How Long Do Pit Bulls Live? Crazy Lifespan Facts You May Not Know

Anusuya Mukherjee
Feb 29, 2024 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Nov 21, 2021
A happy Pit Bull Terrier in the park.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 10.2 Min

Pit Bulls are popular house pets in the United States.

Did you know that there are about 4.5 million Pit Bulls in the country? These dogs are extremely loyal, great companions, and are low-maintenance too.

Pit Bulls were initially reared for dogfighting, but thankfully, that is illegal now. Pit Bulls, despite what some people say, are not an aggressive breed. Experts believe that when Pit bull dogs are trained well, they are extremely social, happy, and gentle dogs.

Pit Bull refers to a breed of dogs that include American Pit Bull terrier, American bully, Staffordshire bull terrier, and American Staffordshire terrier. These dogs are characterized by a square-shaped face and head, a short and bulky body, a stunted nose, and a wide forehead. These dogs can be seen in various colors, including silver-grey, black, brown, white, red, and a combination of these colors.

Red nose Pit Bulls and blue nose Pit Bulls are both very popular categories of Pits. These are medium-sized dogs with red and blue noses and with brown or amber-colored skin and powerful jaws. These dog breeds are rare and bred for their purity. Pit Bull breeds both blue and red nose result from a genetic mutation that changes their nose color from regular black to a shade of red or blue.

Pit Bulls are super focused, and when they set their mind to do something, they get it right. That is why these dog breeds were usually used in fighting. Like any other dog, when you don't treat Pit Bulls right, their life expectancy reduces, and they develop diseases.

Once you are done reading this article, why not discover the answer to how long do Boxers live and how long do Boston Terriers live here on Kidadl?

The Average Lifespan Of Pit Bulls

If you are wondering how long do Pit Bulls live, the answer is simple.

Pit bulls, like most other domesticated dogs, live for an average of 12 years. The life expectancy of a Pit Bull can be anywhere from 10-14 years, depending on their lifestyle and food habits.

Both blue nose Pitbull and red nose Pitbulls have a lifespan of about 14 years. There are some blue-nose and red nose dogs that have lived even up to 16 years. In dog years, this is quite an achievement!

A Pit Bull's lifespan depends on several factors, including where these dogs live, their genes, nutrition, physical activity levels, gender, and even their breed mix. Dogs that can access the outdoors are physically more active and don't develop problems like obesity and diabetes. However, a Pit Bull dog that is constantly outdoors has a higher risk of developing skin infections, facing animal fights, and getting into accidents.

Genetics play an essential and significant role in determining the average lifespan of an American Pit Bull terrier. Health problems like obesity, heart disease, and cancer seem to be genetically passed on to the dog. Knowing the genetic makeup and family history of your pet will help identify these problems early on.

Just like humans, nutrition and the type of foods consumed also play a role in determining the health and lifespan of your Pit Bull. Dogs that grow up eating healthy, fresh, and protein-rich meals every day stay healthier and live longer than dogs that are overfed, underfed, or have no access to nutritionally balanced meals. A healthy diet can keep the dog away from most health issues.

Pitbulls live healthily when they have ample space and the option to be physically active. This dog breed has an excess of energy, and if they are not let out to use that energy, they will get aggressive at home and will not be able to burn all of the calories that they eat in a day. This can lead to a dull and obese dog with behavioral problems.

Breed mix is an interesting thing to note about a Pit Bull. This heterogeneous breed has developed due to cross-breeding. When the mix is with a breed with a longer average life, your Pit Bull is going to be blessed with a long life too. However, if the mix is with a dog like a wolfhound or a mastiff, this can affect the life expectancy, and the owners have to be prepared for the dog not living for as long as they expected it to. Sometimes, it is impossible to identify the breed mix, and that becomes a problem.

Generally, a female Pit Bull lives for slightly longer than a male Pit Bull. The average Pitbull lifespan female is about 15 years, while the average Pitbull lifespan male is about 13 years.

Did you know that the oldest Pitbull was 26 years old! There are records of a dog named Pittie from Louisiana who lived a happy life for 26 years. In terms of human age, that is about 182 years! There are also Pit Bull dogs all over the country that reach the 20-year mark and live longer than other domestic dog breeds.

Common Health Issues In Pit Bulls

Here is a list of all the most common health issues in Pitbulls that you should be aware of.

Obesity is one of the common health problems in Pit Bulls. These dog breeds have a large appetite. Hence, they need to be active to burn off calories. If your Pit Bull eats a healthy diet but has no chance of regular exercise, this will lead to obesity with time. The healthy weight of Pit Bulls is about 55 pounds. Your vet can tell you if the dog is overweight or obese.

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition where the ball and socket of the hip are immature or not fully formed. As a result, as the Pit Bull grows, the dog is in pain, is not able to walk correctly, and the hip joint gets unstable. Hip dysplasia is prevalent in Pit Bulls and can lead to arthritis and immobility.

Heart disease is also an inherited condition in Pit Bulls. One of the common heart conditions to be aware of is aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis is the condition where the aorta (the heart's largest blood vessel) is narrow. This leads to shortness of breath and weakening of the heart muscles.

Skin problems can affect these dogs all through the year. Allergies, rashes, and even skin cancer are common problems your pet may have to handle with time.

Just like how hip dysplasia can render these dog breeds immobile, knee problems can keep them from moving around and being active. According to dog experts, Pitbulls are extremely active beings.

High levels of activity may lead to problems like ligament tears and knee injuries. Such problems manifest themselves after the Pitbull is two to three years old.

Pitbulls are at a higher risk of developing hypothyroid (low thyroid levels). This can lead to excessive weight gain and mood changes.

Some breeds are at a greater risk than others of developing different types of cancer, and the American Pit Bull terrier falls under this category. Apart from skin cancer, a Pit Bull can also develop mast cell tumors in various body parts.

Any new or abnormal bump on the skin needs to be checked by the vet right away!

A blue brindle and white Pit Bull Terrier mixed breed dog leaping and running

Causes For Death In Pit Bulls

Like other dogs, Pit Bulls are also at risk of death from specific conditions, as given below.

Accidents: A Pitbull that enjoys the outdoor life and runs around unrestricted may get into accidents more often than Pit Bulls that are restricted to the house.

Congenital heart defects: Unfortunately, in many cases, the Pitbull lifespan may be lowered because of heart conditions. Many Pit Bulls pass away because of heart health problems that go undiagnosed.

Degenerative myelopathy: Degenerative myelopathy is a condition that occurs because of a defective gene in the dog. The SOD1 gene mutation leads to problems in the spinal cord, preventing the Pit Bull from moving around. Lack of activity leads to other issues in the dog, leading to an early death.

Cancers: Skin cancers and cancer in other body parts may lead to death in a young Pit Bull. Cancer is also mostly genetic and can prove fatal when left undiagnosed.

Age: It is natural to expect a Pitbull to die of old age. These dogs start showing signs of aging after ten years and slowly start developing age-related health issues. Pet owners need to keep a lookout for these problems as the dog gets old.

Ill-treatment: If a Pit Bull puppy suddenly dies, ill-treatment is mainly the reason behind the death.

Other diseases: Just like other dogs, a Pitbull can also die from diseases like diabetes, distemper, rabies, and parvo.

Lack of physical activity: You may be surprised to know that your puppy or your dog may die due to a lack of physical activity. Being immobile can be one factor that leads to a variety of disease occurrences in the dog.

Pit Bulls Lifespan Compared To Similar Breeds

Losing a beloved pet can be very traumatic for owners. While some dogs may live for up to 15 years, others may pass away early due to various diseases.

If you own a puppy or an adult dog in your family, do remember the average Pitbull lifespan so that you are conscious about the dog's health changes.

The life expectancy of Chihuahuas, Cockapoos, and Jack Russell Terriers is the longest. These typically live longer, for up to 16 years.

A majority of the breeds like Cocker Spaniels, Australian shepherds, Boxers, retrievers, Rottweilers, St. Bernards, and Pitbulls live anywhere between 10-14 years. A Pit Bull can even live for up to 15-16 years, depending on how well it is treated and how early diseases are identified. Other breeds, including the Great Dane, Bernese mountain dog, Irish wolfhound, and the mastiff, have slightly lower than the average life expectancy of about 7-10 years.

Here is a list of the average lifespan of certain types of Pit Bull breeds:

American bulldog: 10-16 years

American Pit Bull (including red nose and blue Pitbull lifespan): 10-14 years

English bull terrier: 11-14 years

Staffordshire bull terrier: 12-14 years

American Staffordshire terrier: 12-16 years

You can keep your dog healthy for a longer time by ensuring it gets enough exercise every day and is served nutritious food. Talk to your vet about the different kinds of food mix you can offer to ensure nutritional balance.

When you buy puppies from a breeder, you must know the lineage. This will help eliminate genetic problems that may affect the Pitbull's growth later on. The red nose and blue nose dogs are, unfortunately, bred more because they are expensive. The breeders don't care for anything much other than trying to rear more puppies for money.

You should try to get puppies from a family set-up where the dogs are treated well and not bred to deliver pups. Such a family will also tell you in advance about genetic problems, if any, in the Pit Bull that you choose to adopt.

Puppies also have to be trained early on to make them social to learn the correct behavior. This will prevent trauma and accident-related deaths in the future.

Keep monitoring the weight of your Pitbull. If you think the dog is consistently overweight, you need to intervene in diet changes and exercise to prevent the Pitbull from getting obese. Talk to your vet and get help with the weight gain early on. The right diet mix and physical training can help with your dog's mental and physical health.

A Pit Bull is a dog breed that can be loyal, gentle, and fun-loving, unlike the name it has made for itself. As the dog's owner, make sure you invest in training early on and give the dog ample opportunities to exercise to stay healthy.

Training will help the dog to be social, while exercise will help it live a healthy life. No matter how many years old your dog is, by the time it passes away, the memories it creates will live with you forever.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how long do Pit Bulls live, then why not take a look at how long do Labradors live or Pit Bulls facts.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

Read full bio >