Rottweiler Temperament and Personality
The Rottweiler dog breed is one of the most popular breeds in America. And it’s no surprise as to why. Rottweilers are extremely loyal, intelligent, and they are known to be very hard working. Originally, the Rottweiler dog breed was used to drive cattle to the markets, and after were used to pull the carts for the butchers. Rottweilers were also one of the earliest police dogs and served in the military.
Yet with all these important roles, Rottweilers still make for great family guardians and companions. They are built tough and maybe a bit overwhelming due to their size, but the Rottweiler can be the perfect pet for any household with plenty of love and training. Let’s take a closer look at the Rottweiler dog breed, its physical characteristics, personality, breed history, and much more!
Rottweiler Characteristics (Physical)
Rottweilers are a large dog breed that is easily recognizable due to their powerful stature and sturdy build. Rottweilers are known for their black coat with their defined brown markings around the mouth, chin, neck, chest, paws, and thighs. Overall, their body is built for great strength, agility, and endurance. The Rottweiler’s head is a medium length and carries a look of pride and nobility.
The side profile is moderately arched with strong upper and lower jaws. The eyes are medium size, almond shape with a sense of alertness. The ears are triangular and are level with the top of the head. The rest of the body is long, powerful, and muscular. The chest is roomy, broad, and well-pronounced. The forequarters are long, with the elbows set well under the body.
The hindquarters are balanced with the forequarters and are powerful to help with the body’s agility. A Rottweiler puppy is usually born with a long tail, but it is cropped at birth to about 2 inches.
Rottweiler dog breeds are known to be a rather bulky but sturdy size. They are medium to large sized-dog with males ranging from 24 to 27 inches while females range from about 22 to 25 inches. With their natural tail, a Rottweiler is usually longer than they are tall. Compared to most other dogs, Rottweilers grow at a slower pace. It can take somewhere between 18 months to 2 years for an adult dog to reach its full size.
Some owners may mistake this slow growth as stunted growth and increase their dog’s diet. This is potentially dangerous because Rottweilers can experience overweight issues, which can lead to other health conditions. If your Rottweiler is still within two years of age, just be patient and know they will grow to their full size soon enough.
When they are first born, Rottweiler puppies can weigh between 1 to 3 lbs. After two months, a Rottweiler puppy may weigh somewhere between 12 to 15 lbs. And after they have fully matured at age 2, full-grown Rottweilers can weigh between 100 to 120 lbs.
Like their physical exterior, a Rottweiler’s personality can be a bit intense or overwhelming for first-time dog owners. However, once you get a solid foundation of training and obedience, Rottweilers are lovable and extremely loyal companions. As a large dog breed, they also enjoy being active and spending time outdoors as much as possible alongside their owner.
More so than other dogs, Rottweiler’s personalities tend to differ between genders. Male Rottweilers may be more aggressive and dominant than female Rottweilers. To avoid this behavior, owners should have their Rottweiler socialize with humans and other dogs at a young age so they don’t develop a need to show dominance.
If you were expecting Rottweilers not to be a chatty dog breed, think again. Rottweilers are notorious for being loud barkers, and it can be quite a headache for owners and possibly their neighbors. Although they may be barking as a defense mechanism and possibly keeping their household safe, it is best to train your pup early on to prevent your Rottweiler from becoming a barker.
How to Care For Rottweilers
As with any other dog, an essential way to care for your Rottweiler is through exercise, grooming, training, and dental. Keeping up with all of these things is naturally incorporated into their daily schedules for most responsible pet owners. However, with such a large dog breed, it is crucial to pay extra attention.
Rottweilers tend to be a homebody, but they do best living in a home with access to a large fenced yard. They can easily become bored, which may lead to destruction or aggressive behavior, so it is best to keep an eye on your dog when they are outside. But when indoors, a Rottweiler can easily match your energy and snuggle up with you on the couch for hours.
As a medium to large-sized dog, Rottweilers need a moderate amount of exercise to stay happy and healthy. Somewhere between 1 hour to 2 hours a day of exercise, depending on the activity, should be enough for your Rottweiler. The great thing about having a Rottweiler is that they can keep up with you in almost any activity you choose. Whether you enjoy swimming, hiking, running, or biking, your Rottweiler will have no trouble sticking by your side.
There are also plenty of dog sports and games. Rottweilers enjoy, such as tracking, obedience, herding, or playing fetch. No matter the activity, as long as your dog moves around, they should be more than content. In addition to exercising daily, it is also a good idea to incorporate time for socialization. Whether you take your dog to a dog park or meet up with a friend who also has a dog, socialization is important for Rottweilers, so they don’t develop aggressive behavior towards other dogs. It’s also fun to see your dog running around and playing with other furry friends.
This breed is definitely for a person who enjoys being active and does not mind putting in the effort to keep your dog moving. Sometimes you may think your Rottweiler is done exercising, and then out of nowhere, they will get a second wind and want to play again. As long as you keep up with them as much as possible and do some physical activity with them every day, your Rottweiler will show you their appreciation.
Rottweilers have a medium-length outer coat that is straight and coarse. They have an undercoat that is on the chin, neck, and thighs. There is typically minimal shedding for this dog breed, but this can change from season to season. The heaviest amount of shedding may occur during the spring and fall. Sticking to a schedule of once-a-week brushing will help with any excess shedding. And during the shedding seasons, it is a good idea to take your dog in for professional grooming.
Because Rottweilers have such a dense coat, there can be a buildup of dead hair and skin. This means that regular baths are necessary to combat this about every 2 to 3 weeks. For certain, Rottweilers that spend more time outdoors or get dirty easily may need more baths. But generally, 2 to 3 weeks is a perfect time frame, so you do not wash out the natural skin oils that keep your dog’s skin and hair healthy.
Similar to other dog breeds, Rottweilers thrive on mental stimulation and enjoy learning new things. They are always eager to please you, but they can be a bit hard-headed at times. The best way to go about training your Rottweiler is by being fair, consistent, and firm with your commands. If a Rottweiler continues living an untrained lifestyle, they may grow up to have behavioral problems, bark constantly, and show signs of aggression towards people and other dogs.
Especially since Rottweilers are among the larger dog breeds, it is important to train them, so they do not overpower you with their strength. It is best to begin their training when they are puppies, so they understand basic obedience and commands such as sit, stay, lay down, no, and other phrases. Once they understand the foundations, they can then begin the process of socializing with other dogs and humans.
Early socialization is important, so your Rottweiler knows how to interact with other pups. Especially in social settings like a dog park, knowing how to interact with other dogs is crucial for the dogs’ safety and their owners. When a Rottweiler does not have many opportunities to socialize, they may become timid to meeting new dogs or may stress out during these situations.
Another important aspect of your Rottweiler’s grooming is their dental hygiene. As a puppy, a Rottweiler will typically have 28 teeth at about one month of age, while their adult teeth will start growing in between three to four months. Once they are all grown in, your Rottweiler should have 42 adult teeth. To keep these teeth clean and healthy, brushing your dog’s teeth about two or three times a week will help remove any tartar buildup and bacteria. Brushing your dog’s teeth will also help with preventing gum diseases and keeping their breath smelling fresh.
The history of the Rottweiler breed ages back to the Roman Empire. During the Roman Empire, armies were spread out across Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa and needed a reliable and loyal herd dog for many different tasks. At first, there were the Asia Mastiff breeds, eventually finding their way into Germany due to the Romans northward expansions.
Centuries later, the ancestors of the German Asia Mastiff dogs found new jobs such as protectors, guard dogs, and herders. Butchers would use these strong dogs to herd carts of meat to and from town. As time went on and this breed became more popularized, the small town of Rottweil eventually stumbled on the name Rottweiler Metzgerhund or Butcher’s Dog of Rottweil.
By the 1800s, Rottweilers slowly began losing work on farms as new technology emerged. This lead to this breed losing its popularity almost to extinction. However, during World War I, Rottweilers were used during the military and as police forces due to their strength. They made for sturdy police dogs, guide dogs for the blind, and rescue dogs. Even to this day, Rottweilers are deemed one of the hardest working dog breeds around.
It is believed that the first Rottweiler came to the United States in the late 1920s via a German emigrant. The first dog registered with the American Kennel Club was named Stina v Felsenmeer in 1931. Because of their obedience and loyalty, Rottweilers increased in popularity and had over 100,000 dogs registered with the American Kennel Club by the mid-1990s. Today, Rottweilers are ranked the 17th most registered dog breed among the 155 in the American Kennel Club.
Due to their larger size, the Rottweiler dog breed tends to have a shorter lifespan than other canines. The typical lifespan for a Rottweiler is between 8 to 10 years. Although they are generally healthy dogs, there are a few potential health concerns that may arise. Among these health issues include hip and elbow issues, joint problems, and ligament issues.
Hip & Elbow Issues
Most large dog breeds such as Rottweilers tend to be susceptible to hip and elbow issues. Hip Dysplasia occurs when the ball of the hip does not fit properly into its socket. This can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort for your pup. You may notice your Rottweiler limping or avoiding putting weight on a certain leg. They may also lick the affected limp excessively or groan when they are in pain.
Elbow issues are similar in that there may be a problem fitting into its proper socket. These issues are often hereditary and are passed down from their parents. So it is important to check if there are any hip or elbow issues before adopting a Rottweiler. The best form of treatment would be through medication, or in extreme cases, surgery.
Similar to hip and elbow issues, joint issues are very prevalent in bigger dog breeds. Joint issues can affect Rottweilers as early as 4 to 6 months and can affect all the body joints. This issue occurs when puppies are still growing, and the cartilage is maturing into joints.
In some cases, the growing cartilage may form improperly, and the bones stretch too fast. When this happens, your puppy may experience discomfort or pain in their joints. Joint issues may lead to bones breaking and abnormally formed joints. In extreme cases of broken bones, pieces of bones may become lodged into the joints. This can be excruciating for your puppy, and they may need immediate medical attention to correct the condition.
Ligaments are the part of the kneecap that hold the top and bottom parts of the hind legs together. And when these ligaments snap or rupture, it can potentially cause mobility issues. Especially in larger dog breeds, ligament issues are common because of the weight on their hind legs. In extreme cases, your dog may lose their ability to walk. However, if caught early, surgery can fix ligament issues.
Nutrition and Feeding For a Rottweiler
Rottweilers are prone to overweight issues, so it is important to keep them on a steady diet. Weight issues can potentially lead to other health complications with their bones and ligaments. Make sure to only feed your Rottweiler high-quality food rich in nutrients, and keep treats to a minimum.
It is recommended to stick with organic dog food because highly processed foods may have unwanted ingredients that may be dangerous for your dog’s health. More often than not, wet or raw food is better than cheap kibble. If you have questions regarding what dog food you should choose, consult your veterinarian.
There are a few variations of coat colors for Rottweilers. There is black and tan, black and mahogany, and black and rust. No matter the combination, Rottweilers are covered in black fur with brown markings around various parts of the body.
There are very rare cases of Red Rottweilers, Blue Rottweilers, and Albino Rottweilers. These coat colors are the product of crossbreeding. Although these coats are unique, they may come with higher detrimental conditions. It is always advised to take caution when looking into adopting a Rottweiler with a rare coat variation.
Children and Other Pets
Rottweilers are excellent family pets and are friendly around children. However, it is important to properly train your dog at a young age, so they do not overpower your little ones. Due to their size, a Rottweiler can easily knock over a little kid and unintentionally hurt them. So it would be best if you always kept an eye on your pet when your kids are around them.
With other animals, Rottweilers tend to be a bit more aggressive, especially with cats. Of course, each dog has its own personality and may differ in behavior, but Rottweilers are innately predatory in nature. If you have smaller pets like cats or other dogs, you should have your Rottweiler get acquainted with them at a young age, so they do not show any signs of aggression towards your other pets.
If you are ready to find your own Rottweiler to adopt, there are plenty of rescue groups you can contact. One of the main rescue groups for this breed is Rottweiler Rescue. There is an interactive map of the United States on their website where you can find a reputable breeder and adoption centers in your area.
Another great rescue group to find Rottweiler is the R.E.A.L. Rottweiler Rescue. R.E.A.L. is dedicated to finding loving and caring homes for abandoned and mistreated Rottweiler dogs.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is also a wonderful organization to adopt from because it is typically low-cost, including vaccines, neutering, and other essentials. The ASPCA was founded in 1866 and had been helping end animal cruelty of all kinds ever since.
When looking into adopting a Rottweiler specifically, you should make sure that you are willing to put in the effort to care for this breed. They can be a handful at times, and may need special training to ensure there are no behavioral issues. However, if you are willing to take the time and effort to learn how to care for this breed, a Rottweiler is a perfect dog for almost any home.
In regards to Rottweiler breed clubs, the main reputable breeder organizations are The Ameican Rottweiler Club and the Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub. The Allegmeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub was founded in Germany in 1907 and has set the standard for the Rottweiler breed for all other organizations. These Rottweiler breeders are dedicated to upholding the Rottweiler breed standard while ensuring safety, treatment, and education for all owners and their Rottweilers.
The American Rottweiler Club was formed in 1973 and eventually became affiliated with the American Kennel Club. To be a member of the ARC, one must keep a high standard of humane ownership of a Rottweiler breed and promote the overall health and well-being of the dog.
Related Breed: Cane Corso Temperament & Personality
More About This Dog Breed
The Rottweiler dog breed will always be loyal, strong, and dedicated to making you smile no matter what kind of owner you are. Although they require a good deal of training and attention, Rottweilers are a fantastic dog breed that works hard and relaxed even harder. They are highly intelligent and incredibly active. Rottweilers enjoy any outdoor activities, dog sports, but they don’t mind cuddling up to you on the couch at the end of the day.
It is no surprise that Rottweilers have been prevalent in so many films throughout cinema history. They are an instantly recognizable breed that captivates audiences instantly. From the 1986 classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the 1976 horror film The Omen, Rottweilers have popped up in all kinds of movies playing a wide range of roles.
Rottweilers are amazing family pets and are great with small children. They are easily integrated into the family and promise plenty of love and laughs for many years.