Rottweiler Dog Breed Traits & Facts

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Last Updated on September 20, 2023

Quick Summary: The Rottweiler (affectionately called Rottie) is a great option as a family pet and a marvelous guard dog. They are friendly and affectionate with their human family but can be more distant with strangers due to their guarding tendencies. This breed has a reputation for being aggressive, dominant, and territorial – they were originally created to protect and work, so their personality is a reflection of this instinctual occupation. However, they can be trained to behave well around humans and other animals. Rotties are intelligent dogs that adapt well to a structured training regimen. Like many large dogs, they are susceptible to health issues. A Rottweiler who is obese can have joint problems and can develop complications like heart disease or diabetes. It’s important to exercise regularly to help your dog stay healthy. A healthy Rottweiler has a life expectancy of 8 to 10 years.

The loyal, confident Rottweiler is a member of the working dog category. This family guardian ranks at number 8 on the American Kennel Club chart. Do you think a Rottweiler would make a great pet for your family?

Rottweilers are big dogs that aren’t suited to apartment living, and you’ll need a spacious place if you want to give a home to one of these pups. Rotties can stand up to 27 inches at the shoulder. These dogs can be intimidating to strangers, especially if they are strong and muscular.

A well-socialized Rottweiler who has been raised with care is calm, confident, and calm. He is brave but not aggressive. The Rottweiler can be aloof at times, but once you get to know him, he is playful and a charming companion. However, it is important to socialize your Rottweiler puppy early so that he becomes a calm, happy dog.

Let’s get to know more about the Rottweiler!

Rottweiler Dog

Breed History and Background

The Rottweiler descends from dogs used by Roman legions to herd livestock through Europe. The pups bred with local dogs en route, and in the German town of Rottweil, the resulting crossbreeds were used by local butchers to drive their cattle to market. They are Molosser dogs and share genetic traits with many dogs, including bully breeds, Mastiffs, Elkhounds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and more.

The Rottweiler guarded the butcher’s money against thieves. Strong, robust Rotties were used to pull carts that carried meat and milk from the butcher’s shops. Rottweilers were also used in the middle ages to hunt boars and wild pigs that have tusks.

Unfortunately, the Rottie was no longer needed when motorized transport became a thing. The Rottweiler was almost extinct, but German dog lovers saved it. People across Europe were impressed by the breed’s loyalty and the dogs’ work ethic, and so the Rottweiler gained in popularity, even when compared to other dogs like the GSD.

The Rottie is a favorite in the U.S and all over the globe. The versatile modern Rottweiler has worked in various fields, including as a police dog, service dog, herding dog, obedience competitor, and even as a therapy dog.

The intelligent, powerful Rottie is also successful in agility classes and can turn his paw to flyball too. Rottweilers make great family dogs because they are so sensitive and eager to please. They definitely have a stubborn streak and sometimes get looked at as less intelligent because of this.

Appearance and Size

Rottweilers are large dogs. An adult Rottweiler can grow to stand between 22 and 27 inches at the shoulder, weighing from 75 to 110 pounds. Rottweiler females are usually smaller and more boned than their male counterparts.

These large dogs are massive and have large chests. Their distinctive block-shaped heads hold their large ears and square-shaped muzzles. Thanks to their floppy lips, Rottweilers tend to drool, which can contribute to their intimidating looks.

The majority of pure-bred Rottweiler puppies have their tails cut at 1-2 vertebrae.

Coat and Colors

The Rottweiler is always black with markings that range from deep mahogany to rust in color. These markings are found on the Rottweiler’s cheeks, under his nose, chest, legs, and underneath his tail. Your Rottie will also have tan lines along his toes.

Rottweilers have a coarse, straight, and short double coat. The outer coat of the Rottweiler is medium in length, with shorter hairs at his ears, legs, and head. The fluffy undercoat is mainly found on the dog’s thighs and neck, and the density and quantity of the undercoat will depend on the climate in which he lives.

Because of their double coat, Rottweilers are moderate shedders. Your Rottie will shed his coat twice a year in the fall. This means that he will shed a lot to adjust his undercoat according to the seasons.

Temperament and Personality Traits

The Rottweiler is a large and stocky dog that is alert almost all the time. This sense of attentiveness and sheer size make him both a great option as a family pet and a marvelous guard dog. They are friendly and affectionate with their human family but can be more distant from strangers due to their guarding tendencies.

Rottweilers have a reputation for being aggressive, dominant, and territorial. They were originally created to protect and work, so their personality is a reflection of this instinctual occupation. Although they can be aggressive, they can be trained to behave well around humans and other animals.

Without adequate training, Rottweilers tend to bark and dig excessively, which can cause damage to your home and yard. Due to their protective nature, Rottweilers need to be closely monitored. These dogs could pose a threat to their human families if not trained and socialized well.

Training and Socialization

Rottweilers are very intelligent dogs that adapt very well to a structured training regimen. Rotties can appear fierce, but they are actually gentle and loving dogs. Nonetheless, the early socialization and training of Rottie puppies are essential.

If you plan to crate train your Rottweiler, we recommend finding a crate that accommodates a Rottweiler’s size. You should plan on buying one that will last you from puppyhood through adulthood.

Exercise and Living Requirements

Although Rottweilers are naturally heavyset dogs, they can quickly become overweight if they don’t get enough exercise. A Rottweiler who is obese can have joint problems and can develop complications like heart disease or diabetes. They run into the same complications that their cousin, the Doberman, does.

So make sure your Rottweiler enjoys some exercise and playtime each day. The Rottweiler was bred as a working dog, so he thrives in an environment that encourages exercise and outdoor play.

If you plan to harness train your Rottie, make sure you look at Dog Harnesses designed for Rottweilers, who are notorious for pulling. It’s important to exercise regularly to help your Rottweiler lose weight. However, it is also important to make sure they are well-behaved when out on the open road.

A Rottweiler can live outdoors, in theory. However, the breed is susceptible to excess heat, so you must never leave your Rottie outside in hot weather unless he has unlimited fresh water and plenty of shade in which to rest.

Due to their large size, these puppies can develop tired joints over time. You’ll want to invest in a high-quality dog bed that can fit a Rottweiler. They are also notoriously hard on toys, so keep in mind that you’ll likely need a few Rottie-ready dog toys that can withstand their strong jaws.

Grooming Your Rottie

Normally, your Rottweiler should be brushed once per week with a soft bristle brush and a hound mitt. This will keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy. You will need to brush your dog every day during heavy shedding to remove all the hair.

Nutritional Guide

When choosing food for your Rottweiler, always look for high-quality commercial food with meat as its main ingredient. Avoid foods that contain high amounts of meat meal, grains, or by-products. These ingredients will not provide enough nutrients for your Rottweiler.

Young puppies should be fed several times per day. You can begin to reduce the amount of food you give your puppy until he/she is six months old. After that time, you can decrease the frequency to once daily. It’s vital that you don’t overfeed your Rottie, as large, heavy meals could cause your dog to develop a serious digestive condition called “bloat.”

It is a good idea for you to ask your puppy’s breeder to give you recommendations on what food to feed your dog. Talk to your vet if you are unsure about what food you should feed your adult Rottweiler.

Health Issues and Lifespan

Like many large dogs, you should be aware that Rottweilers are susceptible to health issues. A healthy Rottweiler has a life expectancy of 8 to 10 years. Due to their many health issues, Rottweiler parents should seriously consider pet insurance. Below are some of the health issues Rotties are prone to, which you should be aware of.

  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition where the hip joint has conformational problems, eventually causing the bone to degenerate and leaving the dog with painful arthritis. There is an expensive surgical treatment option for hip dysplasia, and it can be managed with medication. This is the reason why you should verify with your breeder that both parents have been tested for hip dysplasia.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: Elbow dysplasia is a genetic condition involving abnormalities in the elbow joint’s multiple structures, specifically concerning the cartilage and the structures surrounding it. Osteoarthritis eventually develops in the elbow joint.
  • Cataracts: A cataract is an imperfection or opacity in the eye’s lens. The lens is responsible for focusing light and should be clear. Your dog’s vision will be blurred if he has a cataract. A cataract can grow to the size of a pin, but it won’t be obvious. Some cataracts can cover the entire lens and cause blindness.
  • Cardiomyopathy: Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a condition where the heart muscle becomes enlarged. One side of the heart is more affected than the other. The ventricle can’t pump blood efficiently to the lungs or body if it is damaged. This causes fluid buildup in the lungs and eventually leads to congestive cardiac failure.
  • Subaortic stenosis (SAS): Subaortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aorta that takes blood away from the heart. Although it is usually a mild heart murmur, this condition can cause sudden death in young dogs.
  • Osteochondritis: Osteochondritis is a very common condition affecting young dogs’ joints that are growing rapidly. The articular cartilage, which forms bone on the joint surfaces, fails to form in certain areas. These weakened areas can cause thickened cartilage to separate from the healthy tissue surrounding it, creating a flap. The flap of cartilage sometimes detaches from the joint surface, leading to the development of secondary osteoarthritis.
  • Addison’s Disease: Addison’s disease is more correctly known as hypoadrenocorticism. This is a condition in which the adrenal glands stop producing enough hormones. The hormones are used to regulate the dog’s internal organs. The dog’s health can be seriously compromised if it does not have the proper balance of essential hormones.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease: Von Willebrand’s disease is a hereditary condition that is caused by a deficiency in the amount of a particular protein that assists in the clotting function of the blood.

Always ask the Rottweiler breeder for his parents’ health screening certificates before purchasing a Rottweiler pup. As you’ve seen, many of Rottweiler’s health issues are inherited. It is important that you make sure that your puppy’s parents have passed the required screening.

Before a Rottweiler can be added to the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database, the American Rottweiler Club insists that the dog has clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation. The dog will also need elbow and hip evaluations from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and an OFA heart examination certificate too.

The Rottweiler as Family Pets

So now you have a better idea of the Rottweiler, would this powerful, majestic breed be a good friend to your family? Let’s quickly summarize what we’ve learned about this breed:

  • If you live in a small apartment, the Rottweiler is not the dog for you! Rottweilers are large dogs and require lots of space.
  • Although the Rottweiler has a short coat, it’s a double coat, and that means your dog will shed moderately all year round with two heavy shedding periods in the spring and fall. It’s important to take the time to groom your Rottweiler, especially when he blows his hair.
  • As Rottweilers are continual shedders, one of these pups wouldn’t suit someone with a pet hair allergy.
  • Rottweilers are usually very gentle, placid dogs, despite their rather fierce appearance. Although they are quite friendly with children and other pets, Rotties can be a bit nimble with small children.
  • A Rottweiler could make a great choice if you want a dog that’ll be a loyal guardian to your family and your property.
  • The Rottweiler is a working breed. You will need to ensure that your Rottweiler gets enough exercise and time for play. A Rottie is the perfect companion for outdoor activities like hiking and walking.
  • A Rottweiler probably wouldn’t enjoy living outside. First, Rottweilers are highly sensitive dogs that can become attached to their family members. Your pup may experience separation anxiety if he is kept outside. The Rottie is extremely sensitive to heat and will not tolerate being outside in hot weather.
  • A Rottweiler is a great pet if you have lots of space and a very active lifestyle. If you socialize your Rottweiler properly as a puppy, he will be happy to play with other pets and children.

Reputable Breeders and Puppy Prices

Although you may see Rottweiler puppies advertised for sale in your local classified ads, it’s better to begin your search for a reputable breeder through the American Rottweiler Club (ARC) or on the American Kennel Club (AKC) website.

The ARC insists that breeders who advertise on their website abide by a list of mandatory practices, including health screening of all breeding stock for hereditary diseases. ARC registered breeders must guarantee to take back any puppy purchased from them if they are unable to do so.

When checking health screening certification for hip dysplasia, you want to see clearance from either the University of Pennsylvania (PennHip) or the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).

Also, dogs should have been cleared for elbow dysplasia, and the dogs’ eyes should be tested annually by the Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF). The ARC insists on the clearance of breeding dogs’ heart health.

Good breeders will often test their dogs for Von Willebrand’s and thyroid problems. Some breeders also go the extra mile by having their dogs certified by the American Temperament Test Society (ATT).

The price you’ll pay for a Rottweiler puppy depends on a few factors:

  • The region in which you live
  • The puppy’s sex
  • Any show ring titles held by the puppy’s parents
  • Whether the puppy has been bred to show or to be a pet

Generally, a well-bred puppy from a reputable dealer can cost from around $850 up to as much as $4,000.

Puppy mills or puppy farms exist solely to produce a lot of puppies cheaply. To keep costs down, breeders do not bother to have their breeding animals health-screened and dogs are often kept in a poor, unsanitary environment.

Often, sick puppies are sold to unsuspecting buyers who later regret their purchase when the puppy becomes seriously ill soon after arriving in his new home.

You should also know that many pet stores source their puppies from puppy mills.

Adopting From Rescue Centers and Shelters

If you don’t want the hard work of training a puppy, you might want to consider taking an adult Rottweiler from a rescue center or shelter. However, do proceed with caution when taking a dog from a shelter, as these pups often come with no history. This means that you will not know if the Rottie you love is healthy or if they have any inherited health conditions.

Some shelters let potential adopters take a short-term basis dog. This is a great idea for the dog and the potential owners. You can always return the dog if you are not compatible.

Because of their loyalty, Rottweilers have become very popular in the “designer dog” craze that’s taken the United States by storm. Here are a few of the popular different Rottweiler mixed breed pups you may be able to find in a shelter.


If you own a large property with lots of space for a large dog and a garden, you may consider getting a Rottweiler.

Rotties can be fierce but are very affectionate and loyal family pets. They get along well with other pets and children. If your family loves to go on walks or hikes, a Rottweiler is the right choice. Rotties are very trainable and can be trained to do many different sports, such as obedience, agility, and flyball. 

Rottweilers have a double-coated coat. They shed moderately throughout the year, despite being short-coated. This could cause problems for allergy sufferers.

If you decide to adopt a Rottweiler, make sure you ask the breeder for the parents’ health certificates. These dogs are susceptible to many congenital disorders.

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