The Rottweiler is a very popular breed of companion canine in the United States and around the world today.
These large, broad, powerful dogs currently rank as the second most owned purebred dog breed (out of 196 registered breeds) by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
But why would so many people want to own a Rottweiler if they are truly dangerous? Is there more to this story? Let’s find out!
Are Rottweilers Dangerous?
Forbes reports that the Rottweiler is considered to be the second most dangerous dog breed in America.
However, there are other contributing factors beyond breed that must be factored in to get the most accurate picture, as the rest of this article will describe.
Learn About Why Rottweilers Can Be Dangerous
This YouTube video explains why Rottweilers need special training and socialization to learn how to live peacefully in a family and community.
What Is the Rottweiler Dog Bite Force?
As many experts have stated, anything that has a mouth can potentially bite.
However, as Psychology Today points out, not every dog has a mouth like the Rottweiler, which makes a Rottweiler bite far more dangerous than that of most dogs.
The Rottweiler bite force was measured as 328 pounds of bite pressure – a force greater than that of either the Pit Bull (American Staffordshire Terrier) or the German Shepherd, but behind that of giant Mastiffs, which came in with a bite force of 552 pounds.
How does that compare with other animals and with people, you might be wondering?
A human being has an average of 120 pounds of bite force. So imagine you are biting your very hardest, then triple that, and you have the approximate bite force of a Rottweiler dog.
Great white sharks and lions, apex predators of sea and land, have a bite force of 600 pounds. The hyena has a bite force of 1,000 pounds. And the Nile alligator has a bite force of 2,500 pounds.
Here, it is easy to see how a wider, larger mouth contributes to a greater bite force. Even the hyena, which might weigh in at 140 pounds at its largest (about the same weight as a large male Rottweiler), is mostly mouth.
And the alligator, great white shark, and lion have incredibly wide, large, strong mouths.
Are Rottweilers Truly More Dangerous Than Other Dog Breeds?
Once you start to understand how a larger, wider mouth can equate to a stronger, more potentially dangerous bite force, some of the myth and mystery that surrounds “dangerous” dog breeds begins to fade.
But bite force and mouth strength are not the only components that go into determining whether a species is more or less dangerous.
Take the Asian tiger snake, which has a very small mouth that can deliver enough poison to rank it as the 10th most poisonous animal in the world according to One Kind Planet. This snake is proof that size and danger don’t always correlate.
Breed popularity may factor in
With the Rottweiler dog, the breed’s widespread popularity may be influencing the statistics as far as dog breed ranking is concerned.
After all, if more people own a certain dog breed, there will likely be more bite data available about that breed.
Rottweilers have a very strong guarding and protective instinct
Rottweilers have a long and distinguished history as K-9s working in the guarding and protection fields.
The breed actually takes its name from a German town known as Rottweil, where these dogs would guard livestock and people to protect both from bandits and poachers.
Today, many eager owners don’t realize that the Rottie’s intense drive to protect and guard can all too easily backfire if their dog doesn’t understand the difference between a friend, a neutral situation, and a true threat.
Rottweilers that are not well-trained and socialized to distinguish between non-threats and threats can easily turn aggressive and dangerous.
Rottweilers have an intense need for exercise and activity
Another reason that Rottweilers could turn aggressive or unruly relates to this breed’s long lineage as a true working dog.
The Rottweiler was never intended to be a family pet. Until quite recently, Rottweilers were bred to work. These dogs have been accustomed for generations to work hard jobs out in the elements for long hours.
So a Rottweiler without a job to do is likely to get bored, frustrated, and destructive, and may even act out because they have nothing to do to keep busy and burn off their extra energy.
Rottweilers need to be the center of their human family
Another key contributing factor to Rottweiler’s aggression is when a Rottie is neglected or left alone for long hours on a regular basis.
These dogs have an intense need to be with their people and be right in the center of family life.
Even the company of another family dog will not be an adequate substitute for human attention, affection, and playtime. As a guarding and protection breed, these dogs have been bred to crave human closeness.
A lonely Rottweiler will not only be an under-socialized Rottweiler but may become an aggressive Rottweiler that is a danger to people.
Rottweilers got their start as drovers and herding dogs
As Mental Floss points out, Rottweilers as a dog breed started out as drovers – canine cart pulling dogs that also helped out guarding and herding livestock.
As herding dogs, this breed has evolved to have a habit of bumping into anything or anyone they perceive as part of “their” herd.
This makes the Rottweiler the canine equivalent of the proverbial bull in a china shop. They are rough around the edges when they play and when they work because this is what was needed when they were working as drovers and herders.
But in a family setting, and especially when there are also very young children or other vulnerable family pets in the home, this habit of Rottweilers can quickly turn dangerous.
How to Safely Own a Rottweiler Dog
Not every Rottweiler owner wants to train their Rottie to be a super-charged military-grade K-9.
But Rottweilers do need consistent early and ongoing training and socialization to learn to temper their breed instincts to chase, herd, guard, and protect.
So even if you don’t want to enroll your dog in a professional K-9 training program, the training you offer must be positive yet firm and highly structured, and – above all – consistent.
Socialization and training will make the difference between whether or not you can safely own a Rottweiler. Otherwise, your dog’s body and jaw strength may turn dangerous even when your dog has no real intention of inflicting harm.
As Precision K-9 Work points out, what will work in your favor is that Rottweilers are highly intelligent and also highly motivated to please you.
In fact, according to Science Alert, the Rottweiler is the ninth smartest purebred dog breed out of 79 purebred dog breeds!
So once your Rottweiler begins training, you can expect your dog to pick up new commands, tricks, and skills very quickly. You can encourage even faster learning by offering lots of praise and playtime and treats and pats.
Your Rottweiler will naturally herd, guard, and protect you and your family, but you will need to teach your dog how to tell the difference between a friendly visitor or guest in your home and a potential threat or an intruder.
This will require lots of socialization in different settings with different types of people and other animals, as Your Home Security Watch states.
If your family includes other pets, it will be best to get a young Rottweiler puppy so you can socialize your puppy to see other pets as part of their “herd” rather than potential prey.
An adult Rottweiler rescue dog may not be able to rewire their brain to resist chasing other family pets and potentially causing harm.
Should You Get a Rottweiler Dog?
There is no doubt that Rottweilers are very popular companion canines today. Many people choose this breed because they want a dog that will guard and protect them and their families.
But the only way to make sure your Rottweiler is able to do their job safely and well is to provide early, consistent and ongoing socialization and training. This takes a lot of time, patience, and persistence, especially during puppyhood.
Rottweilers also need a lot of daily walks, playtime, and exercise. This also requires a great deal of commitment and love of an active lifestyle.
They are amazing canine athletes and eagerly participate in canine sports such as Schutzhund (IGP/IPO), rally, agility, obedience, scent work, and similar activities.
If you would like nothing more than to spend your free time training and playing with your new pet dog, then a Rottweiler dog may be the perfect pet dog for you.