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Dog AGE - How many DOG YEARS does your dog count?

 Reviewed 16 April 2020 share-a-picture Or go to discussion?join-the-discussion dogphoto
Oct 302018
German Shepherd Age

Ever wondered how old your dog is in DOG YEARS?

As always our insight here offers valuable pointers for all dog breeds and mixes, see below.

NOTE: Dog Lifespan and German Shepherd Life Expectancy is a DIFFERENT topic!

So now HERE we have:

Follow along to gauge German Shepherd Age - and really, ANY DOG AGE.

Dog Years?!

What's your dog's age in Dog Years?

NOT how old we people think the dog is, aka that pub gospel "One human year equals 7 dog years...", but rather how old the DOG FEELS?

Because clearly:

  • a puppy FEELS (s)he's a puppy!
  • an adolescent dog FEELS the adolescence!
  • and a 10 year old dog FEELS (s)he's no longer 4!

take-noteAll this is regardless of dog breed or mix. Don't let "blogs" tell you "dog years depend on breed", they do not: Dog lifespan depends a bit on breed, and so that has its own page at The Cynology Hub MyGermanShepherd.Org.

Because German Shepherd AGE and really any DOG AGE is about the number of DOG YEARS at this point in time.

You see the difference?

Dog Years Calculator

As a child you too probably learned that one human year is seven dog years, right?

Oh well, as children we've been presented with a lot of myths, haven't we?

Myth because the basis for that "pub gospel" dog age calculation goes like so:

    smiley lol
  • "on average dogs reach about 10ys of age..." (today!)
  • "on average people reach about 70ys of age..." (back at the time!)
  • "so, let's say 1 dog year equals 7 human years..."

dog size matters or not?To offer some variety to that old "pub talk myth" every dog years calculator I found online then simply multiplies the result by a factor derived from the size of the dog breed.

Example: the dog age calculator on that "pet poisoning site"

Because, yes, size matters for dog age: how old a dog feels depends on factors including dog size. BUT: size is just one of many many factors! And size is a small one, excuse the pun.

And more importantly, did you notice?

They all confuse DOG AGE with Dog Lifespan!

Dog Years vs Dog Lifespan

Any dog years calculator like that is actually looking at dog lifespan, or preciser dog life expectancy - NOT the dog's CURRENT AGE, namely how old does the dog FEEL?

But MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG is The Cynology Hub, not one of those pet-"food"-industry-sponsored-"blogs" that sadly today dominate Google & Co!

So further below WE HERE will even reveal the actual factors determining dog age, and so, dog years. exclaim

But before we can get into the meat we have to prepare the meal, so to say: You need some background info.

Better Dog Age Calculator

In the 1950ies a French veterinarian, Monsieur LeBeau, came up with a slightly more sensible answer than the "pub gospel" at the top that we all learned as children, just not in the pub.

As veterinarian, LeBeau's dog age calculation considers sexual productivity and biological life stages.

Since dogs are dogs not people, Monsieur LeBeau's dog age calculation no longer uses a proportionate scale: proportionate to human years, like 1 equals 7.

His proposed dog age calculation is slightly better, preciser:

  • Up to 12 months of age, each month is equivalent to 1.25 human years. So, a four month old German Shepherd puppy is about as mature as a 5 year old child, and a 12 month-old adolescent dog is as mature as a 15 year old teenager.
  • Between 12 months of age and 24 months of age, each month is equivalent to 0.75 human years. So, an 18 month old German Shepherd dog is about as mature as a 20 year old adult, and a 24 month-old GSD is as mature as a 24 year old adult.
  • From 24 months of age, it is assumed that it is acceptable to use a proportionate relationship. Now each dog year translates to four human years. So, a 9 year old dog is assumed to feel as old as a 52 year old person, and a 12 year old German Shepherd would feel like a 64 year old person...

Phew, did you notice though?

Factors determining dog ageLeBeau's dog-age calculation results in dog deaths at a younger age than with the "one human year is seven dog years" myth!


  • a dog that reaches 15 years of age is just 76 human years old as per LeBeau
  • but 105 years old according to the simple "one human year is seven dog years" shortcut.

Also, as today the majority of German Shepherds die before age 11, according to LeBeau's slightly more detailed dog age calculator GSDs today live shorter lives than a dog owner who dies before age 60! Ie way before retirement age!

This insight directly leads us to:

Feeling Old vs Being Considered Old vs Life Expectancy

  1. Like everyone else, LeBeau too made the mistake to confuse current dog age with expected dog lifespan
  2. take-thought
  3. Yet LeBeau was the first to consider biological life stages, a major breakthrough for assessing dog years and thus dog age!
  4. take-thought
  5. On the contrary, LeBeau ignored the impact of "size, weight, and breed" - those minor factors that today's veterinarian bloggers solely focus on, wrongly.
  6. take-thought
  7. More importantly though, like everyone else LeBeau missed the key factors that determine dog years and dog age!

take-noteAs said this is because, still today(!!), all confuse current dog age with expected dog lifespan.

take-noteMoreover: All confuse a breed's average expected lifespan with a dog's individual expected lifespan!

You see again: The Cynology Hub MyGermanShepherd.Org brings brains to all things dog. mrgreen

So much needed! Because so much CRAP gets sold and published!

take-thoughtThink: What does it help you to read "the breed's life expectancy is x to y years" when what really matters to you is:

How can I ensure my dog will not suffer and pass away before x but instead will healthily and happily live beyond y.


And THAT, my dear reader, is only guaranteed when you subscribe to the wealth of life-saving insights on MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG!

All the affiliate crap I encounter when googling is proof of that.

Actual Factors Determining Dog Age

Factors determining dog ageCertainly NOT "primarily size, weight, and breed" as "aging expert" David J. Waters and others want to make us believe.

So, let's see: What determines how old your dog FEELS?

  1. feeling any pain or discomfort??
  2. feeling a lot lonely or bored?
  3. experiencing a degree of freedom, or experiencing a lot restriction, chaining even?
  4. remembering many places already sniffed before?
  5. size and weight of the dog, and so resulting joint problems?
  6. dog breed or mix, and so the dog's mental state and psychology?

take-noteOf course it is those factors that determine how old a dog feels: FEELING

take-noteAnd this dog age will differ from the dog age that we consider the dog has by any standard, even if measured per the age of the teeth or bones: ASSESSMENT

take-noteAnd it certainly differs from the expected dog lifespan: EXPECTANCY! idea

You see there: size, weight, and breed are subordinate factors, they have rather an indirect impact on dog years as experienced by the dog.


pt-rt-grA dog certainly does not know, does not feel "hey, I am a Boxer", or "I am a German Shepherd", or "I am a Poodle".

pt-rt-grNor does the dog feel "Phew, I gained too much weight recently, I better go on a diet now." lol

pt-rt-grNor does the dog feel "Gosh, I am reaching to my owner's hips, I must be frickin' old by now!" mrgreen

dog size matters or not?The only thing a dog feels as regards "size, weight, and breed" is size:

Although clearly a Chihuahua does not think "size matters" (you can ask our site member Mark who has both A German Shepherd and a Chihuahua), clearly both the Chihuahua and the Great Dane NOTICE and FEEL the size difference.

You see there, just a little bit of thinking and common sense is enough to rebut a lot of what others copy so lightly and happily.

Please feel free to add your own thoughts to the discussion here!

As you can smell..., NO existing dog age calculator can consider these factors that determine current DOG AGE. Whether perceived by the dog, or assessed by the dog owner, say from the growing veterinary bills with increasing dog age?

Best Dog Years Calculator

So now you may wonder, is there any way to apply years to the factors that determine Dog Age in general, or German Shepherd Age in particular?

Best Dog Years Calculator

Let's see:

  • Can we apply a number of years to how much pain or discomfort a dog feels? Do you even notice if your dog is in pain, and how much, compared to the prior year?
  • Can we apply a number of years to the dog feeling less enthusiastic, less playful, or outright a lot more lonely or bored, compared to the prior year?
  • We can certainly apply a number of years to the degree of freedom that the average dog experiences:
  • It may even be feasible to apply a number of years to how many more new places the dog gets to explore, versus how beaten the track around the blocks is...
  • Easiest is to apply a number of years to the size and weight of the dog in order to gauge the likelihood of experienced pain or discomfort resulting from joint problems
  • And for me, it is possible to gauge German Shepherd Age from looking at the dog, reading its eyes, and seeing the dog walk.

But none of that is anywhere near "accurate", that's clear. This is why the best dog age calculator is in your mind now that you know all the factors that need consideration!


So, what's your dog's story?

What do you think how old YOUR dog is? How old does your dog FEEL based on your observation of pain, the degree of boredom, the number of new adventures or familiar smells, etc?

Share your story here. Add a photo of your dog too.

And if you keep the dog's age a secret, others can even take a guess of your dog's age. Now that would be exciting!

For example, can you guess how old THIS dog on the photo there is?

And do you have a hunch how many dog years he FEELS?



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