happy rottweiler in a green field

Rottweilers or “Rotties” are powerful dogs, loyal and loving with a deep protective instinct for their families. Some may think they are intimidating, but they are often playful and silly dogs who love cuddles. They are no more aggressive than other dogs, but their size can make others wary. 

Rottweilers are best for experienced dog owners as they can be intense and strong. You will want to check with your local ordinances because unfortunately, some places have banned Rottweilers because they are perceived to be dangerous. However, no dogs are inherently dangerous, instead, it is the people who train them to be. 

You may need to carry additional insurance if you own a Rottweiler, so make sure you are aware of any potential costs.

Rottweiler History

Rottweilers were first bred in Germany as a working dog, and they were used to herd cattle, pull carts, and more. They descended from a Roman dog, the Molossus, which is similar to a Mastiff, and fell out of fashion, almost becoming extinct until the early 20th century. 

The Rottweiler breed standard was developed in 1901, and they have been growing in popularity ever since, reaching its peak in the mid-1990s with more than 100,000 registered with the American Kennel Club. 

In addition to being cattle dogs, Rotties have been used as police, military, and other law enforcement dogs because of their obedience, strong stature, and calm nature in the face of trouble.

Rottweiler Appearance

The AKC recognizes the Rottweiler breed standard as black and mahogany, black and rust, and black and tan in color, with a straight, coarse, and dense medium-length coat with moderate shedding. They are medium to large dogs that are robust and powerful in size and shape. 

Rottweilers have markings on their eyes, cheeks, muzzles, throats, and legs. They are typically between 22 and 27 inches and 80 to 135 pounds with the males being larger and taller than the female dogs. 

Rottweilers are moderate droolers and often snore because of the size of their noses. They are strong and agile dogs ready for anything, and though Rotties can look intimidating, and they will only become aggressive if provoked due to their highly protective instincts. 

Rottweiler Personality

Rottweilers have a calm and confident nature. They are courageous and self-assured, and because they often have a wait-and-see attitude, they have made good police, military, and customs dogs over the year. 

They are not temperamental or inherently vicious dogs. Rather, those who are treated well and with kindness are often playful and gentle dogs. Rotties make great companions because they are very smart dogs, hard workers, and highly trainable, albeit stubborn. They need a lot of mental stimulation and have a moderate energy level. Rottweilers are not barkers, and they will often only bark to alert their families of things they perceive to be dangerous.

Rottweilers are very protective of their families, making them a good guard dog too. They don’t make friends immediately with strangers, but with their family, they are affectionate and love to cuddle, so much so they often forget they are not lap dogs!

They are good with children, as long as they are raised with them. However, because they were previously used as herd dogs, they may try to herd your children to keep them in line. This is often through bumping, so you will always want to make sure to supervise your Rottie when around children. 

Early and regular socialization can help develop the best parts of your Rottweiler’s personality, so it is important that they are exposed to people and other dogs on a regular basis. Some Rotties will have a strong prey drive, and the more they are exposed to children and other dogs, the better behaved they will be.

Rottweiler Exercise Requirements

Rottweilers have a moderate energy level, and they require daily exercise. You will want to take your dog for a few walks per day, between 10 and 20 minutes long, to keep them active. 

Rottweilers have different energy levels, so you will want to keep an eye on what works best with your dog. Those who are highly energetic may need more to prevent them from turning to destructive behaviors. 

In addition to walking, Rottweilers love to play with balls, swim and hike. They are very strong, athletic dogs, so they will also do really well with agility games and obedience competitions. They are highly trainable dogs who love to learn new tricks and eager to please their family.

Rottweiler Training and Care

Rottweilers respond really well to positive reinforcement and firm and consistent training. They want to please you but can have a stubborn streak, so you will need to be patient when you are training your Rottweiler. Always reward with a treat or positive word.

Rottweilers, much like other big dogs, are not difficult to housebreak. You will want to get them on a consistent schedule, use positive reinforcement, and keep an eye on them so they cannot have accidents in the house. When they go outside, be sure to reward them with treats and praise. 

Rottweilers can be protective and territorial, so they do best in homes with fences. They need to eat two meals per day of about 4 to 10 cups of dry dog food, and you want to monitor their caloric intake as Rotties tend to overeat and become overweight. They should always have access to clean water.

Rottweiler Health

Rottweilers on average live between 9-10 years, and they are generally healthy dogs. The breed is prone to some genetic conditions, including:

  • Hip and/or Elbow Dysplasia
  • Heart Defects (Aortic Stenosis/Sub-aortic Stenosis)
  • Bone Cancer (Osteocarcoma)
  • Bloat or Stomach Torsion (Gastric Dilatation-volvulus)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Panosteitis
  • Allergies 

If you are going through a breeder, you should ask for health tests for the puppy's parents. The Rottweiler Breed Club recommends that you get a hip evaluation, cardiac exam, elbow evaluation, and an ophthalmologist evaluation. If you are adopting a Rottie, these tests may not be available.

Rottweiler Grooming

Rottweilers have a straight and coarse coat that has moderate shedding. They should be brushed weekly and receive baths regularly, especially during the bi-annually shedding during the spring and fall. 

When you are brushing your Rottie, be sure to use a firm bristle brush. This will help to remove dead hair and distribute skin oils to keep your Rottweiler’s skin and coat healthy. 

Additionally, they should also have their teeth brushed two to three times a week and their nails trimmed on a weekly basis. This will help keep your Rottweiler looking and feeling healthy all year round!