How Long Do Terriers Live (And Why)?

How Long Do Terriers Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 10 To 18 Years

Terrier is the type of dog that is famous for its looks and characteristics. There is no specific set of features that a terrier dog will have. They can be small as well as big in size. The coat of one terrier can vary from another terrier.

When it is about characteristics, terrier dogs are known for their qualities like being fearless, and brave. Lifespan for terrier differs from one another. Many factors define the lifespan of a terrier dog.

How Long Do Terriers Live

How Long Do Terriers Live?

There are many other breeds of terrier dogs. The lifespan of each sub-breed is different. How long a terrier will live will depend on multiple factors like their sub-breed, their stature, and their personality.

On a general range, terrier dogs live for about ten years to eighteen years. However, the smaller terrier dogs will live more than the bigger terrier dogs. Terrier dogs that are big in size age rapidly. Hence, it decreases their overall lifespan to ten to fourteen years. 

Likewise, small terrier dogs will live for about fourteen to eighteen years. Sometimes, they can live more than the expected eighteen years. The lifespan of a terrier dog will also differ as per its surroundings and what environment they grow in.

Some breeds like the American Pit Bull Terrier can have a lifespan as low as eight years. There is also a breed called the Rat terrier, that can live as long as 23 years.

Breed of terrier dogsLifespan
American Pit Bull Terrier8 to 15 years
Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier10 to 12 years
Bull Terrier10 to 12 years
Russkiy Toy11 years
Scottish Terrier11 to 13 years
Dandie Dinmont Terrier11 to 13 years
Boston Terrier11 to 15 years
Airedale Terrier12 years
Staffordshire Bull Terrier12 to 14 years
Tenterfield Terrier12 to 14 years
Smooth Fox Terrier12 to 15 years
Maltese Dog12 to 15 years
Yorkshire Terrier12 to 16 years
American Staffordshire Terrier12 to 16 years
West Highland White Terrier12 to 16 years
Calm Terrier12 to 17 years
Miniature Terrier12 to 18 years
Jack Russell Terrier13 to 16 years
Parson Russell Terrier14 to 15 years
Wire Fox Terrier15 years
Toy Fox Terrier15 years
Rat Terrier15 to 23 years

Why Do Terriers Live That Long?

There are many aspects to consider when it comes to the lifespan of any type or breed of dog. A few aspects are below:

  • A dog’s breed is the most prominent factor as to how long a dog will live. In terrier types of dog, there are various breeds. The lifespan of these breeds ranges from 8 years to 23 years. 
  • The size of the dog is another factor that will determine how long a terrier might live. Bigger terriers like Calm terrier, or Wire Fox, or Rat terrier have longer lifespans than other breeds.
  • It also matters if the terrier is held and bred in captivity or it is a family pet. Terrier dogs that are held in captivity tend to have a shorter lifespan as compared to the dogs that are a pet in a family. Terrier dogs that are pets get more attention and care from their owners, and hence live longer. If the terrier lives in the wild, its lifespan is expected to be even lesser, as the terrier is on its own for its food, health, and protection.
  • Another major aspect determining the lifespan of a terrier dog is their health condition. If the health condition of a terrier is not good, or if they have several diseases or chronic conditions, their lifespan can be even shorter than expected. On the contrary, when a terrier is healthy, they will live longer.


Terrier dogs were essentially kept as a pet as they kill vermin found around the farm or house. It is because of their active nature, and hunting skills. They are not amongst the breeds that need cuddling and ample rest. They are fiesty and love adventure.

If a terrier is kept as a pet, it is necessary to keep it engaged. An active terrier will always have good health because it is their strongest trait. Good health will lead to a happy and longer lifespan for the terrier. 


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