Rottweiler owners know that this breed is an incredibly special one. These pups are intelligent, affectionate, and loyal. If you own or are considering adopting a Rottie, you might be wondering about the Rottweiler lifespan. How long do these dark-haired beauties live?
On average, Rottweilers live between eight and 10 years. As larger dogs, there are a few things that impact life expectancy. Though these pups do not have as long a lifespan as some other large breeds, they are truly unforgettable and unique companions.
Factors like genetics, lifestyle, and nutrition will impact how long your Rottie lives, but there are a few other things to know. Let’s explore the Rottweiler lifespan and what you can do to keep your pup healthy and by your side as long as possible.
The Rottweiler is a working breed, a descendant of the mighty Roman Mastiffs of ancient times. Today, they are popular pets but still fill essential roles as police, service, and therapy dogs. They are among the most popular dog breeds in the United States, ranking 7th in 2022 according to the American Kennel Club.
Rotties make wonderful family pets due to their gentle demeanor, confidence, intelligence, and protective nature. Their broad, stocky build and giant heads give them a massive presence and make Rotties excellent natural guardians.
Rottweilers are big dogs reaching between 80 and 135 pounds. Their muscular bodies make them excellent guard dogs and fantastic snuggle buddies. When with the ones he loves, the Rottweiler is highly affectionate, though he will remain on guard and aloof with strangers.
Average Rottweiler Lifespan
Like most larger breeds, Rottweilers have a shorter lifespan, between eight and 10 years. All dogs have different factors like health and lifestyle that can shorten their lifespan. Most larger breeds have an expected lifespan of eight to 12 years, so though the Rottie lifespan is slightly shorter, it’s not far off from that of many other larger breeds.
The oldest Rottweiler on record was a 13-year-old Rottie named Bort, though there are claims of Rotties reaching 15 and 18 years old, which is an exceptional age for any breed. Of course, these reports are not confirmed or recorded officially.
Female Rotties have been shown to live longer than males in research from the Center on Aging and the Life Course, Purdue University. In fact, it’s not unusual for a female Rot to live, on average, two years longer than a male dog. An interesting fact is that the trend of females living longer is also something we see in humans.
Health Factors That Impact Rottweiler Lifespan
Larger dogs have a few health issues that can impact their lifespan. Their size is one of the most significant factors. Larger pups have shorter lifespans than small breeds. The shorter life expectancy is partly due to a larger breed’s risk of developing cancer.
Below, we discuss some specific conditions that can affect your Rottie’s lifespan.
Rottweilers often develop cancer; bone cancer (osteosarcoma) and lymphoma are two of the most prevalent forms that affect the breed. Lymphoma, in particular, affects this breed more than others. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death for Rotties, unfortunately. Depending on your pup’s age, health, and disease progression, some cancers can be effectively treated.
Rottweilers are a breed prone to overeating and obesity. Obesity can lead to a host of health problems, including diabetes, arthritis, and undue pressure on bones and joints. Due to their love of food and the risk of obesity, it is essential to feed your Rottweiler a high-quality, healthy diet and be diligent about portion control and proper mealtimes.
Bloat, or Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV), is a severe condition that can become life-threatening. Larger breeds with broad, deep chests, like the Rottie, are at higher risk. The exact cause is unknown, but the condition causes the stomach to fill with air and twist. The twisting can stop blood flow to the heart, causing a life-threatening situation. Bloat often occurs after dogs eat or drink too quickly. The risk is another reason to feed your pup smaller meals regularly.
Dental disease is a serious problem that affects all breeds and can impact Rottweilers significantly. Regular teeth cleaning is a must. Without it, dogs are at high risk of developing dental issues. It is estimated that 80% of dogs have developed some form of dental disease by age three.
For larger breeds like the Rottweiler, teeth cleaning can be intimidating and often gets overlooked. It is estimated that periodontal disease can take up to two years from your dog’s lifespan, so investing in regular professional cleanings, dental chews, and regularly brushing your pup’s teeth are highly recommended.
Unfortunately, Rottweilers are at risk of inheriting a heart condition called subaortic stenosis (SAS), a very common congenital (present at birth) heart malformation found in canines. This condition occurs when the heart does not form correctly, creating a narrow left ventricle. This narrowing restricts normal blood flow function, causing the heart to work harder. Over time, this condition can worsen and develop scarring. Eventually, without treatment, the condition can lead to congestive heart failure.
Rottweilers are a breed at high risk of catching parvovirus, or parvo, a very contagious virus. Parvo is quite serious, and for the Rottie, it can be life-threatening. Puppies are at extremely high risk and can succumb quickly to illness within 48 hours. Vaccination is vital, literally lifesaving, and owners must take care not to have their puppy encounter infected dogs or feces.
Treatment for parvo is intense and expensive and often involves hospitalizations. Even dogs who recover can have stunted growth, a weak immune system, and long-term kidney and liver damage.
Personal Experience With Parvovirus And Rottweilers
My father’s Rottweiler, Coral, caught parvo when she was nine months old. Coral is a purebred and came from a very reputable breeder. She was in excellent health when she first arrived, but she picked up parvo at the dog park.
It was one of the most severe cases of illness I have ever seen in a dog, and she came very close to death. Coral was put into emergency hospitalization for a few days, which cost thousands of dollars. Once released, it took weeks of intense care and medical treatment for her to recover. Though she did eventually recover, she still exhibits signs of a weaker immune system.
The clean-up from Coral’s parvo was also quite extreme. We had to disinfect the house, yard, and cars. We also threw all her bedding, toys, etc., out. The risk of parvo then affected who could come over and visit, as the danger of infection from the area was still a concern.
The first-hand experience showed me how deathly serious the risk of parvo is to Rottweilers. It was not something we were aware of before adopting Coral. After almost losing Coral, I always take extra caution with any new dog, puppy, or adult when it comes to parvovirus vaccinations and precautions.
Other Factors That Impact Rottweiler Lifespan
The following factors impact how healthy a dog is and can affect their life expectancy.
Spay & Neuter
A research study by Banfield Pet Hospitals found that when compared to intact dogs, neutered male dogs live 18% longer, and spayed female dogs live 23% longer. Many veterinarians will recommend doing the spay or neuter procedure between six and nine months old. However, this breed takes longer to mature fully.
Waiting until a Rottie is older, between 12 and 18 months old, is often recommended. Undergoing the spay and neuter procedure too early can impact a dog’s overall health, development, and physical growth and cause health issues later in life due to improper growth.
Along with good food, dogs need a healthy lifestyle to keep them in the best shape and live the longest. Regular physical activity helps keep our pups healthier. It builds muscles, helps lower blood pressure, keeps their hearts functioning correctly, aids in lung function, boosts healthy digestion, and helps maintain a healthy weight.
Regular walks and interaction with the outside world help stimulate your pup socially and mentally. On average, Rottweilers need a minimum of 2 hours of exercise daily. Be careful not to overdo it. You do not want to put undue pressure on his bones and joints.
Our pups rely on us to provide them with everything they need. Along with healthy nutrition, regular exercise, and lots of love, our pups also need regular veterinary and dental care. When they are puppies, they will go to the vet more often as they need more vaccinations, examinations, and the spay and neuter procedure. As our fur babies age, preventative healthcare visits are pivotal to keeping your sweet Rottie healthy. Rottweiler owners may want to consider pet insurance due to the health conditions they are at risk for.
Genetics plays a huge role in the health and development of any dog. Dog owners always want to work with a reputable breeder to ensure their pups are healthy. In the case of the Rottweiler breed, there has been a boom in overbreeding, and that has caused the health of the breed to decrease. The instability in the gene pool makes it an even higher priority to ensure you are working with a breeder who is providing the best care and health screenings.
Frequently Asked Questions
We know our readers still have many questions about Rottweilers and how long they live. If you don’t see yours below, ask about it in the comments, and we’ll find the answer.
What is the most common cause of death in Rottweilers?
Bone cancer is currently the leading cause of death in Rottweilers. The breed is highly susceptible to developing osteosarcoma. Sadly, while treatment is available, most cases have a poor prognosis.
How old is a senior Rottweiler?
A Rottie is considered a senior between seven and eight years old. Most large breeds enter their senior years around age eight, so this is a typical time frame to expect your furry friend to do the same.
Can a Rottweiler live 15 years?
Rotties generally do not live to 15 years. Eight to 10 years is a reasonable expectation. A decade is a healthy and long life for this breed.
How Can I Help My Rottie Live A Long Life?
Along with proper medical care, nutrition, and exercise, Rottweilers need games and toys to keep their minds engaged. Mental stimulation is a huge part of socialization, lessens hyperactivity, and reduces aggression. Aim for at least 20 minutes a day of active mental stimulation. Puzzle games, interactive toys, new walking routes, training, and new scents are all ways to keep that doggy mind engaged. Games like “fetch,” “hide and seek,” and “go find it” are great options for games to try with your pup.