Rottweilers (or “Rotties,” as their fans call them) are both beloved family companions and serious guard dogs. They've earned both reputations: they can be fiercely devoted to their chosen people, and their inherent protectiveness make Rottweilers valued police, service, and therapy dogs. However, this has also made the breed a target of some local breed specific legislation and they can be more costly for homeowners to insure.
This breed needs consistent training from a young age to help her know what kind of “protection” is appropriate and what's not. It's also important to keep her mentally and physically active to avoid her finding less-desirable ways to release her energy.
Originally from Germany, this medium-sized and medium-energy ancient breed can grow to between 80-135 pounds and lives an average of 8-11 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Working group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Guardian
Breed Group: Working
Average Lifespan: 8-11 years
Size: Extra Large
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 15
FAMILY livestock dog, sheepdog, mastiff (draft/cattle)
AREA OF ORIGIN Germany
DATE OF ORIGIN ancient times
ORIGINAL FUNCTION cattle drover, guardian, draft
TODAY'S FUNCTION security, herding trials, Schutzhund
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 24-27 Weight: 85-135
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 22-25 Weight: 80-100
OTHER NAME none
Energy level Medium energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Not very playful
Affection level Somewhat affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Shy
Friendliness toward other pets Shy
Friendliness toward strangers Shy
Ease of training Moderately easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Very protective
Grooming needs Low maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Low tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A ROTTWEILER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Protective and loyal, Rottweilers are often playful and loving toward children. They might be overly protective of “their” kids around strangers, however; this is one of the reasons early and frequent socialization is so important. Given her size and sheer strength, this confident guardian will do best if supervised with kids and other dogs.
WHAT IS ROTTWEILER BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Rottweilers are alert and calm housedogs, provided they get enough exercise. “Enough” is going to involve a minimum of two daily workouts — preferably with you, since Rotties love spending time with their people.
Remember that Rottweilers are a working breed, meaning they're happiest and healthiest when they have a job to do. A bored or neglected Rottie can do a lot of damage to your furniture, yard, and clothing.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A ROTTWEILER?
Rottweilers are fast learners who respond well to training. Some can be a bit stubborn. You won't get anywhere trying to strong-arm a Rottie. Reward good behaviors, and be patient and consistent with your pup.
She'll appreciate training for both the physical activity and the mental stimulation it provides. This breed enjoys competing in herding, obedience, and tracking events.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO ROTTWEILERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Their short, straight coats shed an average amount seasonally, but don't require much in the way of grooming. Plan for weekly brushings and occasional baths.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO ROTTWEILERS HAVE?
As a breed, Rottweilers are generally healthy. Some are prone to orthopedic problems (like elbow or hip dysplasia), eye disease, heart defects, bone cancer, or bleeding disorders. Your veterinarian may want to do a few extra exams or tests to check for these.
Feeding your baby Rottweiler a growth food for large-breed puppies will slow their rate of growth but not diminish their adult stature, and may help prevent or reduce the impact of adult-onset hip dysplasia.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE ROTTWEILERS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Rottweilers among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies. You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your Rottie after you've been playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, and so produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as large as a Rottweiler!
WHAT IS A ROTTWEILER'S BEST DAY?
Rottweilers want to spend time with you and do their jobs, whether that's pulling carts, protecting your home, or the very serious business of playing with “her” kids in the backyard. (Under your watchful eye.) Rotties want to be with you as much as possible, so their very best day is a day spent with you.
SHOULD I ADOPT A ROTTWEILER?
The main thing to keep in mind is that these dogs need serious training and lots of regular exercise. If you can't do this, a Rottie is probably not the best choice for you. However, if you commit to positive reinforcement training early and often, and make sure she gets plenty of time to run and work outside, you won't find a more devoted or affectionate guardian.
Have you decided that a Rottweiler is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.