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Are You the Right Person for a Rottweiler?

March 31, 2012 − by Leslie − in Obedience Training Articles, Temperament Articles − 3 Comments

A dog is a commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Before buying, you need to evaluate your daily lifestyle and how a dog will affect it. A Rottweiler needs plenty of attention, exercise and care over the course of its life. It needs to be well trained, well fed and well loved in order to thrive. Besides the purchase price, there are basic expenses such as food, licensing, supplies (i.e. collar, leash, crate) and regular veterinary care. With a Rottweiler you can expect to spend a minimum of $1OO/mth.

Above all, a Rottweiler needs to be welcomed by everyone living in the home. The Rottweiler is not a breed for everyone. This is a breed with great intelligence, unmatched loyalty and a very strong nature. This is a working breed. Its ancestors were used for herding, droving, hauling and guarding. For this reason they have special traits and requirements that must be understood and considered before a Rottweiler is brought home. This is an animal of great strength, agility and endurance. From their days as a herding dog, Rottweilers have inherited their strong guarding instinct and protective nature, the ability to think independently and a tendency to bump and herd. They will bump and herd adults, children and other animals. Because of this tendency to “bump”, their exuberance and their size, a Rottweiler can easily knock over a child or an elderly or infirm adult, causing injury without actually meaning to do so. Although Rottweilers are typically tolerant, loving, gentle and able to adapt to children’s antics some breeders suggest children be at least school age before getting a Rottweilers for a pet.

The Rottweiler’s temperament varies from being a natural clown who is affectionate with almost anyone, to a reserved one person dog who follows their master from place to place, keeping a constant, sometimes obtrusive watch over their loved one. However, these are the extremes of a Rottweiler’s temperament. Typically, a well-bred Rottweiler is calm, confident and courageous. He is inherently aloof with strangers and can be somewhat reserved in new situations. Aggressiveness or belligerence towards other dogs is not faulted (though it should not be encouraged). Rottweilers are very devoted to their family but as with all dominant breeds they must be trained in order to obey and respect the humans in it’s family.

Because of this devotion, Rottweilers thrive on companionship, so if you plan to be away from home for long periods of time and plan to leave the dog unattended, this is not the breed for you. Neither should a Rottweiler be banished to the backyard, whether they are chained, in a kennel or have free run. If left to their own devices, as with other guardian type breeds, they can be-come territorial especially if they have minimal human contact or are teased and tormented by neighborhood children or other dogs. They should be raised in a household environment, as they are happiest when they are with their “people”. The Rottweiler is not suited to a sedentary owner. As a working breed, he requires vigorous daily exercise to remain in proper form. A large fenced yard is not enough. They require at least one lengthy walk per day and even better if you can throw some kind of mental exercise in as well. As with other working breeds, a Rottweiler requires mental as well as physical exercise to keep healthy and happy. Lack of mental stimulus or loneliness may result in your Rottweiler developing habits that you won’t appreciate, such as eating the couch or your favorite pair of shoes, digging, barking, etc.

Rottweilers are naturally protective of their owner’s property (and personal space) and if not socialized properly this can lead to aggression where outsiders are concerned. Rottweilers are not quick to bite but may corner someone considered an intruder. Rottweilers, as with all breeds with a strong nature, must have, at the very least, basic obedience. They are considered reliably trained when they can be controlled with verbal commands alone and do not need a collar and leash for corrections. Using commands such as sit, stay, down, come and stand, on a daily basis, as well as training your Rottweiler to walk on leash without pulling, are essential to building a strong relationship with your dog. If you are not willing to invest the time needed to find a reputable training facility and to fully train your Rottweiler in proper behavior, then again, this breed is not for you.

In training, the Rottweiler requires a firm (but not harsh or heavy) and consistent hand. They respond better to love and affection (and food) then bullying and browbeating. Treat them fairly and you will earn the Rottweilers respect, devotion and willingness to please. If you purchase a pup, never let it do anything as a baby that you wouldn’t allow it to do as an adult. Remember that these dogs are 85+lbs as adults and it’s much easier to train a baby as to retrain an adult. Take the pup to training classes so that it will come into contact with different people, dogs and be introduced to new situations. This is very important for good socialization. If you choose to do private training then an extra effort will have to be made to socialize the dog.

Grooming requirements are fairly simple due to the Rottweiler’s short coat. However, you need to keep in mind that twice a year (as with most dogs), they go through a shedding period. At this point, even with brushing several times a day, every day, there will be (or what seems to be) a never ending supply of hair on your floors and everything else the dog touches. If this concerns you then you may want to consider looking into a non-shedding breed or not get a dog at all. Another thing to keep in mind is that Rottweilers do not handle high temperatures very well, especially the males. This is due to their generally larger size but for both sexes, the main reason is due to that wonderful black coat we like so much. While they are outside you have to ensure that there is a constant source of shade and water available.

Thank you for your interest in the Rottweiler. We hope this helps you make a more informed decision about this great breed.

Information provided courtesy of: The Rottweiler Club of Canada CKC recognized National Breed Club


  1. hello!! thank you for the information on your website.
    however, it didnt quite answer a couple of problems i’m having with my 10n month old rottie.
    Grizz is my 3rd rottie (i LOVE this breed) i had a show rottie — awesome dog. the next one i got was not from a good breeder and for 10 years i could only walk him in the dark with no other dogs around.
    Grizz the one i have now is a great dog. but he is so excited when we are going somewhere in the that i just cant control him. gpoing to the off leash dog park is hard coming home he is so happy and tired that he is fine in the car. and today at the park he started lifting his leg on people!! i was so shocked he has never done this before. can you tell me why he would do this? he gets neutered on nov 29 i am hoping this will help to settle some these problems.
    any help you can give me i would really appreciate.

    thank you

    • Hi Judy! Thank you for your message and your question. It sounds like Grizz is your typical excited young boy Rottie. There are definitely some things you can do to get this under control, and I urge you to start right away while it is easier to solve. Grizz is now at an age where mentally & physically he is not fully mature, but sexually he is. At places like the dog park or in public or even at home, lifting his leg on objects or people is him attempting to ‘mark’ what he wants to claim as his own, especially if he smells other dogs.Getting him neutered may help some by reducing the testosterone fueling these urges to mark. But the very best thing to do is to hold off on going to dog parks until you get a good handle on his obedience. You & Grizz should enroll in obedience classes together where you will learn to manage his energy and Grizz will still have time to socialize with other dogs in a safe, controlled atmosphere. Even those of us who have had Rottweilers for years still take our new dogs & puppies to obedience classes 🙂 Once you are confident in his obedience and you two are working well together, and his commands are reliable, then trips to the dog park will be much more fun for both of you! Good luck and have fun!

      Laura Grandmont
      RCC President

  2. hello,
    My boyfriend and I have wonderfully loyal and quirky Rottie. In Sept he’ll be 3. He’s daddy’s boy but our relationship is solid and I regularly take him out on my own He’s a great big suck at home and very happy and playful, he even grooms and plays with one of our cats. At home or he’s playful and sweet with everyone. With familiar dogs and small dogs he’s great, but with larger (mainly male) dogs he tends to challenge, he’s also much more protective of me than my boyfriend and for this I muzzle him on outings. With the muzzle on, he’s pretty docile, his haunches may go up but it doesn’t take long for him to calm down and go into play mode (with boundaries of course). I’ve socialized him with other dogs and people since puppyhood, his aggression only began as his scent developed (puberty), he was fixed at 18 months. He was also entered in group setting training classes from 3 months to 18 months. I don’t really have an issue with this, he’s an alpha breed, I’ve grown very in tuned with his signs, and respect his boundaries with other animals.

    Until recently (a couple weeks or so), he’s been amazing with almost every person he encounters. There have been times where I’ve been walking with him at night where he’s given warning growls/barks (only to men) but never charged a person. Again this didn’t concern me because of the rottie’s nature to protect. I gave him a firm correction and moved on. Thankfully I keep him muzzled on outings because on 2 occasions in the last 10 days he’s charged men walking by me. He hasn’t bitten but jumped up, snarled, growled and sort of burrowed his forehead into the guy and pushed him back (almost like a football player). This happened on leash, on leash he’s much more protective and territorial. The first guy was known to me so after I corrected my dog, I asked him to approach again, reached out to him while reassuring my dog and reintroduced them properly, after that my dog was good with, nuzzling for petting and licking his hand. I didn’t know the other guy so I just corrected my dog and apologized. Thankfully my dog didn’t hurt anyone. But these incidents have shown a new side of my dog that very much needs to be addressed.
    It’s important to mention that these issues seem to be uniquely related to me. My boyfriend doesn’t need to muzzle him when they walk. He does muzzle him with unfamiliar dogs though. It’s as if our dog trusts that he can take care of himself, whereas I need a little help!
    My boyfriend and I agree that training is the key to this issue and have looked into a couple classes but we’re not quite sure which direction to take. Should we enrol him in classes to reduce aggression or should we embrace his nature and enrol him in protection training? The first would be geared at behaviour control and management with an attempt to shut this down, and the latter would harness his behaviour but teach him when and where it’s appropriate and have him look to us for direction.
    Thanks for any advice. 🙂

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