A common concern among Rottweiler owners touches on the longevity of their dogs.
The assumption is that Rotties live a short life.
But is that true?
The lifespan of domesticated dogs varies depending on the breed.
Compared to humans, dogs tend to live for shorter periods.
According to researchers, the average dog lives for only 10 to 13 years.
Rottweilers have much shorter lifespans than other dog breeds.
They have a life expectancy of between 8 to 10 years. If you translate these years to human years, it comes to around 60 to 90 years.
How Long Do Purebred Rotties Live?
Purebred Rottweilers have an average lifespan ranging from 8.7 to 8.92 years.
A 2017 study examining disorders and mortality among Rotties shows that female Rottweilers live up to 9.5 years.
Their male counterparts clock an average of 8.7 years.
Although studies tend to be accurate, you cannot rule out the possibility of outliers.
A small percentage of Rotties live for more than ten years.
Some purebreds have even gone past 13 years.
Provided they remain healthy and are well-catered for, Rotties can live past nine years.
However, most Rottweilers are predisposed to disorders that turn out to be fatal.
What Causes Death in Rottweilers?
Rottweilers are large, bulky dogs.
At approximately 22-27 inches tall, Rotties aren’t small.
Add to their weight (82-130 pounds), and you have a tall, robust dog.
Their big sizes might account for their early deaths.
According to Sciencemag, large dogs age quicker than small breeds.
Scientists attribute the rapid aging to the large amounts of free radicals these breeds generate.
Bulky dogs require more energy.
They, therefore, convert more food into energy.
Yet, renegade free radicals accompany this conversion.
According to the free radical theory, the generation of free radicals in cells accelerates the aging process.
The most common instigator of deaths in Rottweilers is cancer.
Rotties are prone to hemangiosarcoma and osteosarcoma.
Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that affects bones.
It affects approximately 5 to 12% of Rotties and has 100% mortality rates unless the dog receives successful treatment.
Hemangiosarcoma is a type of cancer that invades dogs’ blood vessels.
And 90% of Rottweilers that contract this disease die within a year.
Sudden deaths may occur if the tumor bursts and results in severe blood loss.
Other mortality hazards in Rottweilers include:
- Geriatric vestibular syndrome
- Brain disorders
- Musculoskeletal issues
- Vertebral arthropathy
- Respiratory tract problems
Factors Contributing to Rottweilers’ Short Lives
Every dog’s longevity is dependent on several factors.
It could be the environment it lives in, the food it eats, natural causes, its health, or breed.
Compared to your other breeds, your Rottie could be the first to depart.
Most of the health conditions that affect Rottweilers occur in the developmental stage.
Disorders and cancer arise as the dog’s cells and tissues rapidly grow.
When a Rottie clocks ten years, it’s unlikely to develop new infections.
With that said, your aging dog might be sensitive to environmental conditions.
Hormones released by a dog’s ovaries or testicles have a huge impact on its lifespan.
According to a 2002 study, sex hormones in Rottweilers prevent the onset of bone cancer.
The mentioned study involved 683 Rotties, some of which had undergone elective gonadectomy.
From the results, 12.6% of the dogs had bone sarcoma.
The researchers further determined that Rotties that had undergone gonadectomy within one year of birth were more likely to get bone sarcoma at some stage.
Female Rottweilers outlive males by approximately one to two years.
Female Rotties have an average life expectancy of 9.5 years, while in males, the average is 8.7 years.
The difference in lifespans is due to the difference in body weight.
Male Rotties weigh up to 130 pounds and grow as tall as 27 inches.
Their female counterparts weigh up to 115 pounds and grow up to 25 inches.
This difference in size is significant.
Due to their massive size and weight, males are prone to more mortality hazards.
They tend to be obese and may get cancer due to rapid growth.
Rotties aren’t disease-free breeds.
They are susceptible to certain disorders and health conditions.
Health issues are magnified, particularly in growing Rottweilers.
Some of the diseases are life-threatening, but the majority aren’t.
Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)
The common health issue that affects this breed is hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is a medical term that refers to an abnormal hip joint.
It occurs when your dog’s hip bone doesn’t align correctly with the hip socket.
It can affect one or both hips.
What’s alarming is that 20% of Rottweilers develop this problem at some point in their lives.
This physically debilitating condition mainly occurs as your dog ages.
However, there are cases where puppies are affected.
CHD can either be severe or mild.
In extreme cases, it might disable your dog, while in mild cases, it causes discomforts.
CHD is unlikely to kill your dog.
It will affect your dog’s mobility and negatively impact its life.
The pain will also bring much suffering.
Your dog might be unable to run, jump or engage in physical activities.
The lack of exercise might lead to obesity and other illnesses.
Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
OCD is common among Rotties due to their rapid growth.
This condition mainly affects your dog’s shoulder joints.
It occurs when the cartilage detaches from the underlying bone.
It isn’t fatal, but the pain it causes will traumatize your dog.
This condition affects Rottweiler pups.
It’s very contagious and turns fatal if the puppy doesn’t receive medical attention within 45 hours.
Your dog is obese if its body weight is 20% more than the ideal weight.
An increase of about 4.4 pounds cuts a dog’s lifespan by a month.
An obese Rottie is unlikely to live for long.
Overweight Rottweilers are prone to life-threatening diseases like:
- Urinary stones
- Anesthetic complications
- Heart failure
Other health disorders that might shorten your Rottie’s life include congenital anomalies, dental issues, neoplasia, dermatological infections, undesirable behavior, and gastrointestinal problems.
Nutrition and exercises play a big role in a dog’s life.
Well-fed and leaner Rottweilers outlive their chubby counterparts by approximately two years.
Due to its massive size, a Rottie requires adequate, highly nutritious food.
If you feed your dog with junk food, it will likely become obese.
On the other hand, if you underfeed it, it will become malnourished.
Exposing your Rottie to dirt or harmful environs might trigger diseases and shorten its lifespan.
How to Improve Your Rottie’s Lifespan
A well-cared Rottweiler is capable of living beyond its expected lifespan.
Below are a few tips on how to care for this breed.
The Right Genes
Before buying a pup, research the best breeders.
Rottweiler diseases like osteosarcoma are hereditary.
Without thorough research, you risk purchasing a sick puppy that won’t live for long.
Reputable breeders practice selective breeding.
This process involves selective screening to eliminate specimens with health conditions.
In the end, you get a healthy Rottie that’s likely to live longer.
Diet and Exercise
A healthy Rottweiler requires a balanced diet full of protein.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends about 22% of protein per meal for pups and 18% for adult Rotties.
Fully-grown Rottweilers require a daily intake of 2100 calories.
Dogs also need workouts.
Take your Rottie out for a daily walk or jog.
Regular exercise will keep it lean, and importantly lengthen its life expectancy.
Ensure your dog receives the necessary vaccination to prevent contagious diseases.
Your Rottie puppies must receive the parvovirus vaccine.
Most Rottweiler conditions are treatable provided the vet makes an early diagnosis.
Regular visits to the vet could enable your dog to live a healthy, long life.
Avoid Neutering and Spaying
Research shows that gonadectomy leads to bone cancer in dogs.
Avoid spaying or neutering Rotties that are below one year.
If you have to carry out this procedure, wait until your dog reaches four years.
The environment your dog lives, eats, sleeps, and plays must be clean.
Pathogenic microbes and parasites thrive in dirty environs.
If your dog sleeps or plays in such an environment, it will contract infectious diseases.
Dental hygiene is also essential to keep your Rottie’s teeth in perfect condition.
How to Tell If Your Rottweiler’s Health Is Declining
Your Rottweiler’s demise won’t happen in an instance.
There are symptoms it displays when its health is in decline.
Look out for the following signs.
Activeness and Physical signs
Rottweilers are energetic, social, and active dogs.
Any lethargic or sleepy trait could pinpoint health issues.
Regularly check whether your dog is limping or if it has any physical injuries.
Rotties tend to have a general disposition.
However, when they are in pain, they may whine, bark, or show extreme aggression.
The average lifespan of most Rottweilers is nine years.
Your Rottie could live longer if it receives good care, attention, regular check-up, and nutritious food.