Rottweilers are among some of the most popular dogs in the United States. What makes these dogs so popular, and could one be the right dog for you? We’ll give right in and look at everything you need to know.
What Do You Need to Know About Rottweiler Behavior?
Rottweilers, also known as Rotties, have a unique set of behavioral traits related to the dogs’ background. The earliest ancestors of these dogs were Mastiff-like dogs known as Molessors.
Although enjoying a reputation as a guard dog, the Rottweiler was initially bred to help drive cattle and, later, pull carts for the butchers. Much of the alert nature comes from this work.
However, these dogs’ work for drovers and butchers only tells part of the story. Part of the job that these dogs performed also involved deterring thieves and predators. A look further back into the breed’s history helps explain everything.
The Molosser dogs that were the Rottweiler’s earliest ancestors dated back to ancient Roman times. These dogs helped drive cattle to market, with the large size being an asset. What would become Germany was an area where the dogs were popular.
In medieval Germany, butchers often used these dogs to help pull carts to transport meat to market. These dogs were bred for strength to help make this work easier. Modern Rottweilers descend from these original butchers dogs.
Confident and calm are two words that readily describe well-adjusted, happy Rotties. These are not dogs inclined to just run up to strangers, but that is okay. Rottweilers are more inclined to take a cautious approach to new faces.
Once introduced to someone new and they know this person won’t hurt their family, these dogs are very accommodating. Your childrens’ regular playmates will usually be safe around one of these dogs. Visiting family friends are usually accepted readily.
Trained, socialized Rottweilers have mellow attitudes and are very happy to protect members of their households. Because they have such a strong focus when doing protective work, these pups are perfect for police, military, and security work.
Rottweilers with jobs behave much better than dogs left to their own devices at home all day. Dogs without boundaries about what is or isn’t appropriate behavior will make the rules up. These situations lead to badly-behaved dogs.
Rotties are some of the best dogs for families with kids. This breed has a high tolerance level for childrens’ often-rowdy play. Besides tolerating children, they are also sensitive to the unique vulnerabilities of babies.
Despite the tolerance for children, these dogs also adapt well to disabled and elderly adults’ needs. Trained Rotties usually have good leash manners and will focus on protecting vulnerable owners.
Most Rottweilers aren’t inclined to become nuisance barkers. Usually, once a Rottie has been trained, he will only bark if there is a good reason. Your Rottie will ensure you’re the first to know if anything seems out of order.
Rottweilers with good training and socialization are among some of the best-behaved dogs around. If you decide to bring one of these dogs home, you can feel satisfied with your decision.
What’s the Most Important Breed Information About Rottweilers?
Strong, confident, protective – these terms are perfect ways to describe Rottweilers. If you want to know if this breed is for you, it helps to know as much as possible.
Although these dogs have a strong working history, the breed’s popularity as a family pet has contributed to breeders focusing on family-friendly traits. As a result, many Rottweilers have pet and working-quality traits.
Rottweilers are larger dogs, although they lack the height of many other large breeds. Males may stand 27 in. high, while females often reach 25 in. Many males weigh as much as 135 lbs. while females weigh around 100 lbs.
Rotties have the build that makes it easy for them to perform work requiring physical strength.
Although these dogs are muscular, they are also compact enough for speed. Dogs involved with personal protection have an advantage in speed.
These dogs have a relatively short lifespan because of their size. The average lifespan for this breed is nine or ten years. However, different breeding factors may influence longevity, and many Rotties have lived past ten years.
One of the things that owners can expect from this breed is a low-maintenance coat. Rottweilers have short, smooth coats and are average shedders. These dogs might have double coats, although they are not long unless another breed is involved.
Black coats with markings of lighter colors on the legs and face are typical of these dogs. Tan is the most common color variation. However, rust or mahogany are standard colors for these dogs’ coats, as well as tan.
Although dogs of both genders are muscular, males usually have a more robust build than females. Usually, intact males or males neutered have the bulkiest body after achieving full adult size.
These dogs are quite a house dogs, although puppies and young dogs are more energetic than their adult counterparts.
If you and your family enjoy hanging out watching movies or playing games, these dogs will enjoy the quiet time.
However, Rotties are always prepared to be in on the action when you’re ready for outdoor activities.
Daily exercise is essential for these dogs, including walks, jogs, and runs. Playing fetch and similar activities are also suitable for these dogs.
Swimming is an excellent activity for dogs who don’t mind water. The amount of activity involved helps dogs use up excess energy. Being able to enjoy a good swim with your dog is suitable for your physical activity level.
Your dog might like to learn how to pull a small cart if you’re inclined. Another strength-building activity perfect for Rottweilers is walking or hiking with backpacks. These packs can feature different weights depending on the preferred activity level.
Tracking is another fun pursuit for these dogs. When you take a dog tracking, you encourage him to use some of his best working instincts. One of the best things about this activity is that it is perfect for the whole family.
How Healthy Are Rottweilers and What Care Do They Need?
Rottweilers are usually healthy dogs, but they are not free from disease by any means.
One of the keys to making sure your Rottie is as healthy as possible is scheduling regular veterinary care. Some of the conditions these dogs may develop have a genetic basis. However, vet care helps you prevent many problems from worsening.
Like many other large dogs, Rottweilers are vulnerable to osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, and squamous cell cancer, which often shows up as lumps in the toe skin. However, surgery is usually successful at stopping the spread of this cancer.
Rotties are susceptible to cataracts, and, in this breed, the condition can show up in dogs as young as two. Cataract surgery is often possible to help restore your dog’s sight. Even if their sight cannot be preserved, adjusting to blindness is possible.
Rottweilers may develop hip or elbow dysplasia, two conditions with strong genetic links.
Medications to help treat the arthritis pain associated with these conditions usually have good results. Maintaining your dog’s weight also helps.
One of the problems that Rotties may encounter is joint disease. In most cases, joint disease happens when puppies grow too quickly. In a worst-case scenario, surgery might be necessary, making overgrowth good to avoid.
Another health issue somewhat common in Rottweilers is a cranial cruciate ligament tear. Being cautious about how much jumping your dog does prevents this condition from becoming as much of an issue.
Although relatively rare, several digestive conditions may impact dogs’ health. Pancreatitis is a rare but painful condition that requires a special diet for life. Some dogs may also have allergies or sensitivities to food ingredients.
Some dogs inherit a neurological condition known as Wobbler Syndrome. Dogs with this condition have pinched nerves in some spinal column parts, causing a wobbly gait. However, there are interventions available, ranging from medications to surgery.
Rottweilers are vulnerable to hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid. Some of the signs of this condition include skin and coat problems and weight gain, and behavioral issues. Treatment can restore healthy thyroid levels.
Having a veterinarian you trust with your dog’s care is crucial for optimal health. Regular preventative care will help you maintain your dog’s health. Your vet will make recommendations to ensure that your dog is healthy.
Regular vaccinations that include rabies shots are a critical part of your dog’s care. The specific vaccines administered may vary depending on your area. In most areas, regular parvo vaccines are recommended.
Treatments to prevent fleas, ticks, and ear mites will help your dog live a more satisfactory life. Regular treatment to help prevent worms is also an essential part of your dog’s care. Some worms are transmissible to people, making treatment ideal.
Unless you intend to breed your Rottweiler, your vet will recommend spaying or neutering. These surgical procedures help prevent unwanted mating and related behavior. These surgeries also reduce the risk of some cancers.
What Are Rottweilers’ Nutritional Requirements?
Rottweilers are a breed with high-protein nutritional requirements. An ideal daily protein amount is 22-26% to promote optimal muscle development.
Some of the meats that provide optimal protein include chicken, turkey, and lamb. Beef and pork are not the best meats for Rotties because of the high-fat content. Because these dogs are sometimes susceptible to pancreatitis, fatty meat is best avoided.
Fish-based protein is often an excellent choice for meeting these requirements. One type of fish that is relatively low in fat and high in protein is herring. Fish contains nutrients helpful for your dog’s eye, skin and heart health.
If your Rottie is a puppy or a young dog that has not yet finished growing, a puppy formula will help provide optimal growth. The puppy food should feature a recipe for large breeds, switching to adult food at about 18 months.
Preservatives in food are best avoided for all breeds. BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin are some of the preservatives dog owners want to avoid. Another thing that dog owners usually want to be aware of is the amount of sodium in their dog’s food.
Some owners try to feed their dogs as much high-calorie food as possible to save money. However, feeding low-quality food, especially kibble, may lead to obesity. When a Rottweiler becomes obese, he is more likely to experience health problems.
High-quality food that includes a mixture of dry and wet food will help satisfy these dogs’ needs. Most Rotties require a 2,100-calorie diet every day. Natural or raw foods are also very suitable for these dogs.
If you need to switch your dog to different food, it’s essential to make this transition gradually to avoid digestive upsets. Flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea may result from abruptly switching to a new food.
What is the Best Way to Find Rottweiler Puppies?
Picking out a Rottweiler puppy is one of the best parts of welcoming one of these dogs into your home. If you go through a breeder, there are some things to bear in mind.
One of the things to look for when using a breeder is whether you can see the parents. If the parents and well-behaved and good with people, this is a good sign. Watch for any signs of anxiety or shyness on the parent’s or puppies’ part.
The breeder should be honest about how many times the mother has been bred. Chances of health problems in puppies increase with mothers with more than three litters. Ideally, breeding should occur every other year.
Good breeders have no problem addressing questions or concerns from puppy buyers. The breeder should answer questions about the puppies and their parents without hesitation. Your breeder should also have a good knowledge of the breed.
Health certificates are a must for ensuring that the puppies are in good health. When the puppies have these certificates, you have the assurance that they are disease-free. Breeders who claim to have health-certified puppies should have these certificates.
Responsible breeders will want to make sure their puppies go to good homes. Some breeders may ask as many questions as a shelter or rescue director. Breeders erring on the side of caution are a good thing.
Sometimes Rotties end up in animal shelters or under the care of rescues. Most rescues are legitimate organizations that see their dogs vetted before adoption. A critical difference between rescues and breeders is that rescues cannot be bred.
What Are the Best Methods for Training a Rottweiler?
Training your Rottweiler is essential to a happy, well-adjusted dog.
Rotties love the training experience and desire to please their “parents.” Early socialization and training will provide the best results. Adults are also willing learners but will require more time than puppies.
A best-case scenario involves a breeder taking the initiative in socialization during the first eight weeks. When puppies receive socialization from an early age, there is less work involved for the owners when puppies go to their new homes.
When these dogs are eight or nine weeks old, they are at an excellent age for socialization. This age is a great time to start meeting people. Your puppy should also start getting used to basic handling for grooming and bathing at this age.
Other early training should include housebreaking. A Rottweiler that is housebroken from an early age won’t be as likely to have accidents in the house. Crate training is usually the best way to teach your puppy to go outside.
The earlier your puppy gets used to walking on a leash, the easier it will be to manage on walks. Puppies leash-trained from an earlier age seldom require extra restraint, like harnesses, on walks. Good leash manners open the door to new activities.
When your puppy is still young, this is the best time to start curbing behavior like inappropriate nipping. Although showing signs of protectiveness at an early age is good, aggressive guarding behavior with toys or food is something to discourage.
Puppies can start obedience training classes once they have had all their shots at around four months. This age is also a perfect time to get used to dogs outside the household. Careful supervision will help prevent bullying by other dogs.
Once your Rottweiler has had obedience training and socialization with other dogs, you may want to consider dog park visits. Stopping by a dog park is a great way to provide exercise. Your Rottie will also learn to make friends with other dogs.
If your dog has good leash manners, you might want to consider activities like hiking. Adding a backpack will help make the exercise more strenuous for your dog. Most dogs will enjoy the change of scenery that comes with going on a hike.
Rotties are naturally athletic and well-suited to agility activities. You can train your dog for agility as part of a regular organized event or a more informal activity. If you have a big backyard, you might easily set up a course there.
Rottweilers are excellent dogs, especially for families. Having as much knowledge of the breed as possible will help your dog adjust perfectly.