Do you ever see a mixed dog walking down the street that grabs your interest for some reason?
Maybe, at first, it looked like a purebred, but then you noticed something different about it. An unusual feature did not quite fit but enhanced the appearance of the dog, nonetheless. The Rottweiler Labrador mix is one such cross.
A Rottweiler Lab mix is a large-breed, intense, energetic dog that is loyal. protective, playful, and athletic. A great addition to multiple types of homes, the Rottador is a designer dog that is more adaptable and easy-going than a Rottie but more driven and a better guard dog than a Labrador Retriever.
Combining two intelligent dogs gives you a trainable pet that is attentive and eager to work. Most Rottadors are black or black and tan with a broad chest, powerful body, high-set tail that forms a sickle, waterproof wavy coat, and wide-spaced eyes on a broadhead.
Part of the fun of mixed-breed dogs for many people is guessing what their temperament and physical features will be.
Often, you can make an educated guess based on the more predictable qualities of the parent breeds. When trying to blend two such different personalities, it is difficult to surmise how the puppies will behave. Backgrounds of the two breeds can help. On the other hand, physical characteristics are easier to picture.
What is the background of the Rottador?
Rottadors, like many designer dogs, probably got their official start in the 1990s when someone dreamt of the potential great qualities of the combination. Other names for the cross are Labrottie and Labweiller. The late 1900s saw a surge in hybridizing dogs with the intention of decreasing some purebred problems.
Hybrid improved health is still controversial as of 2020. Crossbreeds tend to have fewer hereditary problems because of a more diverse gene pool.
Rottweilers are from Germany
Rottweilers developed in Rottweil, Germany, the town for which they were named after the Roman legions abandoned them there around 400 AD.
The Romans had brought the Rottweiler’s ancestors with them across the Alps from the south. They used the dogs to herd their cattle, the main source of food for the army.
Originating from Mastiff types from Britain and Greece and branching from livestock guardian lines, these formidable canids also deterred predators and would-be cattle hustlers.
Left to their own devices, the Romans’ dogs propagated with local curs, and butchers selected those with the best guarding and droving skills to help get their cattle and fresh meat to market. In the 1830s, the police force rescued the Rottweiler from the brink of extinction as the railroad replaced it to move cattle.
Rotties became a prominent presence in the military and proved their versatility in guiding the blind and guard duties once World War I ended. They became members of the AKC in 1931.
The Labrador is a product of Newfoundland
The story of Labrador Retrievers begins in Newfoundland with St John’s Water Dog in the 1500s. European settlers in Canada bred these medium-sized tough dogs to retrieve fish and nets from off the side of boats.
The British imported St John’s Water Dog, also called the Lesser Newfoundland, to Poole in the 1800s. They crossed the imports with local hunting dogs in the UK, cultivating the desirable retrieving and tracking qualities and unbeatable disposition of the Labrador.
In England, the Earl of Malmesbury, Earl of Home, and Duke of Buccleuch each contributed to establishing the Labrador Retriever breed as a gundog in the 1880s. Their collaborative effort saw recognition of the breed by the United Kennel Club in 1903 and the AKC in 1917.
What does a Rottweiler Labrador Mix look like?
There are mixed dogs that will look like one breed more than the other. However, a Rottador with a balanced combination of traits has a characteristic appearance.
Conformation show Labs, especially, will produce dogs with a large boxy head and slightly shortened muzzles. If a breeder uses a field trial Labrador, the head will be thinner and the snout slightly longer and more refined.
Rottadors have dark, watchful deep-set almond-shaped eyes and high-set ears that lay against the head and may face forward or towards the sides. You will notice a deep broad chest and a compact body.
Some crossbreeds will be muscular and massive in appearance while others will have longer legs and a thinner frame.
All Rottadors should be almost as tall at the shoulders as they are long from the back of the head to the base of the tail. As for the tail, some owners may dock it to resemble a purebred Rottweiler.
Otherwise, the tail should be thick, of medium length, and carried in a high curl without reaching the back.
Rottweilers are 22 to 27 inches tall and weigh 80 to 140 pounds while Labrador Retrievers are 21 to 25 inches tall and weigh 55 to 80 pounds. The mix is 21 to 27 inches tall and weighs 70 to 110 pounds.
Rottweilers are black with tan to mahogany markings in a stereotypical pattern on the cheeks, above the eyes, on the chin, throat, and chest, and on the insides and lower parts of the legs.
Labradors are black, yellow, or chocolate. Dilute colors are charcoal, champagne, and silver, respectively. However, there are many doubts about the purity of dilute Labradors, especially silver or lilac dogs.
Dilution is not a well-documented trait in Labradors, and many feel its presence occurred through the introduction of the Weimaraner.
As an aside, all Weimaraners have a coat dilution gene. Likewise, dilution does not appear to occur naturally in Rottweilers. Hence, you do not see blue and tan Rotties to the extent you see blue Dobies.
However, the controversy arises when you consider the early development of a breed like the Labrador whereby crosses were numerous with St John’s Water-Dog.
These breed infusions, specifically, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, could have introduced a dilution gene in the early 1800s and it never resurfaced until centuries later.
As DNA tests improve and scientists identify carriers of dilution genes, the question of the purity of certain silver Labradors may be put to rest soon.
So, unless you have a dilute Lab as a parent, you can expect your Rottador to be solid black, black and tan, or brown.
Occasionally, you may see a gray or gray and tan Rottweiler Lab mix. Breed experts and fanciers suspect Rottie Lab mixes are responsible for most of the pricey “solid black Rottweilers.”
Rottweiler Labrador mixes have an even temperament
Rottweilers are loyal, confident, self-assured, protective, calm, watchful, and alert. They have a strong work ethic but can be playful and silly with the best of them.
Labrador Retrievers are unflappable, even-tempered, outgoing, calm, steady, intelligent, kind, playful, and trusting.
Your Rottador should be even-tempered and stable. She will probably be watchful and somewhat suspicious of strangers but will warm up quickly. She will be self-assured, loyal, intelligent, alert, and playful.
Well-socialized dogs can discern threats, and only imminent danger will provoke snapping. Rottweiler Labrador crosses may not bite at all.
Rottadors should be great with children. They make good interactive playmates but can be too big and rambunctious for toddlers. You will need to divert their mouthiness early as they tend to be nippy as herders and retrievers.
Rottweilers can be aggressive with dogs of the same gender, but the Lab often makes the mix more social with other animals. Rottadors are also good with other pets, including cats, that they grow up with.
The prey drive of Rottadors can be variable because of the combined background of herding and hunting. While your dog may be fine with all the animals in your household, she may chase the cats in the neighborhood or the tiny Maltese at the dog park.
However, Rottadors are not so driven by the chase that they become inattentive to training, nor are they conniving escape artists.
Does a Rottweiler Lab mix make an excellent guard dog?
A Rottador will make a more protective companion than a purebred Labrador, but the full scope of his guarding instincts will vary between individuals.
Those dogs that are more like Rotties will be good guard dogs. Otherwise, you can count on a great watchdog with a loud and forceful bark and a formidable appearance.
Are Rottadors healthy dogs?
A Rottweiler Labrador Retriever mix lives about eight to ten years. They suffer challenges in common with both parent breeds.
- GDV (Gastric dilatation and volvulus) – In large deep-chested dogs, the stomach is more likely to dilate and rotate secondary to a large meal
- Hip dysplasia – Incongruent hip joint during growth; 12% Labs, 21% Rotts as of 2020
- Elbow dysplasia – Growth defects of the elbow; More common in Rottie
- OCD – Growth irregularity of cartilage associated with joints; can lead to arthritis-like any dysplasia
- Hypothyroidism – Not enough thyroid hormone produced
- Allergies – Ear infections can occur secondary to allergies
- Progressive retinal atrophy – Leads to eventual blindness
- Exercise-induced collapse linked to a gene; Occurs in Labradors
3 Facts About the Rottweiler Lab Mix Coat
- Double coat
- Easy upkeep – Weekly brushing
- Weather-resistant – Keeps your dog dry (water repellant), warm, and cool
Your Labrador Rottie will have moderate shedding but will be easy to groom. Your dog will have a double coat that is water repellant and weather resistant.
The undercoat will have a density that reflects your climate, and the outer coat will consist of semi-wavy fur. Your pet’s coat will not be prone to tangling and you can get by with twice-a-week brushing to rid it of debris and loose hairs.
Rottadors have great protection from the cold and the heat with their dual coats. Shaving is detrimental to the cooling system and insulation that occurs when the coat layers can interact.
Avoid prolonged exposure to temperatures above 85 or below 20 degrees Fahrenheit and any humidity approaching 20% or beyond.
If your dog has allergies or skin problems, she will require weekly bathing with a medicated shampoo. Otherwise, you can bathe your dog every two or three months. Rinsing in between baths can help reduce shedding during the spring and fall when your pet replaces her undercoat.
Rottweiler Labrador Mix Feeding Requirement
Your Rottie mix will require 18 to 32 calories per pound per day as an adult. Puppies may need twice this amount, especially between three and six months of age.
You can help your dog tremendously by learning how to read dog food labels or contacting your veterinarian about diet ideas. Rottadors need their protein to come from meat, so products like beef, chicken, or pork should be among the top order of ingredients.
Healthy commercial diets can utilize whole or ancient grains, vegetables, potatoes, and fruits to add carbohydrates. Allergic dogs may benefit from the novelty proteins like duck or elk.
Fats are also essential to a dog’s diet and can be from animal (preferable) or high-quality plant sources.
Discuss with your veterinarian the potential for feeding homemade or raw diets because nutritional balance can be more challenging to achieve. With the expansion of the dog food industry into holistic niches, there are endless options for raw recipes in the form of fresh rolls, frozen patties, nuggets, or freeze-dried packaging.
Rottadors are prone to weight problems. Overweight large-breed puppies can have increased incidences of dysplasia, OCD, and panosteitis (pain and inflammation in all long bones).
It is important that you adhere to a caloric intake plan and assess your pet’s body condition weekly. Adjust food intake only according to changes in body score or weight in a growing animal.
You should be able to easily feel your dog’s ribs without prodding. You may be able to see a faint outline of the last couple of ribs. Moreover, you should detect a waistline when you look down on your dog.
Puppies and certain breeds do not always have a tuck-up from the midline abdomen to the hips when viewed from the side.
Remember, it is normal for your dog to seem ravenous at meals and act like he did not get his fill after you feed him. Do not feed your dog more based on your perception of his hunger alone.
Rottadors should eat two or three meals a day as adults. Avoid feeding large single portions at one time that could trigger GDV.
How much exercise does your Rottweiler Lab mix need?
Plan on exercising your dog for 90 to 120 minutes every day. Both parent breeds are high-energy dogs with a lot of stamina for working or retrieving. You should try to achieve several goals with your daily agenda of activities for your Rottador.
- Mental stimulation – games or interactive activities, training for whatever level your dog is
- Socialization, especially for pups up to 16 weeks old
- Rigorous high-intensity exercise – Running or jogging, hiking, interactive exercises like Frisbee, Shutzhund, agility
- Cooldown – Walks
How smart are Rottweiler Labrador mixes?
According to Petrix.com, citing a list by renowned canine behaviorist Stanley Coran, both the Rottweiler and Labrador Retriever are among the top 10 smartest dogs in working obedience. They also exhibit moderate independent thinking in the field, whether it be herding or hunting.
Labrador Retrievers have exceptional emotional intelligence. Your Rottador will be attentive, responsive, and eager to please.
Challenges may arise from the Lab’s sensitivity and Rottie’s potential to be overbearing to novice and tentative handlers. High intelligence and trainability make the Rottador suitable for a wide range of activities and work.
- Police – Pursuit, narcotics, and bomb-sniffing
- Search and rescue
- Guide dogs for the blind
- Therapy – Physical assistance, emotional support
- Backpacking, hiking
The Rottweiler Lab mix is a high-energy, intense, work-oriented yet playful large-breed dog. With striking looks and an intelligent, stable, and loyal bearing,
Rottadors make suitable family companions for many households. Their ability to get along with children and other pets has only added to their growing popularity.
Watch this short YouTube video You can note how the Rottweiler’s face and head look much like the black Lab’s. The two larger dogs may even be related. The black and mahogany coloration is a typical pattern for the mix.
This particular dog has many Labrador traits with a rather narrow head and long muzzle, low-set ears, and a medium-length brushtail. The broadness of the chest suggests Rottweiler as does the hint of wideness about the mouth.
The dog in the video could almost pass as a purebred Rottweiler except for the texture of the coat, the imprecise distribution of brown, the tail, the shape of the ears, and the length of the muzzle. However, the deviations are subtle.