded that every 4.4 pounds increase in weight reduces the life expectancy by a month. Why? Reason remains a mystery.
Yet, the researcher, Cornelia Kraus stated that larger dogs’ lives “seem to unwind in fast motion”. She hypothesizes a few possibilities and found that one of her speculations “large breeds age at a faster rate” are more consistent with the findings. What that means is large dogs have shorter life expectancy because they age quicker.
How Old Is Your Dog in Human Age?
You can use this new dog-to-human age calculator as a guide to determine how old your four-legged friend is in human years. It is most likely to be correct as the research was done based on matching the DNA changes for both species.
With this new formula, now you can get a sense of how old your furry friend is. This is great as you can improve the quality time with your pooch, expect when to see the sign of aging and look after them more carefully.