Why Size Affects Life Expectancy
One of the most puzzling aspects of life span in regard to canines is the 'old' concept that larger dogs have shorter life spans of smaller ones. However, this broad and general statement will be explained and specifically, how this relates to the Poodle breed in particular.
While statistics have proven this 'size affects life span' theory, animal biologists and other animal specialists have been taking a closer look to better understand this. It used to be widely believed that a larger dog's body had more work to do (pumping blood in a bigger body, etc.) however this can be debated since the bigger a dog is, the larger his heart. So, was this the only reason? It seems that the answer is 'no'.
Researchers in Germany have released a study after collecting data from over 56,000 canines - that included 74 breeds - and the results were a bit surprising. While they did conclude that larger breeds (i.e. the Standard Poodle) did have a longer life expectancy than small breeds (i.e. the Toy Poodle), data suggested that the larger dog's actually aged at an accelerated pace.
"Lives seem to unwind in fast motion" according to a biologist involved in the University of Gottingsen study. Therefore, it is not just a matter of the heart working faster, a large canine's entire body ages in 'fast motion' compared to a toy sized breed.
This in turn, means that many diseases (cancer, cardiovascular disease) will strike a larger dog years before a smaller dog would be vulnerable.
In addition, Musculoskeletal issues (joint problems, arthritis) and Gastrointestinal problems (pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease) tend to affect the larger Standard Poodle faster than it would affect the small, Toy Poodle.
And they were able to narrow this down to a specific time frame. Data showed that canines lose 1 month of life for each increase of 4.4 lbs. (1.99 kg). Keeping this in mind, it would suggest that a Toy Poodle on the smaller side - 6 pounds (2.72 kg) - may have a slightly longer life expectancy than a Toy Poodle on the larger side - 9 pounds (4.08 kg).
With all of this in mind, it must be noted that there are MANY exceptions. A tiny Toy Poodle can fall ill and life only 9 years while a large Standard Poodle may stay in excellent healthy well into his teens.