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How Long Do Pit Bulls Live?

If you have recently added a pit bull to your family, you may have questions about their health, breed, and longevity.

Many factors can contribute to a pit bull lifespan.

There are ways you can help extend the life of your pet so they will be around for a long time.

Why wouldn’t you want to do everything possible to give your new dog the best chance at a long and healthy life?

Pit Bull Lifespan Details

Owners of pit bulls will tell you that not every dog is the same.

There are several types of breeds that fall into the pit bull category, each with its average lifespan.

To say that all pit bulls will live an average of 12 or 14 years wouldn’t be entirely true, unfortunately.

As an average, pit bulls can live anywhere from 12 to 15 years.

But these gentle pups can also live somewhere between 9 and 17 years, depending on other circumstances, including genetic makeup, lifestyle, and care.

This detailed list outlines the distinction between pit bull breeds and their lifespan.

  • American Bulldog: 10 – 16 years
  • American pit bull Terrier: 12 – 16 years
  • American Staffordshire Terrier: 12 -16 years
  • English Bull Terrier: 11 – 14 years
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier: 12 – 14 years

Factors That Contribute to Longevity in Pit Bulls

Other factors besides their breed will contribute to your dog’s longevity as well.

A lot of its life span depends on genetics and the care they receive while they are with you.

By providing a healthy, stable home for your pit bull, they can live a long, happy life.

Some of the contributing factors include:

  • Living situation
  • Spaying or Neutering
  • Daily nutrition
  • Activity and exercise
  • Genetics
  • Vet care

Living Situation: Outdoors or Indoors

With any pet, the lifespan of outdoor animals is drastically shorter than those who live indoors with their humans.

Outside dogs are more prone to extreme weather, other animals, disease, and automobiles.

The chances of your pit bull picking up a virus or getting hit by a car are higher when they spend the majority of their life outdoors.

Spaying or Neutering

When you spay or neuter your pit bull, you are not only helping to keep unwanted animals out of the shelters, but you are improving their health.

Sterilized dogs are less likely to contract cancer later on that can decrease their lifespan.

They will also have a hormone decrease, which can cause animals to roam away from home seeking out a mate.

You can avoid them getting hit by a vehicle or fighting other animals in hopes of mating a neighbor’s dog.

Daily Nutrition

Just as a proper diet is good for humans, it is also beneficial for your pit bull lifespan.

You want to provide them with high-quality food that includes the proteins and nutrients they need as they grow and age.

Your pit bull should remain a healthy weight and not carry excess fat, which can cause health problems.

Low-quality food can be insufficient for your animal’s dietary needs, which can eventually cause health problems later.

Activity and Exercise

How much activity and exercise your pit bull gets throughout a day can contribute to how long they live.

Regular activity such as walks or playing often will keep your pet’s weight under control and eliminate the chances of heart disease, joint problems, and other issues as they age.

Overweight dogs will be more susceptible to multitudes of health problems and are less likely to exercise enough.

You must keep your pet at a healthy weight and introduce regular activities for a long life.


Unfortunately, no matter how great your pit bull’s food is and how much exercise they receive each day, genetics can play a part in their lifespan.

Some animals will carry a genetic makeup that makes them prone to developing cancer or other life-altering conditions as they age.

Some ailments include:

  • Allergies
  • Cataracts
  • Heart disease
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Joint inflammation and arthritis
  • Thyroid issues

Vet Care

Regular checkups and visits to your local vet can help extend your best friend’s life.

Just as you should see a regular doctor, pit bulls require annual vaccinations and visits.

These checkups will include preventative health measures and any emergency care they may need in their lifetime.

Training and Socialization

You may not consider training and socialization vital for a pit bull’s life, but it is, especially for this breed that suffers from much discrimination.

Dogs who are not properly trained or socialized well with people and other animals can be nervous, fearful, or aggressive.

Often when pit bulls are hard to handle, they will be surrendered to a shelter or euthanized.

Common Health Concerns with Pit Bulls

Every breed has characteristics that you can find among them.

Pit bulls have a few common health concerns that you may find in your pet, which is normal.

By knowing what to expect with your pit bull’s health, you can prepare if they show any signs or symptoms.


Because a pit bull’s hair is short and fine, their skin is exposed to environmental elements, which can cause seasonal allergies.

If your pet is constantly scratching, it can develop sores or a skin infection, leading to more severe health problems.

Food allergies are not as common, but they can still affect your pit bull.

You may notice some of the following signs that indicate a food allergy:

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry skin, dandruff, scaly skin
  • Itching or scratching
  • Passing gas frequently
  • Poor coat or body condition
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss


Cataracts can affect one or both of your pit bull’s eyes as they age.

Although it is more common in senior dogs, younger animals can still develop this condition if their bloodline has this hereditary trait.

Symptoms your pit bull is developing cataracts include:

  • Clumsiness
  • Reluctant to jump up or over things or climb
  • Scratching or rubbing the eyes
  • Problems seeing things in dimly lit circumstances
  • Change of color in one or both eyes
  • Change of pupil size in one or both eyes
  • Cloudy pupils

Heart Disease

A pit bull lifespan can be cut short due to heart disease.

This ailment can be from improper nutrition or a lack of regular exercise for your animal.

Overweight dogs are more prone to developing heart disease than those who are at a healthy weight.

If your pit bull is not exercising regularly, has difficulty breathing, exhibits physical weakness, or coughing, talk to your vet about the possibility of heart disease and preventative measures.

Hip Dysplasia

Pit bulls are just one of the many breeds that are more prone to developing hip dysplasia over time.

The continuous rubbing motion of the femur in the hip socket can cause bone spurs, creating pain and even degenerative bone disease.

If you suspect that your pit bull is not exercising due to hip pain, talk to your veterinarian.

Joint Inflammation and Arthritis

If your pit bull is reluctant to go for long walks or whines when he stands up or sits down, he could be suffering from joint inflammation or arthritis.

While this ailment typically follows untreated hip dysplasia, it can also manifest in other joints, including the elbows and shoulder joints.

Thyroid Issues

Thyroid issues can be active in several dog breeds, including pit bulls.

An improperly functioning thyroid can cause their hair to fall out or thin and look dull.

If your pet has a recent unexplained weight gain and avoids exercise, you may want to have a vet assess for hyperthyroidism.

How You Can Help Keep Your Pit Bull Healthier Longer

When you acquire a four-legged friend, you want to keep them healthy and happy as long as possible.

By providing the best environment for your pit bull, they have a better chance at a long, healthy life at your side.

There are some ways you can ensure your pet has an ideal lifespan and decrease the possibility of a short life.

Check Out Breeders

If you are getting your pit bull from a breeder, they should come to you with a complete health check that ensures they do not carry any genetic defects.

By doing research, you can avoid having an animal that will cost you thousands of dollars in vet care and a shorter lifespan.

Include a Healthy Diet

Feed your pit bull a healthy diet that provides all the proteins and nutrients they need to grow and develop throughout their life. By consuming the proper healthy diet, you can decrease the chances of your dog become obese or developing health issues due to low-quality food.

Ensure Regular Exercise

Pit bulls are an active breed and require daily exercise.

Not only is this good for their overall health, but it can also keep them from chewing up your personal items or exhibiting other destructive behaviors.

Regular exercise will keep their muscles strong and moving, improving circulation and joint fluidity.

Visit Your Vet

Owning a pit bull is a commitment that requires regular veterinary care.

Proper vet checkups and immunizations can help extend the life of your pet.

Preventative measures such as regular monitoring for any common ailments can help you deal with problems as soon as they arise before they get worse.

If you have your pet seen by a licensed vet as soon as any issues come up, you minimize the chances of it becoming a more serious problem.

Consider Pet Insurance

Some owners maintain pet insurance for their pit bull.

You may not think of this as extending their lifespan, but if you face expensive vet bills later, having pet insurance can significantly decrease the total cost out of your pocket.

Minimizing vet costs will help as your pit bull grows older and requires more frequent care.

This option can mean the difference between helping your pet with a critical illness or euthanization.

Ensure They Receive Proper Training and Socialization

Dogs owners have a responsibility to control their pets at all times.

This element is especially important for those who own pit bulls.

Because of previous discrimination for their breed, it can be harder to navigate situations with other animals or people if your pet is not behaving.

Eliminate the risk of someone getting bit or complaints of aggressive behavior by properly socializing and training your pit bull.

Final Thoughts

Pit bulls are a terrific breed to have as a pet in any home.

Their contagious smiles can be all you need at the end of a long day at work.

It can be essential for you to know how long you will have your furry friend by your side and if there are ways you can extend their lifespan.

While the average pit bull will live between 12 and 14 years, you may have the opportunity to extend their time with you.

Although a dog will never live as long as we would like them to, a pit bull lifespan is relatively longer than some other breeds.

You can find a great four-legged companion for years by including a pit bull in your home.

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National Canine Research Association of America