August 1, 2022

Rottweiler Life Expectancy

Adult Rottweiler lying on ground

Rottweilers overall are a robust dog breed, However there are some things to consider if your choose this breed. My first Rottweiler lived to be nine years old. Human life is obviously longer than that of a dogs” life. When we compare larger dog’s to smaller dog’s, there is a major difference. Science has shown that small dogs” on average outlive larger breed dogs”. 

The Rottweiler without argument falls in the large breed category of dogs”. However, Rottweilers do not live as long as some of the other large dog breeds. The Tibetan mastiff can live from 12-15 years, and weigh 90-150 pounds for the male, and 70-120 pounds for the female. A male Rottweiler weighs 95-135 pounds, and the female Rottweiler weighs 80-100 pounds.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the longevity of a dogs life decreases with body size. The abstract does not mention body weight, so it remains a mystery why a Rottweilers lifespan is shorter than some of the larger breed dogs that are taller, and heavier than Rottweilers. Regardless of a Rottweilers size, there are other common causes of death that reduce a Rottweilers life expectancy. 

How Long do Rottweilers Live? 

Pure breed Rottweilers on average have a life expectancy of 9 years. Female Rottweilers live about 9.5 years in comparison to males. However, there have been reports of Rottweilers living upwards of 13 years. A Rottweilers life expectancy is considerably shorter than larger breed dogs”. There is no contest when comparing lifespan to that of smaller breed dogs”. Smaller dogs” live for a considerably longer period. Some of the averages for large, and small breed dogs’ are the following:

Large Breed Dogs 

Alaskan Malamute: 10-14 years

Bernese Mountain Dog: 8 years

Bullmastiff: 8-10 years 

Cane Corso: 10-12 years

English Mastiff: 6-12 years 

Giant Schnauzer: 10-12 years

Rottweiler puppy chewing on green water-hose

Great Dane: 8.5 years

Irish Wolfhound 6-8 years 

Saint Bernard: 8-10 years 

Standard Poodle: 14-15 years

Tibetan Mastiff: 12-15years

Small Breed Dogs

Chihuahua: 15-17 years

Dachshund: 12-16 years

French Bulldog: 10-12 years 

Jack Russell Terrier: 12-14 years 

Maltese: 12-15 years 

Pomeranian: 14-16 years

Pug: 13-15 years 

Shih Tzu: 10-18 years 

Toy Poodle: 10-18 years 

Yorkshire Terrier: 12-15 years

When the lifespan of Rottweilers are compared to that of other large breeds, life expectancy is shorter. Some of the largest dogs’ within the large breed category live longer than the Rottweiler. The Tibetan Mastiff for example lives 12-15 years. Males weigh upwards of 150 pounds, and females 120 pounds. The Alaskan Malamute, another large breed dog, has a life expectancy of 10-14 years. Males weigh up to 95 pounds, and females up to 84 pounds.

The smaller breed dog can live upwards of 18 years. There is some interesting data on Age-Class Models (Science Direct.com). These models shed some light on why smaller dogs, live longer than larger dogs. In the wild it seems to be the opposite. The larger animals live longer than the smaller animals. The African elephant, the largest land animal on the planet is a good example.

African elephants can live to 70 years old. Elephants weigh 6,600-13,000 pounds. Tigers on the other hand are not the smallest of the wild animal kingdom, only live 8-10 years. Males weigh 200-680 pounds, and females 140-370 pounds.

Common Causes of Rottweiler Death

Rottweilers, according to article number 13 published in 2017, ” Canine Genetics and Epidemiology,” are susceptible to heart disease, musculoskeletal conditions, cancers, parvoviral diarrhea, and uterine disease (females). One of the most common causes of Rottweiler death is cancer, which accounts for 33% of Rottweiler mortality. Some of the other causes of death for Rottweiler are:

Rottweiler puppy laying on floor with legs extended
  • Inability to stand 16%
  • Mass -associated disorder 7.1%
  • Gastrointestinal 6.1%
  • Brain disorder 4.2%
  • Undesirable behavior 4.2%
  • Musculoskeletal disorder 3.8%
  • Lower respiratory tract disorder 3.2%
  • Spinal cord disorder 2.9% 
  • Vertebral arthropathy
  • Other 12.8% 

The mortality hazards highest on the list are cancer, inability to stand, and mass associated disorder. The inability to stand is most likely associated with paralysis, and geriatric vestibular syndrome which is common in old dogs’. This disease affects balance, making it impossible for dogs to stand. Obesity is not uncommon for Rottweilers, unfortunately, contributing to other health conditions.

What Determines Rottweilers Lifespan

Size is one of the determiners of a Rottweilers lifespan. A 2013 study on this subject revealed that an increase of 4.4 pounds of weight, decreases life by 1 month. As can be seen above, large dogs’ do not live as long as larger breed dogs’. The study findings indicate that larger dog breeds are shorter lived. The baseline for Rottweiler mortality is affected by an increased rate of aging. Breed size also contributes to the aging process. 

Considerable evidence has determined that growing fast, and big, contributes to a shorter lifespan across certain species. The study also mentions how dogs’ have been breed for many years. As a result, the natural selection of the dog species has become one of artificial selection. Artificial selection has left scientist with more questions than answers regarding a large dogs lifespan.

The sex of your Rottweiler also determines lifespan. Female Rottweilers life on average 10 months longer. Females Rottweilers are lighter than male Rottweilers. As stated above, males weigh upwards of 135 pounds and females a 100 pounds. These numbers are only estimates of weight. Other factors such as height, and muscle mass must be factored in. I have personally seen male Rottweilers in the 150 pound range, and very muscular. Muscle mass may, or may not be a contributing factor of mortality.  

Rottweiler puppy resting on floor against open door

Another factor associated with Rottweilers lifespan is hormones. A 2002 study revealed that the surgical removal of a males testes, and a females ovaries (gonadectomy) before the age of 1, increased the chance of bone cancer. The study concluded that Rottweilers left intact were less likely to develop bone cancer. But Rottweilers that had an early gonadectomy were highly susceptible to bone cancer. 

Yet another study published in 2009 established that the removal of a female Rottweilers ovaries before 4 years of age, shortened lifespan. The lifespan of female Rottweilers who retained their ovaries had an exceptionally longer lifespan than male Rottweilers.

In 2010, a study was conducted by David J. Waters, D.V.M., Ph.D., DACVS to determine how age alone affects the lifespan of Rottweilers. This study found that the longer a dog lives, the chances of contracting cancer increase up to 10 years of age. However, once the 10-year period has been reached, the risk of cancer declines.

Many more studies of how to improve, and extend the lives of large dog breeds (most certainly that of the Rottweiler) is ongoing. With the research that exist, we can be use it to our advantage for improving, and extending the life expectancy of our Rottweilers.

Increasing A Rottweilers Lifespan

A Rottweilers genes play a critical role in increasing lifespan. Choosing a reputable breeder is very critical when selecting a Rottweiler. A Rottweiler breeder who can offer the most detailed medical history of the dogs in their breeding program is highly recommended. Ask the breeder for an OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) history of the parents. Rottweilers are susceptible to hip dysplasia, having medical data on the hip health of the parents is crucial. Hip dysplasia is a genetic, hereditary disease.

In addition, ask for the CAER (Companion Animal Eye Registry) history. CAER was formerly known as the CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation). More information on the CAER eye registry, can be found on the OFA website. A reputable breeder will certainly be more than willing to provide you with a detailed medical history of the dogs in their breeding program. Another option is the AKC’s breeders of Merit program(BOM). This program is dedicated to the perseverance of dog characteristics. The AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T. Program is another alternative. Health, education, accountability, Responsibility, and tradition are the goals of this program.

A Rottweilers diet will definitely increase your Rottweilers lifespan. Weight is an enemy of larger breed dogs. Feeding your Rottweiler a diet that lacks the proper nutrition will decrease the lifespan of your Rotti. Although 7.1% of deaths are associated with a Rottweilers mortality, a poor diet will certainly contribute to other life threatening diseases such as, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Cancer was the leading cause of death for (33%) of the Rottweilers in the 2017 study. 

Rottweiler Puppy on grass in wire play pin

Environment can also be a contributing factor to your Rottweilers lifespan. We are all exposed to environmental contaminants during our lifespan. Environmental health hazards for our dogs are the same hazards we face. These hazards include:

  • Air contaminants
  • toxic waste
  • Disease-causing microorganisms and plants
  • Pesticides
  • Radiation
  • Chemicals in pet products 

Air and water pollution are the two most common environmental health hazards. Any of these health hazards can effect your Rottweiler in a number of ways, often contributing to cancer and other acute illnesses. Not all exposure to these hazards contribute to a negative health effect. However, the duration of exposure, the amount of the hazard, and the exposure route (breathing,touching,eating and drinking) will add to your dogs exposure. Reducing, or eliminating your dogs exposure is the best solution to a healthier life.

A regular scheduled yearly check-up will ensure that any health issues are addressed sooner than later. It is always better to catch any health concerns in the early stages before they become life threatening. Avoid neutering or spaying your male or female Rottweiler.

Maintain your Rottweilers oral hygiene. Brushing your dogs teeth on a regular basis and will reduce or prevent periodontal disease. A dogs mouth is a portal for unsafe bacteria. Dogs use their mouths like a hand. Everything that is picked up, eaten or chewed happens with your dogs mouth. 

In essence, your Rottweilers mouth is used like a human hand. Most of the things that your dog puts in its mouth is usually unclean. Bad oral hygiene will aid in the transmission of bacteria leading to illness if oral hygiene is neglected.

Final Thoughts on Lifespan

As we all know, there will come a time when we will have to say goodbye to our Rotti. However, we can have an impact on our Rottweilers lifespan by proper care. Science will eventually reveal additional ways to prolong the life of our best friend. Some of those ways have been revealed above by numerous studies, however much more remains to be done.

It is my hope that in the near future scientist will unlock the mystery of why larger breed dogs have shorter lifespans than animals in the wild that are much larger. Scientist have come to some conclusions to why small breed dogs have longer lifespans than larger breed dogs, but I believe these studies should focus elsewhere. The wild animal kingdom may have the clues to this mystery.

Until now, we must rely on what we know to increase the lifespan of our Rottweilers. For now, strive to provide the best care of your Rottweiler mentally and physically. This will guarantee you at least 9.5 years of life, and possibly beyond.  

Bibliography

” American Kennel Club.” https://www.akc.org/.

“Wikipedia.” https://www.wikipedia.org/.

“Jstor.org.” https://www.jstor.org/.

“National Library of Medicine.” https://www.pubmed.ncbi.nim.nih.gov/.

“National Library of Medicine.” https://www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov/.

“Purina Pro Club.” https://www.purinaproclub.com/.

” The Canine Health Information Center.” https://.ofa.org

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