woman playing with dog in her arms

How Old is Your Dog Really

Maggie Marton | October 17, 2018

You’ve likely heard the standard conversion: one dog year equals seven human years.

While that often-touted stat seems reasonable enough--think how much more capable and mature a one-year-old dog is compared to a one-year-old kiddo--it’s unfortunately incorrect.

A dog’s life stages are more complex than that simple equation. So, how old is your dog, really?



The puppy stage depends largely on the breed. Small-breed dogs leave the puppy stage faster than large breed dogs because they reach sexual maturity faster, the point at which puppyhood ends. This window is super wide, too! The puppy stage can last from newborn until anywhere between six and 18 months! It’s hard to pin down a human comparison because of those variations, but expect your dog to creep from a squishy baby into a surly teen within the first year or year and a half of life.



Adolescence kicks in when a dog hits its full size. That means your tiny one-year-old pup is like a 15-year-old human--with the behavior to match!--but your large-breed one-year-old might not be a rowdy teen until he’s past the year mark. Generally, larger dogs mature much later than smaller dogs (and, unfortunately, they generally live shorter lives than their bitty counterparts, too).



Dogs hit adulthood between one and three years old. He’s finished growing and might actually act grown! To compare it to human aging, entering adulthood is like a college grad. Most dogs stay in this phase of life until around age seven, at which point a small breed is in his early 40s while a large breed is closer to 50.



This stage is most appropriately broken into two phases: senior and geriatric. A senior pup is around seven to nine years old, which equates to late 40s to early 50s in smaller dogs and close to 60 in larger dogs. A dog becomes a geriatric when he reaches the end of the life expectancy for his breed--but can still thrive for years to come!

Remember: Age is just a number! It’s important to keep your pup healthy and active so he will live a long, happy life by your side!