There are things you live your whole life knowing: little nuggets of knowledge that change how you see the world.
Things like: you can edit a Wikipedia page, dogs can’t eat chocolate, Oreos are vegan friendly, and that green, yellow, and red capsicums are the same fruit just at different stages of ripeness.
You don’t know when, where or how you learnt these random facts but they’ve helped you through countless awkward conversations and life moments where you needed something semi-intelligent to say.
One of the most widely acknowledged facts of life is that one human year = seven dog years.
Very useful when you want to work out how old your grumpy chihuahua actually is.
Except that it’s a damned lie. A LIE I TELL YOU. Because one dog year DOES NOT equal seven human years.
Cue my existential crisis: if this isn’t true, what else isn’t true? Am I even alive right now? Is this a dream? Are dogs even real? What does this mean?????
The one = seven rule doesn’t hold up for a couple of reasons. First of all, it doesn’t account for differences in a dog’s size, breed and lifestyle.
Also, a dog matures a lot within the first year of its life: they literally develop from a puppy into a fully grown adult. Lifehacker’s Hayley Williams notes, “Dogs reach sexual maturity at around one year old, so already the 7 year equivalence doesn’t make sense…”
So…what does make sense? What is the truth?
This graph via Business Insider is the closest thing we have to the truth. And by truth I mean statistics which show the relationship between the size of a dog and its age.
As you can see, the graph is not linear. Dogs age around 15 years in their first year of life which is pretty crazy. There is no blanket one human year = seven dog years rule as dogs age more some years than others years.
There’s also a huge age disparity depending on the size of the dog: while a small dog is 56 after 10 human years, a giant dog is 78.
There is literally no pattern here.
There are a lot of factors the above graph doesn’t take into consideration, like specific dog breeds, but its probably the simplest framework to use when comparing dog years and human years. Although, it will make our conversations a lot more difficult.
“How old is your dog in dog years, you ask? Hold on, let me just pull out my trusty statistics table.”
Yeah, doesn’t have the same ring to it.