How long do Pitbulls live?


How long do Pitbulls live?

Pitbulls are highly popular dogs. In 2019 there were 4.5 million Pitbulls in the US – making up nearly 6% of all dogs breeds. 

But how long do these sweet dogs live? The average Pitbull reaches an age of 12 years. Life expectancy ranges from 10 – 14 years, depending on several factors. Today we will look at why some Pitbulls die earlier than others, and what you can do to guarantee a long and healthy life for your Pittie!

Table of Contents

How long will my Pitbull live?

As a medium-sized dog, most Pitbulls reach an age of around 12 years old. Across all dog breeds life expectancy is mostly determined by size. Small dogs live up to 17 years in many cases, while some giant breeds like Mastiffs can already pass away at 8 years old

Researchers found out that this is due to the fact that large dogs age faster than smaller ones.

How long exactly your Pitbull lives will depend on several factors.

pitbull crate

What do Pitbulls usually die from?

All dog breeds are prone to certain breed-specific health issues, and the Pitbull is no different. Heart issues are especially common among Pitbulls. These can include:

  • Aortic stenosis
  • Valve malformations
  • Irregularities in heart rhythm

Heart issues often do not cause symptoms early on. Unless the owner is proactive about giving their Pitbull regular checkups, they may go unnoticed until they are difficult to treat.

Skin issues are also very prevalent in Pitbulls. They can range from easily managed conditions such as allergies to terminal diseases like mast cell tumors or melanoma. Any kind of cancer originating from the skin can be difficult to cure and often marks the end of life for a Pitbull.

While the officially recognized Pitbull colors (such as blue fawn) do not include the merle pattern, some breeders try to create merle Pitbulls. In some cases this leads to double-merle breedings, which creates extremely unhealthy offspring that often suffer from a variety of health issues.

Car accidents

Sadly, 1.2 million dogs are hit by cars every year in the US. This is a tragic and preventable cause of death. Many Pitbulls die on the roads because owners do not keep them in fenced-in yards or do not train them well enough to come when called. 

You should never assume that your dog “knows where he belongs” and will stay in a yard without a fence. Unless your Pitbull is in a securely enclosed area, he should wear a collar and leash.

Car accidents happen especially often to young and energetic dogs that love to run and explore. Do not let your Pitbull’s lifespan be cut short by getting hit by a car!

Genetics are strong

A good way to get an idea for how long your Pitbull will live is to look at his parents, grandparents and other relatives. If you got your dog from a breeder, they will likely know exactly how long other members of your dog’s family lived.

If you got your Pitbull from a shelter or rescue organization, there will be no way to tell how long his ancestors lived. However, you can stack the cards in your favor by making sure your Pitbull’s diet and lifestyle keep him in the best possible shape.

pitbull harness

Ensuring a long lifespan for your Pitbull

Provide a safe, warm and dry sleeping spot and shelter for your dog at all times. Pitbulls get cold quickly and should not be left outside during inclement weather. Their coat does not provide much protection against the elements.

Keeping your Pitbull at a healthy weight will go a long way towards making him live a long life. Nearly half of all adult pet dogs in the US are overweight or obese. Feeding your dog too much food is not a sign of love! Dog food bags often call for inappropriate amounts of food. The best way to determine whether your Pitbull is eating enough is not to go by the dog food manufacturer’s recommendation but instead by his body condition.

Run your hands across your dog’s sides. If you have to push in to feel his ribs he weighs too much! Feed him less food until you can easily feel the ribs. The danger of having a Pitbull who is overweight is much greater than having one who is underweight.

If you keep your Pitbull above his ideal weight he is more likely to suffer from weight-related health problems such as joint pain in his senior years, diabetes or high blood pressure. These again will make existing heart issues worse … a cycle that is best broken by slimming down your Pittie!

Exercising for a longer life for your Pitbull

The benefits of regular exercise are manyfold. You should absolutely make sure that your Pitbull gets to run and play daily. While he may slow down in his senior years, you can help him stay active and healthy by taking him for daily walks. Again – this also really helps with potential heart issues and weight problems. Mental exercise and brain games will keep your Pitbull’s mind sharp and slow down any progression of doggy dementia as well. 

(Be careful exercising your Pitbull during the summer. Especially some crosses such as the Razor Edge Pitbull or black Pitbulls can be very sensitive to heat.)

Prolonging your Pitbulls life with wellness checks

Once your dog is a senior dog – which is around 8-9 years of age – you should take him to wellness checks at the vet twice a year. Once a year you should also get bloodwork done to discover any potential health issues early and treat them effectively! The prognosis for most medical conditions is much better if they are discovered early.

pitbull puppy

The Bottom Line

Pitbulls live 10-14 years. The average lifespan is about 12 years. How long exactly your Pitbull lives will be determined by his genetics as well as your care. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight, exercising him daily and keeping him in a securely fenced-in yard are the most important steps you can take towards ensuring your Pittie lives a long life.

If you acquired your dog from a registered breeder, you can ask about the life expectancy of the parents and grandparents – chances are your own dog’s lifespan will be similar.

We wish your Pitbull a happy and healthy life!