Breed Group: Working
Height: 22 to 27 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 75 to 110 pounds, with some weighing up to 135 pounds
Life Span: 8 to 10 years
Massive and muscled, the Rottweiler can be a gentle giant or a scary beast, depending on his personality and his owner. In general, he takes awhile to warm to strangers but is a loyal and loving family member. With the work ethic of a world leader, the Rottweiler needs a job to be truly happy.
Did You Know the Rottweiler Is Used Extensively in Police Work?
The Rottweiler descends from dogs used by the Romans to drive the herds of cattle that fed the army as it marched through Europe.
The Rottweiler is one of the more recognizable breeds with his large head, solidly muscled body, and distinctively handsome black-and-tan markings. He is intelligent, strong, and loyal. His fans seem to fall into two camps: Those who consider their dogs to be large but gentle love bugs, and those who wish their dogs to be anything but. News stories of killer Rotties in the hands of inexperienced or less-than-savory owners have turned many people off the bad-to-the-bone dogs, but reputable breeders are picking up the pieces and restoring the reputation of the breed. A word to the wise: Don’t underestimate this dog’s power and protectiveness.
The Rottweiler is a big dog and can weigh up to a hefty 135 pounds, most of it muscle. Bred for generations to use his protective instincts and independent judgment when his family or territory is threatened, this is one tough customer. It’s no surprise that these dogs are used in police work. They’re often the target of laws aimed at controlling or banning dangerous dogs, and some insurance companies won’t sell homeowners’ policies to anyone who owns a Rottweiler.
Even so, it is entirely possible to find a gentle, family-friendly Rottweiler. Rotties from many different backgrounds can be quiet, calm, and easy-going. But all Rottweilers need structured, consistent training from an early age as well as focused socialization around children, strangers, and other pets if they are to be well-adjusted members of the family and well-mannered when taken out in public. Be fair and firm but never mean with the Rottweiler and he will repay you with love and respect.
Even the gentlest, best-behaved Rottweiler can put children, the elderly, smaller adults, and anyone who is unsteady on his feet at risk. A vestige of the dog’s heritage as a cattle herder is bumping — and the nicest Rottie’s idea of a playful nudge might have a much greater impact.
Rotties put on weight easily and need at least a couple of 10- to 20-minute walks daily, plus mental stimulation in the form of training and puzzle toys to keep their bodies and minds in shape. Even five minutes of practicing obedience skills in the backyard will give the Rottie a feeling of accomplishment. Rotties thrive when they have work to do, whether it’s obedience competition, competitive protection work, agility, carting, therapy dog work, or herding.
It’s no surprise that over the years the Rottweiler has excelled as a police dog, herding dog, service dog, therapy dog, and obedience competitor. In fact, the Rottweiler can do nearly anything asked of him, and if you don’t ask, he’ll probably find something to do on his own — which may involve eating your sofa or digging a hole for that swimming pool you always wanted in the backyard. But in the right home, with early socialization and training, the Rottweiler can be a wonderful companion, guardian, and all-around dog. He should live indoors as a family dog.
Other Quick Facts About the Rottweiler
The Rottie is not innately a guard dog. He is a thinking dog whose first reaction is to step and back and look at a situation before taking action.
Rottweilers are prone to health problems such as hip dysplasia and eye issues.
Rottweilers are surprisingly sensitive and may experience separation anxiety.