How old were Lassie, Toto and Beethoven in human years? With a little help from some big screen animal stars, we take a look at how you can translate your dog’s age into the human equivalent.
Scratching away at the seven-year theory
Stop and ask any of your dog walking friends, and the chances are they’ll say that a dog year equals seven human years. So a one-year-old pup is similar to a seven year old child, a two year old dog is like a teenager, and, in human terms, a 10 year old dog has got its free bus pass and is eligible for retirement.
“I haven’t seen you in a dog’s age.” This American slang term dates from the 1830s and means “for a long time”.
It turns out, though, that the equation is not as simple as ‘dog’s age x 7 = equivalent human age’. This is because all kinds of other factors come into the mix, including your dog’s size and breed.
Puppies on a fast track to maturity
The first reason that the ‘7x’ rule doesn’t work is that puppies mature faster than human beings. When you’re celebrating your dog’s first birthday, your pup is likely to be the equivalent of a 15 year old human being, rather than a seven year old child. A one year old female dog is already mature enough to give birth.
Having said that, though, the idea of a dog’s maturity is relative. From what we’ve seen, dogs of all ages are delighted to receive a squeaky toy for their birthday, whereas a child over the age of five might be less than thrilled.
Large dogs age more quickly
Another factor that comes into play is that large dogs tend to age more quickly than smaller dogs. Whereas small breeds such as Dachshunds don’t enter the human equivalent of their 50s until they’re around 10, a statuesque Scottish Deerhound is middle-aged by the time it’s seven.
The world’s longest-living dog was Bluey, an Australian Cattle Dog who reached the ripe old age of 29 years. He lived on a farm in Australia from 1910-1939.
The age differences can be dramatic. Take three 16 year old dogs. Whereas a small breed such as a Miniature Pinscher would be 80 in human years, a medium dog like a Schnauzer would count as an 87 year old, while a large breed such as a Great Dane would be a very long-lived 120 year old.
Dogs on film
To illustrate the way that different breeds age at different rates, we’ve looked at some of our favourite doggie films to see how old the animal stars would be in human years.
Three year old Lab – In Marley and Me (2008), newlyweds played by Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston adopt an adorable yellow Labrador pup, Marley, and mayhem ensures. Apparently, no less than 22 different Labs played a part in the film. But the main actor, Clyde, was three years old. As a large breed, that makes cute little Marley the equivalent of a 26 year old human.
12 year old St Bernard - In Beethoven (1992), a St Bernard puppy is stolen, escapes and finds his way into the home of the Newton family. He quickly grows into a gentle giant, played by dog actor Chris. At 12 years old, Chris would have been a venerable 89 years old in human terms.
One year old Collie – In the classic film Lassie come Home (1943), brave Collie Lassie makes an intrepid trek from Scotland back to Yorkshire. One year old Pal took the title role, as he apparently had the ‘near human attributes’ the director was looking for. At one, Pal, was still a puppy but would have been the equivalent of a 15 year old human teenager.
Eight year old Jack Russell Terrier - In The Artist (2011), Uggie, a Jack Russell Terrier, was an absolute scene-stealer. Originally a rescue dog with a wild reputation, his rise to fame started when he was adopted by an animal trainer who had connections in the movie business. Uggie would have been eight when he filmed The Artist, making him 48 in human years.
Six year old Cairn Terrier – In The Wizard of Oz (1939), Toto is right up there with Dorothy’s sparkly red shoes and the Yellow Brick Road as an icon of this much-loved film. Toto was played by Terry, a six year old Cairn Terrier. She earned $125 a week, more than many of the human actors in the film. At six, this little dog was 40 in human years, and carried on going strong for several more films.
Active for life
It’s heartening to see that Chris, the St Bernard who stars in Beethoven, was 89 years old in human years, but was still able to act his paws off. And we’re sure you know many older dogs who never seem to lose their enthusiasm for chasing after a ball or going for a walk.
But if your dog is showing signs of slowing down a little, you might want to consider trying YuMOVE, the all-natural supplement that’s proven to work in just six weeks .
YuMOVE PLUS has been specially developed for older, stiffer best friends, and is packed with high-quality ingredients that will make a tail-wagging difference to help soothe stiffness and support their joints. It could also make it easier for your dog to climb up on stage when it goes to fetch that Oscar at the Academy Awards.