Do Female Dogs Age Differently Than Male Dogs?

Jessica M. Hoffman, Dan G. O'Neill, Kate E. Creevy, Steven N. Austad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Humans, as well as their closest ancestors, the higher African primates, exhibit female-biased survival and multiple sex differences in causes of death. However, the effects of sex on aging and longevity in an excellent model of human health, the companion dog, have not been well explored. Using two large independent databases on companion dog longevity and causes of death, we performed the most extensive analysis of sex differences in dog aging to date. Unlike the findings in humans, we observed only a small effect of sex on canine longevity. When broken down by neutering status, we discovered a small male advantage in survival among intact dogs but a clear female survival advantage among neutered dogs. Overall, the effect of neutering on life span was greater than the effect of sex. However, we found few sex differences in causes of death in either intact or neutered dogs. The results of this study suggest limited sex effects on either longevity or causes of death in the companion dog. Our analysis suggests that the majority of apparent sex differences in the wider canine populations may be due to the effects of neutering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-156
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cause of death
  • Life span
  • Neutering
  • Sex differences
  • VMBD
  • VetCompass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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