Some articles on this site contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to yourself.
You’ve heard for years that to figure a dog’s age in “dog years” you should just add 7 to each year that your dog has been alive. That should give you the human equivalent of your dog’s age, right?
Use the chart below to accurately determine the age of your dog — dog years compared to human years.
Dog Age vs. Human Age: Physical/Physiological Age
This chart reflects the most accurate dog ages, compared to human ages:
|Dog Age / Human Age|
|6 months||10 years|
|8 months||13 years|
|10 months||14 years|
|12 months||15 years|
|18 months||20 years|
|2 years||24 years|
|4 years||32 years|
|6 years||40 years|
|8 years||48 years|
|10 years||56 years|
|12 years||64 years|
|14 years||72 years|
|16 years||80 years|
|18 years||88 years|
|20 years||96 years|
|21 years||100 years|
Source: Farmer’s Almanac
The above figures are based on “averages” and they hold true for most dogs — generally speaking.
So, this chart combines your dog’s chronological age and your dog’s size/weight to determine your dog’s physiological age:
A dog’s physiological age takes into account all of the mechanisms that work to keep the body alive and functioning. So, your dog’s physiological age is a combination of their internal health and physical abilities — based on age, size, and weight.
The easiest equation (7:1) is probably the least accurate. Formulas that take into consideration the faster development that occurs the first 2 years of life give a more accurate comparison. But even with this theory, there is variation. Some mathematicians feel that a 1-year-old dog should be compared to a 10- to 15-year-old human. The second year, as development levels out, should equate to 3 to 8 years of human aging. That would put a 2-year-old dog on par with a 13- to 23-year-old human. But that’s still a big range. In short, there is no definitive answer to the math problem. There is just too much variability in the canine community. Too many breeds. Too many sizes. What is consistent is the fact that dogs age more rapidly than their owners do. What is consistent is the fact that a 1-year-old dog often resembles a gangly teenager. What is consistent is that a 4-year-old dog has the energy of a young adult. What is consistent is that a 9-year-old dog walks with the stiff gait of a senior citizen. ~ VCA Hospitals
So that’s how you determine the physical age of your dog — based on how many years your dog has been alive, in comparison with the human lifespan.
Now, what about your dog’s mental age?
Dog Age vs. Human Age: Mental/Behavioral Age
Here, it becomes more about “maturity” than about a dog’s mental abilities or actual intelligence.
Because when you look at intelligence alone, it has been said (unfortunately) that a dog’s intelligence level is on par with a 2-year-old human. That, of course, is speaking very generally — and applies to dogs of all ages. I mean, my dog seems WAY smarter than a 2-year-old! And I bet yours does, too.
But the fact is all dogs have the ability to learn and grow and thrive better (or worse) than other dogs of the same age.
Perhaps this is where the traditional 7:1 age ratio for dogs vs. humans rings the most true — on the behavioral / emotional level.
So, for example a 10-year-old dog is considered to be emotionally equivalent (or “acts like”) a 70-year-old human, while a 12-year-old dog is very similar to (or “acts like”) an 84-year-old human… and so on.
Emotional maturity doesn’t align with physical maturity. Emotional maturity occurs over an extended period of time. For example, a 21-year-old human is considered an adult, but may not reach emotional maturity until age 40 or so. The same applies to dogs. Even though a 9-month-old pup may be socially and sexually active, full maturity isn’t achieved until age 3 or 4. That’s why 2-year-old Labradors still chew your favorite slippers! ~ VCA Hospitals
Want to see how smart your dog is?
More About Dog Age & Birthdays
- How To Throw Your Dog A Great Birthday Party
- Signs To Watch For In An Elderly Aging Dog
- Birthday Cake And Ice Cream For Dogs
- How To Tell A Dog’s Age By Looking At Its Teeth
- All You Need To Know About Dog Birthday Parties
- DIY Dog Birthday Cakes
I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn’t think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner — currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I’ve always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians — whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I’ve been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what’s ‘normal’ and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog — how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I’m not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I’ve written over 600 articles for dog owners on this site! Many of them have upwards of 200K shares.