Rottweilers are hard-working, independent dogs who love to be outdoors, whether that’s going for long walks or being in the yard, protecting their home and family. Given the choice, they’re always more likely to prefer being outside than inside!
Rottweilers’ coats do a great job of keeping them warm against colder temperatures, but you should always bring them indoors when it gets too cold. Once the outside temperature gets below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), a Rottweiler should not be expected to stay outside.
Their Coats Were Designed for Cooler Temperatures
When we think of a loyal, attentive guard dog, the image of a Rottweiler is often the first one in our minds. These dogs are known for being capable protectors of homes and families, and they do very well outside the house.
In fact, they would much rather be cool than warm, and on a hot, sunny day they’ll always search for shade rather than basking in the heat. The Rottweiler originates from Germany, where even in summer the needle doesn’t rise much higher than 70 degrees.
The Rottweiler’s coat is double-layered, with a longer, lighter coat on top and a shorter, coarser coat underneath. It’s this coat that does most of the insulating in the winter, which is what gives the Rottweiler the ability to withstand cooler temperatures.
Their second coat is also what makes them somewhat of a shedding nightmare! Once the season slips from winter to spring, the Rottweiler begins to shed the thick winter coat that kept them warm over the previous months.
Then, in the fall, the Rottweiler will shed a second time, and this is how they prepare to grow the undercoat once more, as the cold weather approaches.
Can a Rottweiler Stay Outside All Year Round?
As long as the area in which you live doesn’t see temperatures drop below 40 degrees, then there’s every chance that your Rottweiler will be quite happy to live outside.
There are several things to be aware of, though, which will help you decide about keeping your Rottweiler outside or bringing them indoors. Factors to consider include:
- The age of your Rottweiler
- Weather conditions, including snow and rain
- Whether there’s adequate shelter outside
- Access to fresh food and water
- Presence of rock salt and/or antifreeze
Let’s look at each of these in turn, and how they can affect your decision regarding keeping a Rottweiler outside.
The Age of Your Rottweiler
Dogs, like humans, are vulnerable in the early stages of their life, and then in their later years. It means that while your Rottweiler pup is still young, they shouldn’t be outside. Younger dogs don’t yet have the ability to regulate their own temperatures, and they get cold very easily.
Similarly, as a dog ages, their tolerance for cold weather reduces. Rottweilers are especially prone to arthritis, or pain and swelling in their joints. Cold weather is terrible for arthritis and can cause them great discomfort, so as they get older, your Rottweiler shouldn’t be getting cold.
Whether young or old, your Rottweiler will still love to exercise outside and they especially love playing in the snow! There’s nothing wrong with allowing them to enjoy walks outdoors in the wintertime. Exercise is still necessary even if your dog lives outside, and so they should still get daily walks.
However, it’s important that they don’t stay out too long when it’s too cold. For older Rottweilers, a great rule of thumb is to check your own body temperature. If you’re too cold and you’re ready to head back indoors, then chances your old friend should be inside, too.
What’s the Weather Like?
It’s one thing for your Rottweiler to enjoy being outside when it’s dry, even when it’s a little chilly for humans, but it’s another thing for them to be outside in the cold and rain. If it’s raining or there’s snow or ice in the air or on the ground, then your Rottweiler will feel the cold much more quickly.
Their insulating coat protects them against cold temperatures, but it doesn’t work as effectively if it’s wet. It’s the difference between wearing a dry blanket around your shoulders or wearing one that’s been dropped in a puddle.
This brings us to a vital aspect of keeping any dog outside.
There Must be Adequate Shelter
If your Rottweiler has a warm, dry place to shelter in when the weather’s particularly terrible, then they’ll be more than happy to be outside all day, every day.
Rottweilers love to be outside even in the cool night air, but this is only because they know that when it gets to be too cold, there’s a warm place for them to disappear to that will protect them from the elements.
The shelter must be weatherproof, have warm blankets and water inside, and be free of leaks and drafts.
Be Sure to Keep their Water and Food Topped Up
One of the reasons a Rottweiler is so good at staying warm in the winter is that they use hydration. They convert liquids into energy to keep them warm. Therefore, it’s vital that they always have access to freshwater. You can even feed them warm soup!
In the wintertime, your Rottweiler should be fed a high-protein diet with increased fats so that their bodies have the insulation needed to protect them from the cold.
It’s always important to get advice from a vet concerning the best diet for a Rottweiler, especially if they live outside. This is because it can be tricky to get the balance between a winter diet that will keep your Rottweiler healthy and warm, and one that will make them put on too much weight.
Be Aware of Rock Salt and Antifreeze
In the wintertime, there’s a high presence of rock salt on the ground, and people use antifreeze to protect their pipes, windshields, and locks from freezing over. If you use any of these products, be sure to keep them away from your dog.
Dogs often lick or eat rock salt but even the slightest amount in their systems can poison them. Be aware that if you don’t use the products, your neighbors might, and your Rottweiler should have no access to these toxic chemicals.
Keep an Eye on Your Rottweiler’s Health and Behavior
Even if you feel you’ve done everything right to keep your Rottweiler warm and healthy, they could still be too cold outdoors. Keep an eye on their behavior and they’ll soon tell you they’re not happy.
Rethink your Rottweiler’s living conditions if they display any of the following behaviors:
- Urinating more than normal
- Breathing rapidly
- Moving from one paw to the other or lifting paws
These are all signs that your Rottweiler’s too cold, and they’re at risk of hypothermia, where their body temperature drops dangerously low.
Protect One Another
Your Rottweiler will make it their life’s aim to keep you and the family safe. They love to watch over their owners and protect them at all costs.
But this means that owners must keep their Rottweilers safe in return! And keeping an eye on their outdoor living conditions, giving them plenty of shelter,s and bringing them indoors when it’s too cold are the best ways to ensure your Rottweiler’s healthy and happy for years to come.