Rottweilers are popular because they have so many great qualities. Rotties are loyal, loving, affectionate, and incredibly protective of “their” people.
Rottweilers that are closely bonded with people are willing to do anything to guard and protect – even to the point of laying down their lives. This is one of the qualities that make the Rottweiler such a great K-9 working dog and also such a great family pet.
But it is also because of these same qualities that Rottweilers often don’t get along so well with small dogs. In this article, we discuss the problems of adding a small dog to your family and also some creative ideas to socialize the two dogs.
Do Rottweilers Get Along With Small Dogs?
Speaking in the most general terms, Rottweilers are not known for their ability to get along well with other dogs in general and small dog breeds in particular.
In fact, out of five stars (which represents very dog-friendly), Vetstreet gives the Rottweiler breed only one star in the “dog-friendly” category.
This is not to say that no Rottweiler ever learned to be friends with a small dog. It is just to point out that it may take a bit more work to accomplish this with your Rottweiler.
Meet a Very Unlikely Love Match
This YouTube video is proof that you should never say never when it comes to assuming a Rottweiler and a small dog won’t get along.
Somehow, this tiny West Highland terrier managed to get a female Rottweiler pregnant and she delivered adorable Yorkie Rottweiler puppies. Clearly, these two dogs managed to overcome their obvious size difference to form a truly remarkable connection!
Get a Temperament Match Rating for Rottweilers With Different Dog Breeds
This interesting study from Friends of the Dog gives you some insight into how (or whether) your Rottweiler might potentially enjoy the company of a different dog breed.
Similarly to the Vetstreet rating, you learned about in an earlier section here, this study shows well a Rottweiler may potentially get along with a different purebred dog breed.
The most important thing to notice about this study is how, in general, the smaller the dog breed, the lower the compatibility rating goes.
Compare the “7” compatibility rating between a Rottweiler and a Border Collie and the “1” rating between a Rottweiler and a Pekingese.
It is also worth pointing out, however, that the Rottweiler doesn’t always get along well with other large dog breeds either. For example, take a look at the “1” compatibility rating between the Rottweiler and the Pit Bull Terrier!
But this guide might be helpful to you to consider which smaller breed dogs might have a better general likelihood to get along well with your Rottweiler.
Regardless of Size, Socialization Is a Key to Success
As this Quora dog owner thread points out, sometimes socialization can really go a long way to socialize even the most unlikely of animal friends.
When the Rottie associates the presence of another animal with positive experiences such as pats, attention, treats, praise, and play, there is a much greater chance the two animals will end up becoming friends.
You might start to worry here that your Rottweiler will lose their guard dog and protection instincts if you socialize your Rottie with other animals.
But in fact, the goal of successful socialization is just the opposite. Your Rottweiler needs your help to learn how to tell the difference between a “friendly” or at least a neutral situation and a potential or real danger.
This is how to make sure every member of your family – canine, feline, and human – is safe in the company of your Rottweiler. You want your dog to learn commands that will give instructions about who is safe and who is not safe.
For anyone who is reading this who is training and caring for a Rottweiler for the first time, this is where working with a professional K-9 trainer can help speed this process along.
Rotties are incredibly smart and are fast learners, but if you are still learning how to train a dog, it can help if you and your dog are both students and you have a master dog trainer who is your teacher.
Tips to Introduce a New Dog to Your Rottweiler
As Rottweilers Royal breeder explains, introducing a new dog to your dog can bring up uncomfortable feelings for everyone.
In this way, it isn’t really that different than introducing a new baby to your older child. You may see excitement, happiness, jealousy, or even aggression and it is important to be prepared for whatever comes.
Here are some great tips to do everything you can personally do to make that first meeting between your Rottie and a new small dog a success.
Meet on a neutral turf
Like it or not, dogs come from a wild canid background where territory represents security. Food, mates, shelter, and status are all linked to the turf.
So the first meeting between your Rottweiler and a new small dog should take place on a turf neither one feels any personal attachment to.
You will want to have a friend help you by holding the other dog’s leash so you can both have some control over the meeting.
Do everything you can to make your own home neutral ground
Before the first meeting between the dogs at your home, it is always smart to remove your Rottweiler’s personal items – bedding, toys, food bowls, and other items that your Rottie might choose to guard.
Next, designate a more neutral area inside your home for the first meeting. Don’t choose the room where your Rottweiler eats or sleeps. Find a less emotionally charged room to set the two dogs up for the least amount of initial conflict.
Arrange for the first “in-home” meeting to begin out of the home
This might sound a bit odd at first, but it will start to make sense when you think from your Rottweiler’s perspective of your home as their turf.
So when you do finally bring a new small dog into your home, the best place to start is actually outside the home.
For example, arrange to meet at a dog park and then walk home with the two leashed dogs together. Make the first entry into the yard (if fenced) and not the home itself.
Be sure to let your Rottweiler off the leash first so you can see how your Rottie behaves. If you see an immediate lunge towards the small dog, this gives you at least a bit of warning and reaction time to head off a conflict.
Have treats on hand to smooth any rough edges
As the American Kennel Club points out, it is vitally important to remember that Rottweilers have been bred for literally centuries to herd, guard, protect and – when the situation warrants it – even attack.
Rottweilers have been carefully bred to foster a higher level of chase instinct and prey drive. This is why they make such good protection dogs.
But your Rottweiler may not understand at first that the smaller dog isn’t a fun new toy or a squirrel that just looks a little bit weird. So you want to have some treats ready to praise your Rottweiler for good behavior.
Consider working with a professional dog trainer
While it is always best to avoid making a commitment to a second dog before you have had a chance to see how your Rottweiler behaves, this may not describe your situation.
There is nothing more stressful than having two dogs in your home that can’t seem to get along. Maybe you have tried everything you can think of and the two dogs just don’t seem to want to be friends.
This can be a particularly big problem when one dog is an adult and the other is a puppy. This is exactly the time you may want to consider working with a professional dog trainer.
Rottweilers Don’t Want a Canine Friend – They Want YOU
As the American Rottweiler Club explains, the Rottweiler is a breed that has a deep history of watching over and guarding people and livestock.
Many Rottweiler owners notice that their dogs simply follow them around even inside the house. This dog breed just wants to protect you and serve you.
This is also why Rottweilers don’t tend to cope very well when left alone for long periods of time, even if they have another dog (regardless of size) for the company.
Rottweilers don’t want another dog to be their companion. They want to be with you. Rottweilers will often become destructive or develop separation anxiety if they are deprived of the company of their people.
So if you are planning to get a small dog as a friend for your Rottweiler to solve the issue of you not having enough time to spend with your dog, this may actually make the problem worse.
Should You Get Your Rottweiler a Small Dog Friend?
As you have likely figured out by now, there is no general way to answer this question accurately.
The success of any bond between your Rottie and another dog – large or small – will depend on so many very unique factors.
But you can do a lot to facilitate a friendship with these helpful tips.