The average lifespan of a Dobermann is this long, just ten years. Big dogs simply don’t last as long as smaller breeds. Which doesn’t make sense when you look at mammals in general. The Blue Whale lives for 80 years, yet a Bat will only live for a maximum of 10 years. Yet within species, such as dogs, the larger the animal, the shorter it’s lifespan. The same happens in Horse breeds and even Mice. After a good Google, it seems it’s the accelerated growth in the first year that causes this lack of longevity. Big dogs simply die younger, because they age quicker.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently as I started to notice the first grey hairs on Lupo’s chin. It seemed to happen overnight or I just hadn’t noticed. And it was a really sad moment. You are suddenly reminded, by a very human trait of hair changing colour, that this dog won’t always be there. He’s five years old now, he’ll be six next April. I hope he lives a long and happy life, just like these dogs in this brilliant video:
If you like that video you can find out more about the individual dogs here: http://www.eukanuba.co.uk/longevity
So how has Lupo changed in his five years? The bitey, jumpy, endless energy puppy stage that you think is never going to end, lasted a lot longer with him, or at least it felt that way. Only when he got to two or three years old had he slowed down. Whilst he still has a lot of energy and will whine in your face until you take him out, he’s equally happy laid on the sofa all afternoon. Something he’d never do as a pup, when we had to have frozen Kong toys on the go constantly for his amusement.
We’ve tried numerous dog foods, on the search for one he likes and that won’t break the bank, but he also gets small leftovers (bits of meat) as a treat. He has turned his nose up at many a dog treat sent to me for him to test for this blog, so much so I’ve stopped accepting them as he is way too fussy and doesn’t represent most dogs! He loves chewing on an antler, even though I can’t hear myself think with the grinding noise, we let him indulge. He still gets walked everyday by our trusty dog walker, and enjoys longer runs with us at the weekend.
He’s not escaped drama in his short life, he has a few grey hairs from scars that other dogs have given him. He’s not very good at sticking up for himself and has been chased and then bitten, twice. You may think that’s daft form looking at him, but I’m kinda proud he didn’t fight back (I wasn’t at the time) because it just goes to show the kind of dog we have raised – and how little care other people can give to moulding their dogs personality. Diet, discipline, exercise and affection are what we’ve based bringing Lupo up on. But of course he’s not perfect…
The traits he has kept from puppyhood are the oddest ones. He still sucks a blanket like a baby until he falls asleep with it in his mouth, and I can imagine he will do this until his last day. He also still has a particular fondness for bikes – bicycles, motorbikes, you name it, if it zips past him at a pace he is gone. I imagine the cyclist will feel like that scene in Jurassic Park with the T rex in the mirror when Lupo sets off, but he has never hurt anyone and doesn’t know what to do when he catches up to them apart from bop them with his wet nose.
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