Pitbulls, highly popular dogs bred in the US, have always been stereotyped as too aggressive and mean. That is, however, not true at all. Any dog breed can be aggressive and mean depending upon the environment they grow up in. If you can bring a Pitbull up in a great friendly and family-like environment, your Pitbull can be the most loyal and lovable friend you could ever have. If you are a Pitbull owner or want to pet a Pitbull, you might have this question: how long do Pitbulls live? Because we understand that it is very heart-wrenching to say goodbye to your friend when you are emotionally attached to them.

The question “how long do Pitbulls live?” has no standard answer. It is similar to the phrase “how long is a piece of string” as there are certain factors that we need to keep in consideration. On average, Pitbull can reach the age of 12 years, and their life expectancy varies from 10 – 14 years, again depending on various factors and health conditions. However, there are some exceptions where some die too young while others live as long as 17 to 18 years.

Factors Affecting the Life Expectancy of a Pitbull

Just like all other dog breeds, Pitbulls have certain health issues specific only to their breed. For example, heart and skin issues are very common among Pitbulls. Let’s have a look at the factors that affect the life expectancy of Pitbulls.

The Health of an American Pitbull

We believe that Pitbulls are rough and tough, but their health indeed has a key role to play in their lifespan. As mentioned earlier, Pitbull breeds are prone to specific health conditions that are listed below.

Heart Conditions

Pitbulls tend to have Aortic stenosis, which is a genetic heart condition. It is a malformation of the heart since birth. In this case, the heart has to work harder to push the blood out of the chamber. Some dogs may have mild cases of Aortic stenosis, but some may have serious conditions requiring immediate treatment. On the other hand, Pitbulls can even have diseases like arrhythmias that can develop over time after birth.

Read: 3 Things Dog Owners Must Need to Know About Dog Sickness

Skin Conditions

Dogs with undercoats and fur have protection that prevents their skin from different skin diseases and irritants. However, Pitbulls don’t have any such privileges, making them more prone to skin conditions and diseases. A Pitbull only has a topcoat that is so short to be of any help against different irritants. This is why we see a lot of skin conditions in Pitbulls. These allergies can occur either because of environmental conditions or sometimes by food and other deficiencies of nutrients.

Because of the Pitbull’s short topcoat, it can even have a sunburn that can lead to rashes and itching. However, red fur Pitbull is less likely to have such issues. Additionally, Pitbulls are also prone to have ichthyosis, where the skin gets dry, itchy, and flaky.

Even though we may think that skin issues are only external, they can affect the lifespan of Pitbulls. Skin conditions have a large impact on the overall health of a dog. Secondly, those pups that are born with genetic skin conditions have very low immunity, and it gives them higher chances to contract and develop different infectious diseases.


Different environmental factors and genetic tendencies can make a dog prone to diseases like cancer. However, the type may vary in different dogs.

Due to thin and short topcoats and no undercoat, Pitbulls are prone to develop skin cancer. They may even develop mast cell tumors.


Thyroid, or in other words hypothyroidism, is another health issue that we may come across in Pitbulls. The thyroid causes the overall metabolism of the Pitbull to slow down and sometimes results in a gland in the neck. The thyroid can be a genetic disease amongst Pitbulls, and unfortunately, it cannot be cured but can be treated with a lifelong medication—thyroid replacement hormone. Pitbulls treated in such a case can live a normal life, however, those who are left untreated can die as a result of hypothyroidism.


Pitbulls tend to gain weight to a dangerous extent. It is stated that nearly half of the adult pet dogs in the US are overweight. An overweight Pitbull can suffer from different weight-related health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and joint pain in their senior years. These little health problems can contribute to a much bigger and fatal health problem such as heart disease.

Gastric Dilatation

Gastric dilatation is a fatal illness where a Pitbull’s stomach is filled up with gas and ends up bloated that can be extremely dangerous and can result in death.

Read: Dog Breeds: Top 10 High Energy Dogs

Other Factors

Despite the health problems and diseases, other different factors may also affect the life expectancy of a Pitbull.

Car Accidents

Car accidents are a preventable cause of a dog’s death. Car accidents, on average, cause the most injuries and deaths to dogs around the world. Just like other dogs, Pitbulls are equally prone to accidents. This is, however, something that can be avoided.  

How to Keep Your Pitbull Healthy?

Keeping your Pitbull fit and healthy is the most important thing you can do to increase their life expectancy. Make sure that you follow the pet care routine that includes monthly preventatives, monthly or annual pet vet care, and regular grooming. Other monthly preventatives may include heartworm pills and tick preventatives that can cut down the chances of incurable diseases.

Here’s what you can do to improve your Pittie’s life.

Vet Visits

A vet can help with vaccinations against different fatal diseases. At the same time, vet visits can also help you keep an eye on the health of your Pitbull. In that way, you have a high chance of catching the disease at a very early stage before it becomes untreatable.

Keeping Their Genes in Consideration

It is good to keep your pups’ parents and their genes in mind whenever required. Many diseases are genetic. On the other hand, many chronic conditions are needed to be managed. It can help in keeping your dog safe and healthy.


Grooming and hygiene are very important factors that can keep your Pitbull safe and healthy. Brush them regularly to avoid parasites and other skin diseases. Clip their nails to avoid affecting existing wounds. Give them proper dental care to avoid tooth loss, as tooth loss leads to malnutrition and indigestion.

Keep Them Safe and Warm

Make sure your Pitbull is warm. As they have a thin hair coat, Pitbulls can easily catch a cold. On the other hand, make sure they are not left unattended until fully trained, especially on the road.


It is extremely important to make your pet exercise daily as staying active helps in burning all the extra fat and can prevent obesity which causes multiple fatal diseases and health problems in dogs. Exercising daily also helps in preventing and fighting different heart issues.

Read: Dog Health: How Often Do You Walk Your Dog?

Things You Need to Do If You Have a Pitbull

Here’s what you need to do to extend your pups life:

  1. Regular exercise
  2. Regular health checkups
  3. Look after the diet
  4. Groom them
  5. Spay or neuter your pup
  6. Train them to the best

How Long Do Pit Bulls Live?

Depending upon different factors, the average lifespan of a Pitbull is between 12 – 14 years. The good news is that as compared to other dogs of similar sizes, Pitbulls have a comparatively longer lifespan.

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