Before you go ahead and acquire a new dog, it is essential to think about your lifestyle. A dog is a man’s best friend and will provide you with companionship, love, affection, and protection as well. You will also need to care for them and acquaint yourself with their specific grooming, feeding needs, health, training, and exercises. Most dogs in the rescue centers are there because their ex-owners didn’t have the patience and time to take care of them. Today, let’s look at a very popular dog breed, the Rottweiler. This article will help you decide whether or not the Rottweiler dog breed is fit for you and your family.
Rottweiler Dog Breed Introduction
A Rottweiler, affectionately called Rotties or Rotts, is a blocky dog that is more recognizable with its massive head and solidly muscled body. Rottweiler’s first impression is its solid strength, which is quite accurate since it can weigh up to 135 pounds. The ears of a Rottweiler dog lie fairly tightened on its head while hanging down. The Rottweiler is very intelligent, loyal, strong, and distinctively handsome with its black and tan markings. This comprehensive breed analysis will cover what one should expect when welcoming a Rottweiler into their home. A quick word of advice, never underestimate the power and protectiveness of a Rottweiler dog. Whether you are a new or experienced Rottweiler owner, this guide will help you. You are bound to learn a few new things about this beloved breed, so keep reading till the end.
Rottweiler Breed History
The Rottweiler is ranked as among the most ancient breeds. Their name is derived from the German phrase, Rottweiler Metzger Hund, meaning Rottweil butcher dogs that references their past working dogs in Rottweil, Germany. They descended from the drover dogs (cattle driving dogs) that helped accompany the Romans via Germany, driving their herds of cattle and guarding outposts. Many remained behind in Rottweil, South Germany, and became the breed we know today.
Later on, they pulled carts for butchers and farmers and were among the earliest police dogs that served with honor in the military. In addition, they guarded the homestead and served as a guard dog, a rescue dog, a police dog, a drover dog, and a draft dog. The Rottweilers also accompanied the local butchers on buying expeditions from the Middle Ages to about 1900, carrying cash in a porch around their neck to the market. They almost died out as a breed in the late 1800s when the smaller dogs, which were easier to maintain, assumed many of their functions.
Fortunately, dedicated breeders revived the breed, and it is currently ranked as one of the most popular breeds in the United States. It is thought that a German immigrant in the late 1920s landed in the U.S. with the first Rottweiler. The breed started becoming popular after World War II when more than 100,000 were registered with the American Kennel Club.
Rottweiler Dog Physical Characteristics
The most common Rottweiler characteristic is its huge and medium-length head. Their medium-sized, dark brown ears lie roughly tight to the head and hang down somehow. The rottweiler muzzles are strong and square, but they drool because of their loose lips. Rottweilers are majorly black with tan points and have a hard double coat average length. Other physical characteristics include a wide and deep chest, a strong and wide jaw, and slightly longer than tall. Their tail is docked short and closer to the body. The Rottweiler medium-length coat is shiny and black with rust markings on the face, chest, and legs. Those familiar with this breed know that behind their strong and terrifying appearance, a properly socialized Rottweiler carries the heart of an angel and the devotion of a saint. The Rottweiler dog breed does not have webbed feet because they haven’t needed to swim through water often regarding their breeding history.
Size And Weight of Rottweiler Dog
Having a Rottweiler in your home should come with the knowledge that you will be living with a big dog who will need a bigger space. Therefore, if you are looking for a Rottweiler for your family, its size, height, and weight are vital characteristics to consider. Rottweilers are slightly longer than tall, large dogs, ranging from 24 to 25 inches for females and 25 to 26 inches for males. Their weight ranges from 95 to 105 pounds for females and 100 to 125 pounds for males. Females tend to be smaller in size and weight than their male counterparts, but generally, this breed appears massive and muscular. These dogs reach their full adult size at around two to three years.
It is important to know the ideal heights and weights at their different stages in life to determine whether your dog is growing at a healthy rate. So, if your puppy is way off the charts, you should visit your vet to help keep it at a healthy growth rate. For those who want to know if there is a difference between an American and a German rottweiler, an American rottweiler is usually a bit taller and less stocky than others. The Rottweiler adds weight easily and is prone to obesity. Therefore, they need daily exercise to keep their bodies and minds in shape.
Rottweilers Colors and Patterns
The color and pattern of a Rottweiler are exclusively distinctive. They are usually black with well-defined mahogany or rust-colored markings that do not take most of the dog’s color. Their coat is always shiny and black with rust markings on the legs, chest, and face. According to the American Kennel Club breed standard for Rottweilers, they only have three official colors: black and mahogany, black and tan, and black and rust. The black and mahogany Rottweiler is the most common variation in coat color combination. The mahogany markings have a rich, dark-brown shade, which must be well demarcated from the rest of the black coat.
These patterns of markings usually vary from one dog to the other. Each eye must have a single mahogany spot, and the rest distributed in different densities over the necks, face, legs, chest, and cheeks. Black and rust are also common, and it might be challenging to differentiate them from black and mahogany. The rust markings have a bit more reddish-brown hue on them that is lighter than the deep mahogany. Lastly, the black and tan variation has the most faded markings, ranging from soft brown hues to almost golden shades. The separation of the coat’s black base and markings are well defined on the skin. All colored markings found on the Rottweiler are in the eyebrows, legs, cheeks, tail, and chest.
Read Also: Do Rottweilers Fart?
Shedding Levels and Grooming Routine
The Rottweiler has a doubled layered coat, and therefore you can expect moderate shedding. A Rottweiler will always remove its undercoat twice a year to prepare for the upcoming weather changes. The shedding mostly happens in spring and again in the fall. During this time, there will be a massive increase in shedding, which usually depends on the climate you live in.
Even during the high seasonal shedding, your Rottweiler should not be shedding in clusters. Some of the causes of excessive shedding include irritated skin, poor diet, hormonal imbalance in pregnant dogs, allergies, and fleas.
The Rottweiler has an easier maintenance coat that nourishes when brushed every week and an occasional bath once a month. This will reduce the number of hairs you find around your house. The brushing also helps to remove dead hairs, thus leaving the coat healthy to continue with the normal shedding process and growth. During the biannual skin-blowing season, Rottweiler owners are advised to consider taking their dog to a professional groomer.
Remember, you can be tempted to add additional baths during the coat blowing season, which isn’t recommended since too much bathing removes healthy oils from your Rottweiler’s skin, thus leading to more shedding. Rottweilers will also need regular nail triming and teeth brushing to help keep it healthy. Always look out for sores, rashes, or inflammation in the skin, ears, feet, eyes, nose, mouth, and infection signs like redness and tenderness as you groom your dog.
Energy Level and Exercise Routine
Rottweilers have a high-energy level that requires them to exercise more to stay healthy and reduce aggression. An adult dog should get 1-2 hours of daily exercise, which is quite a long time to do in one walk. Therefore, you may split it into three types of workouts:
- 30-60 minutes of daily walks
- 30-60 minutes of vigorous physical exercise. You can take them for a run, long hikes, jogs, or interactive games like play fetch.
- 15-30 minutes of mental stimulation. Mental exercise is also important to prevent the puppy from boredom. Providing mental stimulation includes interactive toys, food puzzles, agility training, and scenting games.
Rottweilers do best with at least 45 minutes of exercise daily, but healthy adults will happily tolerate more. Since Rotties are large breed dogs, their bones take longer to develop and set fully. Therefore, controlled exercise is critical if your Rottweiler is a puppy. Rotties under 18 months shouldn’t have any forced activity that’s longer than 10 minutes. Puppies, seniors, and sick dogs will need a moderate amount of exercise.
Exercise is essential in a dog’s life, so you must provide it no matter the circumstances. If your Rottie doesn’t get enough daily practice, they will have pent-up energy and find destructive ways to release it. The Rottweiler needs enough exercise because they are prone to overweight and obesity.
The Life Span of a Rottweiler Dog
On average, larger dog breeds tend to have a shorter life span than smaller breeds. This fact alone of being a large dog cuts down on the life expectancy of the Rottweiler. This dog breed tends to live 8-10 years, although there is a record of others living up to 13 years.
Rottweilers are generally healthy dogs, but they tend to develop health issues that reduce their lifespan. These diseases include hip and elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis, Sub-Aortic Stenosis, cancer, and entropion. The most common cause of death in Rottweilers is cancer. This doesn’t mean that your Rottie will suffer these ailments, but you should be aware of them if you consider this breed, so you are prepared.
On the bright side, there are a couple of things you can do to extend the lifespan of your Rottweiler. For starters, offer a healthy diet to your Rottie. Keep your Rottie at a good weight by providing regular exercise that will strengthen their heart muscles and entire body. Obesity will make cardiovascular issues and diabetes more possible. Choose your Rottweiler from a good breeder dedicated to the health and longevity of their dogs.
Most importantly, remember to regularly visit your vet. This will help identify any health issue in time for better treatment and lifespan of your dog. Other ways to increase your Rottweiler’s life span include vaccination (at the recommended time), maintaining good hygiene, and spaying or neutering.
Generally, factors affecting Rottweiler’s lifespan include; size, health conditions and disorders, sex (female Rotties live longer than their male counterparts), age, and hormones.
Are Rottweilers Hypoallergenic
Even though some individuals with allergies are affected by dog hair, the main culprit is the protein in the animal’s saliva, dander, and urine. Hypoallergenic dogs are characterized by their tendency to drool less, shed less, and produce less dander, thus triggering allergies less. A hypoallergenic dog breed is purposely more compatible with allergic individuals.
Rottweilers are wonderful companion dogs; unfortunately, they are not classified as hypoallergenic by The American Kennel Club. This dog breed is a seasonal shedder, meaning sometimes they will shed more during the year. When the hair falls off, it is covered in dander which causes allergic reactions.
If you have your heart is set on having a Rottweiler but you have pet allergies, there are some ways you can minimize the allergic reactions. Regular grooming, including brushing and bathing, can help control your dog’s dander. It goes without saying that if you’re the one with allergies, you probably shouldn’t be doing the grooming. You can have a friend or a family member do the regular brushing, especially during seasonal shedding, since this is when the dander and shedding are at their peak. It would be best to do the grooming outside to keep the dander away. You can also train your Rottie to sleep in specific areas to help keep the hair in confined areas, out of your personal space. Lastly, seek medical solutions to help manage your allergies.
Feeding your Rottweiler a balanced diet with the necessary nutrients is crucial for their wellbeing. Rottweilers are muscular, huge, and energetic dogs that require a high-quality diet rich in proteins to help maintain their health. This breed may suffer some food allergies, and therefore they need a hypoallergenic diet to avoid such health problems as gas, vomiting, dry and itchy skin. Just like any other dog, your Rottweiler diet will change from puppyhood to adulthood. A hypoallergenic diet will also help with their sensitive stomach. Rottweiler puppies need less portion size but more servings in a day than a fully grown adult who receives two servings a day of portion based on its weight. They should receive between 4-6 cups of kibble a day, served in two different meals.
Several factors will determine the type of food you give your Rottweiler. For example, a puppy will need 2-3 cups daily, whereas adults will have 4-6 cups daily. A highly active Rottweiler will need more calories than a lazy one. When your dog is pregnant or nursing, they will need increased portions of highly nutritious foods. This will help replenish their body and provide nutrition for their puppies. In addition, watch what you feed your Rottweiler and how fast they eat because these dogs tend to experience flatulence and fart a lot.
Are Rottweilers Suitable for Apartments?
Because of their huge size and high energy levels, you may think that Rottweilers are not suitable for apartments. These dogs are quiet and can live anywhere, provided their needs are catered for. The most important thing is to make sure they get enough exercise, pee breaks, and proper training to enable them to live in your apartment. The Rottweilers are also very friendly and love being around their owners. Living in an apartment will make them feel comfortable knowing at all times where you are without following you around. This will reduce separation anxiety, which is common in dogs. Rotties are generally inactive inside, and therefore, the size of the apartment is not important. You have to ensure they spend enough time outdoors to play, exercise, and relieve themselves.
Here are a few tips to help keep your Rottweiler happy and healthy in your apartment.
- Offer plenty of physical and mental exercise so they don’t find destructive ways to release excess energy.
- Rotties need extensive attention; therefore, do not leave them alone for too long. The feeling of abandonment will make your Rottweiler get aggressive and lash out.
- Avoid living on the upper floors because your dog will need plenty of breaks outside. You don’t want to strain their bladder and legs.
Can Rottweilers Live Outside, In Cold and Hot Weather?
Different dog breeds work well under different weather conditions. Some may love the cold and snow, while others the sun. Rottweilers are versatile breeds and have double coats that are coarse, dense, and straight, thus acting like insulation against extreme temperatures. Rottweilers like being outside in the cold and snow since they were bred to be working dogs that can sustain mostly the cold temperatures. Make sure you check on them in case the temperatures drop below freezing. You can as well keep them warm by covering them with a jacket or a coat precisely made for Rottweilers.
Rottweilers can also live in the heat if you take the right precautions, including supervision and providing water and shade. However, just like any other dog breed, you shouldn’t leave your Rottweiler all day outside in hot weather. The dangers of keeping your Rottweiler out in the sun for too long include heatstroke, sunburn, dehydration, and heat exhaustion. The Rottweiler prefers to be cool than warm. On a hot sunny day, you will notice your Rottweiler searching for shade rather than basking in the heat. If your Rottweiler is too old or young, keep them inside.
Rottweilers are well-known protectors of their owners and will do well outside the house. There must be adequate shelter outside if it gets too hot or starts raining.
Rottweiler Dog Personality Characteristics
The Rottweiler gets along nicely with people and other dogs when they are well socialized, though the males can be a little aggressive and dominant. They are incredibly loyal, hence making them superb watchdogs that can protect your family fearlessly. But to be precise, you’ll have to train them that way. Rottweilers are capable of inflicting severe damage; as such, they need an intellectual owner to provide constant training and enough socialization. With zero guidance, Rottweilers can turn to nuisance barkers and diggers and even display undesirable behaviors. They are also very active and smart dogs that can be excessively self-governing. They are smart, which makes them stubborn at times. They are cuddly and love giving and receiving hugs too.
That being said, always remember that an individual dog’s temperament can be triggered by several factors like past experiences, heredity, how well socialized they are, and how you treat them.
Living With Children and Family Members
Despite the Rottweiler’s big size, they are great with kids because of their loyal nature and affectionate temperaments instincts. They can be categorized as good family dogs if you treat them with love and kindness. A Rottie can be happy living in an active home since they enjoy playing and interacting with the children and other family members. If you raise your Rottweiler puppy around your children, he will be loyal and protective of them.
This dog has the most playful and goofiest personality that will charm your child. And if you love outdoor activities, the better because they enjoy playing outside. Since they have high energy levels, they will love to channel some of it out and engage in activities like running, playing, and jumping around with the kids and family members in the yard.
Children should be taught how to behave around the Rottweiler without pulling its ears and tail. Parent supervision is still needed until the Rottweiler is fully socialized and trained. These dogs can be clumsy and unknowingly knock down the kids while playing, which can be a problem given their large size. It is recommended not to leave your Rottweiler with the kids for too long.
Living With Cats and Other Dogs
Rottweilers tend to do best with larger dogs to handle their strong, powerful build and rough play. But they can also get along with a variety of other breeds. When introducing a new dog, especially an adult one, to your home with a resident Rottie, one has to do it carefully and slowly since they are territorial (part of their protective instincts). Ensure the dog is on a leash when they first meet the dog. After multiple interactions, you will notice that both animals respond better to one another. One should go for an opposite gender whenever they want to introduce a new dog. Just like most dogs, Rotties can sometimes be less tolerant of dogs of the same gender.
Rottweilers have a high prey drive, which can be problematic when interacting with other pets like cats, but they can get along with them with enough socialization and proper training. If you train your Rottie well, they will become comfortable around other animals, as well as sounds, sights, smells, and social situations. Avoid situations where the cat feels the need to run since that can trigger a Rottie’s instinct to chase, thus leading to a complex problem. It would help if you gave your cat plenty of areas where they can run without a chase.
Barking Levels of a Rottweiler Dog
All dogs bark; after all, it is their form of communication. Rottweilers are calm and quiet dogs, and if they bark, then there is a reason. Rottweilers do not bark a lot; they generally respond quietly to their environment. They also tend to study the situations keenly before they decide to react. Like other dogs, Rottweilers produce all types of groans, howls, and whines that express themselves. That being said, it is rare for them to be loud and excessive.
Some of the reasons behind your Rottweiler barking loudly is when they are thirsty and hungry. They could also be alerting you to something happening in their surroundings, for instance, when a stranger or thief tries to break into your home. Other reasons for barking include boredom, calling for attention, just being territorial, fear or alarm, loneliness, injury or pain, and lastly, excitement.
Excessive barking can be a nuisance to you and even the neighbors. Here are a few tips to help you control your Rottweiler’s barking levels:
- Provide proper canine socialization
- Engage in physical activities to help your Rottweiler release excess energy
- Avoid leaving them for a long period
- Eliminate the stimuli
- Training your Rottweiler to bark on command and teaching them the quiet command
Are Rottweilers Good Guard and Watchdogs?
The phrases guard and watchdog are commonly used interchangeably, but these two have different meanings. A watchdog alerts their owners of a potential threat, whereas a guard dog will alert everyone of a problem and further step in to defend their family if need be. Some dog breeds are better off as watchdogs, while others can do both. Rottweilers are well known to be the best guard dogs of any species. They have been bred to be guardians throughout their history, and most have a strong instinct to guard. They make an excellent guard dog that will protect your family and property.
They are physically powerful with their huge body with one of the most impressive barks. They are also intelligent and loyal to their owner, thus making them great guard dogs. Their bite is certainly worse than its bark, and they will attack an intruder with the potential to inflict great bodily harm. Even the young and untrained Rottweilers may have the bravery to attack if needed. This is why they have been so effective as police and military dogs. Therefore, if you are looking for a guard dog that does not back down on danger, this breed is a perfect choice.
Some dog breeds can be more aggressive than others. When you hear of a Rottweiler, everyone assumes that it must be a fighter dog prone to violence because of its large and muscular body. A 2008 canine aggression study explains that Rottweilers are averagely aggressive towards their owners and other dogs but more to strangers because they are unsure. With their history of protection and guarding, Rottweilers can be more prone to a territorial display of aggression, mostly if they do not receive proper training and socialization. The aggression level tends to be much more in males than females. The severity of injury when aggression occurs makes Rottweilers’ aggression noticeable. Their big skulls also give them one of the most powerful bites on the planet. Their natural tendency to be aggressive requires a sturdy owner willing to train them when they get home.
A Rottweiler can also become aggressive if mistreated and not properly managed. If you inflict pain on your dog, they will react in a way that could be dangerous. Aggression can also be because of being protective, pain, illness, and showing dominance to other dogs. Lastly, these dogs are very active, and if not given proper outlets for their energy, they could develop behavioral problems like aggression.
Can A Rottweiler Be Left Alone?
Leaving your dog alone at home is inevitable, and it is something you will have to do one way or another. After all, you will never be around your dog 24/7, even if you work from home. You will always need to run some errands and leave your dog alone for some time. Some breeds of dogs can handle being left alone while others cannot.
Rottweilers can be left alone at home, but the duration of time matters. If trained properly, healthy Rottweilers can handle being left alone for like 4-6 hours at a time. After that, they will grow restless to their needs like going to the bathroom, exercising, drinking water, and eating. You might want to ensure they have access to all those if you have to leave for too long. Rottweilers are also social dogs and may suffer from separation anxiety and stress if constantly left alone for long hours. Your dog will also find ways to keep themselves busy while you are away, like chew on everything, bark excessively, dig around, or even try to run away. Puppies and sick dogs should never be left alone for such long hours. You can also ask a friend, neighbor, or hire a dog sitter to watch your Rottweiler while you are away.
Rottweiler Dog Training- Easy or Hard
Rottweilers are among the smartest breed around. They are mainly used as service and working dogs because of their high levels of intelligence and trainability. Even though most Rottweilers have a stubborn streak, they are easy to train compared to other breeds. They are generally ready to please their owners and eager to be prepared. Therefore, teaching them good behavior and socializing them early on will bring out the best in your Rottweiler. Rottweilers are easy to prepare because of their history of work obedience, and they love positive encouragement. Be sure to keep the training short to maximize their attention and always use positive reinforcement (praises and rewards when they behave well) since they do not respond well to harsh punishments or being yelled at.
Rottweiler Dog Potty Training
Potty training for any dog should start early enough. You don’t want to have your dog pooping everywhere in the house. It is one of the most frustrating parts of owning a dog and requires patience and consistency. You should also be aware that potty training is not easy and doesn’t happen overnight. Rottweiler is smart, quick to learn, and loves to please you, which is the perfect combination for anyone trying to potty-train them. They rely on us as their master to let them out to go potty.
To complete your training, you will need:
- A designated pooping area, either outdoors or indoors
- Treats for rewarding them when they eliminate successfully
- Leash for taking them out
- Cleaning supplies for the occasional accidents
When dealing with the occasional accidents, you must keep your temper and never hit your dog for messing in the house. You can say, “No, Rottie, potty outside,” and then take them out in their designated potty area when cleaning it up. Reward them immediately they eliminate correctly with praises and treats.
Rottweiler Dog Obedience Training
Rottweilers are known to be the most obedient breed. But they don’t train themselves as it is our job to help them achieve their full potential. This loyal and eager to please breed can behave wonderfully with proper obedience training. You may want to start training your Rottweiler basic commands from an early stage like sit, shake, lay down, stay, and come. These commands will help you guide them through what is right and wrong. You can select a location for your training, either in the living room, park, or backyard.
Some obedience training tips include:
- Teach one new trick at a time
- Keep the training sessions short and fun
- Reward them for good behavior with praises and treats
- Never hit your dog because it is never a solution
- Be consistent
- Be patient with your dog, even if the training gets frustrating
It would be great to reinforce some ground rules to show your Rottweiler who is in charge. For instance, use the commands to stop jumping on people, barking, and biting. Furthermore, it is important to offer plenty of exercises to release excess energy. A tired dog is calmer and more likely to follow rules than a hyper one.
Rottweiler Behavioral Training
Behavioral problems in dogs include digging, biting, excess barking, chewing on everything, peeing in the house, and trying to run away. These tend to result from a lack of behavioral training. Please start with the basic commands to teach them what is acceptable dog behavior and what isn’t. The best way to avoid your Rottweiler behavioral problems is by properly training and socializing your dog, and this should begin at a young age. Start by introducing him to new pets and people while on a leash and see his reaction. Boredom is another reason that can cause Rottweiler behavior problems. So, learn to engage your dog in enough physical activities to release energy.
Lastly, during training, always reward your Rottweiler with praise or a treat whenever they behave well. If you want to break your Rottweiler’s bad behavior, you have to be consistent with the training and the rules you enforce. For instance, if your dog has a behavior of chewing everything around, don’t go ahead and offer them old stuff in the house to chew and expect them to change. You will just be confusing the dog by providing him exceptions, and that’s not how to train your Rottweiler’s behavior.
Rottweiler Protection Training
Rottweilers are first-class guarding and protection dogs and were mostly used by the military. Because of their sturdy, muscular body and intimidating stance, they can protect your home from intruders. They are also very loving and loyal to their owners, and they will not hesitate to attack and defend them. To teach your Rottie how to protect, you will first teach them the basic commands. You can introduce distractions while training your Rottie to teach it to focus on guarding the house.
During the protection training, you can encourage your Rottweiler to follow its instincts. You would want to teach your Rottweiler the three levels of protection; barking, patrolling, and attacking. Use the obedience commands to teach them when to protect and bark. If you succeed in this form of training, you will not have to worry about intruders because your Rottweiler will be keeping you and your family safe.
A word of advice, you should only train your Rottweiler to protect only when outside and not attack family members inside the house. This dog breed has a bad bite which is worse for human beings.