How Old is Your Pooch, Really?

You’ve probably heard the old adage about the age of a dog being equal to human years by a factor of seven. Well, there are a few theories out there about that that I wanted to explore. So I did a Google search on the topic and here’s what I uncovered. The American Kennel Club claims that our canine companions mature quickly in the first year of life; so quickly, in fact, that they age 15 human years from newborn pup to when we celebrate their first birthday.  Read the complete article by Erica Mansourian titledHow to Calculate Dog Years to Human Years here at

Be that theory as it may, is there more to it? Kelly M. Cassidy, curator of the Charles R, Connor Museum at Washington State University, and a dog longevity researcher says yes.

“You can’t really kill the seven-year rule,” observes Cassidy.

The 7:1 ratio may have come about at a time when the general life expectancy of people was age 70 and dogs age 10 years, states the article.

Another theory, posited by Veterinarian William Fortney of Kansas State University, chalks the seven-year formula up to a marketing strategy by his early colleagues to educate the public on the importance of annual check-ups during such a short lifespan.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) the true age of a dog depends on his or her breed’s size, among other factors. For example, basic guidelines from the AVMA are as follows:

  • 15 human years are comparable to a medium-sized dog’s first year of life
  • A dog’s second year is equal to approximately nine human years
  • Each subsequent human year equals five dog years

Check out this dog age calculator from Pedigree at And remember, keeping your pooch at his or her optimal health with good nutrition, exercise and routine veterinary care is the best way to ensure he or she enjoys their time with you, however long it may be.

For more information contact your pet’s veterinarian. And for answers to questions you may have regarding your dog’s behavioral challenges contact your local Upstate New York, Capital District, Albany and Saratoga Off Leash K9 Training professional. He or she has the expertise to address such issues as canine obedience, dog aggression, food aggression, potty training and much more.