Pit Bulls can refer to one of several breeds of dog: the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Bulldog, or the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. You want a four-legged friend you can have with you for as long as possible. Of those four Pit Bull dog breeds, which has the longest life?
The breed of Pit Bull that lives the longest is the American Staffordshire Terrier with a lifespan of 12 to 16 years. That’s followed by the American Bulldog with a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, then the American Pit Bull Terrier with a lifespan of 8 to 15 years, and finally, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier with a lifespan of 12 to 14 years.
In today’s post, I’ll delve deeper into the above lifespan estimates, including a discussion on why dogs live as long as they do. I’ll even compare the life expectancies of these Pit Bull breeds to other dog breeds to gauge which canines are around the longest.
How Long Do Pit Bulls Live? Breaking the Data Down Breed by Breed
Pit Bulls can live as little as 8 years and as long as 16 years depending on the breed. Let’s take the information from the intro and examine it more closely so you can see which of the four Pit Bull breeds lives the longest.
American Staffordshire Terrier – 12 to 16 Years
The American Staffordshire Terrier is one of the more muscular Pit Bull breeds, with what the American Kennel Club calls a stocky build. Exercise is a key component to the AmStaff’s care, as he requires at least 30 to 40 minutes every day of active play. The AmStaff is generally healthy but can develop common dog conditions such as cerebellar ataxia, allergies, cardiac disease, and/or canine hip dysplasia.
According to the AKC, the American Staffordshire Terrier lives 12 to 16 years. Animal Life Expectancy, a site that’s about exactly what it sounds like, paints a less rosy picture. They suggest the AmStaff lives 9 to 15 years.
American Bulldog – 10 to 15 Years
Hailing ancestrally from the English Bulldog, the American Bulldog is a smaller yet stately Pit Bull with personality traits such as friendliness, agility, and endurance. Naturally athletic, the American Bulldog needs frequent exercise, as not getting enough could contribute to joint and bone damage. It’s important to vary the exercise the American Bulldog receives as well.
American Pit Bull Terrier – 8 to 15 Years
The American Pit Bull Terrier can weigh anywhere from 30 to 90 pounds depending on if he’s more Terrier or Bulldog. Either way, he’s a strong, burly dog with athletic leanings who thrives on plenty of stimulating exercise. He too may develop hip dysplasia as well as kneecap dislocation, allergies, mange, congenital heart defects, thyroid defects, and/or degenerative myelopathy.
Animal Life Expectancy claims the American Pit Bull Terrier will live to be around 10 years old while other estimates extend his lifespan to around 15 years.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier – 12 to 14 Years
Although he’s one of the shorter Pit Bull breeds, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier may be even more muscular than the AmStaff. Exercise will maintain your Staffordshire Bull Terrier physically and mentally. This breed is prone to posterior polar subcapsular cataracts or PPSC as well as persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous or PHPV and hereditary juvenile cataracts.
What Influences a Pit Bull’s Lifespan?
Although all Pit Bull breeds tend to live about as long as one another, there are some slight differences from one breed’s life expectancy to another. While these factors may also play a role in many other breeds, for this article we’re specifically dealing with the breeds that make up the Pitbull.
Here are some factors.
Size of the Pit Bull
The size of a Pit Bull is certainly a major contributing factor. If you’ve ever owned a large Pit Bull, then you know you’re lucky if you get more than 10 years with your beloved Pit. Compare that life span to a physically smaller dog breed, which may live for 14 to 16 years, sometimes even longer and you’ll see a pretty big difference in the span of a potential pets life.
Since bigger breeds have to grow more, this accelerates the aging process so it happens faster than in smaller dogs. That puts bigger dog breeds at a higher risk of health conditions, including possibly fatal ones such as cancer.
In my own experience with the larger breeds it’s carrying around the weight for years and the demanding stress on the bones, joints and muscles that was one of the hardest things for my own pets as they reached maturity.
Specific Breed of Pit Bull
The second biggest factor that determines a Pit Bull’s lifespan is usually its mix or breed. The breed informs the size of the dog, and you see now how that’s important. On top of that, some dog breeds are born with preexisting conditions that can affect and even shorten their lives.
A Pit Bull’s Quality of Care
Fortunately, not all aspects of a dog’s lifespan are completely out of your hands. Their quality of care very much determines whether you’ll have your four-legged friend for a decade or close to two decades.
You must make sure you’re feeding your Pit Bull a balanced, nutritious diet. I can’t stress this enough, but exercise is crucial every day. If you’re feeling a little lazy or the weather outside is frightful, I just wrote a great post on methods for exercising your Pit Bull indoors. Make sure you check it out!
Mental and emotional needs must also be met. You should groom and bathe your Pit Bull when he needs it, take him to the vet regularly, and ensure he’s getting all his vaccinations and medications.
A Pit Bull’s Environment
The environment in which a dog lives–and us people too, for that matter–can hinder life expectancy. If you’re in an environment surrounded by toxins and pollutants, these can be very damaging. Remember that toxins and pollutants are not necessarily factory smokestacks or cigarette smoke, but everyday chemicals like insecticides and pesticides that dogs can easily come into contact with.
Do Pit Bull Breeds Live Longer or Shorter Lives Compared to Other Dog Breeds?
Now that you know more about how long the Pit Bull breeds live, are their lives considered longer or shorter than those of other dogs? To help you put it into perspective, I compiled two lists. The first list is of dogs with the shortest lifespan and the second list is of dogs with the longest lifespan making them some of the longest living canines.
Here is a list of dog breeds with the shortest life-spans:
- Dogue de Bordeaux – 5 to 7 years
- Bernese Mountain Dog – 6 to 8 years
- Great Dane – 6 to 8 years
- Irish Wolfhound – 7 to 9 years
- Bullmastiff – 7 to 10 years
- Greater Swiss Mountain Dog – 8 to 10 years
- Chinese Shar-Pei – 8 to 10 years
- Newfoundland – 8 to 10 years
- Saint Bernard – 8 to 11 years
- French Bulldog – 8 to 12 years
Here is a list of impressive dog breeds that lead very long lives:
- Siberian Husky – 12 to 15 years
- Shiba Inu – 12 to 15 years
- Pug – 12 to 15 years
- Chinese Crested – 13 to 15 years
- Toy Manchester Terrier – 14 to 16 years
- Beagle – 12 to 17 years
- Chihuahua – 15 to 20 years
- Dachshund – 15 to 20 years
- Toy Poodle – 15 to 20 years
- Lhasa Apso – 15 to 20 years
- Poodle – 15 to 20 years
- Yorkshire Terrier – 17 to 20 years
Reviewing those numbers, you can see that while Pit Bull breeds don’t have a super-long lifespan, theirs aren’t typically too short either. I’d call their life expectancy about average, which is fair considering that Pit Bull breeds are mid-sized dogs.
Tips for Maximizing the Life of Your Pit Bull
Let’s end this on a happy note with some tips you can begin implementing today to help your Pit Bull live its life to the fullest and longest.
Watch the Weight of Your Pit Bull
I know it’s hard to resist your Pit bull’s puppy eyes and sad whines when they want more food, but you must.
When it comes to keeping your Pit Bull within a healthy weight range for its breed and body, I recommend considering options such as removing your Pit Bull’s dry food in between meals so they don’t develop a habit of eating idly.
Along with helping them control their weight, scheduling specific meal times & non-meal times may also help to keep them on a schedule that’s more convenient for the both of you. This has many benefits including preventing them from having to poop in the middle of the night or in the afternoon when nobody’s home to let them out or walk them.
Even if you get your Pit Bull’s diet in a manageable state, be sure you don’t undo all your progress by giving them one too many treats. Depending on the way your particular pit responds to the different types of rewards, verbal praise and physical affection can be rewards that are just as satisfying to your Pit Bull as treats.
Stimulate Your Pit Bull Mentally as Well as Physically
Since Pit Bull breeds live for showing off their physical prowess, it’s not too hard at all to stimulate them through activity. Don’t let your dog languish in boredom in the meantime though. Treat toys that require your Pit Bull to figure out how to access the food inside will make him use his doggy brain and get something good out of it.
Brushing Your Pit Bull’s Teeth
You don’t start or end your day without brushing your teeth. It should be similar for your Pit Bull. Yes, that means you have to brush your pits chompers so they remain as clean and pearly white as possible. It’s not easy to acclimate your Pit Bull to this at first, but once they accept that brushing is a part of his or her routine, they should let you get into his mouth no problem.
I found a brand of dog toothpaste that my dog loves. Admittedly, it doesn’t smell great to me but it works and my dog thinks I’m giving her a treat every time I brush her teeth.
And just in case you’re not aware, they even make dog toothpaste with peanuts that’s peanut butter flavored. I’m just putting that out there. Finding a flavor your dog likes can make the difference between them having tooth or gum issues and bad breath versus white teeth and decent breath.
Take Your Pit Bull to the Vet
Even if your Pit Bull is the picture of health, he or she still needs to see the vet at least once a year for an annual checkup. Please don’t skip these appointments. Your vet could potentially catch an early condition and treat it before it gets bad, extending the life of your Pit Bull or at least maintaining its quality of life.
Give Your Pit Bull the Best Life Possible
You want to do everything in your power to make your Pit Bull’s life awesome. Play with them as much as possible, snuggle and be affectionate with them, and make him or her feel like the king or queen of the castle.
Take them on walks, try new routes, and let your Pit Bull explore more of the world. You may be doing all this already so I don’t even need to tell you, but I know from experience it can be hard to not get lazy with our pit bull’s or pets in general.
Owners can quickly fall into bad habits of their own and slowly spend less and less “quality time” with their pet. If you’ve read this far into this post, I’m sure that’s not what you want. I’d bet that you truly love your pit bull and you want the best for them so remember to show them by making time for them and by making the best choices you can when it comes to keeping your pit bull happy & healthy for as long as possible.