According to statistics and research, the average life expectancy of a Rottweiler is usually somewhere between 8 and 12 years, with the average life expectancy being about 9.
Depending on what chart or formula you choose to use to figure out how old a dog is, that translates into a life expectancy for most Rotties of somewhere between 60 and 90 human years.
Quite a wide variation there, and it’s also important to remember that there is no absolutely ‘average’ Rottweiler, there is room for error on both ends of that spectrum and every dog is different.
Many rotties live for considerably longer, many others die earlier. Every dog is an individual and has their own health challenges and environment, so there’s no one-size-fits-all figure.
It could be worse (many giant dog breeds have even less longevity, such as the Irish Wolfhound who only has an average lifespan of between 6 and 8 years, the same for the Great Dane) but it’s definitely not great.
Why So Short?
So, why do Rottweilers not generally live to be 12, 13.. 15 or older?
The average Rottweiler life span is comparitively short partly because of their size, because smaller dogs simply live longer for a variety of reasons.
A study conducted at the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Indiana University East, concluded that dogs who weigh less than 30lbs at maturity live the longest, and apparently it’s weight not height that counts.
Small and miniature breeds routinely live to be 12 – 15 years or more (the Mexican hairless dog breed the Xoloitzcuintle has a life expectancy of between 16 and 20 years), whereas breeds who mature at over 100lbs are considered to be ‘geriatric’ at around 6 or 7 years of age!
And then partly it’s because of the specific health issues that this breed is susceptible to…….
Cancers of various types (particularly bone cancer) account for the premature death of a large percentage of Rottweilers.
If you take a look at the health problems which seem to most affect Rottweilers during their lifetimes you’ll find the well-known non-cancerous ‘regulars’ including a range of orthopedic issues including arthritis, panosteitis and hip dysplasia, allergies, canine bloat/torsion, cataracts and hypothyroidism.
Helping Your Rottweiler To Live Longer
Although nature and genetics has a big role to play in rottweiler life span (and the longevity of any living thing!), there are lots of things that you can do to help make sure your Rottie enjoys a long, happy and healthy life.
Good health begins before birth so making sure that you choose a Rottweiler puppy from healthy, well-cared for parents is a must!
It really should go without saying that if you start out with a healthy, genetically sound pup then your chances of sharing many years together are much greater.
You can learn what to look for and how to make sure you bring home the right puppy on my Choosing A Rottweiler Breeder page – and believe me, it’s well worth taking the time to take in this advice!
Once you’ve brought your new Rottweiler puppy home, you can help him have a long, healthy life by following these guidelines….
1) Make sure he gets his puppy vaccinations on time and that he completes the full set of required shots, plus any ‘optional’ ones that are recommended for the area you live in.
2) Keep him free of canine parasites such as worms, fleas, ticks and more
4) Keep your growing pup/dog ‘lean’ and continue this into adulthood. Carrying excess weight puts undue strain on the heart and other major organs as well as predisposing your Rottweiler to other health problems such as diabetes.
Rottweilers were not bred to be ‘giant’ or ‘XL’ dogs, and overfeeding your pup won’t make him bigger and stronger. Instead it will simply make him fatter and weaker!
In fact a 14-year study conducted by Nestle Purina PetCare Study (although not specific to Rottweilers) found that leaner dogs live on average 2 years longer than their overweight counterparts.
5) Give him the right amount of exercise and rest
6) You can do a lot to help increase Rottweiler life expectancy by maintaining regular veterinary check ups, vaccinations and deworming. Also, get help quickly if you are concerned about your Rottie’s health at any time. Prompt treatment can eliminate or reduce the progress of any condition and saves discomfort, worry and money.
7) I recommend getting your Rottweiler pup enrolled in a dog health insurance plan while he’s young and in good condition. It will save you a LOT of money should your Rottie develop a serious health condition or be involved in an accident. It also can quite easily save your pet’s life!
8) Neutering or spaying your pup can help reduce the incidence of reproductive order cancers and other problems, therefor increasing Rottweiler life span. However, it seems that early spaying/neutering (prior to one year of age) may increase the risk for certain bone cancers (see this report for more information and explanation).
(Whether this possibly increased risk is balanced out by the decreased risk of reproductive organ cancers I’m not sure but it’s something that I will be continuing to study so that I can give you the best information possible)
One other interesting point is that overall female dogs tend to live just a little bit longer than males.
If you are a Rottweiler owner whose dog is lucky enough to have a longer than average Rottweiler lifespan and who has reached the ripe old age of 13 years (human years of course!), then there’s an ‘Aging Research Initiative’ that needs your help!
It’s being undertaken by The Center for Exceptional Longevity Studies, Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation and The Center on Aging and Life Course at Purdue University.
The data researchers have this goal – ‘to better understand aging and the factors that influence exceptional longevity in dogs and humans’ and they’re starting with our wonderful Rottweiler breed!
Visit this webpage gpmfc.org to find out how you and your Rottweiler can be involved.