When deciding to bring a dog into your home, the last thing you want is to get an aggressive pet that puts yourself and your family at risk. One of the first questions individuals ask about Rottweilers specifically is whether they are aggressive and bite.
Rottweilers are capable of biting. Although Rottweilers are loving and affectionate, they bite if provoked or attacked. Because of their strong bite force, Rottweilers are responsible for a high percentage of dog bite fatalities. However, the breed itself is not aggressive, and learning how to treat the dog with respect will largely diminish your chances of being bitten.
To learn more about Rottweilers and their bite, keep reading.
Do Rottweilers Bite?
Just like any other dog breed, Rottweilers are capable of biting. Biting is a necessity for their survival because it allows them to chew their food, hunt, and explore the world. Anytime you are dealing with a dog, you are risking being bitten.
Because of the size of Rottweilers, a bite can be a lot more painful and damaging than the bite of a smaller breed. Because of this fact, you always need to be careful when dealing with a Rottweiler. Their bite can be deadly.
The good news is that Rottweilers are very easy to train, and they are super loving and affectionate when treated respectfully. In fact, most Rottweiler owners describe their dogs as being clingy. If you train your Rottweiler and provide it with the love and respect it deserves, it is not very likely to bite.
In contrast, Rottweilers that are abused, neglected and provoked can and sometimes will bite. For this reason, it’s imperative to learn proper behavior around Rottweilers and dogs in general to mitigate bites.
How Often Do Rottweilers Bite?
Rottweilers are often listed as one of the most dangerous dogs, but it is not because they bite frequently. Between the years 2005 and 2017, there were only 45 fatal attacks made by Rottweilers. During that same period, 284 fatal attacks were made by Pit Bulls. This huge difference in numbers shows that Rottweilers do not bite frequently.
The trouble with Rottweilers is that they’re very strong. When they bite, the bite can be incredibly painful and sometimes fatal.
In 2019 alone, Rottweiler ranked third in terms of fatal dog attacks by breed. Pit Bulls were responsible for 69% of fatal attacks and mixed breeds were responsible for 13%. Rottweilers were responsible for 8%, which added up to four fatalities in total. In 2020, Rottweilers did not rank at all.
Bite Force Behind A Rottweiler
Rottweilers have a bite force of around 328 pounds. To put that in perspective, Pit Bulls only have a bite force of 235 pounds, but way more fatalities come from Pitties. The Rottweiler is only second in terms of bite force to the Mastiff, which has a bite force of 552 pounds.
This bite force tells you that a Rottweiler’s bite can do real damage. It’s a good thing that these dogs do not bite frequently and are more prone to being lovable and friendly.
Why Do Rottweilers Bite?
Rottweilers bite for the same reason that any other dog bites. Biting can be outright aggressive, but it can also be a form of play. Understanding why Rottweilers bite can help you avoid harmful scenarios. Here are the most common reasons that Rottweilers bite.
Dogs often bite because they are scared. Biting is a way of protecting themselves from the potential threat. Sometimes, dogs may be momentarily scared, such as when they are woken up unexpectedly. This surprise jolts a gut instinct in them to react.
Most of the time, Rottweilers and other dogs only bite their owners out of fear whenever the owner is outright aggressive or if the owner startles them. It’s for this reason you should not startle your dog on purpose because it may scare them.
Rottweilers also bite whenever they are injured or in pain. This injury could be something serious, such as a broken leg, or it could be in the form of something more temporary, such as their tail being pulled. Biting is a way of protecting themselves whenever they are injured.
In most dog attack cases where children are involved, the dog bit almost always because the child provoked the dog by pulling on its tail, messing with its ears, or doing something else that hurt the dog. Even the most well-behaved dogs will bite if they are in pain.
Dogs are all territorial, but Rottweilers are especially territorial. Some Rottweilers will bite in order to protect their food or possessions. Most dogs are territorial against other dogs, but the behavior can be projected onto humans.
Extremely territorial breeds, such as Rottweilers, are more likely to bite newcomers or guests because they are territorial over their homes and people. Oftentimes, Rottweilers view guests as a potential threat and try to defend the owners as a result.
It’s important to understand that not all biting is aggressive. Dogs often play with one another by biting. Young dogs will sometimes play with humans by biting as well, without realizing that they are harming the human. Especially for a breed as strong as the Rottweiler, play biting can be dangerous.
Don’t Blame The Breed
Unfortunately, Rottweilers are ranked as being one of the most dangerous breeds. This danger is more related to their bite force than their behavior. As we learned above, Rottweilers are not responsible for a lot of bites, but the few Rottweilers that do bite cause a lot of damage.
Not to mention, most Rottweilers bite for a reason. Either they are scared, injured, or territorial. This goes to show that Rottweilers are not outright aggressive. They don’t bite just because they are crazy. They bite because they actually have a reason to bite.
In other words, don’t discount Rottweilers and chalk them up as an aggressive breed. On the contrary, Rottweilers are known for being incredibly lovable, cuddly, and playful. Especially whenever they are properly trained and cared for, Rottweilers are anything but aggressive. This goes for any breed!
Proper Behavior Around A Rottweiler
Since Rottweilers mainly bite out of fear, pain, or territorial behavior, your own behavior will largely determine how the Rottweiler reacts.
First impressions matter for dogs. The first time you meet the dog, make sure to approach it in a nonthreatening way. Here are some tips for approaching a dog for the first time:
- Squat with your side facing the dog.
- Let the dog come to you.
- Do not lean over the dog.
- Don’t make eye contact with the dog.
- Let the dog smell you.
- Talk in a friendly voice.
Look For Signs Of Stress
Dogs show stress differently from humans. Obviously, stay away from a dog if it is barking, growling, running away, or tucking its tail between its legs. These are all obvious signs that the dog does not want you to approach. Some more subtle signs of stress include:
- Pulled back ears
- Licking lips
- Raised paw
- Dilated pupils
- Crouching down
- Jerky movements
- Avoiding eye contact
- Raised hair
Most importantly, never tease a dog. Most dog attacks that happen within the family occur because the dog was being teased. Teasing a dog may look like taunting it with a toy, pulling its tail, or startling it awake. Just as you don’t want to be teased, your dog does not want to be teased either.
If you have children in the household, take special precautions to teach your child how to behave around the animal. Nearly all attacks on children occur because the child does not know how to properly behave around the dog. Teaching your child how to behave around the Rottweiler and monitoring their interactions is the best way to go.
Train Your Rottie
Training your Rottweiler is one of the best ways to encourage happy and healthy behaviors. Many people do not realize that training a dog actually bonds you to it. Once you train the dog, it will trust you more. This means your Rottweiler is less likely to attack, even if it is scared or provoked. Still follow the steps above even if your Rottweiler is trained.
At the end of the day, Rottweilers are dogs, which means they bite. All dogs have teeth, strong jaws, and natural reactions to bite if they are hunting or provoked. Rottweilers are the same way.
Rottweilers are not frequent biters, but they have a strong bite force. Because of their bite force, Rottweilers are one of the more dangerous dogs. Luckily, these dogs are loving, sweet, and affectionate, especially when in the hands of a responsible owner.
To keep yourself as safe as possible around a Rottweiler, or any other dog, make sure to treat it with the respect it deserves. Approach the dog slowly, look for signs of stress, and never tease. If the dog is your own, make sure to train it properly.