How Long do American Bulldogs Live?

How Long do American Bulldogs Live?

Every creature on earth, humans included, has a finite lifespan. It’s a fact of life that many of us don’t like so much, especially when it comes to our pets. When an adult adopts a pet like an American Bulldog, they adopt it knowing that it will almost certainly pass before they do, unless they’re a senior citizen. Of course, most of us don’t dwell on these things for long, especially when we adopt an American Bulldog puppy. They are so cute and full of life that contemplating when they will die seems a bit morbid, to say the least.

That being said, many people do want to know how long their furry friend will live when they adopt an American Bulldog, or any breed of dog for that matter, and how long they will be a part of their family. To that end, knowing what the average life expectancy of an American Bulldog is, and what factors can affect it, is important. That’s what this article is all about. Enjoy.

What’s the Lifespan Range and Average for American Bulldogs?

One of the more healthy breeds of dogs with fewer inherited or genetic health problems.

The American Bulldog normally lives for 10 to 16 years although they can live a few years longer. In fact, the American Bulldog is said to be the healthiest of the Bulldog breed, with the longest lifespan, which should be great news for anyone who loves this loyal, intelligent canine. The average American Bulldog’s lifespan is about 11.5 years.

What’s the Longest Living American Bulldog Age?

While there are many sources for American Bulldog facts and information, determining which is the oldest or the longest-living American Bulldog isn’t easy. There’s a Facebook Group called The Oldest Bulldogs Around the World with examples of 11, 12, 13-year-old American Bulldogs and older (and they’re all so cute!) but pinpointing exactly which one is the oldest is difficult at best. The oldest I saw in the group was a sweetie named George who was 13.3 years young.

How to Pick an American Bulldog Puppy with the Highest Likelihood of a Long Life?

Here’s a fact; most people spend more time and energy researching a new blender then they do on researching a new puppy, especially American Bulldog puppies because they are so gosh darn cute. This is not only a shame but it is also a very bad idea because, even though an American bulldog puppy might look “good” as a puppy, there are some telltale signs that it will have health problems in the future that many buyers overlook. As with anything you purchase, alive or not, performing a bit of due diligence ahead of time is always important, especially when it comes to a living creature like an American Bulldog.

Unless you are extremely lucky, finding an American Bulldog at a shelter and being able to adopt it is almost impossible. These are coveted dogs and expensive because of that, so very few will ever make it to a shelter. Buying an American Bulldog from a pet shop in your local mall is also a bad idea as many of them will come from so-called “puppy mills” and, even though you might not see it, will have many underlying health problems due to overbreeding. These underlying health problems might not come to light for a few months or even years, at which point it will be too late to change your mind (and you will probably be too in love with your American Bully buddy to do it anyway).

Registration Papers

One vital piece of information that you need when purchasing an American Bulldog puppy is the registration papers that any ethical breeder will always have. Asking to see the papers for the Dam (female dog, mother) and Sire (male dog, father) is a must, as well as the registry. The American Bulldog Registry UK (ABRUK) and the National Kennel Club (NKC) are the two most recognized registries for the breed. If the papers come from any other organization you should check that organization first before purchasing your pup.

Try to Avoid American Bulldog Puppies that have been “Scatter Bred”

A scatter bred dog is one where there is no rhyme or reason to the breeding or bloodlines when planning for puppies. Although a dog that has been scatter bred might be just fine, it also might have some genetic traits that won’t become apparent until it is older. It would be better to adopt an American Bulldog pup that has been “line bred” so that you are 100% sure of the bloodline that it possesses and the traits that it will have also.

Ask Questions and Ask to See the Parents (If Possible)

Before making any decisions on which American Bulldog puppy to purchase or adopt, you should ask the breeder as many questions as possible about how the dog was bred, what its bloodline is and any traits that it might have that are unusual. Also, whenever possible you should ask to see the puppy’s mother and father (the Dam and Sire).

An Established Show or Working Dog Breeder is Best

If you want to lower your risk as much as possible, adopting your American Bulldog puppies from an established show breeder or a working dog breeder is always your best choice. They will likely be more expensive but, down the road, your new fur buddy will have fewer health problems and likely live a longer, healthier life.

6 Tips For Maximizing the Lifespan of your American Bulldog

There are definitely a lot of things that you can do to help your American Bulldog buddy to live a longer and healthier life. It will mean a little bit of extra time and energy on your part but, frankly, for those of us who love our dogs, it’s a small price to pay.

1- Spay and/or Neuter

Unless you plan to breed your fur baby, having them spayed or neutered is not only important but it can also lead to a longer life. Also, if you plan to breed, perform your due diligence. Breeding any dog is time-consuming, expensive and demands a lot of love and attention. Unless you are 100% certain that you have all those things and more, breeding American Bulldog pups is probably not a good choice.

2- Do Not Overfeed Them

There have been many scientific studies showing that thin dogs live longer lives. One study in Great Britain showed that dogs given a diet reduced by 25% in calories lived an average of two years longer than their counterparts. Also, an obese American bulldog can have a lot more problems with arthritis when it gets older.

3- Feed Them a Raw Diet

One study performed in Europe showed that dogs that were fed a homemade, raw diet lived nearly 3 years longer than dogs that were fed a diet of commercial dog food.

4- Give Them Supplements

Like humans, dogs can benefit from supplementation. This is especially true if you are not able to feed them a raw diet because a lot of the vitamins, minerals and other healthy ingredients in a raw diet will not be present in food purchased at your local pet store. Some things to consider supplementing include;

  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Vitamin C
  • Glucosamine
  • Probiotics
  • Antioxidants

5- Make Sure they get Penty of Exercise

This is one of the most important things you can do for your American Bulldog. This is a breed that needs a lot of exercise on a regular basis, running, jumping and playing. They really need this every day and, at minimum, 5 days a week. Plus, as their owner, all this running around will be great for you too!

6- Brush Their Teeth

For an American Bulldog over 3 years old especially, brushing their teeth is vitally important. This will eliminate pockets of bacteria and plaque that can develop under the gumline and cause infections that can shorten their life.

What are the Main Causes of Death for American Bulldogs and at What Age?

Below is an (admittedly) sad list of the main causes of death for American Bulldogs and the approximate age at which they can happen.

Dental Disease

Experts say that an American Bulldog with dental disease can have its life cut short by up to three years. That would mean about 8 or 9 years of age. The reason for this is the serious infections that dental disease can cause and the way it affects their liver and other organs, causing them to shut down.

Old Age

If your American Bulldog makes it to 12, 13, 14 years of age or longer, you should consider yourself very lucky. While they can live to 16 years old the average is about 12.

Respiratory Disorders

The American Bulldog breed is known for having respiratory (breathing) disorders because of its flat face and muzzle. Some poor dogs with the worst don’t live past 7 or 8 years of age.

Elbow & Hip Dysplasia

This unfortunately common health problem can cause your American Bulldog a lot of pain as it gets older. Some with a very bad hip and elbow dysplasia can die from it quite young.

Canine Neuronal Ceroid Lipofiscuionis, or “NCL.”

Possibly the worst of all the ways an American Bulldog can die is to have Canine Neuronal Ceroid Lipofiscuionis, or “NCL.”. If they do they will first lose control of their back legs and, over time, be unable to move at all. This serious disease can kill an American Bulldog at a very young age. Luckily there are tests now available for the genetic marker that shows if they have the gene that causes NCL and so you should make sure your breeder supplies you with the paperwork showing it has been tested.


One of the best things about American bulldogs is that they are relatively healthy in comparison to other breeds. That being said, to make sure your American Bulldog baby lives a long, healthy life, follow the tips and advice we’ve given you here today.

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