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Species group:

Other name(s): Rottie; Rott; Rottweil Metzgerhund

The basics:
One of America's top ten most popular purebreeds, the Rottweiler appeals to disciplined owners who can provide loving training to a powerful, somewhat dominant dog. The properly socialized Rottie is a highly regarded watchdog with a deep loyalty to its family. However, the busy or easily intimidated pet owner may not be able to keep the upper hand with this strong-minded breed. You'll need to bring your top dog psychology skills to the Rottie.

The combination of capable nerves, physical strength, and high intelligence means that Rottweilers are often top picks for jobs like herding, police and military work, and guarding. Unfortunately, irresponsible owners with poorly controlled dogs have attracted undesirable attention to this breed. In some areas, they may be banned. Even if the law allows them, your insurer may drop your homeowner's insurance if you own a Rottweiler. Check out the situation in your neighborhood before you take home a puppy you won't be able to keep.

Appearance / health:
The Rottie is a muscular dog, medium-large in size and with a powerful, athletic appearance. The very build of the Rottie suggests power, agility and endurance. Their features are far more muscular than lean. The head is broad with a rounded forehead; eyes are dark and should display dedication and good intentions; the muzzle has a scissors bite; nose is black; ears are triangular in shape and carried forward on the head; the inside of the mouth is dark-colored and lips should be black.

Rottweilers are a rather heavy shedder but this shedding is easy to manage by brushing them several times a week with a firm bristled brush or giving them a fun, vigorous massage with a damp towel. Bathe them whenever necessary, but use a quality shampoo that will not dry the skin.

Because of their tendency to become obese, as well as their need to burn that excess energy, exercise is a vital part of your Rottie’s day. Don’t over exercise your Rottie puppy with rough sports that have the potential to damage or over-stress soft bones that are still growing, ligaments and joints. However, because of the necessity of minimizing exercise until they are fully mature, the young Rottie is likely to be full of energy and they are certainly awkward. A great method of combating this energetic awkwardness is to use the time for bonding with and training your Rotie.

Avoid exercising them strenuously in hot and/or humid weather to avoid overheating and make sure your Rottie has access to drinking water during any activity, even if you have to carry a bottle of water with you for that purpose.

Rottweilers tend to overeat which can lead to health issues such as obesity and heart disease. Overweight Rotties will live far shorter lives than a lean, muscular, well-exercised Rottie. Common health issues include a proneness to hip and elbow dysplasia, susceptibility to anterior cruciate ligament damage, narrowing of the slit between the eyelids (known as “entropion”), kidney problems, cancer, and bone and joint diseases.

Rottweiler puppies are more prone to parvovirus than any other breed. It is crucial to make certain your puppy is not taken anywhere outside your home, other than to the Vet, and that her feet do not touch any ground outdoors, including your own yard, until they have been fully immunized. Remember, parvovirus lives in the ground for at least two (2) years and is one of the most easily caught fatal diseases of puppyhood.

Behavior / temperament:
The Rottie is a calm, courageous and devoted breed with a reliable temperament where family members are concerned; however, he is very protective and will defend his family and territory with ferocity. With proper training and consistent handling techniques, they are loving and rewarding companions. The Rottie must have owners who can handle their size and strength. Because of this size and strength, training should begin young, while the dog is still a puppy. Diligent care, including not allowing any rough play, must be taken to ensure that your Rottie does not become vicious. Rotties require extensive socialization and the companionship of their family to be happy. They are very territorial and are ideal for protection, but must be properly trained in areas of protection.

Rottweilers are brave, hardworking, calm and affectionate dogs (with their family), but they are also a very determined dog even to the point of being stubborn. They are superior watch/guard dogs and are very suspicious of strangers, so they should never be fenced in an area that receives walk-by traffic. Rotties have a naturally dominant nature. They require daily mental challenges and frequent exercise. Before getting a Rottweiler pup, check with your City Ordinances as they are banned in some areas and check with your Homeowners Association. It is very important to check with your homeowner/renter insurance Agent as some policies specifically disallow Rottweiler ownership due to the amount of people who are uncomfortable around Rottweilers and the high rate of lawsuits due to any actual or perceived misbehavior of this breed.

The Rottie is rated low on learning rate, obedience and problem solving; accordingly, training the Rottweiler can be a challenge, but they are trainable if they have a firm handler who understands proper training and who utilizes patient, kind and consistent training techniques. With this proper training and firm handling, the Rottie makes a very competent guard dog; however, this working dog has a naturally dominant nature and requires an owner with the dedication to continue training and correction well into (and sometimes, throughout) their adulthood. Extensive exposure as a puppy to friendly people will ensure your Rottweiler learns the difference between someone acting normally and someone acting abnormally. A failure to ensure this extensive and early socialization will, many times, result in either a fearful (defensive) Rottweiler or, worse, one who is not hesitant to bite.

It is important to never play rough with your Rottie, even when he’s a puppy, and to not allow anyone else, including your children to do so either. What may now be an adorable roly-poly puppy will one day be a large, powerful, energetic dog and allowing rough play will not teach him to calm down.

Rottweilers seldom bark except under conditions of strangers and strange animals being nearby, which will kick in their natural guarding abilities and cause them to bark in warning. A well-trained and mentally stimulated Rottie is not known to be a nuisance barker.

Is a Rottweiler right for you?

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What owners are saying about Rottweiler health

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What owners are saying about Rottweiler behavior and training

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The terrifying Rottweiler

This breed has such a reputation as a frightening dog, but my family's experience with our American Rottweiler was really great. We inherited Nikki from a friend who made the mistake of having a baby and adopting a puppy at around the same time without thinking it through. A...

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