5 of the Oldest Pit Bulls of All Time

A Smiling Red Nose Pit Bull
© Matthew Lyon/Shutterstock.com

Written by Kyle Glatz

Updated: October 4, 2023

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Pit bull is a term applied to a variety of bulldogs and terriers, such as the American bully, the American pit bull terrier, and others. They are known for being medium to large dogs with a long-running and unfortunate reputation for being violent. Today, we’re going to focus on the longevity of these dogs. Let’s look at 5 of the oldest pit bulls of all time and see how old they got compared to other breeds.  

What is the Average Lifespan of Pet Dogs?

Most dogs live between 10 and 13 years, but many factors can impact how long they survive. The size of a dog plays a role in how long the dog is projected to live. Small dogs tend to live longer than very big dogs. Large dogs seem to age more quickly compared to very small ones. Medium-sized dogs tend to thrive on the high side of the average that we presented.

The care an owner provides for their dog will also impact its longevity. Dogs need a proper diet, exercise, and regular checkups at the vet to live their longest, fullest lives. Spending some time developing a good diet plan and keeping your dog’s long-term health in mind will ensure that they will live for a long time.

What is the Oldest Dog Ever?

Australian cattle dog laying in leaves

The Australian cattle dog called Bluey is the oldest dog on record.


The oldest dog on record is an Australian cattle dog named Bluey. This dog survived to the age of 29 years and 5 months. Bluey was born in 1910 and lived until 1939. This Australian cattle dog was a working animal, and part of his longevity could be attributed to the amount of work that the pup undertook.

While it’s easy to brush off this record since it’s so old, Bluey’s age isn’t all that irregular. Some of the other oldest dogs ever recorded lived for 25 years or more. One dog named Butch lived for 28 years!

Now that we know about some of the most long-lived dogs, let’s focus on pit bulls.

What is the Average Lifespan of a Pit Bull?

dog food for Pitbulls

On the average, pit bulls live between 8 and 16 years.

©Sophia Tr/Shutterstock.com

The average lifespan of a pit bull is between 8 and 16 years, about half as long as the oldest pit bulls. Keep in mind that several breeds of dogs are called “pit bulls.” Some of them are quite large and don’t live very long, but others are small and have a fair amount of longevity.  

To give you an idea of how long they live, let’s consider some of the most popular dogs called pit bulls.

BreedLife Expectancy
American Pit Bull Terrier8 to 15 years
American Bully8 to 15 years
Staffordshire Bull Terrier12 to 14 years
American Staffordshire Terrier12 to 16 years

As you can see, some of the larger breeds of pit bulls have lifespans that greatly vary. Underlying genetic factors, exercise, diet, and whether or not the pet is spayed or neutered can impact the dog’s longevity. With the right combination of care, these dogs can live well into their teens.  

The Top 5 Oldest Pit Bulls of All Time

As with most lists of dog ages, it can be hard to determine the exact placement of each member. Most dogs don’t have documents that list their birth date like humans. Also, some people don’t get their pet dogs on the same day that they are born. That means sometimes humans only know how long they’ve had the dog and not necessarily the dog’s true age.

With that said, we’re going to examine five of the oldest pit bulls of all time and show you the extraordinary ages they reached.

5. Boss (20 Years)

Types of terrier dogs

Boss was 20 years old before he passed away.

©Ivanova N/Shutterstock.com

We don’t have a lot of information about Boss other than he was about 20 years old when he passed. He was an American pit bull terrier, so he had one of the shortest potential lifespans and didn’t let that hold him back.

Boss earned his name. He had one eye, was missing more than a few teeth, and still had the energy to play like a dog half his age. Through all that, he managed to become one of the oldest pit bulls.

4. Poe (20 Years)

Poe was a rescue dog that caught the attention of The Dodo with her story. This pup was rescued when she was around 11 years old. She got a second wind while living with her new family and survived for almost another 10 years!

3. Kathy (22 Years)

Kathy was known for her feisty attitude and for bearing very little resemblance to the pit bulls we know. Like the first entry on this list, she was a mutt mixed with a pit bull.

2. Tigger (22 Years)

Tigger was a pit bull bred with an unknown breed that lived in Texas until she passed at the age of 22 years old. We don’t know her official age. Her owners only knew that they adopted her when she was four years old and she lived another 18 years with them.

1. Max (29 Years)

A mutt pit bull named Max was the oldest pit bull to ever live. Max was adopted in 1983 and survived until May 18, 2013. He passed away at the age of 29 years and 282 days. However, his age was never recorded officially, so we don’t know if he actually surpassed Bluey the Australian cattle dog in age. The local news covered his story in 2009 when he was 26, but he lived for almost four additional years.

Of course, it is interesting that there is such an age disparity between Max and the other dogs on this list. In fact, Max is not currently recognized by any groups like Guinness World Records. Max’s age is unverified. Thus, the record-keepers can’t fairly list him as the oldest dog.

All told, Max may just be the oldest pit bull and the oldest dog to live. We may never know the truth of the matter, though. The same line of thinking applies to some of the other dogs whose ages were presented with little in the way of verification.

What you should take away from Max and the others on this list is that properly caring for your pet will allow them to live for many years, sometimes even far beyond their life expectancy.  

Summary of 5 of the Oldest Pit Bulls of All Time

Here is a list of 5 of the oldest pit bulls of all time:

RankDogAge Reached
1Max29 years
2Tigger22 years
3Kathy22 years
4Poe20 years
5Boss20 years

Is a Pit Bull a Good Family Dog?

Close-up Portrait of Smiling English Staffordshire Bull Terrier in the Garden. Cute Head Shot of Blue Staffy Outside.

The Staffordshire bull terrier is thought to be the friendliest of the pit bull breeds.

©Nikola Cedikova/Shutterstock.com

All breeds have different temperaments and are tested and ranked by the American Temperament Society. Pit bulls earned high marks and are considered to be a breed with one of the most stable temperaments of any of the purebreds. They have even ranked higher than the golden retriever and border collie. Overall, these breeds are not aggressive with people, and although they may have a lesser tolerance for other dogs, all pit breeds earn high marks for their love of children.

When a pit bull is well taken care of and handled by responsible owners, it makes one of the best family dogs and is often thought of as a social butterfly. While all are thought to be friendly, the friendliest of all the pit bull breeds is believed to be the Staffordshire bull terrier. This dog is known to be patient and kind toward children and adults alike and loves nothing more than snuggling.

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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