The idea that dogs age seven years for every one human year is a myth, according to new research.
Scientists in the US say they have also found puppies are middle-aged by the time they are two, though dogs tend to age more slowly than humans in later life.
By the time they get to three – and are possibly still getting away with things due to being considered young – dogs are closer in age to a 50-year-old human, according to the study.
The research looked at how dogs aged by focusing on the DNA methylation in 104 Labradors aged between four weeks and 16 years.
The DNA contains marks that change over time as a cell matures, allowing scientists to track the animal’s biological age.
After assessing the dogs’ results, the researchers then compared their findings to those from 300 humans.
By the age of two, the Labrador DNA was equivalent to a human in their early 40s, rather than the 14-year-old, which the traditional formula would suggest.
However, ageing slows in dogs over time, meaning that by the age of 10, a Labrador is similar to a person aged 68.
This ties in with the long-held formula for calculating the age of dogs, which was developed on the assumption that most canines lived until around 10, while humans lived until around 70.
“The expected lifespan of Labrador retrievers, 12 years, correctly translated to the worldwide lifetime expectancy of humans, 70 years,” the researchers at the University of California, said.
Meanwhile, a dog who got locked inside his owner’s car stuck it in reverse and rode in circles for an hour before being rescued by a police officer.
Police in Port St Lucie, Florida, said the owner stepped out of the car after making a wrong turn.
Max, a black Labrador then accidentally put the car in reverse, causing it to circle the cul-de-sac for an hour, hitting a postbox and taking out a rubbish bin.
The owner handed police an extra car fob, but it did not work due to a dead battery, so officers opened the car by entering a code on a keypad on the driver’s side door.
Neighbour Anne Sabol said Max was in high spirits after being rescued, adding he “jumped out of the car, wagging his tail”.