The Rottweiler is the current “fad” guard/macho dog of the moment. For four years running, it has been the second most-popular American Kennel Club registered breed. The Rottweiler is a large, powerful dog and along with ownership comes much responsibility. Rottweilers require extensive socialisation from an early age.
Because of their size and strength, obedience training for your Rottweiler is a must. Weekly group classes for 6 to 12 months is generally considered a minimum. Rottweilers are “people” dogs. Left alone or with inadequate exercise for long periods they may become unruly and destructive.
How are they with children?
A properly bred Rottweiler who receives adequate socialisation and training will generally get along fine with children, but tolerance will vary from dog to dog. He must be taught early on what is acceptable behaviour and what is not, as should the child. Because of their large size and inherent desire to “herd”, Rottweilers should always be supervised around children. A minor “bump” can cause serious injury to a small child.
Some Rottweilers have a high degree of “prey” drive (the instinct to chase moving objects), therefore should never be left alone with children, who naturally will want to run and play. I recommend waiting until children are at least school age before introducing a Rottweiler into the home. The amount of space in your home, the age of your children and the amount of time the dog will be in contact with the children should be seriously be considered.
Are they vicious?
A properly bred, socialised and trained Rottweiler is not inherently vicious. The rapid rise in popularity of the breed has attracted many irresponsible breeders who are only interested in making a profit, and don’t care what damage is done to the breed in the process. Most are placed with the wrong type of owner and home.
Are they good with other pets?
Problems should be minimal when a Rottweiler is raised from puppyhood with other pets. They are highly intelligent, trainable, and with correct introduction, should be able to learn to co-exist peacefully with any pet you wish to introduce.
What kind of training do they require?
The Rottweiler has been developed for its working ability and often blooms when given a chance to work with its master, although there are occasional exceptions. It is very necessary to establish your control of the animal and obedience training is often the easiest and most rewarding way to do so.
Rottweilers can often be controlled using verbal reprimands alone, and while they occasionally require strong physical corrections, some trainers tend to be much rougher on Rottweilers than is necessary. Women have been very successful with the dogs in obedience training. Physical mastery of the dog is generally less important than sensitive, patient and positive training methods. Patience is an important factor in training a Rottweiler.
What about discipline?
The Rottweiler is a sensitive, intelligent and loyal animal, usually wanting to please its owner. Occasionally, it can be quite stubborn though, and requires more attention. A harsh word will often suffice, although sharper corrections are sometimes necessary. Ownership isn’t for the timid or very busy person who cannot or is not inclined towards careful supervision of his/her pet.
Do they require much exercise?
The Rottweiler is a working breed. He is generally not happy sitting around doing nothing all day. A large garden with a six-foot high fence is essential. If you don’t have the space, consider a smaller or less active breed. Adequate exercise is necessary to maintain the good health of your Rottweiler, as they have a tendency to gain weight without proper exercise.
Do they shed?
The Rottweiler is a double-coated breed, with a medium length outer coat and a soft downy undercoat. They do shed their undercoats twice a year, in spring and winter.
Are they noisy?
Rottweilers will bark to announce the arrival of people on the property, they generally don’t bark without reason.
Which sex makes the best pet?
Opinions vary on this topic. I recommend a female, especially for first-time owners. Females are about 30% smaller and easier to control, somewhat less dominant and usually more affectionate. Males are stronger, more powerful and dominant, and therefore somewhat harder to train and control.