Rottweiler Lifespan – Helping Your Rottie Live Longer

What is the average lifespan of a Rottweiler? According to statistics and research, the lifespan of a Rottweiler is usually somewhere between 8 and 12 years, with the average life expectancy being about 9.

The lifespan of Rottweilers isn’t that long, but it could be worse. Many giant dog breeds have even less longevity, such as the Irish Wolfhound, which only has an average lifespan of between 6 and 8 years (similar to the Great Dane). 

How long do Rottweilers live in human years?

Depending on what chart or formula you choose to use to convert dog age to human age, the life expectancy for most Rotties is between 60 and 90 human years.

If you think there is wide variation – remember that there is no average Rottweiler. All dogs differ from each other and there is room for errors on both ends of the spectrum.

Many Rotties live for considerably longer while many die earlier. Every dog is an individual and has its health challenges and the environment he is living in. Thus there’s no one-size-fits-all figure.

Why Is The Rottweiler Lifespan So Short?

Why do Rottweilers generally don’t reach 12, 13, 15 years of age?

The average Rottweiler life span is comparatively short partly because of their size. Smaller dog breeds 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. The weight counts – but not the height. 

Small and miniature breeds are expected to live 12 – 15 years or more. An astonishing fact is that the Mexican Hairless dog breed the Xoloitzcuintle has a life expectancy of between 16 and 20 years. 

On the other hand, breeds that mature at over 100lbs are considered to be geriatric at around 6 or 7 years of age!

Rottie mixed breed life expectancies

There are a lot of mixed breed dogs in which a Rottweiler left its traits. The life expectancies of these dogs largely depend not only on the Rottie’s, but on the other parent’s life expectancy as well.

Sadly if you add up a Rottweiler part to most of the other dog breeds, the lifespan of the offspring tends to get a bit lower. However, Rottie mix-breeds are expected to live longer compared to purebred Rotties and there are some nice mixes out there.

For example, the Pitweiler (a mixed Rottweiler and American Pit Bull Terrier breed) has a lifespan of 13-15 years. Similar enough to the Pitweiler – the Rotterman, a mixed Rottweiler and Doberman dog is expected to live 12-13 years.

Did you know that there is a mixed breed dog between a Chihuahua and a Rottweiler? The so-called Rotthuahua is quite an interesting crossbreed that reaches 15-16 years of age. If the health traits are predominantly Chihuahua, the life expectancy can be even longer. 

Check our Rottweiler cross-breed section dedicated to all the amazing mixes out there. 

Rottweiler Illnesses 

A Rottie’s short life span is partly 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.

Rotties are 5 times more likely to develop osteosarcomas than any other average dog. This type of bone tumor develops in 5-12 % of dogs of the breed sooner or later in their lifetimes. 

If you take a look at other health problems which seem to affect Rottweilers the most during their lives you’ll find the well-known non-cancerous regulars: 

Hip dysplasia and Panosteitis are musculoskeletal disorders that don’t have such a big influence on the lifespan, but rather affect the dog’s quality of life negatively. 

Although most types of allergic reactions in dogs aren’t life-threatening, to some point they might influence the life expectancy of the breed. For example, an anaphylactic shock is a severe allergic reaction with a fatal outcome. 

Hypothyroidism is more common in Rottweilers compared to other dog breeds. It’s a complicated condition that requires a life-long treatment (it’s treatable – not curable). With early diagnosis and treatment, the dog isn’t at risk. 

One of the biggest killers in Rotties is Bloat or Gastric Volvulus. Dogs die from it very fast. Read a bit more about the disease and get familiar with the symptoms, what to do in case of bloat and how to prevent it!    

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

3)  Feed him a premium, properly balanced puppy food (see Feeding Puppies and Best Puppy Food Recommendations for advice)

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).

The explanation lies in the fact that sex hormones affect different tissues in the body. Their levels can contribute to cell growth and proliferation growth. Without enough hormones, the bones grow harder and cell divisions and genetic errors occur – factors for cancer growth.  

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 to find out how you and your Rottweiler can be involved.


 Rottweilers don’t live long and that’s probably the most negative thing about this loving breed. Most of the diseases they die from cannot be prevented and/or are genetically conditioned so there is not much one can do.

Filling up their lives with your care, attention and affection cannot significantly prolong the Rottie’s life but can definitely produce a Rottweiler life worth remembering.  

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About The Rotty lover 2159 Articles
My name is Dr. Winnie. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Duke University, a Masters of Science in Biology from St Georges University, and graduated from the University of Pretoria Veterinary School in South Africa. I have been an animal lover and owners all my life having owned a Rottweiler named Duke, a Pekingese named Athena and now a Bull Mastiff named George, also known as big G! I'm also an amateur equestrian and love working with horses. I'm a full-time Veterinarian in South Africa specializing in internal medicine for large breed dogs. I enjoy spending time with my husband, 2 kids and Big G in my free time. Author and Contribturor at SeniorTailWaggers, A Love of Rottweilers, DogsCatsPets and TheDogsBone