Right Breed For You

Is The Rottweiler The Right Breed For You?

The Rottweiler is a compelling dog, in its power, size and popularity. I get many requests from people interested in buying a Rottweiler as a pet, so let’s look and see if this is the right dog for you.

The Rottweiler is an active breed. They are not a ‘coach potato’ and they need a job. By job, this means keeping your Rottweiler busy by training in obedience, agility, carting, rally or other activity that keeps your dog physically and mentally stimulated. It is also good socialization for the Rottweiler. They need to be around other dogs and people, which can be found in any type of group training class. A bored Rottweiler means not only an unhappy Rotttweiler, but it can also mean a dog that gets into ‘trouble’. By trouble, I mean boredom leading to digging, barking and other destructive behavior. This breed needs to be with people, as they consider us part of their ‘pack’. This is not a breed meant to live in a back yard. They need to live indoors with their family.

Please remember the Rottweiler is a cold weather dog. They originated in Germany, and have a black, double coat, meant to keep them warm. Warm temperatures are difficult for our breed, and they do not do well in the Texas climate in the summer. Generally mine stay indoors when temperatures rise over 90 degrees, at least in the hottest part of the day.

Are Rottweilers good with kids? This is a large breed, and they do have high prey drive, which makes them good guard dogs. They do react strongly to strange noises and sounds. I don’t recommend this breed for children under 12. They are very strong, and as I mentioned, they tend to bond most strongly with one family member. While they tolerate children, they can be clumsy and knock children down. Children younger than 12 years old would not be strong enough to control this size of a dog. When people ask me about a dog good with a family with young children, I generally recommend Golden Retrievers, Whippets or Labrador Retrievers. These breeds adapt more easily to a family and respond well with children. If your heart is set on a Rottweiler and you have children, wait until your kids are older.

If you have plenty of time to give a dog, a Rottweiler may be the right dog for you. This breed needs a large yard for exercise, as well as daily walks. It is also important that Rottweilers get continuous training from when you bring them home until about 18 months. Find a good puppy kindergarten and start them at about 10 weeks. Then they can move to a beginning obedience class and continue group sessions until well over a year. It is important to always take your dog to a group training session, rather than send a dog away for training. A dog will work for the person who trains it, and the group sessions offer valuable socialization around other dogs and people.

So, in a nutshell:

This may be the Right dog for you if:

  • You have a large, fenced yard that is at least 5 feet tall
  • You lead an active lifestyle, which would include walks for your Rottweiler
  • You have time for training classes once a week, and ten minutes daily for practice
  • Your dog will live indoors, and not be left outside when you are not home

This may be the wrong dog for you if:

  • You have children under the age of 12
  • You are looking for a quiet dog that needs little maintenance or time
  • You have no yard or live in an apartment
  • You don’t like dog hair, a bit of slobber or couldn’t handle training for a dog that might jump on you in joy
  • You think you might make some 'extra income' raising Rottweilers. The sad fact is that our shelters and rescues are full of Rottweilers needing homes. Our closest guess is that in the greater Houston area, probably 30 Rottweilers or more are euthanized weekly. Many breeders don’t screen prospective buyers, and don’t warn them of the active nature of this breed, nor the time involved. Many get abandoned or left in shelters.

For more information, please feel free to email me at lewolson@earthlink.net