One of the most pressing questions prospective rottweiler owners have is how long do rottweilers live.
The rottweiler life expectancy is known to be shorter than that for other purebred dog breeds that are similar in size and weight.
In this short, focused article, we take a close look at what researchers have learned about life span in rottweilers.
Rottweiler Life Span Research
Current research data places the average rottweiler life span at around 8.92 years.
Delayed Disease Onset
A 2003 life span research study reviewed 345 rottweiler dogs to learn why some rottweilers lived far longer (up to 13.3 years) than others.
The researchers learned that the older a rottweiler is when first diagnosed with a serious illness, the longer that dog is likely to live.
Rottweilers that lived well beyond the average life span of 8.92 years were healthy up until around the ninth year of life.
Even if an elderly rottweiler was then diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness, that dog had just a 19 percent likelihood of passing from cancer versus natural old age.
This tells us that cancer resistance is an important predictor of a longer-lived rottweiler dog.
Delayed Spaying Study
A 2010 research study showed a strong connection between allowing female rottweilers to remain intact (un-spayed) until the age of 6 years old and a longer life span.
Specifically, the chances of a female rottweiler living to the age of 13 increased by nearly five times when the ovaries were left intact until age 6.
Researchers don’t yet know for sure whether the same positive effect is true for delayed neutering in male rottweilers.
Canine Predictive Life Span Model
In 2015, a team of researchers in Tokyo, Japan, conducted a massive canine life span study to learn more about rottweiler life span predictors.
Researchers divided the canine participants into five weight/size groups.
The rottweiler’s average weight of 80 to 135 pounds places this dog in the large/giant groups.
Data showed that the average large dog breed will live 12.5 years. The average giant dog breed will live 10.6 years.
For most large/giant size dog breeds, the data showed that reaching the age of 8 years results in a 12 percent chance of mortality the following year.
Reaching the age of 9 years results in a 17 percent chance of mortality the following year.
However, the chances of mortality at age 8 to 9 is near total for rottweilers, indicating this breed does not conform with the overall data findings for breed weight/size.
Researchers are still working to understand why.
Rottweiler Cancer Concerns
The rottweiler has a higher than average risk of contracting canine cancer.
Here, it is important to understand that canine cancer is actually fairly common throughout the canine community.
Research through the Animal Cancer Foundation shows 25 percent of dogs will develop cancer during their lifetime.
In contrast, a 2017 rottweiler research study reviewed data from 5,321 rottweiler veterinary patients and discovered that just over 40 percent of rottweilers died from cancer-related causes.
Thirty-three percent of reported deaths were due to cancer, and 7.1 percent were due to mass-associated disorders, which are most frequently malignant.
Two of the most concerning cancers for the rottweiler breed are osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and lymphoma (lymph cancer).
In both cases, rottweilers tend to contract aggressive forms of the cancer and response to treatment is unfavorable.
Ongoing Rottweiler Cancer Research
The Rottweiler Health Foundation sponsors ongoing research to identify better techniques to diagnose and treat cancer in rottweilers.
This research includes development of a cancer vaccine.
What Can You Do
Thanks to the Rottweiler Health Foundation, we now have data to indicate the following actions may help to prolong your rottweiler’s life:
- Delayed spaying (after the age of 6 years old) for females and (possibly) males.
- Delivering all recommended or required vaccinations precisely on time.
- Strengthen the rottweiler’s immune system, which can ward off cancer.
- Feed a healthy diet and pay close attention to weight maintenance and exercise.
- Minimize exposure to stress; rottweilers are very smart and sensitive animals.
- Manage growth during puppyhood to minimize joint and bone issues later in life.
Longest Living Rottweiler
One of the oldest known rottweilers is Bort, a 13-year-old rottweiler who lives in Holliston, Massachusetts.
This YouTube video features a reportedly 15-year-old Bulgarian rottweiler (name not mentioned).
Several comments indicate that other viewers also have or know rottweilers that have reached the age of 15.
How Long Do Rottweilers Live?
As of the time of this writing, the answer to the question of how long do rottweilers live is clearly “not long enough.”
It is our hope that ongoing research efforts will help breeders, veterinarians and owners prolong life—both length and quality—for these beloved pet dogs.
Resources and Further Reading:
“Canine Lymphoma,” Vet Cares Clinic
Cooley, D.M., et al., 2003, “Exceptional Longevity in Pet Dogs Is Accompanied by Cancer Resistance and Delayed Onset of Major Diseases,” Journal of Gerontology
Coren, S., 2015, “The Life Expectancy of 165 Breeds of Dogs,” Psychology Today
“Genetic Welfare Problems of Companion Animals,” United Federation of Animal Welfare
Nolen, R.S., 2010, “Rottweiler Study Links Ovaries with Exceptional Longevity,” American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
O’Neill, D., et al., 2017, “Rottweilers Under Primary Veterinary Care in the UK: Demography, Mortality and Disorders,” Canine Genetics and Epidemiology
“Rottweiler Health,” The Rottweiler Club UK
Dustin Fisk says
Today will be my dogs last day. Gunner is a purebred Rottweiler born 4/4/2007. He has come down with a stomach problem that cannot be fixed, we’ve tried. It’s been an agonizing week and a half. At 15.5 years I should be happy the last 5 years have been a gift. I’m not.
4/4/2007 – 10/4/2022
We have given eachother a great life.
My BFF smaller 67 pound female Rottie succumbed to facial bone cancer and developed a bad heart value…but she made it to 11.8 years. she was 80 pounds in her prime. I suppose she could have made it to 12 plus but the cancer restricted her breathing and became a quality of life decision.
My girl just turned 13 on December 23rd. She is still sassy as ever and runs the house. She does have some lumps I can feel but just letting her live her best life. She has a daughter that is 11. So she has some strong genes.
I lost my girl two days ago. 9 years and one month old. She was energetic and healthy. She had a benign tumour on her liver that we couldn’t remove. It ruptured suddenly and she was gone within 24 hours. It was so devastating that she had been so strong and healthy until this happened. So unexpected.
Tammy Baldassarre says
Hi Everyone, what wonderful Rotti stories and relationships. I have two, my baby boy Zeus is approaching 12 years old, and he is my main man. Lately, the back legs have been stiff and he stumbles a little, tripped a couple of times. Over all he is still energetic. He stays by my side and wont let me out of his sight, which I so adore. My baby girl is two years old and she is my gypsy. Though she is obedient to commands and has a special sensitivity to sadness in others, she also has a playful side. Both my babies bring much joy to me, and to others. They have helped many over come fear of big dogs. They will forever hold a place in my heart and have made a footprint in many others. I wish you all the best in loving your Rottweiler. Hold them close and they will hold you close.
My girl Maya passed today. As old as she was she was very healthy till recently. She almost made it to 13 in Dec. she has been my best friend and I feel lost without her. I know in time I will heal, but I miss her. Just last week she was playing as if a puppy chasing her shadow. But now she is gone. I remember always tripping over her in the dark when I get out of bed. I have along memory of her in my life. I pray she is watching over me.
My mother has an 18 year old rottweiler as confirmed by her veterinarian this last appointment she took her to in May 2021.
Pretty neat how long some of these dogs can live.
That’s incredible! I have a 15 year old female rottie. Now I know t is truly possilbe that she can live to 18! Thank you for sharing!
Leslie Hastings says
My rottie, Diesel, turned 13 today. Love this big man.
Lacey’s Family says
We believe our Rottweiler just reached the age of 17. We got her from a shelter, would be fun to know!
we have just had our rotti laid to rest by the vet, she was 15 1/2 years old, bless her.
Leela DAVIS says
I love my dogs so much that when i heard they meet Christians in heaven it relieved my grief.
I’m pretty sure all Rottweiler’s have a place reserved for them in heaven and that our loved ones that have passed take care of them till our time comes to reunite. It will be three years this valentines since I lost my gretchen just 11 days short of her 13th b-day. My memory of her remain’s fresh and strong as if it’s only been a few days……..I know some people don’t get it as I’ve been told she was just a “dog”. I feel sorry for them she was so much more than a dog. R.I.P. my beautiful girl
Emma Boyle says
I Lost my beautiful baby girl Roxy 2 days ago and my heart is broken. She was just shy of 13 years old. I Believe everything you said and know my family members that passed will watch over her. I miss her so much and am still shocked she is gone. I will always have her in my heart and people do not understand that its not just ‘a dog” but a member of your family. I ma sure Gretchen is watching over you. x
Our dog Fido is 13 years and 10 months old
(Born in Belgium and when he was 8 weeks old he joined us in the Netherlands) He is still walking reasonably but has a little problem with his back legs when standing up. He is under the warts, has a large growth on his tongue but still eats very well. From the age of 6 he gets special dog food for stomach problems. His body is almost 14 but in his head he is still a young guy. We don’t show balls anymore because then he goes crazy.
He barks like a seal but still sees, smells and hears well. I can’t miss him but I know the time is coming. I hope that he will reach the age of 14. If he gets hurt or or gets very sick I will let him go.
He’s my mate, my friend, my everything. I love him so much
I understand completely. Our Rott is almost 81\2 and He is in great shape and is on good food and a metabolism booster 2times a day plus a lot of fish oil so coats looks great. I will try to send you a picture.
My boy Brutus, a purebred (intact) male will be 13 years old on 26 July, 2020. His only real issue is stamina & that is to be expected. He does have a non cancerous, fatty tumor on his side but at his age I see no need to risk the surgery.
Stephen M. Riley says
Our sweet Lola Mae is 14 years and 3 months. She still enjoys daily walks and eats like a horse. She is of good German stock and has helped us raise pups when we purchased other Rottweiler pets. Lola Mae gets the best of care, eats high quality food and lives a healthy life in Costa Rica. Lola had a knee transplant at age 3, and recovered nicely in one year. We currently have 4 rottweilers, we lost one last year. Our house feels empty with only four rotties.
Josh & Andrea says
We have a Rotty named bear. He will be 14 this summer. No help problems just a little slower getting around and he has started having trouble getting up and steps. We are very fortunate to have him in our lives this long.
Buddy & Holly’s Mom says
My male, Buddy, lived 13 years 3 months and was neutered at 6 months old. My female, Holly, lived 14 years and was spayed after the age of 6. They were raised together but unrelated.
My Rottweiler lived to be 14 years old. He weight about 110 pounds at his heaviest (while still young), and I managed the progression of his hip displacia by limiting his long distance running activity when he was about 7 or 8.
Lora Rushing says
I have a pretty he is 13 years old..his health is good but his hip ate really hurting him.He is having trouble getting around.. He has been a wonderful dog
Randi Garske says
For those of you who have living Rottweilers that have reached the age of 13 or older, and you can provide it through a pedigree, you should enter them in the exceptional longevity study that is being researched by Dr. David Waters.
My second Rottie to be in this study just turned 13 a week ago. I’m excited that she will be a part of this study.
Red Girl -brooke says
I have a female rottweiler that is almost 13 year and 5 months. She spayed at a very early age. We have had her since she was about 6 weeks. And is the most loving dog ever. Age is starting to get to her as recently some of her organs seem to be malfunctioning (she can’t hold her pee very long anymore).
Today is my bff’s 9th birthday, and I’m so encouraged by the number of posts from rottie parents older than 12. Bear just had his first geriatric checkup last month, he’s only been sick once, and he’s still full of puppy energy. And mischief, like stealing a bag of sugar off the kitchen counter this morning.
My baby girl is 15 she is the most loyal and loving dog ever so gentle and protective of our grandkids. Sadly wer having to have her put to sleep as her organs are failing to say wer devastated is an understatement. She will leave a massive hole in our hearts and our house won’t b a home without her
RIP my sweet baby Jumbo. He died today at the age of 10 years 7 months.I will cherish you forever,my one and only good boy!
Cynthia L Giberson says
My Rottie Girl Rosie Lea will be 15 on May 3rd, 2020 & shows NO sign of leaving me anytime soon !!!
melanie Preiss says
Hello, could you please tell me how/what you feed her.
My dog only made it to 9.4years. I feel maybe her diet wasn’t good enough.
I always fed her raw meat and bones,eggs,raw milk,offal sometimes.
I just didn’t give her the fruit and veges,salt and coconut oil and butter until later on. Maybe it was so needed all the way through.
I trusted one opinion, then I had two children,and was so busy.
Anyway I would love to know what you do, for when I am ready for another Rottie.
My beautiful boy will be 13 this month 11/25/19. He was never neutered, and never bred. I watched carefully for signs of testicular cancer.
He is out of German working lines and so is compact and athletic. Most of his life he weighed in at 105.
He has been incredibly healthy his entire life, but a year ago started showing signs of Wobblers Syndrome; at his age I won’t have a definitive diagnosis via MRI. I suspect the Wobblers is due to enthusiastic tennis ball chasing all of his life. Use a harness to avoid this! He is on Truprofan (generic Rimadyl), CBD, and Glucosamine.
It brings me great joy to see 15 year olds on here 🙂
Blossom's mom says
My best friend Blossom will be 12 in 3 days, but is now actively dying. Small tumor in breast (which I was able to shrink to half its size, i.e. in remission), but now liver is shutting down. No pain, so she’s at home on dog beds and blankets. After 5 days with no food (couldn’t even hold up her head, incontinent etc.), she is now on day 4 of an amazing surge! Eats, drinks, goes outside to her yard, plays like she is a pup again (but we are careful not to let her overdue it), so I am praying she will just go in her sleep soon, and not suffer. What a strong, vital, loyal, gentle breed (my first and only Rottie, won’t go through this again). She had a tubal ligation when young, then a uterus removal (she had been getting mild infections) at around 6 or 7, but ovaries intact. When it was breast cancer, I was worried it was my fault (she had a false pregnancy two years ago, at age 10, which likely triggered this tumor), but reading this and knowing that keeping the ovaries contributes to or is associated with longevity, I feel like we did what was right. Thanks so much.
Blossom's mom says
Update: Blossom easily made 12, and after a full 3 weeks of an amazing surge, with lots and lots of time to play and cuddle and eat all kinds of decadent food (we became inseparable, 24/7), she passed gently after a 2-second heart attack, with me by her side. She never showed signs of pain, and was able to jump into my bed (great hips) until the last two days of her life. I came to the decision of letting her die at home peacefully with great trepidation, because I didn’t want her to suffer, but grateful I did this, and that she went gently.
debbie m says
I have a rotty girl Zena she is 12.5 yrs old , I have has=d her since she is 6 weeks old – today I am taking her to the doctor she has not been feeling well I’m not sure if she is crying in pain or not. She is a bit overweight due to not being able to walk as much( I took her to the vet 4 years ago to get her nails trimed and they dropped her off of the table). I have felt large balls in her stomach.I hope they can assess her today.
I was reading on here that the oldest living Rottie was 13. Well I just recently lost my American Rottie dog Makita and she turned 15 years old February 3rd 2019 but she just passed away August 12th of 2019
My rottweiler is 6 years old living in New Delhi. It is female with a little fatness. But surely not obese. How long is it likely to live?
We have Jorja, she is 12.5yrs. She’s on the smaller size for her breed, which has likely helped. She cane to us aged 4/5, and was spayed at abiut 6yrs old.
My Rottweiler Kuma is almost 16. He acts very old until he sees a dog outside and he barks like he is 5…
Our sweet Taz is 10.3 years and has cancer. He is still very playful and active but when his large abdominal tumor leaks (according to vet that’s what is happening) we give him antibiotics immediately for 7 days. This seems to keep him alive for now. He recovered this way twice. Because of his age we decided to not get the surgery. He has had skin cancer previously which was removed at age 9 and he has a benign tumor in his haunch. He was never neutered. He was always around 115 to 125 lbs until the cancer. Now he is about 105 lbs
Happy sweet loving playful loyal dog! We will miss him so much!
Brendan Donnelly says
I have a rottweiler,born 4th dec 2004 still going strong he was a service dog from 2005 till 2012,in 2014 he appeared on the BBC sports relief Top Dog show you can find him on you tube put Arnold top dog in google ,we hoping for a good few years more with Arnold yet.
My baby, Kano, turned 15 in May 2019. We’re actually doing pretty well. His hips aren’t what they used to be and i think he’s deaf but I am so SO grateful to have had this extra time with him. He has been on CBD and Hemp supplements for several years and he regularly gets doggy aspirin for the arthritis.
Gretchen is 13yrs and five months, but I don’t think she will make it to 14. She has always been a chubby girl. Her Mother Greta was 14.5 when she passed. Her brother, who was a monster in size, but we kept him thin because he had hip problems, bowed front legs. That big guy made it to 13.5, so the average age of less than nine in this article doesn’t seem to fit my experience. We walk them three miles most days as long as they are able. I think that helps. Gretchen has been a pillow pilot for three years now but she still has s good quality of life.
My name is trinity and I live in Washington state and today I am putting down my Rottweiler of 17 years young. Tough day, but one tough pup. Rip tia
My rotting has just celebrated his 15th birthday
Kylie Roberts says
My boy was 15 in july as well im trying to track down his papers for exact day 😀
Melinda A Stevens says
We have our Male Rottweiler, Diablo, he will be 16 on Nov 13th of 2019. He is still in pretty good health, back legs are getting a little weak. He’s been an awesome dog.
I grew up with a large 120lb Fin named bear, he was 16 when we had to put him down because he was starting to have trouble breathing and had a hard time with stairs, I still miss him
James Wagner says
For Wilson’s short life he has thought me so much about love never have I experienced so much love and loyalty his gentleness around babies and small children and his protectiveness of our family is unbelievable
I’m pretty sure if god created a better breed of dog he kept it for himself I have never loved a dog as much as this gentle Beast.
My grandfather told me a long time ago that Gog only blesses a man with one great dog during his life now I know my grandfather never had a Rottweiler.
Blossom's mom says
Thank you for your post; it came just when I needed to hear what you shared. I’m Blossom’s mom (see november posts above). You are right; this breed is SO loyal, SO loving, and amazingly gentle! Also highly intelligent and dignified.
Our Beautiful Bella is 14 today! We love her so much! She is not a dog, she is family ❤️❤️❤️
My boy is also 13 this year. He’s amazing x
lena stepp says
Past owner of three Male Rottweilers. Couldn’t get them past 8 yrs old. Bone and lung cancer took them. I cried like a baby each time.
Because for those short yrs they gave So…… much love.
lena stepp says
Those numbers are amazing, past owner of three rotties all males couldn’t get them past 8 years. Bone and lung cancer was their demise.
Mod lived to be 15 years of age spayed at 1year of age. She was unbelievable. She taught me more than I her
My boy Bruno is gonna be 13 this year,he is struggling with his arthritis but in good shape,he got always a very balanced diet and exercise and had never been sick.Hope that he still has the strength to go on,I love him so much!!
Marija Kandiba-SprudzÄne says
My girl is 13.9 yrs old. It’s her last months, she’s very sick, but till 13.6 she was amazing. Cancer, liver and kidney failure got her.
My Rotty (mav) is 12 he has kidney failure but old age will probably get him before his kidneys.
Terri Willings says
We adopted our Rottweiler, Roxy, when she was 9 years old. We celebrated her 15th birthday in November 2018. She is lively and still plays like a puppy, but her rear legs are letting her down. Her vet is constantly amazed at how happy and healthy she is. As a side note, she was not spayed until she was 7 so it was interesting to see that the study shows that female rottweilers live longer if spayed later in life.
Mr Phil Cooper says
My Rottweiler Zac is 14 years old on 22nd April 2019. He is amazing
Kenneth P Mcmanus says
Our Rottweiler Zeus is 13 years 2 months..hes doing well..
That’s brilliant. I just got my 4 months Rottweiler and struggling to make decision for his diet. May I know how do you take care of Zeus and what diet you give? and when did you neuter Zeus?
Hi there! I don’t know if this will help but I feed my rottie brown rice, canned chicken and canned veggies along with one minced up weenie mixed with a cup of dry dog food. If you go to Walmart you can find all of this for around the same price as dog food. She’s a big dog, I’m not exaggerating when I say she’s around the 200lbs mark.
She’s not overweight, she’s just a massive cuddle bug! She’s pretty active and reading this article was a real eye opener.
Anyways hope this helps, and of course you can modify the ingredients to your needs.
What kind of canned vegetables can I use?
Carrots and green beans are my rottie’s favorites. Our Ciara will be 12 in two days. For that we are blessed. She’s playful and loving. I’m so hopeful after reading other rottie parents were blessed with many years of puppy love. Our first rottie, Pandora lost a 16 month battle with cancer at age 7. Best of luck with your baby.
Blossom's mom says
While its expensive, this is what I feed mine:
1. organic grass fed ground beef
2. organic liver and chicken breast
3. pumpkin (great for their gut), raw veggies (beets, tomatoes, celery, carrots, cucumber, sweet bell peppers etc.), and cooked broccoli and sweet potatoes (cook just these, not other veggies for thyroid health and raw potatoes impede protein digestion).
4. RAW eggs (organic) could technically be 85% of their diet, since they are perfect food for dogs, but I give her 3-4 raw eggs a day.
I used to feed Tender & True (organic dog food), but since sick, she loves this diet.