How Long Would A Dog Live In The Wild (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 12 Years (Approx)

In retrospect to the earlier times, in our modern-day lives the majority of our four-legged friends, from small-sized dogs like a chihuahua to a greater one like the Great Dane or even the Tibetan mastiff can easily live within the four walls. Therefore, the idea of them living and adapting to the survival techniques of the wild is something challenging.

However, most of the dogs probably had ancestors who grew up in the wild. The majority of the dogs have the same ancestor, the South Asian Wolf. Over time and centuries, all the dog’s breeds have naturally adapted themselves to their surrounding environment.

Dogs, although are the first of all animals that listen to human commands as well as are easy to tame. They still possess some of the wild characteristics such as hiding, digging holes, and protecting their territory.

How Long Would A Dog Live In The Wild

Animals Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to Animals

1 / 10

Which of the following animals is known for being one of the most intelligent animals in the world?

2 / 10

What is the name of the animal that is known for its agility and ability to use its tail for balance and climbing trees?

3 / 10

What is the name of the bird that is capable of sustained flight for months at a time without landing?

4 / 10

Which of the following animals is known for its agility and ability to climb trees?

5 / 10

What is the name of the animal known for its large antlers and its habitats in cold regions?

6 / 10

What is the most common type of small pet that is kept in a cage?

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What is the scientific name for a group of snakes?

8 / 10

What is the name of the species of bird that is known for its large size, long neck, and ability to fly?

9 / 10

What is the name of the animal that is known for its ability to communicate through a series of barks, growls, and howls?

10 / 10

Which of the following animals is a popular pet and known for its playful behavior?

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How Long Would A Dog Live In The Wild?

Domesticated dogs can survive in the wild for quite a long period because of their instinct. The skill of hunting is still prevalent in dogs, be it a toy or a large breed. Guarding, alertness, marking, and protecting territory are some of the instincts that every dog possesses even if it is a domesticated or wild one. These qualities make one suitable to survive in the wild, under some circumstances.

Surviving in the wild primarily depends upon the situation and the endurance power of the dog. If there is adequate food, water, and shelter the survival rate will be high in comparison to having very little food around. Also, there is a danger of predators. Small breeds of dogs would survive for a lower period in comparison to the larger and sturdier breeds.

Hunting and guard dogs automatically show factors that make them capable of surviving in the wild alone. Dogs such as Retrievers, Dobermans, Rottweilers, and Pitbulls can easily survive for years in the wild if proper food is available. Also, dogs living in packs have a greater survival rate because attacks and competition are more effective.

BreedSurvival chances
Doberman, alaskan malamute, pitbull, rottweiler3-4 years
Terriers and Jack Russell1-2 years
Beagles, Scottish Dogs, Spaniels1-2 weeks
Cattle dogs, collies5-7 years

Why Would A Dog Live So Long In The Wild?

The chances of a domesticated dog surviving in the wild is primarily a bit low due to the reasons of food, water, shelter, attacks, habitat, and yes, climatic factors. Smaller house dogs need protection to survive whereas larger dogs can hunt and survive for a sufficient period. Also, dogs with thick hairy coats, for example, Alaskan Malamute, Saint Bernard might find it difficult living in deserts or humid places whereas dogs with thin coats will not be able to manage in cold regions.

Dogs with a muscular body have a high endurance power, therefore, will be able to withstand attacks more than a small dog, say. This in turn will automatically increase its chances to survive in the wild.


When it comes to food dogs have an instinct of hunting therefore getting food might be easy but digesting it can be difficult. Although dogs do not care if their food is raw, cooked, or old, domesticated dogs can show rapid health problems when exposed to sudden changes.

Factors such as digestive problems, clean drinking water, diseases, fleas, ticks, and hygiene too play an important role when it comes to a dog’s survival.


Domestic or pet dogs will always have a lower rate of survival in the wild. This is primarily due to the lack of comfort, food, water, and an increase in dangerous fights. Apart from this some of the behavioral instincts of dogs such as marking trees, looking for shelter, hunting for food can also determine their level of survival chances.

Larger breeds and guard dogs still have a higher expectancy rate when it comes to this situation. Apart from surrounding situations, some of the natural factors such as temperature, seasons, and terrain also play a huge role when it comes to survival. Not only dogs but also animals such as rats and cats too can survive easily in the wild.



Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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