Is One Human Year Equal to 7 Canine Years? Debunking the Dog Age Myth

You don’t have to be a math whiz to see that something simply doesn’t add up when it comes to comparing your pet’s age to yours.

For as long as anybody can remember, we thought that one human year translates to seven canine years of age. It’s not that anybody was implying that time flows differently when you have four legs and a wagging tail, but it seemed that the calculations were not that off. But, as it turns out, the 7-to-1 year ratio was a complete myth. So, how should you compare your dog’s age to your own? It’s not that straightforward as you’ve thought, at least according to an article published at Science Alert.

When calculating your dog’s age relative to yours, you’ll have to consider their breed’s size. Not all pooches are the same, and those differences in weight can actually add up in doggie years. The table from the article suggests that the math would look something like this:

So, for instance, Chihuahua’s 14 birthday would make her the same age as a Great Dane celebrating their 9th. And, when you look at it that way, it kind of makes sense, as smaller pooches do have a longer lifespan than giant breeds. Additionally, it’s not only the variety in their size that makes doggie years different than that of their human companions but the aging process in itself, too. While dogs reach their sexual maturity after just one year of life, we have a lot of birthdays to go through after we turn 7 to be able to reproduce. The reason for this discrepancy is that pooches age faster than we do in the first two years of their life and slower as they approach their final year.

If you’re confused, you’re not alone. We’ve gone from simply multiplying our pupper’s age by 7 to taking into account their size and aging rate, so it’s only logical that it takes a bit more effort to calculate the equivalent of human years to dog years. My advice? Screenshot this table for references and don’ try to get into the mathematics of it all. It will only give you a headache.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

More by Angela Vuckovic

Popular Pet Guide