How to Calculate a Dog’s True Age

July 7, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. refute [ri-FYOOT] (v.) – to prove to be wrong or false
Example: The veterinarian refuted the rumors that a new animal disease has spread among dogs.

2. rule of thumb [ROOL uhv thuhm] (n. phrase) – a general rule not meant to be accurate or consistent in all situations
Example: The participants in the dog show followed the rule of thumb by forming a line outside the entrance gate.

3. breed [breed] (n.) – a particular group of animals having similar characteristics
Example: Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever are two of the most popular dog breeds in the United States.

4. bizarre [bih-ZAHR] (adj.) – out of the ordinary or unusual
Example: The researchers got worried when the dogs started to exhibit bizarre behaviors.

5. canine [KEY-nahyn] (adj.) – pertaining to dogs
Example: My sister is a veterinarian specializing in canine diseases.


Read the text below.

Determining the true age of a dog is not as simple as most people think, according to scientists.

Common knowledge dictates that one human year is equivalent to seven dog years. Thus, in order to determine the age of a dog, one needs to multiply its age in human years by seven.

However, many scientists today refute this overly simplified rule of thumb. Experts say that calculating the age of dogs is much more complicated since the calculation depends on many factors, including size and breed. Being in a diverse group, dogs also do not age uniformly.

According to Daniel Promislow, professor of genetics at the University of Georgia, small dog breeds generally live longer than larger ones. Also, smaller dogs tend to reach adulthood faster.

Dr. Kate Creevy, assistant professor from the University of Georgia, explains that once small dogs reach adulthood, they live longer than large dogs. Large dogs, on the other hand, generally spend two years before their bodies mature. Unlike the small dogs, once large dogs mature, they usually live only for four to five more years.

This explanation implies that at two years old, a small dog is older than a large dog. But at five years old, the large dog becomes older than the small dog.

Dr. Creevy also notes that this bizarre phenomenon does not happen to other animals, thus proving the amazing diversity of the canine species. This idea is also a remarkable distinction from other mammals, whose life expectancy generally increases as body size increases.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you were to own a dog, would you prefer it small or large? Why?
·         Do you think the bizarre phenomenon about dogs is a good characteristic? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What are the advantages and disadvantages of owning a pet dog? Discuss with your tutor.
·         Do you believe in the saying that dogs are man’s best friend? Why or why not?


July 7, 2013