Every single day, someone brings home a Rottweiler puppy or rescue dog for the very first time. This is so exciting! But learning about a dog breed you have never owned before can also bring some challenges with it.
This is especially true with the big, strong, and highly protective Rottweiler dog breed.
Rottweilers are currently the eighth most popular companion canine in the United States – this is out of the American Kennel Club’s nearly 200 registered purebred dog breeds.
So many people love these dogs – but are they a good breed choice if you have never owned a dog before? Let’s find out now!
Are Rottweilers Good for First Time Owners?
Rottweilers can be good for first-time owners as long as you are willing to learn about the breed and make sure your dog is well trained.
The only type of owner a Rottweiler dog should have is an owner that has a lot of time to spend with their dog, is willing to make sure their dog is well socialized and trained, and is able to provide lots of exercises and playtime.
If this describes you, then a Rottweiler is potentially a very good breed choice for your first dog. Read on to learn more about how to prepare to own and care for a Rottweiler.
Learn About the Rottweiler Breed Before Choosing One
This short and helpful YouTube video gives you important tips for choosing a Rottweiler, especially if you are owning one of these powerful and protective dogs for the first time.
The video makes the vital point that a Rottweiler, like any dog (and any person for that matter), is typically formed by the environment they are exposed to. Loving handling will create a different personality than will abuse or neglect.
This is particularly important to keep in mind if you are thinking about adopting a Rottweiler adult from a local rescue charity. Be sure to find out as much as you can about Rottie’s prior life and experiences so you are prepared.
Why the Rottweiler Dog Is Not the Right Breed for Every Owner
Surprisingly, Vetstreet states that the Rottweiler is one of their top 10 worst large do breed for a first-time dog owner.
Why is this? If Rottweilers are so popular, loving, and loyal, and willing to give their lives for their people, what could be bad about getting this dog breed?
There are several things to consider here as we are about to explain.
Rottweilers are very strong
Rottweilers must learn not to pull or tug on the leash. They are so strong that if they decide to chase a squirrel while on the leash, they could easily pull most people over!
So for an owner that is very slight or not strong, the Rottweiler might simply be “too much dog” to control. This is especially the case for someone who may have health issues or someone who is elderly or frail.
Rottweilers have a very deep chase and prey drive
The Rottweiler breed dates all the way back to the time of the ancient Roman empire, according to VDR Rottweiler breeders.
These dogs evolved to help pull carts and herd and protect both livestock and people. They have a very deep instinct to chase and protect. If the dog is not well trained, this instinct can put other family pets and strange people and animals in danger.
This is another reason why the Rottweiler might not be the right fit for every family.
Rottweilers take a longer time to mature
Like many large breed dogs, Rottweilers look grown up a long time before they act grown up. Puppyhood can last for an extended amount of time and make training efforts feel difficult or unproductive at first.
Rottweilers need to be with their people all the time
Rottweilers are people dogs through and through. Getting your Rottweiler another canine companion will not do anything to change this.
You will need to make sure your Rottweiler gets consistent, positive training as well as daily exercise and play right from day one, which can take a lot of daily time out of your schedule, especially if you have a demanding job or kids to factor in as well.
Legal Considerations Before Owning a Rottweiler
It is also important to research whether owning a Rottweiler may change anything about your current living situation or homeowner’s insurance.
As Canine Journal points out, Rottweilers are on the blacklist for many insurance providers because they are considered to be dangerous dogs.
If you make a commitment to a Rottweiler puppy or adult dog and only find out afterward that your homeowner’s insurance provider is going to drop you, you will have the scramble to find a new insurer or you may have to move or relinquish your dog.
In this case, you may be able to add a “dangerous dog rider” to your insurance policy, however.
Not all insurers refuse to provide coverage if you own a Rottweiler, but this is definitely something you want to check out in advance!
Rottweilers Are Very Smart Dogs
As Science Alert reports, Rottweilers are one of the top 10 smartest dog breeds (out of 79 breeds judged by nearly 200 dog trainers).
This is great, right? You definitely want your dog to be smart, especially if they are supposed to be protecting you and your family.
However, getting a very smart dog can mean you are also choosing a more demanding dog that will be more destructive if they get anxious, bored, or lonely.
Smart dogs crave mental as well as physical activity to stay healthy and happy. This will mean you need to come up with more things for your dog to do and more enrichment to keep your dog busy when you can’t pay attention to them.
Warning Signs to Watch for When Choosing a Rottweiler
The American Rottweiler Club offers some helpful tips when you are selecting a Rottweiler puppy or rescue dog.
Rottweilers often get labeled as “aggressive” when they have had poor handling or background of abuse, trauma, or neglect.
Rottweilers that are bred through puppy mills or backyard breeders can also have temperament issues due to poor health, poor diet, poor or no socialization, or early removal from the mother dog and littermates.
These warning signs can give you a hint that the Rottweiler you are considering might have a more difficult temperament to work with, especially if you have never owned a dog or a Rottweiler dog before.
- Nervous or anxious pacing.
- Hyperactive or overly excitable.
- Shy or submissive in their body language.
- Reluctant to be patted or handled.
- Respond with obvious hostility as you move towards them.
- Bark or growl a lot or exhibit other potentially aggressive behaviors.
It is also important to meet both parent dogs if at all possible. Watch both parent dogs see if any of these warning signs are present. If you see any of these signs, the puppy may have potentially inherited the same temperament problems.
Should You Get a Rottweiler if You Have Young Kids or Other Pets?
As Rottweilers Royal breeder explains, it is important to do an initial meet and greet between existing dogs and a new dog before you make a commitment to a new Rottweiler.
Sometimes dogs get along right away. Sometimes, dogs just don’t get along no matter what you do. But making the introductions on neutral turf in the right way can help stack the deck in favor of canine friendship versus dislike.
Rottweilers may not be the best choice if you have vulnerable prey-type animal pets such as small “pocket pet” rodents, birds, shy cats, or reptiles. The Rottweiler chase and prey drive are so strong these other pets may come to harm.
Rottweilers can be good with kids, but here it is much better to get a Rottweiler puppy that has never known life without kids. A Rottweiler rescue adult dog may have a harder time dealing with kids who are too young to know how to play gently with a dog.
Should You Hire a Trainer for Your Rottweiler?
Rottweilers are very smart and very people-focused and eager to please. However, Rottweiler puppies can be rambunctious and often do not know their own size or strength.
For first-time Rottweiler owners and first-time dog owners in general, it can be wise to enroll your Rottie puppy in dog obedience training classes right away.
If you find you are struggling to get results with the training you provide at home, you may also want to work one-on-one with a professional K-9 trainer so you can learn the training basics from a pro.
This way, both you and your Rottweiler learn together and your canine-human bond becomes closer much more quickly.