Rottweilers, Rotts, or Rotties are naturally heavy, bulky dogs, with a wide chest and strong legs. These charismatic companions are well known for their huge appetites – but does that make Rottweilers prone to obesity?
Rottweilers were originally bred as working dogs and today they still have a genetic predisposition to eat as much as possible so they will have enough energy to work with their humans. But as they age, Rottweilers become more prone to obesity as their activity levels and metabolism slow down.
In this article, we will cover how to recognize obesity in your Rottweiler as well as the steps you should take to keep your beloved Rottie happy and healthy.
Are Rottweilers prone to obesity?
Rottweilers have been bred over many years to be thick-set, heavy, and strong. They were traditionally used as working dogs and still exhibit characteristically high energy and intelligence.
All of that energy needs a lot of food! So these lovely dogs typically have very large appetites and can be really persistent when it comes to mealtimes. As they get older their metabolism begins to slow down and they spend less time running around which can translate into a gradually expanding doggy waistline.
Rottweilers are consistently placed on lists of dogs prone to obesity and it doesn’t take much for your pooch to be classified as overweight or even obese.
When is a Rottweiler too fat?
To know if your Rottie is too fat, you need to know its age, sex, and height. The average adult Rottweiler will stand between 22 and 27 inches tall and weigh between 90 and 135 pounds.
To be classified as overweight they need to weigh 10 – 20% more than their ideal weight for their sex and height. If they weigh over 20% of their ideal weight then they are classed as obese.
Rottweilers are considered to be fully grown by 1 year old with males being slightly taller than females on average. Have a look at the table below to see the ideal weight for an adult Rottweiler, and how much they weigh when 10% and 20% overweight.
|Age||Height||Ideal Weight||10% overweight||20% overweight|
|Male||1 year||24 – 27 inches||95 – 125 pounds||105 – 138 pounds||114 – 150 pounds|
|Female||1 year||22 – 25 inches||80 – 95 pounds||88 – 105 pounds||96 – 114 pounds|
Do overweight and obese mean the same thing?
Like humans, the terms overweight and obese are used to describe different levels of fatness. Your Rottweiler can weigh up to 10% over their ideal weight before they are classified as overweight.
Once they hit a weight that is at least 20% more than their ideal weight, then they are classified as obese.
How do I know if my Rottweiler is obese?
Here are 3 ways to tell if your Rottweiler is obese without weighing them:
- They struggle to run around and engage in play. Rottweilers are a breed known for their athleticism and high energy, so if you notice your Rottie struggling to get up the stairs, or getting out of breath while playing, then they may be overweight.
- No body shape definition. Stand over your Rottweiler and look down at their back. Their shape should be widest at the shoulders and taper down to a narrow waist.
When you look at your Rottie from the side they should have a large rounded chest that slopes upwards from between their front legs to their back legs. This is called an ‘abdominal tuck’ and is a key sign of a healthy dog. If they are filled out between their ribcage and back legs, then they are probably obese!
- They can’t groom easily. Dogs usually need a little help getting to those hard-to-reach areas while grooming, but if your Rottweiler struggles to groom most of their body then they are probably overweight. A healthy-sized Rottweiler should be able to easily scratch their neck and ears and twist to lick their flanks.
What’s the easiest way to weigh a Rottweiler?
If you are still unsure if your Rottweiler is obese, then you can weigh him using standard bathroom scales. Here are 3 steps to follow when weighing your pooch:
- Step on the scales and note down how much you weigh by yourself.
- Pick up your dog and weigh yourself again.
- Subtract your weight from your combined weights and voila!
If you can’t easily pick up your dog or you don’t have bathroom scales – then make an appointment with a veterinarian to accurately and safely weigh your dog.
Why do Rottweilers become obese?
These dogs are naturally large and very active so need to eat a lot of food to keep themselves healthy. This is especially true when they are puppies and young dogs – they are growing, learning, and exploring the world around them and that is very hungry work!
It’s very easy to keep feeding a Rottweiler the same amount of food as when they were a young dog. Older Rotties aren’t growing anymore and are usually less active so need less food. When they are eating more energy than they burn off they can quickly gain weight.
Obesity in Rottweilers is most common in older, female, spayed dogs due to changes in their metabolism and hormones so if this sounds familiar – keep an extra eye on your dog!
Is it bad for a Rottweiler to be obese?
The more obese your Rottweiler is, the more likely they are to have health problems later in life. Some potential risks of obesity in Rottweilers include:
- Hypertension, the technical term for high blood pressure, can lead to heart disease
- Urinary stones
- Certain caners
- Complications with anesthetic when being treated at the veterinarian
- Respiratory problems
A very obese Rottweiler will generally have a shorter lifespan than a dog of a healthy weight. It’s always a good idea to pay attention to your pet’s weight and make adjustments to their diet as they get older.
How can I treat my obese Rottweiler?
Always talk to your vet before changing your Rottweiler’s diet and take your dog back for regular checkups to make sure they are on the right path and are happy and healthy
Your vet will recommend a change in diet. This can be hard at first because your dog may not approve of new food, new portion sizes, or a lack of treats! But it’s important you stick with the diet to help your dog quickly adapt to their new way of life.
Remember: yoyo dieting is bad for humans, and it’s bad for dogs too. You are ultimately the one in control of your dog’s diet, so follow your vet’s advice and stay strong! We know those puppy dog eyes can be hard to resist!
Encouraging your dog to be more active helps support their weight loss. Take them for more frequent or longer walks and try to play with them more often. If your dog is very old or super obese then this may be tricky at first, but exercise will become easier as the weight begins to drop off.
What is the best food for Rottweilers?
The best food for your Rottweiler depends on its age, sex, height, and activity level. Your vet will be able to recommend the best food option for your dog.
No matter what diet your dog follows, it’s important to not feed them from the table – human food is not dog food! Having the right balance is the trick to helping your beloved pet lose weight healthily.
What is an underweight Rottweiler?
Although Rottweilers are prone to obesity, sometimes they can go too far the other way and end up being underweight. This is most likely when a Rottweiler is younger and they are still growing as they need a lot of food to keep up with their playfulness and quick growth.
Here are some things to look out for if you think your Rottweiler may be underweight:
- Visible bones, particularly ribs and hips. Healthy weight dogs have a natural curve in their hips and along their ribcage, but you should not be able to see individual bones.
- Overly steep abdominal tuck. The swooping line from between their front legs up to their hips should be smooth and not strongly angled. If your dog’s tummy looks very hollow, then they may be underweight.
If you think your dog is underweight you should always take them to the veterinarian to get checked over. Most of the time there is a simple solution to fix the problem, but sometimes there may be something more seriously wrong.
What other dog breeds are prone to obesity?
If your Rottweiler is obese or heading in that direction – then don’t worry, you are not alone! There are lots of other dog breeds just as prone to obesity, some even more so. Here are the top 5 other dog breeds that can become easily obese.
- Golden Retrievers
Rottweilers are personable, energetic, and big enough to be a good cuddle-buddy. But their genetics and modern lifestyle mean they can be prone to obesity. Make sure you regularly take your dog to the veterinarian for checkups and pay attention to their diet and exercise.
Keeping your dog at an ideal weight ensures your best friend will be happy and healthy for many years to come!