A Dog Year Is NOT Equivalent To 7 Human Years

Do you know your dog's age in 'dog years'? You know: supposedly a dog is seven dog years old on its first birthday and all that? Well, as it turns out, that figure isn't really accurate at all, and it's thrown even further out of whack when you realise that all dog breeds age at different rates. So if you want to figure out your pooch's actual age in dog years, here's how to do it.

It's fundamentally hard to find an equivalent between dog years and human years as our life cycles and biology differ considerably. Dogs reach sexual maturity at around one year old, for example, so already the 7 year equivalence doesn't make sense, but even if you move that up to 13 or 14, it still doesn't quite fit the model.

How To Choose The Right Dog For Your Lifestyle

There comes a point in your life when you reach the natural conclusion that the only thing missing is an animal. It often happens after you leave your childhood pets behind when moving out from the family home, have a stable job and living arrangements and a moderately healthy social life.

While everything else seems to be going great, you're left with a dog-shaped hole in your heart.

Does a human year equal seven dog years?

Compared to humans, dogs age quicker in the start of their life, and then slower towards the end of their life, so it takes some more complex maths to figure out a conversion from human years to dog years.

If you can't be bothered to figure it out yourself, here's a chart from Business Insider that'll help you figure out exactly how old your dog actually is. And yes - the higher numbers at the bottom of the table really drive home the difference in lifespan between small dogs and large ones.

Small dogs are classified as 9.5kg or less, medium are 9.6kg-22kg, large are 23kg-40kg and giant dogs are over 41kg.

Interestingly enough, 'dog years' have been a concept for far longer than you'd think, with a text from 1268 saying that a human year was roughly equal to nine dog years. A different figure, but turns out they were still wrong about it back then, too.

So your one year old dog? Actually a naughty teenager. Have fun with that!

Now that you know your dog's real age, you might have to stockpile a few extra candles for the next doggy birthday you celebrate.

Seven Reasons Dogs Are Better Than Cats [Infographic]

According to recent research, most dogs don't enjoy being hugged or cuddled by their owners. But they put up with it anyway because they love you. This infographic lists seven scientific facts about canines that support the "man's best friend" colloquialism. In short, they might hate hugs, but they're still better than cats.

This story has been updated since its original publication.

The size indications should also be looked at against breed specifics. Colossal inbreeding in recent decades has greatly exacerbated inherited disorders that are life-limiting in many breeds e.g. http://cidd.discoveryspace.ca/breed/boxer.html

Vets never use this dogs year rubbish, and for a reason, it's just too confusing and inaccurate.
just use normal years, and know the life expectancy of your dog according to it's breed.
even better, don't get a designer breed, as most mutts will outlive a fancy/expensive breed.

This, basically.

I don't know why people insist on using "dog years". There are no dog years (well, except for the year of the dog that rolls around every 48 years). One year is one year. Dogs live on planet Earth and it takes a year for the planet to orbit the sun for every creature on it. If a year has passed since the dog was born, it's one year old, just like any other creature on this planet. The fact that dogs only have a life expectancy or around 15-16 years compared to a human's 80-90 or so shouldn't have anything to do with determining their age.

I'd imagine the whole dogs years was a simple equation someone came up with based on a small number of animals, quite probably a single or small group of breeds. "We had 10 dogs and on average they only lived about 4 years. That's about a ninth of our life span so there you go."

And considering it was worked out in 1268 it's likely that dog life expectancy would have been far lower then than now. Average human life expectancy was about 35 (!!!!) or maybe 45 (if you make it through childhood). So 35/9 = 4 (roughly) or 45/9 = 5. The dogs would more likely have been working animals so susceptible to injury. And a bunch of stuff we treat (heartworm, tapeworms, ticks, parvo, etc) would have been largely untreatable and life threatening.