- Breed group – Working Group (American Kennel Club), Guardian Dog Group (United Kennel Club)
- Height – 24-27 inches (males), 22-25 inches (females)
- Weight – 95-135 pounds (males), 80-100 pounds (females)
- Coat length & texture – Short, straight, smooth double coat
- Coat color – Black, with rust, mahogany, or tan markings. The location and quantity of color markings should not exceed 10% of the whole body color. White markings may also occur.
- Exercise needs – High
- Intelligence – High
- Barking – Only to alert
- Life span – 9-11 years
- Temperament – Loyal, playful, confident, social
- Hypoallergenic – No
- Origin – Germany
👉 No dog breed is 100% hypoallergenic, but some are better than others for allergy sufferers.
Rottweiler fun facts
- Rottweilers are a popular choice as therapy dogs. A female Rottweiler named Wynd won the 2015 AKC Award for Canine Excellence in the therapy dog category. Since then, Rottweilers have grown in popularity as service and therapy dogs to improve social skills and build confidence in school-age children.
- Rottweilers like to lean on their owners. This is believed to be a trait that originated from their work as Roman drover dogs, when they had to use their bodies to guide cattle.
- Rottweilers have a complicated reputation. While most Rottweilers today are beloved as companions, their history as guard dogs have led some states and countries to ban them on the basis of them being seen as dangerous dogs. Rottweilers have a strong territorial streak, however, they can become loving and gentle companions with the right training and socialization, beginning when they are puppies.
Rottweiler temperament and characteristics
Rottweilers, affectionately known as Rotties, are devoted companions that require plenty of social interaction. Rottweilers are natural guard dogs so they can be wary of strangers if they’re not socialized properly. However, they are much loved by families for their endearing clownish personalities.
Rottweilers can get along well with children, as long as they are properly introduced at a young age. This breed is highly territorial and can become very protective over family members, particularly children. Always supervise interactions when children are present. Rotties also get along well with other dogs and cats, as long as they have been properly trained and introduced with care. However, Rottweilers aren’t the best choice for reserved or elderly cats because of their highly playful natures.
Rottweilers aren’t recommended for first time dog owners because they demand a lot of attention and need constant training to avoid developing aggressive tendencies. However, they make fantastic pets for more experienced dog owners. These dogs don’t do well when left alone for long periods because they often develop separation anxiety.
Common Rottweiler health problems
Rottweilers can be prone to certain medical conditions. Only adopt Rottweiler puppies from reputable Rottweiler breeders to reduce risk of health issues. The breeder should also be able to provide you with health clearance certificates from both parents to show that they do not have certain genetic disorders.
- Hip dysplasia. A hereditary condition in which the head of the femur does not sit snugly in the hip joint. This condition causes arthritis and is very painful. Treatment varies on the severity of the hip dysplasia.
- Elbow dysplasia . This hereditary condition is due to developmental deformities in the elbow joint causing pain and inflammation. Rottweilers with this condition typically start limping within 5- 11 months of age. Elbow dysplasia is often diagnosed with X-rays taken of the elbows.
- Osteosarcoma . An aggressive bone cancer that is more common in larger breeds, like Rottweilers. Osteosarcoma can affect any bone in the body, but it commonly affects the leg bones.
- Mitral valve dysplasia and subaortic stenosis . These heart conditions are hereditary and affect the function of the heart. They are life threatening because they can lead to heart failure and sudden death. Breeders should not breed Rottweilers that have these heart conditions.
Cost of caring for a Rottweiler
Owning a large dog, like a Rottweiler, can get expensive. Especially when you factor in additional costs such as heartworm prevention, vaccinations, flea/tick treatments and spaying/neutering. Unexpected health costs can also be pricey. For example, hip dysplasia surgery can cost between $2,000 and $7,000 depending on the severity of the condition.
Health insurance is a great way to reduce out-of-pocket expenses, especially if it’s purchased early in your dog’s life prior to any health issues. However, make sure you read through your policy documents to ensure you understand any exclusions. Remember that pet insurance won’t cover any pre-existing conditions and some have additional exceptions.
On top of health insurance, you can consider adding a wellness plan to help reduce ongoing costs of flea/tick treatments and annual vet check-ups. If you’re worried about covering the cost of health insurance, a pet savings account is a great alternative.
History of the Rottweiler
The Rottweiler is considered to be one of the oldest dog breeds. They are believed to be descended from the Molossus breed that accompanied the Romans to Germany. They were devoted working dogs, herding cattle to market for butchering, pulling carts, and guarding outposts. After the Romans left Germany, Rottweilers were used by butchers as drover dogs and even carried money in money belts around their necks to and from markets. At this time, they became known as Rottweiler Metzgerhund, meaning “the butcher’s dog of Rottweil.”
In the late 1800s, rail transport began to replace cattle drive, which nearly drove the breed to extinction. Things began to change in 1901 when the very first breed standard was written. There are now multiple varieties of Rottweiler including the American, German, and Roman Rottweilers. The first Rottweiler club was formed in the UK in 1960, followed by the American Rottweiler Club in 1973. Today, they are one of the most popular dog breeds in America.
Caring for your Rottweiler
Caring for a new puppy of any breed can be overwhelming. You need to schedule your first trip to the vet and make sure their vaccinations are up to date. You will also need to make sure your home is puppy-proofed. Due to their size and high energy needs, Rottweilers require more work than many other breeds.
Early socialization and consistent training are essential for Rottweiler puppies, so you will need to research obedience and socialization classes to find out where they are offered in your area. In the beginning, make sure you have plenty of time to devote to your new canine companion to ensure proper socialization and training. Rottweilers can become destructive if their needs are not met.
Rottweilers are high-energy dogs that require at least 1.5 hours of exercise every day. They love working, so make sure you vary their activities to include swimming, walking, tracking, herding, and obedience training. These dogs are best suited for large homes, ideally with an enclosed yard.
Rottweilers may look fierce, but they are softies at heart and love to be around their owners as much as possible. Someone should be home for most of the day to ensure this affectionate breed gets all the attention it craves.
Rottweilers are known for their short, glossy, black double coats which require minimal grooming. You will need to brush through the fur once a week with a firm bristle brush to remove any dead skin and hair. Despite their short smooth coats, they shed a lot so you will want to keep on top of grooming, especially in the spring and fall.
Some adult Rottweilers, particularly males, don’t like to be brushed down their backs. However, if you train your Rottweiler to accept brushing from a young age, then this shouldn’t be a problem. They love attention, so make it a positive experience for both of you. Before you groom, it’s a good idea to check your dog for ticks, fleas, and any abnormal lumps. Regular ear cleaning and nail trimming are also essential. In addition, you should brush their teeth several times a week with a vet-approved toothpaste.
Unless your Rottweiler is constantly rolling around in mud, you shouldn’t need to bathe them more than once a month. Over-bathing can actually dry out the skin. Rottweilers are also prone to developing allergies so keep an eye out for any red, inflamed patches of skin and contact your veterinarian if you are concerned.
Diet and nutrition
Rottweilers gain weight easily so proper nutrition is essential. You should refer to your vet for accurate food portioning. However, as a general guide, adult Rottweilers require 5-7 cups of kibble per day, split into two meals. Remember that the exact amount will vary between individuals depending on the diet and on the Rottweiler’s weight, age, health status, and how much exercise they get per day. Male Rottweilers tend to require more food than females as they are usually taller and heavier.
Rottweiler puppies are fast growers so make sure you keep an eye on their weight. Excessive weight gain can lead to bone disorders and joint problems. Never leave food out ad lib for Rottweilers as they are prone to overeating. Make sure to feed your Rottweiler a well- balanced, high-quality dog food. Talk with your veterinarian about which diet to feed and the amount to feed per day.
Training your Rottweiler
Rottweilers are very intelligent so they need constant mental stimulation to stay happy. They respond well to positive reinforcement training, but don’t offer too many treats as this breed is prone to developing obesity.
These dogs have a strong dominant streak, so make sure your commands are clear and consistent. If given the chance, Rottweilers will take advantage of their owners’ lenience. Start training from puppyhood to ensure you raise a well-mannered, loving dog. A structured approach is best with this breed, so try to schedule in-person training sessions at the same time every day.
Rottweilers love to work, so keep them active by involving them in agility, tracking, and show competitions.
Breeds similar to the Rottweiler
Not quite sure that a Rottweiler is a good fit for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:
- Doberman pinscher. These gentle giants make playful, devoted, and active companions.
- Bullmastiff. A confident, strong dog breed that shares many of the same personality traits of Rottweilers. They make great family companions as long as they are trained from puppyhood.
- German shepherd. This breed may not look like a Rottweiler, but they share very similar personality traits. German shepherds are loyal and courageous with a strong protective instinct.
Be a smarter pet parent
Sign up for the best pet advice you can get
Frequently asked questions
Is a Rottweiler a good family dog?
Rottweilers make wonderful family dogs as long as they are properly trained from puppies. They will lap up attention from young children and make good companions for other dogs. However, you must make sure all introductions are done carefully and slowly as these dogs have strong territorial instincts.
Are Rottweilers aggressive?
Rottweilers have a reputation for being aggressive, but this usually results from a lack of training. If you put in the effort using positive reinforcement methods, a Rottweiler can become an affectionate, devoted member of the family.
What is a Rottweiler’s weakness?
Rottweilers are prone to obesity which can lead to a number of health issues including bone disorders and heart problems. They are also known to suffer from eye problems including cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy. Always buy a Rottweiler from a reputable breeder and feed them a high-quality diet to lower the risk of health conditions developing.
Are Rottweilers a good choice for first time dog owners?
Rottweilers have a strong stubborn streak so they need constant guidance, training, and socialization, beginning when they are puppies. They also have high-energy needs and crave constant attention from their owners. If these needs are not met, they can develop aggressive tendencies so they may not be the best choice for first time dog owners. They are more suited for experienced dog owners.